From The Big Ol' Nasty Getdown

About    Video    Tour Dates    Connect  

The idea for The Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown came to John Heintz during a Late Night Super Jam at a music festival in 2007. He

was on tour with The Lee Boys, a funk, gospel and soul group

from Florida, when inspiration struck. “On the last night of the

festival, there was a jam session,” he recalls. “Members of

Galactic, Papa Grows Funk, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and

other acts started improvising and the energy from the crowd, and

the interactions between the players, created a live, unrehearsed

vibe that carried the music to unexpected places. I began thinking,

‘What if that same sense of camaraderie and excitement could be

created in the studio?’ It would lead to something really special.”

Heintz began presenting the idea to the musicians he’d been

meeting on the road. “Everybody seemed interested, but

touring schedules being what they are, it was an uphill battle. I

asked Derrick Johnson and John Paul Miller from Yo’

Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band if they’d help me organize the

initial session and after they came on board, we started calling

every musician we knew.

The first Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown took place in a house on

Royal Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans in

December 2007. Heintz with the help of JP and Derrick, assembled a free-floating ensemble that included 35 musicians from 17 bands, including The Lee Boys,

Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band,

Galactic and Dumpstapunk, as well as Garry “Starchild”

Shider and Belita Woods from P. Funk. The eight day session

was unplanned and unrehearsed. People came and went. Bar-

b-cue smoked in the backyard, songs were written in the living

room and tracks were recorded all over the house, as the

inspiration flowed. Hand held recorders, iPhones and video

equipment captured the songs taking shape. Towards the end of the

week, they decamped to The Music Shed and cut six tracks.

Keyboard player Frank Mapstone, who was also a producer

with diverse experience in the studio enviroment,

clicked with Heintz and soon became an essential partner in the

project. A second free for all session was held at George

Clinton’s studio in Tallahassee two weeks later, with the man

himself contributing vocals to several tunes. The result was

released as Big Ol' Nasty Getdown Volume 1.

“The press received it incredibly well and we got great feedback

from the fans,” Heintz says. The album’s success led to another get

together and the recording of BONG, Volume II.

The sessions for Volume II were cut at a cabin in the woods outside

of Ashville, NC. “We used the same blueprint,” Heintz explains.

“We assembled, created a sense of camaraderie in the house and let

it fly. It yielded a lot of tracks pretty quickly. We went to a studio

down the road and started recording what we were putting down in

the house.” Mapstone says the production moved faster the second

time around. “We realized the jamming and hanging out could be

done in the studio. We made the studio our home.”

This time, more than 50 musicians participated. “We were

jamming around the clock for a couple of days,” Heintz says.

“People who were playing in town came to the sessions after their

shows. We went way into the night, with song after song being

written. Once the instrumental beds were created and tracked,

Frank and I asked ourselves, ‘If we could have anyone we want on

this track, who would it be?’ Most of the time, we got them, but

there were no guarantees. We went with whoever was best for the

track. There was lots of ebb and flow in the studio, in the jams and

in the production. We’ve already started assembling the tracks

for Volume III and IV. Folks from War, Red Hot Chili

Peppers, 311, Jane’s Addiction and other bands joined us at

The Foo Fighter's Studio 606. We cut the tracks using the hand

wired, Neve 8028 mixing board Grohl bought from Sound City

in Van Nuys. It was used to make albums by Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Fleetwood Mac,Tom Petty, Elvis

Costello, Artic Monkeys and Nine Inch Nails"

On Volume II the cast includes Vernon Reid (Living Color,)

Speech (Arrested Development,) Larry Dunn (Earth, Wind and

Fire,) Fred Wesley (James Brown, Horny Horns) Karl Denson

(The Rolling Stones, Tiny Universe,) Michael Ray and Clifford

Adams (Kool and the Gang,) RonKat Spearman (Katdelic,

Parliament-Funkadelic,) Alvin Ford Jr. (Dumpstaphunk,) Norwood

Fisher, Angelo Moore and Walter Kibby II (Fishbone,) Rev.

Desmond D’Angelo (The Soular System) and Ivan Neville

(Dumpstaphunk, The Funky Meters), to name just a few.

The music is funk, with threads of soul, R&B, jazz and gospel

woven into the sonic tapestry. “Mantra,” the first single, rides

Norwood Fisher’s big, Bootsy-like bass line, pumped up by blasts

of brass, the wha wha guitar of Tori Ruffin (The Time) and

anchored by the inexorable snare of Jeffry Suttles (Taylor Dayne).

Speech assures us that the funk will drill us like a dentist, while

Kendra Foster invites us to, “scream it out and let it flow.”

Taylor Dayne guests on “Dream,” a simmering soul ballad with

Ivan Neville on organ. “Groovy Nasty” is a P-Funk style rave up,

featuring Mudvayne’s Ryan Martine throwing down a popping

bass rhythm to compliment RonKat Spearman’s vocal and a

swinging horn section. Mike Dillon’s vibes take the lead on “Past,

Present, Future,” a jazzy instrumental with impressive asides from

the guitar of Leo Nocentelli (Meters), the trombone of Fred Wesley and the sax of Greg

Hollowell.

“As the project progresses, we’re seeing an evolution on each

album, even from song to song,” Mapstone says. “We stay open

to the flow of the music. If the groove moves in a different

direction, we go with it and follow the creative force in the

room. In the festival world, musicians will spontaneously sit in

with other bands on stage and gather for late night jams. At

our sessions, we catch those moments and put them out into

the world.”