LA-based, heavy funk group ZOOLUXX is a banging quartet who describe their tunes as “jazzadelic space groove,” and honestly, that pretty much says it all. Channelling the spirit of ‘60s funk and psych rock, these dudes crush their fuzzy rock ‘n’ roll with precision, verve and a whole lot of soul. Their new, ten-track release, Just a Little Bit/The Ghetto Starship Double EP, dropped on January 31, 2020, via the SoCal label Blind Owl. The double EP is the world’s formal introduction to the stylish swagger of these space-age funkers, and it rolls all the smooth power and buzzing riffs into one perfect package.
In honour of their newest release, the boys from ZOOLUXX – Troy V, Ned Casual, Bertie Paradise and Princess Frank – join us for this Stereo Six to detail six records that helped shape them into the band they are today. Strolling through the ‘60s and ‘70s, the list takes us back to a time when it felt like rock music could literally change the world. Hell, it probably did in a lot of ways. And ZOOLUXX believes it still can, so let’s celebrate that conviction with this rockin’ feature.
Sometimes it feels like we are all from “Different Planets.”
01. Junior Wells & Buddy Guy – Hoodoo Man Blues (1965, Delmark Records)
– We LOVE this record. Elegant & gritty, soulful & raw. It’s the REAL deal. Junior’s powerful vocals hit you right in the gut and his harmonica playing melts your face off in the best way possible. The rhythm section swings heavy, yet graceful, and the grooves are undeniably funky. Buddy’s guitar playing is on a whole other level; one of the most stylish, expressive, and progressive guitarists of all time. Inspiring legends like Hendrix, Clapton, and every generation of guitar slingers since, and it’s easy to see why. Check it out and you’ll know what we’re talking about. (ZOOLUXX)
Highlight Track: “Hoodoo Man Blues”
02. Funkadelic – Free Your Mind (1970, Westbound Records)
– It’s heavy, funky and wild! The feel and groove draw me in every time from beginning to end. As a musician, it’s a good reminder that funk tastes better with a little camp in the mix. “Friday Night, August 14th” is the baddest track, from the first hit to the psychedelic finale. I love the group vocals and fuzzy instrumentals. Combined with heavy drums, it sounds like a musical tidal wave. Listen loud! (Troy V – Guitar/Vocals)
Highlight Track: “Friday Night, August 14th”
“Friday Night, August 14th,” and fittingly, it’s also a Friday in 2020.
03. Cymande – Promised Heights (1974, Janus Records)
– I first heard “Brothers on the Slide” in the legendary skateboard video Mouse and thought it was one of the coolest tunes I’d ever heard. Years later, I stumbled across the LP in a record shop and I literally yelled “hells yeah” at the top of my lungs. I was so happy I finally found it and was even more blown away by how epic the rest of the album is. Everything about this record is PERFECT. Musical diversity is something that I really dig in a record, and this collective of incredible musicians is one of the best examples of this. Beautifully blending funk, soul, and blues, all drenched in vibrant African styles. The rhythms are flawless, the production quality is immaculate, the songwriting and execution are precise, and the BASS LINES are smooth as butter! To top it off, the cover art is colorful and stylish. This record had a huge impact in the way I approach and appreciate music. If you ain’t hip to Cymande then you’re trippin’! (Ned Casual – bass)
Highlight Track: “Brothers on the Slide”
04. Santana – Abraxas (1970, Columbia Records)
– Such a classic record, I love how raw it sounds with the heavy percussion and great dynamics. The band grooves so well together. They really had a big influence on me, especially their original percussionist Jose “Chepito” Areas. (Bertie Paradise – Percussion)
Highlight Track: “El Nicoya”
Here’s the short but sweet “El Nicoya.”
05. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975, Swan Song Records)
– I heard all kinds of great music on the radio growing up in Los Angeles, but no one influenced me as much as Led Zeppelin. I loved ‘em so much that at the age of nine I stole my older cousin’s vinyl copy of Physical Graffiti. The weight and fury I heard and felt from this album, specifically from Bonham, has inspired my approach to music and attack on my instrument more than anything. When I began playing the drums at twelve years old, that was my starting point. That is how drums should feel and sound. That’s how a rock & roll record should sound! (Princess Frank – Drums)
Highlight Track: “In My Time of Dying”
06. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland (1968, Reprise Records)
– It might sound cliche, but you gotta give credit where credit is due! We have ALL been influenced a great deal by this record, whether you know it or not. Electric Ladyland is a true masterpiece by the undisputed champ of psychedelic rock & roll. It kicks ass in EVERY way. You already know. (ZOOLUXX)
Highlight Track: “Gypsy Eyes”