The Budos Band
Words by Audra Tracy — New York, NY
New York City — If your monotonous day job has got you feeling like a hopeless nerd, you probably need more evil funk in your life. Playing self-proclaimed ‘Afro-Soul‘, The Budos Band cures the workingman’s blues with scorching live shows and seductive stacks of wax. Simply put, the dark lords of Daptone Records bring out all your bad intentions – one listen to their instrumental libations may lead to unhinged inhibitions, unbuttoned blouses, and undeniable debauchery.
In anticipation of the ten-piece tornado’s first New York City show in years, we spit hot air with baritone saxophonist Jared Tankel about covering The Beatles, partying with Mark Ronson, and embracing his heavy metal urges.
Tankel and his Budos brethren share space on the roster at Brooklyn-based Daptone Records, a label that also champions the sassy Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. Paying tribute to the crisp sound of Stax and Motown lore, Daptone has been encouraging the recent vinyl resurgence far before the Williamsburg crowd caught on. And while most of the music industry today relies on digital programs like AutoTune and ProTools, the Dap family can be credited as one of the few labels to still appreciate the raw power of the platter.
This summer The Budos Band released Budos III, an LP as venomous as the cobra that stalks its cover art. Tracked on analog tape at Daptone’s ‘House of Soul Studios’ in Bushwick, Budos III was born to make dirty love to your turntable. The record churns up a stew of sinister funk through a recipe of blaring brass, multi-layered percussion, and menacing melodies on songs like ‘Crimson Skies’, ‘Unbroken, Unshaven’, and ‘Nature’s Wrath’.
Like with their previous two LP’s, the band also threw a cover song into Budos III – this time turning a Beatles song right on its head with ‘Reppirt Yad’. “We did a Sly Stone song on the first album, a Temptations song on the second, so we wanted to do something a little different on this one in terms of not going with something that’s already in that funk or soul spectrum”, Tankel shares.
“That guitar lick from ‘Day Tripper’ just sort of stuck with us as something that would really fit well with what we do”, he explains. “In terms of naming it ‘Reppirt Yad’ – since it’s like a Beatles song and they had backwards lyrics and stuff going on, we figured we might as well play along.”
Speaking of UK connections, music producer Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen) is a big fan of the Budos brotherhood, lovingly referring to their sound as an ‘imaginary Tarantino soundtrack’. Ronson flew the band out to play his 33rd birthday party at an English Manor – a night which Tankel describes as a ‘bizarre gig’.
“It was pretty surreal”, he recalls. “It was held at this private estate outside of London, and it was incredibly extravagant. There was a room where there was a table that was just full of absinthe jello shots; that was like the only thing that was going in that room”, he laughs. “It was one of those parties where there’s just an inexplicable amount of excess.”
After they induce ‘Budos Fever’ at Bowery Ballroom this Friday, the Staten Island natives will set their sights on the West Coast for a string of shows before heading back to the studio. “We’ve recently been talking about doing a covers EP of 70’s hard rock”, Tankel shares. “We’ll see how this EP concept goes and then we’ll try to record the fourth album.”
As The Budos Band continues to expand their viscous sound, they seem to be leaning more and more towards musical mischief. While they share a label with masters of new-school soul, The Budos Band has a swagger that more closely resembles that of metal pioneers Black Sabbath. “We aren’t going to become a metal band, but the influence is definitely creeping in on everything we do”, Tankel admits. “I think in our live show, it really comes out – we’re not as composed as the Dap Kings are onstage’, he laughs. “We like to let it hang out a little bit more, and rock out a little bit more.”
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