Dumpstaphunk aims for the highest level of funk
It’s one of the more unappetizing band names in recent memory, but Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk does get the job done. It’s kind of a play on words, taking both meanings of the word “funk” — the positive musical quality, and the negative description of a smell — and not minding either interpretation.
“The name is a play on being very funky,” explains keyboardist/bandleader Ivan Neville, who is performing tonight at the Rex Theater. “We figure we’re funkier than most. We’re so funky sometimes, for the generation out there that’s checking out music now — sometimes, it might go over people’s heads, it’s so funky. What’s nastier than a dumpsterâ¢ Ain’t nothing too much funkier than a dumpster. That’s just a dumpster funk.”
This isn’t a sound that requires a Ph.D. in music theory to appreciate. The human body tends to respond to this music without much prompting.
“I guess it’s sort of a cross between some New Orleans funk, a lot of the Meters, a little Sly and the Family Stone, and some Parliament/Funkadelic,” Neville says. “Improv(ise) on top of that, and you’ve got Dumpstaphunk, or something of that nature.”
Of course, this comes from a funk pedigree that’s unimpeachable. Neville’s funkiness and unmistakable New Orleans drawl comes directly from the source — growing up in a family of music royalty, the Neville family. Singer Aaron Neville is his father.
“It was pretty normal,” Neville says. “I grew up doing normal stuff. But it was obvious that there was a little more music in our house than most homes. As well as just growing up in New Orleans. The sound of New Orleans itself — marching bands, the second lines, brass bands, combined with the fact that my dad and uncles were all musicians. My mom was a big music lover. My mom played piano as a kid, so there was a piano in the house.”
Dumpstaphunk itself is kind of like an extended family. Guitarist Ian Neville is Ivan’s cousin.
“Tony (Hall, bass) used to sub for the Meters. He and Nick (Daniels, guitar) have both played with the Neville Brothers,” Neville says. “Raymond Weber (drums), along with Tony, played with Harry Connick Jr., and Raymond also played with Charmane Neville. In some ways there’s a kinship, a relation — so, we’re like family. We might as well all have the same last name.”
Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: Rex Theater, South Side