July 27, 2013
“Funk is an itch that needs to be scratched”
Chucklehead is a funk, R&B, hip-hop band that started at Wesleyan University in the late 80’s. They have a crazy sound and energy; lots’o horns, bass, and drums, accompanied by guitar and keyboard, backing the often rapid-fire vocals, with a smattering of Barry White-style smooth sounds. The songs keep everyone pogoing, both onstage and offstage.
Chucklehead had an extremely loyal following; they sold out shows across the country, had 3 albums, and were played on radio stations all over. Sadly, they disbanded in 1997, but the memory of the band’s sound and contagious performance stayed with many. These followers have now been rewarded with the first of a couple of shows in what has been called the 2013 Reunion. The first show was at the Beachcomber in Welfleet (July 26) and the second Downstairs at the Middle East in Cambridge (July 27). As Chucklehead says, “funk is an itch that needs to be scratched … and [we] are very itch.”
The line that formed upstairs at the Middle East to get into the show, wandered through the restaurant. The 18+ show had a mix of many, from college age up to those followers that had been there since the beginning. There were several proving their follower-status with older Chucklehead t-shirts worn proudly, even one from just before the band’s breakup (showing the Pillbury Doughboy).
The show started with 2 opening bands, Moxa, a funk/jazz/rock/soul band from Boston and Miss Fairchild, an R&B/pop-funk band also from Boston. Both of these bands had tons of energy and funky sounds to fill the air and keep people on their toes until the headline band appeared.
When Chucklehead finally did come out, the cheers from the audience reverberated and tried to shake even the thick basement walls that surrounded them. The band had a great rapport with the audience, constantly engaging in rapid banter and encouraging audience responses. The set list included a long list of songs, well-known by many, enough to easily fill two hours. The encore included a masterful jam session including some covers of other familiar funk tunes like Rapper’s Delight.
This is a group that needs to continue. Their followers have an addiction and they are the only ones that can feed it. It’s all legal and all enjoyable. Keep up the funk!!
- Give it up
- Move me
- Ab Jam (encore)
- Bus (encore)
Members of the Chucklehead family:
- John “Scooter” Schachter (vocals + trumpet)
- Eben Levy (lead guitar + vocals)
- Brian Gottesman (vocals + keyboard)
- Huck Bennert (baritone sax, percussiuon, + vocals)
- Lenney E. Len (tenor sax)
- Robert “Biscuits” Nahf III (alto sax)
- Meyer Statham (trombone + vocals)
- Michael Demopoulos + Dave Rengel (6-string bass)
- Erik Attkisson (drums)