Getting Funky with Lubriphonic

Feb 11, 2010 by

Getting Funky with Lubriphonic

funkyA look at what would happen if James Brown and Led Zeppelin had children

By Todd Altschuler

Get ready to dance your ass off this March when a funky rock and blues band called Lubriphonic embarks on two week tour of Colorado. And dance you will, because Lubriphonic is one of those bands that makes an entire room get down hard. I’ll bet they could even make Reverend Shaw Moore tap a foot. Hailing from Chicago and featuring a group of musicians that reads like a who’s who in the The Second City’s venerable blues scene, this band is not to be missed.

The two week tour is made up of 10 stops mostly in mountain towns (including a free outdoor show in Winter Park) and it’s set up so that you’ll be able to catch at least one show somewhere within a reasonable driving distance. For the icing on the cake, and proof that this band is gaining serious momentum, the March 12 show in Denver will feature Lubriphonic as the opening act for none other than Maceo Parker, leader of the James Brown horn section.

This will be their first extended statewide tour of Colorado and they will be playing a few towns for the first time. But while Lubriphonic has played a handful of shows in Colorado during their first few together, the many Chicagoland transplants living in the mountains may better remember them from regular gigs at The Checkerboard Lounge or as the opening band to major acts like Buddy Guy and Derek Trucks. Paul Doppelt, Lubriphonic’s Manager, is hoping that a recent successful studio album and lots of great publicity on a national level will help sell tickets to the Colorado shows, a state where Lubriphonic loves to play, but has met with varied levels of success. I couldn’t agree more with Doppelt when he says “it’s time for this band to be heard!”

The first time I heard Lubriphonic was from my tent in Telluride’s Town Park just outside the gates of  the Blues and Brews Festival. It was around noon and I was relaxing to the rhythmic sound of raindrops on the canvas overhead while The Lee Boys played their set in the distance. With the majestic views of the newly snow-covered mountains in plain site through the screen door, I opted to remain in the tent for a bit longer to maintain my dry status.

About 30 minutes into a cool book about a guy on Dead Tour in the 80’s, a new band took the stage and you could just tell they were something special. From ½ mile away, it sounded as if the festival promoters decided to wow the crowd by flying Galactic in for a surprise appearance. I threw aside the book, grabbed my rain gear and headed off to the stage. Every step of the way, the music got more clear and you could tell that the band was going off. Not only were they just as funky as anyone else on the touring circuit, but they had one hell of a unique style… infusing searing rock and roll licks and a decidedly bluesy disposition into their act.

As I approached stage right, frontman and Lead Guitarist Giles Corey was belting out the lyrics to one of Lubriphonic’s originals, this one being some sort of apropos song about rain falling. I was immediately impressed with his soulful voice and loving the fact that the members of the horn section (made up of a saxophone, trumpet and trombone) were swaying back and forth in unison while waiting for their turns to shine. Then there were the thousands of festivarians, many of whom were seeing the band for the first time, also dancing in unison and hooting and hollering as the sweet sounds of Lubriphonic enveloped the field. I joined the crowd, dancing wildly, undeterred by mud puddles and rain drops. A song or two later, they entered into a funky jam that gave me a glimpse into how this wonderful band works. It goes like this… all six members are both rhythmic geniuses and master lead soloists. They improvise their way through jams, each one taking a solo then inviting the others to show us what they’ve got. And let me tell you… they are all fantastic musicians, each one deserved of a full article.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Corey just after their New Year’s run and he shed some additional light on that day in Telluride. “We were only supposed to play a late night set at the festival, something we’re much more accustomed to. I guess one of the bands had some visa issues though so they asked us if we’d go up there and play an afternoon gig too. Being 1 o’clock in the afternoon, we thought we’d play to a couple hundred people, but we got on stage and there were thousands of people having a great time.”

Corey uses that story as a launching point to describe why Lubriphonic loves playing Colorado and why it just feels different from playing elsewhere. “The people in Colorado are really into music and you can feel it… that’s a state where we can play three hours of original music and the crowd loves it.” I don’t want to alienate the band from any music scenes by naming specific cities, but he did mention that most crowds around the country mainly get into cover songs and don’t have the same energy as Colorado. “And we play off our audience” he says “so that’s why you get our best shows.”

Corey’s life as a musician can be traced back to childhood when he went to a B.B. King concert in New Haven, Connecticut right near his boyhood home. “That’s when I knew that I wanted to play guitar!” Corey stated. Somewhere along the way, he learned how to play that guitar and has since shared the stage with some pretty big names like Bo Diddely, Buddy Miles and Otis Rush, who Corey names as one of his biggest influences. Not only did he learn how to play the guitar well, but Corey is also the lyricist and one of the most spirited frontmen to arrive on the scene in quite sometime. He reminds me of a latter day version of Grateful Dead’s Pigpen, with an outpouring of emotion and a knack for improvising lyrics to go with the flow and engage the crowd. Corey’s enthusiastic stage antics also add a ton of energy to the situation, with him often jumping up and down or bouncing around the stage.

Talking about Corey’s stage antics offers up a good time to get a very important message from him out to Mousike’s readers. “Last winter,  we played a few shows in Colorado and I had a broken leg. I had to sit in a chair the whole time and I want to let your readers know that it took away from what we do.”

Not that I could ever picture this band putting on a poor live performance, but if you saw one of those shows, Corey promises that, even if you liked it last time, it will be even better this time. “So if sitting in a chair takes something away, what exactly does Lubriphonic do?” I asked.

“First and foremost, we’re a dance party,” says Corey. “We’d love it if you checked out our lyrics and took it a little deeper… but first and foremost, we’re a dance party.”

That works for me, but you would think that Corey would want everyone to listen to Lubriphonic’s lyrics being that he wrote the lion’s share of them for the band’s critically acclaimed 2008 CD Soul Solution as well as their soon to be released follow up effort. And although I’m much more familiar with their live material at this point, I have been listening to their studio efforts too. Amazingly enough. the music works just as well as a recorded piece, something very rare for a band with such energetic live performances.

Corey, who helped found the band with drummer and longtime friend, Rick King, credits his bandmates with the current success of Lubriphonic. “It’s a band of very accomplished musicians and we all love playing together… that’s why it works so well.”

So whether your taste leans more toward Motown, classic rock, the blues or even rap, you will find an impressive element of it in Lubriphonic. I asked to Corey sum up the band’s sound and, after a couple of seconds of deep thought, he said “we’re a combo of Led Zeppelin and James Brown.” Damn, I’ve always wanted to see them all on stage together!

There is a free MP3 download available at

Lubriphonic Tour:

Mar 1 – Belly Up, Aspen
Mar 3 – The Eldo Brewery and Tap Room, Crested Butte
Mar 4 – Abbey Theatre, Durango
Mar 5 – Alma’s Only Bistro, Alma
Mar 6 – Winter Park Resorts, Winter Park
Mar 7 – Samana Lounge, Vail
Mar 8 – Three20South, Breckenridge
Mar 10 – Tugboat, Steamboat Springs
Mar 11 – Tugboat, Steamboat Springs
Mar 12 – Cervantes, Denver
Mar 13 – The Llama, Telluride

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