Funk o' the Irish

Article Published: Mar. 11, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Funk o' the Irish

Bafoodus (from left, Scott Haynes, Mike Runyon, Ryan Lassiter and Andy Page) will perform on St. Patrick's Day at the Boone Saloon.

Photo submitted

Bafoodus plays Boone Saloon March 17

On St. Patrick's Day, March 17, area jazz-funk outfit Bafoodus opens a pot o' musical gold at the Boone Saloon in downtown Boone.

"We appreciate a good St. Patrick's Day," lead guitarist Andy Page said.

The band will be playing a splatter of licks from its upcoming album, along with covers from some of its influences - Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder and even Michael Jackson, Page said.

Those are just a few. They will be joined by opening band the Forget-Me-Nots, a local trio playing traditional Celtic fiddle.

Page said he and his fellow band members are trying to finish three new songs by the show date to play for the audience.

"We sound nothing like that (Celtic fiddle), but it will be a good mix of styles," Page said.
Bafoodus doesn't play often, and Page said that although they play big events, he personally plays close to 200 gigs a year.

"We don't like to play all the time," he said. "This way it keeps it fresh."

Bafoodus is comprised of Ryan Lassiter at the drum set, Mike Runyon on keys, Page at the guitar, and Scott Haynes with vocals and bass. The music they create respects the sounds of the region and the cultural history its residents have experienced.

They recorded their new album over a three-day period at Echo Park in Asheville, which Runyon called "one of the best experiences of my life."

Bafoodus has been playing in the area for more than six years, and Runyon said the band has never played outside of Boone. Their shows typically number six per year, but Runyon said that there is no slowing down in sight.

"I will cry for music," he said. "That's when I know that it is a great song."

Runyon studied classical music for 21 years and taught himself jazz and rock-and-roll keys. He said that he learned to write as he learned jazz and scales, inspired by the greats, like Chick Corea.

"He's an incredibly smart guy, and I got to meet him," Runyon said. "I was scared. He's a legend."

But Runyon attributes much of the band's success to Page's encouraging presence.

"Andy is our mentor," Runyon said. "He's hard working...the main force behind us. There isn't a weak link with us. Andy came along and helped me have a vision for myself."

The album release in the summer will include a span of interests for the tracks. One track will be based on letters from serial killer Ted Bundy, while another will focus on a man in the drug trade who has a bad feeling and doesn't make the trip. The result is he keeps his life.

"Writing a story is the most important thing about lyrics," Runyon said.

Bafoodus have established themselves in the area as a sellout show. Even though they play only a few times a year, their reputation precedes them as talented musicians.

Their St. Patrick's Day show kicks off Wednesday, March 17, at 10 p.m. at the Boone Saloon. The cover costs $5, and only those 21 and up will be admitted.

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