Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk
Formed in 2003, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk was initially put together by keyboardist Ivan Neville on a whim in order to perform a solo gig at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Ivan called in cousin Ian Neville (guitar), the double-bass bottom of both Nick Daniels and Tony Hall, and drummer Raymond Webber to round out the show. Named after a song Ivan had recently written, Dumpstaphunk’s informal performance became that of immediate legend. The project has since grown from chance side-project into what is now widely considered to be New Orleans’ most popular musical export. The band was recently voted 2007’s “New Orleans Best Funk Band” by both Offbeat Magazine and Gambit Weekly, and performs at some of the nation’s largest music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Voodoo Fest, 10,000 Lakes, and High Sierra. Founders Ivan Neville and Ian Neville (sons of both Aaron Neville and Art Neville respectively), along with Nick Daniels, Tony Hall, and Raymond Webber, were brought up in an atmosphere of sounds that have arguably become the most defining in all of New Orleans music. But don’t let the pedigree of lineage from the Meters and Neville Brothers fool you either. Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk now stands on its own as the legitimate torchbearer of all things funky both in New Orleans and beyond with the release of their debut EP, Listen Hear. Listen Hear provides at long-last the aural, syncopated nastiness listeners have been denied outside of a Dumpstaphunk live performance. Saxophonic magician, Skerik, also guests on the EP. Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk is not re-writing the book so much as adding a much needed new testament. While fortunate enough to stand upon the shoulders of giants, make no mistake – Listen Hear is not an attempt at world music or feel-good vibrations, like that of some of their counterparts, but rather straight-ahead inner city funk for the masses. Tracks like “Living in a World Gone Mad” and “Turn This Thing Around” describe the troubling times we live in, while songs like “Meanwhile” and “Shake” suggest accepting such times in order to enjoy life. This release not only marks the band’s official musical debut, but also serves as a group’s formal transformation from popular side-project to full-time occupation. For some that might seem trivial but with Dumpstaphunk’s collective resume it speaks volumes. The members of Dumpstaphunk have recorded and performed with a veritable who’s-who of popular music over the years including the Rolling Stones, Dave Mathews, Bonnie Raitt, John Mayer, Trey Anastasio, Emmylou Harris and, yes, even the Neville Brothers. And while the members of Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk will surely continue to get the calls to do such collaborations, it will become increasingly difficult to find the time as the band forges ahead creating a new identity and standard for New Orleans music.