Booty Band back in Boone
Expect a party.
Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band expects nothing less.
The Boone-born funk outfit hits Legends Wednesday, April 20, and for saxophonist Greg Hollowell, it's none too soon.
The Booty Band debuted at downtown Boone's Caribbean Café, now the Boone Saloon, and became a local favorite at venues like Café Portofino and Geno's Sports Lounge.
"If someone's seen the Booty Band before, they can expect a party in the same manner," Hollowell said. "If they haven't seen the Booty Band in a while, they can expect a harder edge, kind of a cleaner finish - a really tight funk show. It's our mission."
Though now based in Asheville, the Booty Band's taken that mission across the nation, and even the seas, playing such festivals as Music on the Mountaintop, Wakarusa, Bear Creek, Jazz Aspen, Long Beach Funk Fest, Floyd Fest, Smile Fest, Jam Cruise and Rock Boat.
The mission objectives?
"We want everyone to have a good time, we want to play the best music possible," Hollowell said. "We get into it. We're excited to be doing what we're doing, and we're not afraid to express that on stage."
That means pushing the envelope. Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band doesn't just take the stage; they dominate it.
Tight bass lines, driving rhythms and an undeniable groove make the Booty Band a funk to be reckoned with, culminating in a sound all their own. As Hollowell said, "We're not afraid to take it there."
"We try to do new things, and what we're doing, I feel it's fresh," he said. "What we're doing is ours, it's high-energy, it's got a harder edge to it, and it's still got that danceable backbeat and all that good stuff."
Comprised of Al Al Ingram on bass, Derrick Johnson on trombone, Hollowell on sax, J.P. Miller on guitar, Mary Frances on keys, and Lee Allen on drums, the group "began as a party, grew into a band, evolved into a sound and emerged into an institution," Hollowell said.
"It feels like a privilege to be able to travel with these musicians and perform like we do. We all recognize that, we all enjoy and respect that."
And that carries into the group's writing sessions. Boasting a repertoire of original material with only a few covers here and there, the Booty Band approaches writing through a variety of ways - throwing ideas on the table, individually writing at home, or simply finding a groove and running with it.
"My favorite way to write a song, collectively, is the band will start a groove," Hollowell said. "We, being the horn section, will figure out a melody together and figure out where the song will go."
It's led the Booty Band to two studio albums, the first, "Now You Know," hitting shelves in 2007. The latest, "Doin' It Hard," is slated for a May release, though fans can catch a preview online at http://www.bootyband.com.
Between studio sessions, the band's chalked up four national tours last year, with one already under its collective belt for 2011, and Hollowell promises more to come.
"We're having fun with it," he said. "It's been keeping us busy, and it's been snowballing, especially in Colorado and bits in California ... People there are starting to raise their eyebrows and come out to our shows to support us. It's a fun ride."
And Boone's welcome to join. Again.
"I would just advise people to come out, be ready to throw down, be ready to get into it, have a good time, tell all your friends, bring all your friends," Hollowell said. "Once they get there, we'll do the rest."
Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band brings the funk to Legends on the Appalachian State University campus Wednesday, April 20, with area hip-hoppers BPL opening.
Doors open at 9 p.m., and tickets cost $6 for students in advance or $8 for students at the door and guests. Legends has a BYOB six-pack limit with valid ID.
To purchase tickets, visit legends.appstate.edu or call (828) 262-3030.