While wandering around Langerado, checking out the live gator pit, Andy and I were blown away by The Dynamites. An explosion of funk and soul that left us asking in disbelief … who are these guys?! After they get back from a European tour in April, we’ll be seeing the Dynamites at Rothbury and Wakarusa before they open up for Dave Matthews Band in August.
Band leader Bill Elder talked to Zack about why festivals are worth more than a whole tour and why the band calls him Leo Black.
On Festivals: “That’s just one of the greatest things. The cross-pollination of talent. The line-ups are so killer. “
“Festivals are where we’re trying to focus a lot of our energy this year. We can bring our thing to so many people from all over the country. It’s worth a whole tour.”
How he became known as Leo Black: As lead singer Charles Walker (left) says, “Shiiiit we can’t go around talking about no Bill Elder. It’s not funky enough.”
On collaborating: “We just got back from Europe. We played 6 of our 16 shows with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. That was a killer time. Authentic nights of funk and soul over there. Anybody in the funky soul world, we love to play with. It makes sense for us to play with Ozomatli and some of the jam bands. We just met those guys at Langerado. I looked over to the side of the stage during our set and they were dancing around, going crazy.” (He later admitted The Dynamites were doing the same thing during Ozomatli’s set.)
Winning over audiences: “We want to make people feel like they’re at a 1969 James Brown show at the Apollo. You watch a transformation in the audience. They’re like, ‘well, isn’t that cute. Those guys are in their suits playing soul music. And then Charles gets up there and they realize this isn’t novelty. This is real.”
Music is his baby: “The day Zoe was born was right before we had our first gig. My wife said, ‘I had a baby and Bill had The Dynamites. There’s a lot of funky music in the house. The girls are being raised right.”
If you love soul… Bill highly recommends you check out the podcast:
Downtown Soulville with Mr. Fine Wine