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MP3 The Secret Black Society - ROCK: Funk Rock

A band of many influences and styles. We mix funk, blues, rock and hip-hop and twist it together with Dixie soul

10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Funk Rock, BLUES: Funky Blues

The Funk Will Not Hibernate

There were plenty of beer cans and liquor bottles on the coffee table in the adjoining living room. We were all collected in the big front room. The circle began with Choctaw. To his left was Nate Dog (a.k.a. The Goods). "Slap Daddy" Steve LaStrapes sat, ready behind the somewhat defunct drum set. After him was Adam King, bass strapped. Last was yours truly. My name is Lucas. My saxophone was around my neck and warm. Jason Choctaw Hall looked up, kicked in his makeshift wah pedal and said "Breathe". We did, and the Secret Black Society came into the world in that house on Peachtree St. in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Days later our fledgling band got a twenty minute spot on open mic at Chelsea''s Café. The 20 minute funk, blues, rock, jazz, hip hop explosion turned into about an hour and a half first gig. The closer for the evening didn''t show up so S.B.S. turned the place out. After closing Secret Black was asked to play the following week, on an evening that would set the tone for this young band.

The cover was ten dollars. The treat was free drinks from 10 to 2, plus the Secret Black Society. S.B.S. tore Chelsea''s open from the inside up through the roof. There was standing room (on tables) only. For four hours we made over 100 of our city''s drunkest people forget they were in Baton Rouge. And we only played about eight songs, the rest was all spiritual. After that Chelsea''s stage never was quite the same, so they ripped it out and moved it.

In the following months we would gig almost nonstop. Soon shows vastly outnumbered practice and souls began to wander. With a stagnant six song list shows also began to get sparse, and at the end of January 2000 the Secret Black Society found a big rock, climbed under and went to sleep.

It wouldn''t be until Christmas night of the same year, at the Bayou, that S.B.S. would be heard of again. Over a toast of Jager Choctaw asked me what I knew about the Secret Black Society, and after about six weeks it happened.

There was plenty of smoke in the air on February 9, 2001. We were huddled in a mass under the cloud. Choctaw and Nate were back. Steve was propped up behind a re-funked drumset. Bass player Eric Musso cracked a comment after a fresh plume of smoke. Trombone player Chris Long shook his head and grinned, as I laughed. Choctaw took a sip of beer, step up to the mic and said, "Breathe". We did, and the Secret Black Society awoke with an intense dose of jam. A new life, the Dixie funk power of the S.B.S. had returned.

Within weeks of the renewed Secret Black, Nate Dog left citing artistic differences. So with a sad face The S.B.S. moved forward.

With each practice the song list grew. The funk driven hip hop songs Breathe and The Freaky topped the list. Then came Lemonade, My Cup, Puddle Collection, and Smoke and Fire offering positive messages with undeniable groove. Blues is also in the gambit with songs like The Wicked, Train, and Pulledoverstick to show the more dirty south side of S.B.S. Secret Black also has an elusive soft side with the haunting Gypsy, and Fishbone cover of Lemon Meringue. With this newly constructed set and a new head of steam, Secret Black was ready to return to the local stage.

2001 moved swiftly with gigs from The Bayou to the Varsity. Secret Black would also get the opportunity to add The Howlin'' Wolf, in New Orleans, to the resume; however, the Secret Black Society would see change again. Late in the year Chris announced that he would be leaving the band. He decided to relocate to California for a change of pace. S.B.S. would go from smoking to the ashtray. Denton B. "Ashtray" Hatcher, that is. He brought six more strings, and another voice to Secret Black. Before Chris would leave there would be one show with the six S.B.S. players. On Friday December 28, 2001 we lined up on the new Chelsea''s stage for a year ending, post Christmas party. This would be Chris'' last show, but Ashtray Hatcher''s first. This evening would spark electricity in the S.B.S. to move into 2002. Mid year came quit, SBS would add a 5 member "DJ Ribs". Spinning/Scratch records and playing bongo and congo drums added a trible vibe to the mix.

So once again we wave goodbye to an old year . It''s time to move out twenty-o-two, the year of the stetch. So follow us into the looking glass. Move up to the floor and shake your groove thing. We''ll let the funk take care of the rest. Later.

The Members

Jason Choctaw Hall was born September 9, 1974 in Baton Rouge. He began playing guitar and in local bands since 1989. Some of Choctaw''s projects of the past include 3 Numb Monkey, 925 Theory, and Choctaw Hall & The Groove Unit. His influences include everything from Tom Waites to Harry Connick Jr. and Sly and the Family Stone to Jimi Hendrix. The Secret Black Society is Choctaw''s brainchild, and was derived in the latter half of 2000. His musical influences bring raw, chunky butt funk/blues guitar stylings to S.B.S. And with a strong, blues laden vocal ability, he brings his good time, good lovin'' lyrics to life.

The Secret Black Society wouldn''t be anywhere without the soul control. Drummer, Steve LaStrapes fills this gap with a funky mix of hip hop and jazz drum stylings. Steve was conceived, born, raised and currently resides in Baton Rouge. He played guitar for five years in local rock bands before discovering the drums. Shortly afterwards Steve would meet a saxophone playing Gemini, that shares a birthday with his twins. Lucas Wood, Steve LaStrapes, and cousin Marty LaStrapes created Bend and Peel, Baton Rouge''s three ring circus of funk. During this time Jason Hall''s band Choctaw Hall & the Groove Unit would couple up with Bend and Peel to form the elusive Gubment Street Blues Projek. Steve, along with playing drums for B & P, also sat behind the set for the Groove Unit. After the break-up of Bend & Peel in 98, Steve laid down the rhythm for the unusual swamp blues/rock group Bones.

Eric Musso was born in Chicago, Illinois, but was raised in Baton Rouge. Eric first began to play music when he picked up the viola at age seven. His most revered influences John Paul Jones of Zeppelin s. These initiated Eric''s interest in the bass, and he began playing 10 years ago. In 2000 E met up with Choctaw. Not taking Eric''s will lightly, Choctaw invited him to the welcome home S.B.S. jam. This jam took place in E''s back yard, and would become the Secret Black Society''s headquarters. That evening would also put Eric in the band as a staple member, and the back-bone of a Secret Black rhythm section.

Denton B. "Ashtray" Hatcher is the latest addition to the Society. Ashtray was born in Vicksburg Mississippi, but grew up in Zachary, La. Denton has been playing guitar for 8 years, and has a mountain funk feel coupled with mad blues licks. The result is almost an Allman Bros. meets James Brown. With the Ashtray in the line up the S.B.S. will surely explore more blues/funk. With another guitarist/vocalist the S.B.S.''s sound rounds out nicely. Denton''s uplifting vocal feel, and a fluid lyrical hip hop style make him the fifth part of one funky whole.

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