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Published: 2013/10/20
by Austen Krantz

CBDB’s Joyfunk

CBDB stands for different things from fan to fan of the band, but it’s an acronym that’s making the rounds in the Southeast. The Tuscaloosa based sextet sports their own “joyfunk” that stirs in jazz with progressive grooves and their individual influences to produce an uplifting, funky and dynamic style that leaves plenty of room for improvisation.

With a well-produced, slick-sounding first record and a second one down the road, CBDB plans to approach the more aggressive side of prog rock, using these newer tunes at shows to test concepts for a future album. Guitarists and songwriters Cy Simonton and Kris Gottlieb caught up with us about their latest on CBDB.

Could you guys tell me a little about how you initially formed the band?

Cy: Yeah It was in 2011, after graduating from Alabama I went back to Georgia for a while, and I went back to Tuscaloosa to try to set up a band, and I heard Kris [Gottlieb] playing in a jazz fusion thing, and we just struck up a conversation, and he had been playing with some of the rest of the guys, so we basically put it together like that.

*That’s kind of been the same set up ever since or you guys have had people move in or out? *

Cy: Well, we’re on our third drummer, and actually our bass player will be with us soon, so we’ll have second bass player, but other than that it’s all original members.

I’ve listened to your stuff and I’ve read descriptions of your music online but can you possibly give me your interpretation of the stuff you guys write and play?

Kris: Well yeah, we call it joyfunk, and for us, it’s jammy, aggressive rock and roll with jazz and progressive style

Cy: It’s like progressive-funk rock and roll.

Kris: Yeah, progressive funk-rock jamband influence, and some jazz and all kinds of stuff just stirring up.

Did you guys know that was the kind of stuff you wanted to play when forming the band or was that more like stuff that kind of organically grew out of playing together?

Cy: Well I mean, all of us musically kind of have different tastes listening to other stuff so, it gets pulled in a kind of progressive place from I guess the bass being kind of funky. But we definitely knew that we wanted to play progressive rock and roll for sure.

Was there a music scene for that in Alabama? Or was that kind of different than a lot of stuff around?

Cy: Yeah, there’s not a scene quite like that in Tuscaloosa, I mean there’s talent in Tuscaloosa, but the crowd doesn’t necessarily ask for original music, so we kind of just started doing it when no one else was, honestly.

What was it like initially playing gigs around there?

Kris: I mean, it’s a college town so we’ve played for a lot of college kids. You know, you get a lot of “Play Wagon Wheel” and “Play Free Bird,” and that kind of thing. You know Tuscaloosa has been really receptive of our sound, and now it’s gotten to the point where we’re playing less in Tuscaloosa and pulling more numbers [there] so it’s been appreciated.

Cy: There definitely is a crowd for it, but it’s just not the norm for Tuscaloosa as much as it would be in somewhere like Athens or somewhere like that.

What’s it like going back there to play now since you started out there?

Cy: I mean it’s fun, it’s definitely where we have the biggest draws and people spreading the word and getting rowdy and stuff. So we definitely love playing in Tuscaloosa.

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