The JB3’s

An interview with Madison Super Drummer, Joey B. Banks
by Mike Huberty
July 2019

The JB3's at the Coda Cafe in Madison

The JB3's at the Coda Cafe in Madison

If you go out to see live music on almost any night in Madison, you will probably see Joey B. Banks, “The Hardest Working Drummer in Madison Show Business” playing. Whether it’s with popular tribute band, Steely Dane, blues and funk band Honor Among Thieves, or backing up musicians like Gabe Burdulis or Lo Marie, Joey is usually onstage laying down the groove several nights a week. His band JB3’s with Chris Clemente on bass and Todd Phipps on the Hammond B-3 Organ has brought back the tradition of Funky Mondays at Cafe Coda on Willy Street too. A longstanding custom in Madison started by James Brown’s original Funky Drummer, Clyde Stubblefield, Funky Mondays has gone from club to club over the years and now makes Cafe Coda their home every Monday night. In addition to that show, they will be kicking off the Sunday Atwoodfest celebrations on July 28th at noon on the appropriately named Clyde Stubblefield stage. We talked with Joey about his influences and what people can expect when they come to Funky Mondays or see the JB3’s live!

MI: What made you want to play the drums in the first place?
JB: My grandmother got me my first drum kit when I was 6 years old, then she put me in drum corps when I was 9 years old. I marched in the Madison Scouts from childhood to early adulthood. 

MI: Who are the artists that most inspired you?
JB: Wow!!  Lots of influences growing up. My mom was all R&B, so Stevie, The Jackson 5, Con Funk Shun, Chaka Khan, Earth Wind and Fire. My dad was a jazz guy, so Miles, Chick Corea, Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock were some pretty consistent influences. My drum corps brothers turned me on to Zappa, Dixie Dregs, Bob Marley, and Tower of Power. I memorized Steely Dan’s *Aja* album when I was 15 in the band room at La Follete High School.

MI: You guys are bringing back Madison’s wonderful tradition of Funky Mondays, what does that mean to you?
JB: For me bringing back Funky Monday was about keeping Clyde’s local legacy alive through this show, which he started in the mid 80s. We play a few of the Funky Monday favorites of the past and some Clyde originals and a few of his hits with James Brown.

MI: What does the name JB3’s mean?
JB: My name is Joey B. and there are 3 of us. A play on the JB’s which was the back up band for James Brown and later their own funky outfit featuring Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker.

MI: How do you guys approach playing? How much is structured and how much is improvisational?
JB: Pretty simple, we play songs with beginnings and endings, what happens in between is always different. About 50/50 I would say. Todd and Chris are incredible musicians so its very easy for me to be creative and have them follow. It’s the most fun part of what we do. Every show is different in that way.

MI: So, if people are going to come see you this month, what’s in store for them?
JB: Fun music that will make you smile and dance.  😊

MI: Why is Cafe Coda hosting the Monday show and what makes them different from other clubs in town?
JB: Well for starters, I think it’s the only locally black owned club in Madison, and its just got a super cool natural vibe when you walk in, and it’s a great sounding room with great natural acoustics.

MI: Alright, so what did we miss. Anything you wanna say to the Max Ink readers?
JB: Come out and support one of the best local venues in Madison, and I hope people will start coming out to support the legacy of Madison’s own Clyde Stubblefield. “Peace and Love”!!

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