By Connor Batsimm
Haunting the Skidmore music scene for close to a decade, Funkasaurus Rex has dawned a variety of names and lineup changes. Previously, they’ve gone by “Encyclopedia Funktannica,” “Funk, Marry, Kill,” “Funky Funkches of Oats,” “The Abominable Funkmen,” “Funkus Amunkus,” “Eternal Funkshine of the Funky Mind,” “Funkpocalypse Now,” “Hurricane Funktrina” (this one was quickly changed, for being in bad taste), “Little Red Funkin’ Hood,” “Punch Funk Love,” “Funkerella,” and “Make America Funky Again,” (this one was also quickly changed, for being in even worse taste).
Now, however, after years of crafting funky tunes for white boys to bop to, Funkasaurus Rex is finally releasing their debut EP, Funky-Side Up.
It’s important to keep in mind that the Funky-Side Up EP took an unprecedentedly long amount of time to make. Its five songs have each been in a state of revision for the last seven years, while band leaders Billy Winterflop (trumpet), Mitchell Herringbone (trombone), Emma Pemberton (alto sax), Damien Chazelle (tenor sax), Winslow Homebody (bari sax), Janice McManus (super bari sax), and Frank Pagliaroni (ultra bari sax) fiddled with the arrangements. However, with a process that went on so long, these original members graduated and were quickly replaced with new freshmen, except for Billy Winterflop, who failed his senior music seminar 6 semesters in a row, so he could continue playing with Funkasaurus Rex.
So now that Funkasaurus Rex has finally released their debut EP, will Billy Winterflop finally graduate? The answer seems to be a resounding no, based on the album opener, a cover of Jennifer Holliday’s “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” It’s a ballsy opening statement, considering that the original song is 1. A beloved R&B classic, and 2. Doesn’t really work as a funk song, especially if 3. It’s being performed by a bunch of white college students. Surprisingly, the Funkasaurus Rex version of the classic song is actually pretty cool, if you forget that the original ever existed. The rest of the EP is an odd hybrid of jazz standards (“Take the A-Train”), Stevie Wonder covers (“Superstition”), and for some reason, a version of “Rubber Biscuit,” by the Blues Brothers. There’s also an original song, “Endorphunk Rush,” an 18 minute long funk tune set at a reckless 240 beats per minute, closing the EP. Each song contains an extended solo section, where all 25 members of the band take a solo, each of which appears to consist solely of a blues scale played very fast.
Altogether, it’s hard to say if Funky-Side Up is worth the 7-year wait. But hey, it could’ve been a hell of a lot worse.
Grade: 3/5 stars