You know that classic Hollywood moment? That scene in which Wesley Snipes looks at Woody Harrelson after his third failed attempt to jam out a Stevie Wonder bassline and says “Billy, listen to me. White men can’t funk!”
Well, maybe it went down slightly differently in the film, but nevertheless we’re super excited about these four young renegades of funk tearing up the main stage at this year’s Farmer Phil’s Festival, we thought we’d get to know them a little better as we caught up with guitarist Andy Walker ahead of their visit to Ratlinghope…
FPF: This will be your first taste of Farmer Phil’s Festival – how would you describe your sound? At the risk of asking an obvious question, are you an out-and-out funk band?
AW: Haha! No, the clue is in the name! We’re on the funkier side of Rock and the Hip-Hop side of Reggae. Let’s call it PartyFunkHop – a load of guilty pleasures all wrapped up in an energetic little ball of fun.
FPF: How did you guys get together? Were you in other bands prior to this? What inspired the creation of White Men Can’t Funk?
AW: Yeah, we’ve all known each other for years having played with each others bands all over the shop. The time came for us to have a jam and Craig David songs were the perfect starting point!
FPF: It didn’t take us long to find your homages to Michael Jackson and to Star Wars on YouTube – what’s the story there?
AW: Every great idea is born in a pub – that is fact, check Wikipedia they’ll tell you! We wanted to pay homage to MJ after he died so we put together a greatest hits set complete with bubbles the monkey on keys, Peter pan as one of the backing singers, a full choir for earth song and even figured out the mystery behind ‘The Lean’ in smooth criminal! It was ace, I want to do it again! We’re all star wars fans and were asked to play a show on May 4th, so the natural thing for us to do was to write a star wars musical which tells the story of the three original films through adapted popular song, complete with light sabre battles, narration from Obi Wan and a recipe for Aunt Beru’s blue milk. I want to do that again too!
FPF: Lots of bands like to soundcheck with a few bars of Led Zeppelin or another staple classic rock track, but we heard White Men Can’t Funk actually has its own unique soundtrack song (that apparently not to be missed) – is this true and if so, will we get to hear it at Farmer Phil’s Festival?
AW: Ha! Yeah, we thought we might as well write a soundcheck song which goes through all the things we generally need it to: different guitar levels, vocal levels, monitor mixes etc. You’ll hear it if we get time for a soundcheck at Farmer Phil’s Festival!
FPF: Rumour has it you’ll be celebrating your birthday on Farmer Phil’s Festival weekend. Have you (or the rest of the guys) got anything special lined-up for us as a result?
AW: I am indeed – it’s fine timing I tell thee! I have nothing planned other than having an ace time in a field! (We can guarantee you that, Andy! – Ed.)
FPF: Beyond Farmer Phil’s Festival, what else have you got lined up for 2017 and beyond?
AW: We’re playing an RAF party in an aircraft hanger the day before we hit Ratlinghope! Other than that, there’s a bunch of private functions in the mix, a promo video and we’re toying with the idea of some shows overseas.
FPF: Lastly, having seen some of your promotional photos, when was the last time any of you shopped in Peacocks?
AW: Mate, have you seen what they sell?!?!… I was in there yesterday.