Glimpses of the South Florida Scene: Shit Ton of Funk

Glimpses

of the South Florida Scene

is a weekly column devoted to the

artists thriving within Broward and Palm Beach counties featuring

interviews with the folks making it happen. This week, West Palm Beach's Shit Ton of Funk.

Shit Ton of Funk -- with a name like that, little is left to

the imagination regarding their steez. We can try to avoid obvious puns and

jokes, but their name holds true. One wonders where, exactly, that kind of funk

is coming from: always pulsating with dub-reggae tones, there's a little bit of

the late, great Jaco Pastorius, a little bit of Sublime, a little bit of

Infectious Grooves (Suicidal Tendencies' Mike Muir's funk-slash-metal project).

A few of the members have another

project, Greater Numbers, and though they're decisively hip-hop, their tracks

pack the same vibe as their equally soulful counterpart. It's clear they feed

off each other, sharing and inspiring similar grooves.  Guitarist/vocalist Casey Hopkins, keyboardist/bassist/vocalist Tom Wierzbicki, and keyboardist/bassist/vocalist Marco Topic answered some questions

collectively about their magical origins, the Killer Wheezy, and joining the

Brobah collective.

New Times: Who

is Shit Ton of Funk -- when did you start playing as this particular

incarnation? Were any of you in

other bands before?

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Casey Hopkins: It

all started on the backroads of Kanuga, in an ex-airplane hangar, whilst Sir

Tomulus Wierzbicki*, Wang Tchung, and Nugnonymous Skunk were brought together

on a request by Tim Bones. He wanted to start a band to sing with at local

bars, but the jams were a little too groovalicious to grasp. The three decided

to add a guitar to see if it would bring Tim out of his shell, but it just

didn't seem to click. However with the addition of starchild Spacey Chopkins,

things started to solidify. From the smoke emerged a name: Shit Ton of Funk --

not only to signify the bodaciously bumpin' rump-thumpin' sounds but also the

vision -- a feeling of having in one's possession a true shit ton of FUNK! Once

the word hit the streets, it didn't take long for Sir Daddy Dollars Cope to

catch wind of something brewing amongst the BROBRAH collective. He brought

along his magical tools of sleaze 'n' cheese, combined with the Epiphanifical

Piffalifical Piff, and thus the bond was sealed, layers peeled.

Our first show

happened some time in August 2009, and the skullfunkification of the brobrah

nation began.

So far as members involved with other bands, both Wang

Tchung and Tomulus Wierzbicki are members of the gnarlifical beast-group known

as Molten Guava. They have also played with Kevin Williams' Totem Pole. Wang

Tchung is also known as the mythical Scrasquatch, the scratch-funk phenom from

Greater Numbers. And to top it off, he cut his teeth with the band Stunna. Tomulus

Wierzbicki got started originally with the Kim Basinger Band and currently

books some sweet gigs as a jazz pianist. Nugnonymous

Skunk is the Greater Numbers' Nasty Nugg Supreme, and he plays keys with Roots

Shakedown, a local reggae band.

You're maintaining a funk and hip-hop vibe in a scene

that's mostly noise and indie rock, and you're extremely well-received. Do you feel like you stand out in the

scene here?

WHO CAN DENY SOME SWEET HONEY BUTTER FUNK? Of course we

feel like we stand out, but then again, if you're doing anything out of the

"norm" in the 56ace, people tend to notice in good and bad ways. But we feel

that there are not many other bands around that venture into the territories

that we do. And if there are, where you at, let's make it happen!

Tell me about the connection between Shit Ton of Funk and

Greater Numbers. Who's in each

band, and how do the two support each other?

Greater Numbers is the umbrella for everything. We go by

the name for our hip-hop sets, but it also applies to the collective, a network

of artists in the area working with and amongst each other. No matter what

you're doing, if you add one foreign element to your creative process, the end

result can be affected drastically. Apply this to the concept of different

artists creating new works with each other, and all of a sudden it's an

(r)evolution! Shit Ton of Funk is but one of many musical couplings going down

around town. This world, this state of consciousness, is an ever-turning and

calculating equation. Every single person on this planet plays a role in the

final product, the present time. Now, some people are but tiny numbers thrown

into the equation, but nevertheless, they affect the final product. However,

there are also the larger numbers, the greater numbers, which can severely alter the final product. The choice is

yours: One small number by

yourself, or a larger number as a collective.

You've got a live album up for download, and Greater Numbers

has an EP. Can we expect a legit

EP from you guys coming up?


"Forces are in motion, forces none of us can control."

--Sun Ra

What do you listen to -- recently and always -- that

inspires the music you make yourself? Are there any other funk/psych/dub bands or greats that you love in

particular? Your music made me

think, instantly, of Infectious Grooves.

A collective list of main influences: the Meters, James

Brown, the Pharcyde, a Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang, Prince, Lettuce, Santana,

Danny Tenaglia, Goodie Mob, Outkast, Medeski Martin and Wood, John Scofield,

STS9, Soulive, Marley (of course), NOFX, Rancid, all classical music -- the list

can go on and on.

Tell me the story behind "The Killer Wheezy."

Well, Tom has this big ol' chubbster pug. He's a black pug

who gets easily out of breath... when he gets excited or exerts himself, he snorts

and wheezes so bad you'd swear, the killer wheezy must be a-comin.

What are the best and worst things about being a local

South Florida band -- is it difficult? Inspiring?

The best has been playing with and seeing

bands like the Dewars, Weird Wives, Sumsun, Natty State, and more. It's good to

know you're not alone. The worst

is the fact that Florida is (geographically) a dead-end. It can steer people

away from traveling through. The all-together vibe of this area can be

disheartening at times, seeing as we rarely see anyone dancing! Don't get me

wrong -- people get down from time to time -- but it takes the perfect

combination of time, place, and people to see that happen. But that's simply

how it is. The ace is not a place where people go to party, get wild, and

discover new things; it's more people who are already in their groove, have

been here most of their lives, and the vibe seems to mirror the region: simply

chillin'. However, just being in South Florida is good enough. There are not

many places you can find in this country that can even come close to measuring

up to what we have going on in the 561. It's almost a good thing that it goes

by so unnoticed, hidden in plain sight.

Any upcoming shows we can list?

September 18 at Propaganda -- it will not disappoint!

Shit Ton of Funk with the Dewars and Natural State. 9 p.m. Saturday, September 18, at Propaganda, 6 S.

J St., Lake Worth. $5 cover. Call 561-547-7273, or visit

propagandalw.com.


Stay up-to-date with their happenings on their blog, and download

tracks on their Bandcamp page.  Check out the Greater Numbers Bandcamp

page for even bassier tunes.


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