The talent: Ryan Hoagland, David Leatherman and Chris Richardson
The sound: Industrial percussion funk
The gigs: 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., May 16 @ Marion Arts Festival and 9:30 a.m. June 6 and June 20 @ Downtown Cedar Rapids Farmers Market
The rest of the story: junk-funk.com and ryanhoagland.com
Nearly two decades ago, no one would have thought that a bunch of drummers could create an amazing musical experience like Stomp, which would inspire aspiring percussionists the world over. Ryan Hoagland, aka Hoagy was looking for a project that would not only feature free form percussion but also provide an up-close educational opportunity. Joined by like minded musicians and friends Dave Leatherman and Chris Richardson they have shaped a distinctive band of drummers that do not necessarily play drums.
Using items ranging from an old filing cabinet to pots and pans to empty pickle buckets, Junk-Funk is able to invent original unique compositions from atypical places.
“With Junk Funk, there really are no limits as to what we can do, so it allows us a chance to incorporate rudiments or simply start a neat groove that we can build upon,” Dave says.
The common denominator for the group isn’t just the love of percussion, it’s also the Cedar Rapids area high school drum lines. Hoagy taught Chris as the director of the Jefferson drum line. Dave taught both rival Washington High and the All City Drum and Bugle Corp, with which Chris also played.
Talent and camaraderie appear to be the driving force behind the group.
“Not only is Dave a great friend of mine but I am lucky enough to play in a band with him. It was a blast at drum line to teach Chris difficult licks that he could play right off the bat,” Hoagy says. “As soon as I came up with the idea for Junk Funk, they were the first two people that came to mind.”
Since they are not the typical bar band, they don’t play the usual places. Junk Funk has gigged at The Marion Arts Festival, The New Bohemia Festival, Roughriders games and are regulars at the Downtown Cedar Rapids Farmer’s Market.
“Hoagy is a master promoter,” Dave says. “Being a self-employed musician, he’s gotten to know how to book and promote quite well. It also helps when people can say ‘Oh yeah, you were the guys playing pots, pans and buckets on the street corner last summer!’ That type of exposure really helps.”
There is a method to what appears to be madness in their music. Once a fundamental groove is established, color, dynamics and solos are infused to provide layers of rhythms, mostly communicated through head nods and hand signals.
“We all vibe together so well that most of the time it really is just improving,” Chris says.