Funktion, a seven-piece hip-hop, funk and soul band from Kalamazoo, Mich., plays a free show at 9 p.m. Saturday at Ghost Ranch Saloon.

Emily Haines/Courtesy

Funktion, a seven-piece hip-hop, funk and soul band from Kalamazoo, Mich., plays a free show at 9 p.m. Saturday at Ghost Ranch Saloon.

Funktion returns to Steamboat for free show Saturday

The 7-piece band from Michigan is playing 5 shows in 4 days in Colorado

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Past Event

Funktion

  • Saturday, May 14, 2011, 9 p.m.
  • Ghost Ranch, 56 7th Street, Steamboat, CO
  • Not available

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Funktion


— The seven members of Funktion don’t have to worry about getting along on the road.

It’s getting off at a gas station where the problems arise.

“It’s impossible,” said Jeremy Reisig, percussionist for the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based funk and soul band. “We’re all doing our own thing, and of course, someone wants a candy bar.”

Then there’s the logistics:

“We all have to pee in the same bathroom,” he said. “And we’re the only ones in the gas station and there’s a line of seven guys. So you just use the bathrooms that are available.”

Aside from learning to use the women’s bathroom on the road, the group has learned in its three years together that all the members want to do is play upbeat, energetic funk beats to audiences of like-minded people all across the country.

A few members have gone as far as quitting their day jobs.

“We’ve got seven guys whose passion is to play music,” Reisig said. “The reason we want to get it out there at a high level is that we love playing music with each other. We love messing around, and we love that energy on stage.”

Funktion arrived in Colorado on Thursday to play five shows in four days in support of its second album, “Step Into It,” which was released May 5.

They play a free show at the Ghost Ranch Saloon at 9 p.m. Saturday. Funktion started as a cover band, playing in bars around the college town of Kalamazoo armed with a repertoire of James Brown, Al Green, Parliament Funkadelic and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

But following the natural progression of a dedicated band, the group started writing originals about a year into the project.

That’s when Reisig came on board; his brother Sean Reisig was already the drummer.

The lineup is rounded out by Andrew Schrock on vocals, Terrence Massey on trumpet, Neal Conway on bass, Nate Heymoss on guitar and Hugh Little on keyboards.

“We’re a family, and families have those moments with one another sometimes,” Schrock said. “But we all like each other a lot. We love each other. We all respect each other as musicians and human beings.”

Schrock said he plays guitar and bass as well, but his father always told him, “There will be a million guitar players and a million drummers, but there aren’t many guys who will get behind a mic.”

Behind the mic, Schrock tops the smooth, brass grooves with his percussive vocals. Hip-hop themes are intertwined among retro funk bass lines, and he keeps the energy up with a few dance moves he learned from Massey — the dancing, he said, doesn’t come naturally to him.

But Jeremy Reisig and Schrock agree that what sets Funktion apart is the vibe that translates from the tour van to the stage.

“There’s just positive energy when we play; there’s positive energy when we’re around one another when we’re hanging out on the road,” Schrock said. “There really is genuine positive energy. It’s such a special thing to find a group of good people like this.”

And then, of course, there are the jokes.

“The humor on the tour is just … well, it’s repetitive and stupid,” Reisig said. “But I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard as when I’m on tour with these guys.”

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

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