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Jazz + funk = Junk

Hagerstown band to play at jazz brunch in Frederick, Md.

Hagerstown band to play at jazz brunch in Frederick, Md.

September 04, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

What began as a confluence of musical tastes has become a jazz-funk explosion for the Hagerstown band Junk.

Now the band is hoping to take it to the next level. With a demo complete, the band is working on its debut album, said founding member Scott Reed, bassist and the band's unofficial frontman. They hope the debut album will land them higher-profile gigs and allow bandmates to quit their day jobs.

Junk performs Sunday at Firestone's Restaurant & Bar in Frederick, Md.

Junk's sound started off as a hip-hop-jazz hybrid, with a live DJ, though minus the rappers. But Reed said the band has evolved. The DJ is gone and the funk influences are much more obvious.

Bandmates said their aim is to reinvigorate the appeal of musicianship. They also want to cater to different demographics - the MP3 downloaders and the audio purists who'd rather have their vinyl - in a musical environment where pop culture dictates what instrument is cool to play and what type of band is cool to be in.

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They say it seems rap, country and rock are what's cool right now. But, then again, it all depends on how you tally the cool points.

The band posts live recordings from past performances on its Myspace page, www.myspace.com/junkjazzfunk. Most would agree that the artists they reference in their music - James Brown, Average White Band and Marvin Gaye - are still pretty cool.

About Junk



Sax - Mike Krzywanos

Trombone - Eric Plum

Guitar - Eric Gershenow

Bass - Scott Reed

Percussion - Travis Driver

Keyboard - Ryan Benton

Hometown: Hagerstown

Genre: Jazz-funk fusion, acid jazz

Upcoming shows: Noon Sunday, Sept. 7, at Firestone's Restaurant & Bar, 105 N. Market St., Frederick, Md.

Web: www.thejunkband.com. Myspace, www.myspace.com/junkjazzfunk

Q&A with Scott Reed, Travis Driver and Eric Plum from Junk



To talk a little about funk music, what about the passing of James Brown? Do you think there will ever be someone else to fill that spot?

Scott: No. I think there are a lot of really talented kids doing some new things, I don't think the music industry has room for people like James Brown and these iconic innovators. We're kind of flooded with record label producers and the same sort of music, over and over. I just don't think there's any room for it.

Travis: I think a lot people don't play their own instruments any more. There's a lot of sampling, which is borrowed from people who've done it before. And there's a tremendous amount of tracking - programming beats. It's been warmed over and redone. This artist sounds like this artist, who sounds like this artist. Years ago, 30 years and back, most people had a distinctive sound. You turn on the radio and hear an opening, you knew who it was. We don't really have that today.

Who are you guys listening to now? Current musicians?

Scott: I still kind of mediate on old stuff. I'm a huge Stevie Wonder fan. I also like Tom Petty and The Police, and that kind of rock. Newer music, I really like Jamiroquai - I know he's not really, exactly current. Brand New Heavies, Liquid Soul, Lettuce. I love The Roots. I like Babyface.

Eric: Everything but country. Right now, I'm into this group from Japan ... I'm really trying to get into really avant-garde stuff. I kind of go in and out. I'll be into something for two weeks, then it's on to something else.

Scott: Travis doesn't listen to anything if it was recorded after 1970.

Travis: 1980.

(Bandmates laugh)

Scott: You can take the most famous song over the last 15 years and Travis would have no clue what it is, but he could tell you every member that recorded on every track ever recorded in Motown.

Eric: Dates and everything.

Travis: I always talk a lot about 1972. That was really the best year that I can think that put out, pound for pound, the best music, pretty much all across the board. Rock was great. Rhythm and blues was great. Don't know much about country. ... I listen to stuff to learn things. If I need to listen to something new, I will.

So you guys have songs that you like to do live. What are some of the crowd pleasers?

Travis: ... I like "Inner-City Blues." We do kind of a funkier version of the old Marvin Gaye tune.

Eric: Mine's "Pass the Peas," James Brown.

This is coming from the classical guy.

Bandmates: (laughing)

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