November 20th 2011
By the FMN Staff
Funk Supergroup the Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown wins Funk/Groove song of the year with their song “College Funk” at the 2011 Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA). Formed in 2007 by John Heintz, Derrick Johnson, and John-Paul Miller, the Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown or “BONG” for short (they swear the acronym was unintentional) was originally slated as an experimental studio project made up of roughly 35 musicians from 17 different touring bands. Since their first gathering in New Orleans back in December of 2007, BONG has since exploded into a 100 plus member and growing musical powerhouse.
Photos by Kellie Meadows and Angela Aldatz
Funk Music News caught up with John Heintz bassist for BONG and asked him about they’re win. “It’s an honor to receive this HMMA award. I think back to four years ago when I started asking folks who would be interested in participating in this crazy idea for a project,” laughs Heintz. “Many folks were into the concept but they felt that it was a total long shot trying to pull it off. I can’t argue the initial skepticism due to the logistics of trying to coordinate so many tour schedules and trying to find that golden window to get everyone together to make a record. To see how things have unfolded and where things have brought us is mind blowing to me. We are all very grateful for this recognition”.
College Funk came together during one of the first jam sessions at the Music Shed in New Orleans. “I think Roosevelt Collier or Alvin Lee of the Lee Boys starting riffing on the guitar lick. Tyler Simmon’s added the monster paradiddle Clavinet line next. Greg Hollowell and Derrick Johnson of Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band started blasting the horn melody shortly after and it all started to flow” remembers Heintz. “It’s always cool watching Greg and Derrick do the huddle when they write. They huddle up like a football team would between plays, then suddenly, they step to the mic and let some amazing melody rip from out of nowhere.”
Midway through the writing of the song, Robert Mercurio bassist for Galactic chimed in and said ‘The song’s cool, but kinda sounds like something a college funk band would play’, hence the name “College Funk”. Derrick and Greg along with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band horns came up with the breakdown in the middle of the song as cure to College Funk Bandesq sound while also creating an interesting twist in the tune. All and all “College Funk” was written and recorded in about 4 hours. One other little ditty, the second solo in the song is actually Roosevelt Collier playing 10 String Pedal Steel and not an Electric Guitar. The song was edited and mixed at the Mothership Studios in FL with Engineer Dwayne Dungey and sent out to be mastered by world renown Mastering Engineer, Joe Gastwirt.
The newly awarded “College Funk” hosts a line up of musicians that is spectacular. The horn section is made up of Derrick Johnson (Trombone) and Greg Hollowell (Sax) of Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, as well as Kevin Harris (Sax), Revert Andrews (Trombone) Efren T0wnes (Trumpet), Roger Lewis (Baritone Sax) of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The rhythm section consisted of SciFi‘s Tyler Simmons (Clavinet), Galactic’s Robert Mercurio (Bass), Drummer Terence Higgins of the Warren Haynes Band, Frank Mapstone (Rhodes) and Justin Hunnicutt (Shekre). Pedal Steel virtuoso Roosevelt Collier of the Lee Boys, and John-Paul Miller (Guitar ,Percussion) round out the songs line-up . College Funk appears on BONG’s debut album “Volume 1” available on Itunes and Amazon.
When asked what’s next for BONG, Heintz tells Funk Music News “there is a tour in the works for the beginning of the year which will include some East and West Coast dates. We will be bringing roughly 20 musicians from our camp which usually will turn into 25 or more by the last show”. The band’s line up morphs for each show and brings something fresh to the stage each performance. With 100 plus players coming from bands such as Parliament-Funkadelic, Fishbone, Sun Ra Arkestra, Graham Central Station, Mandrill, Dumpstaphunk, and the Time, to name a few, it’s no surprise that BONG is creating a worldwide buzz. Did we mention that George Clinton is also part of this spectacular? George is not only sings on several songs on “Volume 1” but also frequently performs with the Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown live. Heintz also added, “Discussions are underway for Volume 2. John-Paul, Frank and I have started batting around some ideas for the next line-up of players and let’s just say it’s going to be insane. Also slated in the near future is an EP that will be centered around one of BONG’s lead vocalists Reverend Desmond D’Angelo which we are all excited about”
Be on the look out for The Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown coming to your town and make sure not to miss this band on the move.