By Ashley Zimmerman
By Dana Krangel
By John Hood
By Ashley Zimmerman
By David Von Bader
By Sayre Berman
By Steve Brennan
By Ashley Zimmerman
When Kung Fu played last year at Bear Creek Music Festival at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, it was almost too good. The band presented a rapid-fire assault of aggressive, hard-hitting, EDM-influenced funk; the results enraptured fully. There was nothing to do but dance your ass off and bounce around.
The members of Kung Fu are separately accomplished musicians in their own right. For instance, keyboardist Todd Stoops also plays for popular jam act RAQ, and guitarist Tim Palmieri and bassist Chris DeAngelis are also in the Breakfast. But as the unit Kung Fu, they've been touring and performing together mostly at major festivals for the past few months. They're playing a more intimate show at the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton on September 21. Palmieri spoke with us over the phone on a hot Connecticut day about his Zappa cover band and Syria.
New Times: You guys are just coming off of a big summer, playing a bunch of huge festivals all over the country, and from what I've heard, you guys played an amazing set at the Catskill Chill. Any festival or set stick out?
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Tim Palmieri: The Gathering of the Vibes and Catskill Chill were some of the highlights. Another highlight this summer was Big Up; we did a Prince tribute that was another highlight of the summer. Yeah, it's pretty much we go for it every time, you know? As long as there are enough people there, we're just sponges for that kind of energy, and it just ups the tally on everything, you know — energy, notes, excitement — all that kind of jazz. And then also what I love about the festivals is like we have very great rapport with a lot of musicians, different people jumping up onstage and jamming with us. The collaborations this year have been really fun.
How has the general fan response to the band been?
Fan response has been awesome. We're just trying to finish up this record before the year's out. We wrote some new stuff, and we wanted to include it on the record. So everyone seems to be happy. Promoters, fans, the band, and everyone. Family, the world! [laughs] We're still trying to send peaceful vibrations to everyone. But they're not all listening... They're not waking up. So I guess our next couple of gigs will be to send peaceful vibes out to Syria and all them, and hopefully they can get over whatever the hell they're fighting over, Jesus Christ. When's it all going to end? This fighting all the time, it has to stop!
At the Catskill Chill, along with playing with Kung Fu, you also played with Z3, a Frank Zappa cover band. What's it like balancing both bands?
Z3 right now, it's sort of like a side project to Kung Fu. But everyone else in Z3 also has other main projects. As much as we gained some traction this year, it's hard for us to play because everyone's busy. But in 2014, we're hoping to do maybe a few more shows than this year and put something out and enter a new level of band evolution, because we really we're only going to be 2 years old this November. We maybe have played only six gigs. We did get to play in Germany at Zappanale fest. That was an amazing experience. A lot of fans loved it; we catered our set to the funky and to the eclectic all at the same time. The Zappaheads were very pleased.
Any big plans for you guys in 2014?
We'd like to play a few places we haven't yet, so we're hoping for California. We will be playing in Costa Rica at the Jungle in the Jam Festival. Can't wait for that. We also have AURA and just more concentrated block touring, so other projects can get in there like Z3 and RAQ. Also, we have the new album coming out, so we'll be promoting that as much as possible. That's about it on the horizon. I'd love to tell you something glorious, like playing in space or an underwater concert, but we don't have anything like that yet. We're working on that budget there.
Maybe you guys could hook up with James Cameron? He'd figure out how to get you guys underwater.
[laughs] Yeah, we'll also play Stonehenge.