"I think of myself as a drummer who plays notes," the man known as Freekbass explained to New Times about his distinctive style of playing the bass. "I think of the beat first."
The Ohio native started out as a youngster playing drums. Then fate intervened. Oberlin College had a jazz band that toured around the region playing schools. A sixth-grade Freekbass attended a performance. "I was seated directly in front of the bass player, and watching him changed everything. All my friends were into Nirvana and Green Day, and I liked them too, but I was more into funk."
Growing up in a region that produced James Brown's King Records catalog further seeded his passion for the genre. The most significant local funk legend in his life, though, was undoubtedly Bootsy Collins, and not just because he produced two of Freekbass' earlier albums, but he also introduced him to his drummer, Big Bamn. "Bamn had toured with Bootsy before we met. We then did a tour with just the two of us. The bass-drummer relationship is a special thing."
About to embark on a tour armed with a third member in saxophonist and keyboardist Dan Barger, Freekbass is excited to make his way to the Funky Biscuit for the first time, on August 28. "There will be lots of funk grooves and bass. We'll be doing a lot of songs off our new album." That album, Everybody's Feelin' Real, was produced by Duane Lundy, who previously worked with My Morning Jacket's Jim James.
But for all his love of funk, it was someone whose name does not bring connotations of funkiness that most influenced this new album, David Bowie.
"I'm a Bowie fanatic. His whole career was spent reinventing himself, but whatever he did, he was Bowie. Images I have of him as a kid are burned in my mind and came out in this CD."
Freekbass the Bump Assembly. 8 p.m. Thursday, August 28, at Funky Biscuit, 303 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton. Tickets cost $5 to $20. Visit