Waterside’s ever-more-popular Music Under the Stars summertime music festival continues this Wednesday, July 14, with what’s certain to be a wild night, Mardis Gras style, when the Funky Fritters take to the Plaza for a lively night of NOLA-spiced blues, brass, funk, and jazz. The Funky Fritters are a jumping 11-piece band–including a full horn section–founded some seven years ago by Waterside’s own Danny Drexler.
Needless to say, having done some time in the spirited, dreamy, and delicious city of New Orleans, we are more than a little excited about the Funky Fritters giving us all a free show on Wednesday night. The festivities begin at 7:00 p.m., and run a full two hours until 9:00, but get there early with family, friends, food, beverages, blankets, chairs and get ready to party!
But before he gets us dancing on the Plaza, Danny was kind enough to answer a few questions about his music and the city that so inspires him and his band. The Funky Fritters CD, Deep Fried Live, is available for shipping or download at both Amazon and iTunes. For more information about all thins Funky Fritter, please see thwe ban’sd website, here. And now, Mr. Danny Drexler:
1. Your passion for the sounds and soul of New Orleans comes through loud and clear in the Funky Fritters music. Did you grow up in that (in our opinion, beautiful and amazing) city, or have you ever lived there?
No, I didn’t grow up there or live there. But a little over 15 years ago my sister’s boyfriend at the time insisted I join them for a trip down there to the Jazz Fest with his sister and friend. I had recalled that a bunch of coworkers went down about 5 years earlier for the Fest and raved about it. (I’m sorry i didn’t make it down there then!) Needles to say I instantly fell in love with New Orleans. Great music, food, culture. I love the French Quarter. The next year I went back again with some of my friends and within a few years I was leading a group of about friends people down there! I must have gone down to the Jazz Fest 9 years in a row. I even had a few job interviews and was open to the idea of moving there. it just never panned out.
2. It’s been a tough five-year run for New Orleans residents. Other than following the great NOLA chef Susan Spicer lead and suing BP for killing Gulf oysters and shrimps, any suggestions on how New Yorkers can help ease the pain a little down there?
Yeh, it’s been heartbreaking. I’ve recently been hooked on Treme, a great show on HBO about NOLA post Katrina. And I’m glad that you asked for my suggestions on ways we can help. For one thing, we can support the musicians down there by attending shows when they are in NYC. And buy their CD’s Supporting the music and the musicians is supporting New Orleans. Another way is to go back down there for a vacation. There are also many charities like the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund. We’ve personally been involved in a not-for-profit called Waterproof Soul, who is doing a lot of good work and dedicated to helping NOLA. They also work with another solid organization called Our school at Blair Grocery.
3. Where do you go here in New York City when you need to get a taste–or, better yet, a feast!–of New Orleans, whether for food, drinks, music and/or fun?
Good question. And unfortunately, Scott, that reminds me of my two favorite places in NYC that are now long gone. Louisiana Community Bar & Grill & Tramps. But there are a few places that have some good NOLA food and music. For Music Sullivan Hall has NOLA Funk nights and a lot of NOLA acts on tour stop by there. Also BB Kings has both food and music. For food: Delta Grill Acme Bar & Grill and Dukes.
4. A free show on the Plaza is awesome (can’t wait, thank you very much), but we want more Funky Fritters! Where are you guys playing next? Any long-term recording and/or performing plans Fritter fans should know about?
Oh, you’re very welcome, Thanks for having us. We are looking forward to it. By the way, in case you didn’t know it I don’t have very far to travel to get down to the plaza for the show. I live in building 10! As for our next bunch of shows…you can catch us in Brooklyn in Park Slope at the Tea Lounge on Saturday July 24th. It a very cool spot and we play a good long show so we get to stretch out a bit. Then we are playing a party downtown at the Crash Mansion on August 6th. We’re taking a little summer break at that point to work on some new material and will be back at The Bitter End toward the end of September. We are in process of writing material which can be hear at our shows. Hopefully we’ll have recordings and a CD by early next year.
See you on the Plaza, this Wednesday night, July 14, at 7:00, for Waterside’s free Funky Fritters show!