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Ivan Neville Participates With HeadCount

I know Flea was watching you guys at Bonnaroo this year, and there was some talk about him maybe helping out on the new album.

Yeah, well you know what, he happened to be in New Orleans right before Bonnaroo, maybe a couple weeks before that. And we went around, got some food and stuff, and we ended up bringing him into the studio and we got him to play a little bit on the songs. So right now we have him on a song that’s going to be a part of this record. So we got Flea playing on a tune, so that’s pretty cool as well. But that was awesome that he was at Bonnaroo man, that was killer that he came to our set.

The first time I ever saw Dumpstaphunk was when I was a student back at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, in 2008. I was a student in Steve Reynolds Media Arts class, and he brought you guys in to teach us what the funk was and…

Oh god, Yeah, Steve Reynolds, yeah, yes I remember him. You were a student? You were in that class?!

I was in that class, yea.

Get the fuck outta here, that’s crazy.

So I guess I just want to ask you, what is the funk?

The funk is where the notes are not. (Laughs) The funk is the spacing, the space between the notes. As far as I’m concerned, that’s what the funk is.

I had a great experience at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and I know a lot of other people had a great experience at NOCCA, and there were a lot of great musicians, great actors and other artists who have come out of there. How important do you think arts education like what’s provided at NOCCA is for the people of New Orleans?

Oh it’s extremely important. I mean, New Orleans being the place that it is, being one of the greatest centers of culture and the arts and that whole thing—you’ve gotta have a learning center like NOCCA and places like that to give youngsters some of the thing that some of us didn’t get. To learn some of the things about music and art and other arts, absolutely fabulous to have places like NOCCA. And you got a lot of people that do a lot of great things like Harry Connick Jr., Irvin Mayfield, Wynton Marsalis. The things that they’ve done to promote learning and the arts has been fabulous. So, New Orleans has absolutely—our future looks bright. The kids are learning a lot of stuff.

Other than funk, are there other styles of music that you enjoy playing?

We play a little rock and roll, we play some blues—it’s all in there. A little gospel, it’s all mixed in there in what we do. In our band, we’ve played with all kinds of different folks—like Tony has played with Harry Connick Jr., he played with Trey (Anastasio), he played with Dave Matthews’ solo project, he played with Emmylou Harris, you know what I’m saying? I’ve played with the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Robbie Robertson, and the Neville brothers to name a few. Nick Daniels has played with Etta James, Boz Scaggs, the Neville Brothers, Wild Magnolias. Nikki Glaspie, she played with Beyonce and with the Jennifer Hartswick Band, and Cee Lo (Green) to name a few.
We’ve all played in, and enjoyed many different styles of music. That’s why the name of our new record is, we’re gonna call this record Dirty Word—because we look at funk as a dirty word. Not only in the literal sense, “it’s funk, it’s dirty,” just when you name your band Dumpstaphunk you tend to either assume you play funk music or they say, “What’s the name of your band?” “Oh, the name of our band is Dumpstaphunk.” “Oh, what kind of music do you play?” Wow, it’s kind of funny. And when you go to register a song, there is no genre called funk. There’s other—there’s rock, there’s R&B, there’s pop, but there’s no genre that’s funk. So, we want to call this record Dirty Word. It’s funk being a dirty word and it’s funk being maybe a typecasting thing. This record, there is some funk stuff on there, it’s gonna be some funk shit, all that. But, you know, there’s also some other styles of music that we gonna incorporate into this new record, so that’s why we gonna call it Dirty Word.

So, between Katrina, the oil spill, and now Hurricane Isaac, things have been kinda rough for New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana over the past few years. How do you think voting and civic engagement in general can benefit the people of that region?

Well, voting can only help. Like I said earlier, you got a voice, you have to use it. And you can see them talk about things and how bad things are. And sometimes have been worse than other times. We’ve had tragedies, natural disasters, and some man-made things going on. So, as a people, you must use your vote. If you’re not voting, if you’re not registered to vote, you’re not using your voice. Basically, that’s the only way you get—if we all said what we felt, and it was heard, maybe something would be done about it. That’s just my feeling—you got a voice, you got to use it.

What influence do you think that New Orleans music has had on today’s jambands and just modern music in general?

The Meters were pretty much a jamband a long time ago, when they were doing their thing, when they were in their heyday. They were jamming out, you know? And the whole idea of New Orleans music, as far as what it is. And you know, the vibe—the street vibe; it’s like a party waiting to happen. You look at the brass bands, you grow up hearing these sounds in the streets, and you want to just pick up your instrument and play. And a brass band music typifies that, because it’s just like a bunch of horns sometimes playing an actual part, but a lot of times all doing different stuff at the same time and it’s all working together. I mean, they’re _ jamming out_. That stuff comes from probably from back in the day, you know with the Dixieland thing. So obviously, The Meters has influenced pretty much anybody I know that’s of a certain age through either hearing it second hand or hearing it on a sample or whatever. I mean, everybody is influenced by something New Orleans. I’m blessed to have been born here. To continue to try to spread that New Orleans thing around. We got the best food and the best music in the world.

That we do.

And we got some good people as well, you know?

On a lighter note, what’s wrong with the Saints right now? Is there anything we can do to make the playoffs this year?

(Laughs) We need our coach man.

I know.

We need our coach. Our guys got to step up obviously, they gotta step up. We don’t have our coach. We don’t have our true leader. We don’t have the guy that led us to the Super Bowl. The guy that gave us the last three seasons that we won with 12 games or more—the last three seasons. That guy was important, and it was a shame that they suspended our coach for the entire season. I don’t think that was right—I think he cheated a whole city, a whole fan base out of a fair shot by doing that. They could’ve fined that guy some money or some games, but not a whole season. You don’t do that to the whole franchise—people that’s putting money into the pockets of the league. You know? C’mon man. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

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