Tweed Funk, a funk/blues/soul act from Milwaukee, is hitting the Gas Lamp tomorrow night at 9pm (21+ and a $10 cover). Before you head over, take a minute to get to know the band. We snagged a few minutes to chat success, the story behind the band name, and their favorite local music scene. Make sure and check out the band’s recent Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) awards!
Joseph “Smokey” Holman, vocals/frontman
Musical muse: Sly Stone
JD Optekar, guitar/vocals
Musical muse: Buddy Guy
Eric Madunic, bass/vocals
Musical muse: His father (awwwww)
Nick Lang, drums
Musical muse: Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin, and Wood
Jon Lovas, saxophone
Musical muse: Lester Young
Kevin Klemme, trumpet
Musical muse: Clifford Brown
Band Bombshell: If you had to describe your sound in three words that begin with an F, what would they be?
Tweed Funk: Fire, Fat, FunkinSoulBlues
BB: What’s the story behind the band name, Tweed Funk?
TF: To us the word “Tweed” brings back images of 1950s era Fender amplifiers and connotations of old-school up-front sounds. Something with texture, a bit rough around the edges, classic and enduring – that is the sound we go for with our recordings and live show. “Funk” brings together our combination of musical backgrounds which include elements of soul, R&B, and a touch of funk melded together with blues.
BB: How great does it feel to be getting all of this publicity and awesome feedback recently?
TF: It is very rewarding to see the press and media take time to review our CDs/Shows and to receive praise from these different forms of media. Moreover, to see reviews come in from the UK, Greece, Germany, Belgium, France, and other countries is fantastic – we hope that we can get out and tour in Europe in the future.
BB: Where is your favorite place to play and why?
TF: Buddy Guy’s Legends. There was a packed great crowd for a Thursday night when we made our debut in March 2013. People came out for the music and paid close attention to the music, scrutinizing the band and our sound ,and applauding excellent solo’s and songs. Plus the venue is first class with great green rooms and pictures of so many famous blues musicians who have graced the stage. We look forward to returning.
BB: What’s next on the list for you guys?
TF: Summer festival season is coming up and we are looking to step our game on the big stages this summer in Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin – after the summer we will start thinking about our next CD.
BB: Where do you think the best local music scene is?
TF: Not a specific place but sometimes smaller cities and large towns can be much more beneficial to local musicians. Large cities have lots of venues, lots of bands, and coverage of really big artists. We think some of the smaller cities can really help nurture their local artists and give them the exposure they need to move up to the regional and sometimes national level.
BB: If you could tour with anyone, who would it be?
TF: Gary Clark Jr.
BB: What advice do you have for local musicians trying to make it big?
TF: Invest in your business. Your musical career is a business you need to put together a plan for three to five years and invest in building your band’s brand on the local, regional, and national level. It is rare these days that a band is going to be discovered and handed a contract. Be willing to work with a radio promotion person, publicist, and do some limited but focused advertising in your vertical music niche. Try to learn from other entrepreneurial businesses outside of the music industry.
BB: If you had one thing to say to try and pull people into the show tomorrow night, what would it be?
TF: Smokey is an old-school frontman who puts on a soul-soaked, sweat-drenched show and gets the audience involved and participating in the show!