This extended discussion is supplemental to “Play That Funky Music: An Interview with Andrew Muller,” and features our complete Q&A with guitarist Andrew Muller, discussing the formation of the Deep Fried 5, touring with Myron & E, his role within G.E.D. Soul Records & his new band, the Grips.
Andrew Muller: Those are all my main bands, but I also play freelance with other groups that want some funky guitar.
Who all is in the Grips (is the band essentially the Half-Truths without DeRobert)?
Andrew Muller: We’ve got Nick DeVan on drums, David Guy on bass, Austin Little on trombone, Andrew Hagen on Saxophone, and myself on guitar. Essentially the same band as Half-Truths, minus DeRobert. We just don’t want to confuse people by calling ourselves “The Half-Truths”; people might show up to shows and expect DeRobert to be there and be singing, and we don’t want to send the wrong signal. That being said, it is equally as “bumpin'” and we do some group vocal stuff as well for the Grips.
Were you born in St. Louis?
Andrew Muller: Nope, I was born in Fort Wayne, IN. I do a lot of freelance design work for my friends of The Bump & Hustle STL and also play a lot of gigs there as well. I spent many holidays there as a child though, due to my grandparents living there.
Do you still do promotion and booking for G.E.D. Soul Records? With all of the bands you play with, you’re pretty tightly wound in that scene… how’d you first get involved with those guys?
Andrew Muller: I do a lot, and most of the promo work, for G.E.D. David Guy, Nick DeVan, and AJ Eason do a little booking from time to time when they are approached with offers via phone or internet. I do most of the recent design work as well for flyers and for the upcoming AJ & the Jiggawatts album.
AJ Eason split from the Space Capone crew a couple years ago and is the kind of person that can’t sit still. So, he contacted his friend Tim Hawkins (of Sky Hi) and they decided to contact me to come jam at AJ’s place to see if the chemistry was right. It was better than just alright, we wrote a song (“Get Wild”) at the first session. So, we decided to keep getting together and writing music, thought of a name, and then we were a band. Dave Singleton (co-owner of G.E.D. Soul Records) became our drummer shortly after and then we were able to start playing shows. We were practicing at the G.E.D. Soul Studios and Nick DeVan was upstairs listening to our practices. Shortly after, he asked me to go on the road with DeRobert & the Half-Truths & Magic in Threes. The weekend went smooth and then I kept playing with them, our relationships grew, and we became tighter as musicians, together.
Andrew Muller: Actually, DeRobert & the Half-Truths opened up for Black Joe Lewis for the Soul Summit NYE 2011 (two years ago at Double Door in Chicago, IL). I’ve opened up for Orgone (with Deep Fried 5 and AJ & the Jiggawatts), the Pimps of Joytime (with DF5), the New Mastersounds (with DF5), Snarky Puppy (with DF5), Cody ChestnuTT (with Myron & E) Dopapod (with DF5), Ruby Velle & the Soulphonics (with G.E.D. Soul All-Stars / members consisting of G.E.D bands), Jesse Dee (with DeRobert & the Half-Truths), Here Come the Mummies (with DF5), Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience (with DF5). I’ve played festivals with acts such as the Beach Boys (DF5), Wet Willy (DF5), JJ Grey & Mofro (DF5), RJD2 (DF5), Big Sam’s Funky Nation (DF5)… and many more. I’m sure there are more, but these are all I can think of at the moment.
I’ve been on two separate tours with Myron & E (Stones Throw Records) with the G.E.D. Soul All-Stars. The first time was of August 2012, three dates in the Midwest; the band consisting of Nick DeVan on drums, David Guy on bass, Michael Sharp on keys, Jody Douglas (of Space Capone) on saxophone, and Michael Royer (of Sky Hi) on trumpet. The second time around was a 10 day tour in late-September/early-October, with us opening up for Cody ChestnuTT (here’s one of my favorite songs of his that I heard while on tour). The band was cut down a little bit because of the budget, so unfortunately we weren’t able to bring horns, and brought Justin Locke (bassist of Magnolia Sons) as our keys player. And for the record, I love those dudes (Myron & E) and wish I could play with them more often, but are separated by physical distance.
Is Saturday Night Funk, Sunday Morning Soul the only album DF5 have put out? When did the band first form and who were you playing with before them?
Andrew Muller: That is the only album Deep Fried 5 has put out to date. We have a new one that has been in the works for quite some time, but are confident this album is fire. We are so excited to finish it and put it out there for everyone.
Deep Fried 5 started playing together around 2008 or 2009. Before that, I was playing in a band with Alex Dilley (bass player of DF5), Colby Buckler (drummer for Two Fresh and OG Status), Max Melner (keys player for Asian Teacher Factory), and Cain Lassiter (synth player for Machines Are People Too); we were called Nuclear Toast and did jam-tastic-reggae-funk stuff… we only played house parties, and usually ended up doing too many drugs at every one, so the band really never went anywhere. Shortly after some of the guys moved and that’s when Dilley started getting a little serious with his group “Deep Fried Trio” with Justin Martin (keys) on guitar and David (Grayson) Whitlow on drums. They played similar house parties as Nuclear Toast did, so I would show up and bring my guitar and amp and jam with them, shortly after a few parties, they asked me to come start practicing with them. We started writing songs right of the bat and then a few shows later realized that we wanted to be a funk band, and that meant, we needed keys and/or horns, but we didn’t know any horn players. Justin Martin decided he would pick up the organ and invite Eric Koslosky to come jam with us. We heard this guy sing and were just like “where have you been?” We instantly promoted him to our lead singer. He fought it a little because he mostly just wanted to play guitar, but with a little convincing, and giving him the freedom to still play guitar, he accepted. Before that, me, Justin, & Dilley were trading off singing lead on songs, depending who wrote them.