Porky's Groove Machine from Appleton, WI
With their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, Appleton’s PORKY’S GROOVE MACHINE plays campus-ready dance-able white guy funk that is ready to help you get on with your baddest self. They’ve got tracks like a “PSA (Porky’s Service Announcement)” proclaiming to “Don’t be silly, wrap your willy!” or with titles like “Hey! Fatballs!”, so you might have guessed that their music isn’t quite the deep introspective soul-searching kind.
They like to call it nerd-funk and that’s probably for two reasons. Number one, 80% of the band wears glasses. Number two, there’s plenty of funk so that means they know how to count to keep the bass and drums syncopated. But no matter what they call it, there’s tons of horns, group shout vocals, and general goofiness to get an audience on its feet when you see them at a festival. I talked to them about their upcoming Madison show and they responded to our questions in true fashion as would be expected of denizens of ahem… Planet Funk. They’ll be playing at 6:15pm on Saturday July 29th on the Madison Heritage Stage at Atwood Summerfest so you’ll have a chance to see if their balls drop live (keep reading to learn more.) So here you go…
MI: What inspired you guys to become musicians?
PF: It all began when we discovered a spaceship that had crash landed on our college campus. Onboard was Robert, a funky robot crafted of Red Dog cans. When we began downloading the knowledge we found onw his 4.8 ABV brain, we learned that a musical outfit with a multitude of drummers and horns was the only way to achieve funky nirvana. Upon learning this, we all immediately quit playing the bassoon and took up the instruments we now play.
MI: Who were your favorite artists growing up?
PGM: Salvador Dali and MC Escher.
MI: Ha, okay. No really, what artists are your influences?
PGM: Both classic and more contemporary funk and fusion bands like P-Funk, Tower of Power, Snarky Puppy, and Frank Zappa.
MI:What do you guys love about funk music in particular?
PGM: Bootsy’s Basic Funk Formula: “Just put it on the one, ya know?”
MI:Um, alright. What’s the track that people should listen to first to get what PORKY’S GROOVE MACHINE is all about?
MI:What the hell does that mean?
PGM: “Like all of my inspiration, it springs forth from my loins” - Casey Frenz (saxophone and vocals). In all seriousness, “Puberty” is an impassioned retelling of the buildungsroman, or coming of age story, in the line of great artists like Charles Dickens. (writer’s note: it’s a song that the lyrics just say over and over again in a falsetto “waiting for my balls to drop”)
MI: You guys are a constantly touring band, what’s been your favorite live show so far?
PGM: When an entire frat house took ecstasy and asked us to play for them on a Wednesday night. Needless to say, we did. Winning a contest to open for Guster in front of 1,500 people was pretty cool too!
MI: What’s in the works for you guys over the next year? What are you up to after AtwoodFest?
PGM: Besides becoming the first band to play in space, building a very large statue made of beer cans, and being closer to a Red Dog endorsement than ever before, we’ll be relocating as a band to the Twin Cities area. That being said, we’ll be as active as ever, playing several shows a month around the Mdiwest, and hopefully recording a new full length album in the winter!
MI: What can people expect at Atwood Summerfest from your set?
PGM: All manner of tomfoolery, reckless abandon, piracy, practical life advice, tips on lowering your energy bill, sound political punditry, sweaty costumes, creatures from the deep, and much more. All in all, a fun, funny, and funky times.
MI: What do you guys love about Appleton?
PGM: The general availabilty and affordable price of Red Dog ($10.99 for 30!).
MI: Any other wisdom for our readers?
PGM: Viva la funk, shake you trunk, whip out your junk, let’s get crunk, this is life on Planet Funk!
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