Where in the fuck does the time go? When I saw that Deep Fried 5 was releasing its sophomore album tonight, my first thought was, “Wait, didn’t I just review their debut?” Nope, I did not just review their debut album — I reviewed it four freaking years ago. I sprouted a new patch of grey hair just thinking about that. Four years. An entire presidential term. This is blowing my mind. But then again, so is everything I’ve heard from the new album, Right Around the Corner. In these past four years, the Deep Fried 5 have honed their chops to the point where now the funk just flows through them, spilling onto tape with sweaty, gritty mastery. DF5 are joined by DeRobert and the Half Truths and Chris West and the Junkyard Horns.
—SEAN L. MALONEY
The January 6 edition of the Fringe Radio Show with Al-D features Andrew Muller, of Deep Fried 5, DeRobert & the Half-Truths, AJ & the Jiggawatts, and the Grips, as his in-studio guest. The Grips will be performing a free show Saturday, January 11 at The Basement along with Al-D, Swap Meet Symphony, DJ Rate, and Gummy Soul’s Wally Clark.
Already playing for the Deep Fried 5, as well as Nashville neo-soul outfits DeRobert & the Half-Truths and AJ & the Jiggawatts, Andrew Muller has long-since earned his place in the Nashville music scene as one of the city’s most prolific and dextrous funk-inspired guitarists. Recording and performing with his new group, the Grips, only goes to show that despite being stretched thin, he’s as passionate about music as ever.
For anyone familiar with DeRobert & the Half-Truths, the new band might look and sound a little familiar: Comprised of Nick DeVan (drums), David Guy (bass), Austin Little (trombone), Andrew Hagen (saxophone), and Muller on guitar, the group is the Half-Truths, minus the band’s lead singer. “We just don’t want to confuse people by calling ourselves ‘The Half-Truths’,” says Muller. “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.” Whether signals become mixed or not, the Grips continue the “smooth and creamy” sound set forth by their mainstay – a personal passion that evolved out of Muller’s pre-DF5 days, with the short-lived group Nuclear Toast.
By Muller’s own account the “jam-tastic-reggae-funk” band “really never went anywhere.” It did, however, lead to the formation of the Deep Fried Trio. “They played similar house parties as Nuclear Toast did, so I would show up and bring my guitar and amp and jam with them.” The vibe was right and the friends continued to bond. “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.” The decision to expand led to the formation of the Deep Fried 5.
DF5 started playing “rich, soulful disco funk” shows together in 2008, and eventually released Saturday Night Funk / Sunday Morning Soul in 2010. It wasn’t long thereafter that Muller met, and began jamming with, another group of musicians that would become AJ & the Jiggawatts. “Shortly after, [Grips’ drummer Nick Devan] asked me to go on the road with DeRobert & the Half-Truths and Magic in Threes. The weekend went smooth and then I kept playing with them, our relationships grew, and we became tighter as musicians, together.” As a member of numerous groups on G.E.D. Soul Records, Muller had found his home.
This began Muller’s tight relationship with the label, where he would moonlight doing promotion and booking work. Through his various evolving groups, he would go on to open for Black Joe Lewis (w. DeRobert & the Half-Truths), Here Come the Mummies (w. DF5), and Cody ChesnuTT. “I’ve been on two separate tours with Myron & E (Stones Throw Records) with the G.E.D. Soul All-Stars,” he says. “The first time was of August 2012 […] The second time around was a 10 day tour in late-September/early-October, with us opening up for Cody ChesnuTT.” And if circumstances were different, Muller might have another full-time gig on his resume. “I love those dudes (Myron & E) and wish I could play with them more often, but [we] are separated by physical distance.”
Despite another new Deep Fried 5 album scheduled for release this year, Muller’s sights are currently on the Grips, who will be performing a free show Saturday, January 11 at The Basement along with Al-D, Swap Meet Symphony, DJ Rate, and Gummy Soul’s Wally Clark. And as if his schedule weren’t full enough, he performs “freelance with other groups that want some funky guitar” and is open to playing with bands that “need him for a night or two.” The passion never ends.
The December 23 edition of the Fringe Radio Show with Al-D features music by the Deep Fried 5, Wally Clark of Gummy Soul, Poe Mack, Swap Meet Symphony, DJ Rate, D.O.U.G.H., and DeRobert and the Half-Truths.
Is it 2014 yet? No? Shit. Because we’ve heard that local funk crew Deep Fried 5 are releasing a new record in ’14, and we just can’t wait. It’s been almost four years since the last one — four years of constant shows and nonstop hustle, but no new tunes to bump at the crib — and we’re getting a little impatient. Oh, what’s that you say? Deep Fried 5 are playing a free show at The High Watt to film a new video that will accompany said new album? All right, that works for us, as long as the film crew is ready to spend its entire night capturing all of our funky-fresh dance moves. We’re like a Soul Train line in and of ourselves — think flailing limbs and massive amounts of polyester — and we could definitely turn that clip into the viral sensation of the year.