Bubba Beyond - way beyond
Bubba Beyond is a band from the backwoods of northern California. They play an eclectic, unpolished mix of rock, funk, soul, devotional and psychedelic music.
Howard "Bubba" Jenkins
Tyrone "T-Bone" Pickett
Ellis "L Diz" Disney
Pete "Sweaty" Shupe
and the BB Zion Horns:
Ray "Big Wigga" Butts
writer, founder, mastermind
The band was conceived in the spring of 2006 by longtime friends, guitarist Bubba Jenkins and artist Rake Baker. One stony Sunday afternoon the pair were watching television - a documentary on Albert Hofmann, the discoverer of LSD. During a commercial break Bubba flipped through the channels and they were horrified to discover they had missed the first hour of a "60s Soul Revue" on another network.
What to do - continue with the Hofmann story, or check out rare footage of Sam and Dave, The Supremes and Otis Redding?
Their novel solution was to flip between the channels every ten seconds. They determined this would allow them to absorb the maximum content from each show. As they watched the melded documentaries, a realization began to emerge between them. They had each lived their lives separating and compartmentalizing all of their seemingly contradictory passions. As Rake later recounted the moment:
"We were talking about it being... it's like being two different people inside, with each of the sides being averse to the other. Man, that's unacceptable. At one point I was flipping the channels so fast Dr. Hofmann was singing Papa's Got A Brand New Bag. That's when it happened. Bubba and I just looked at each other like, 'yo, that's it!'"
They decided that afternoon to gather all the different aspects of themselves and weave them seemlessly into a strange new "whole" that has not been seen before - to purge themselves of the compulsion to be "consistent" - to merge all the polarity into a seething, dynamic, dialectical union of opposites. The more they talked, the more excited they became:
Dylan Thomas and Rufus Thomas, Shiva and Elvis, Jesus and Jimi, Brooklyn and Dingersville, funk and punk, banjos and tablas, paisley and corn bread, psychedelic hillbillies, redneck sadhus, wiggas in dreads...
The Triple Intent
The possibilities for personal liberation seemed suddenly endless. They agreed that music was the only way to express the vision in its entirety. Bubba Beyond was born.
They wrote a manifesto. Drawing on Bubba's lifetime in the deep south, they carefully chose only those musicians they felt could accomplish their shared goals. These objectives became known as The Triple Intent:
*to search out the deepest psychedelic funk within;
*to use that funk for the purpose of praising the Creator;
*to wear strange clothes and "go ape-shit"
East Coast Blues
In February, 2006, Bubba and Rake ventured from the safety of liberal northern California, travelling to the east coast to find the perfect band for their vision.
The first stop was New York City, where Bubba ran into his long-lost partner in crime, rhythm guitarist Cash Money. Cash had been down on his luck for a while and jumped at the chance to come out to sunny California and make some bad '70s soul.
Rake, Bubba and Cash then drove south to enlist their next "vics." In Columbus, Ga, they visited the home of Wanda Pickett, who told them her son Ty lived in a men's shelter near the bus station. There they found Tyrone "T-Bone" Pickett (bass) who also immediately agreed to join the band.
In Jackson, Mississippi they tracked down their old friends Ellis "L-Diz" Disney (keyboards) and Pete "Sweaty" Shupe (drums/percussion). The pair had been playing in various roadhouse bands in the area, but lately had been spending more time in jail than on stage.
With the basic rock unit now in place, they needed horns. Rake rented a trailer near Jackson, where T-Bone, Diz and Sweaty began working together at once, jamming all day on rhythm improvisations.
Meanwhile, Rake, Bubba and Cash scoured the back roads of Mississippi and Alabama, hoping to find any trace of Bubba's cousin, trumpeter DeWayne McDaniel. They went as far south as Mobile with no sight or word of Dewayne. As they drove back to Mississippi they saw a sign: "FISH FRY - ALL YOU CAN EAT - $3.50" Unable to resist, Bubba made Rake stop for lunch.
After gorging on catfish, hush puppies and slaw, the boys took their iced teas out to the car to have a puff of ganja. Unnoticed, a strange dude with dreadlocks stumbled up to the car, "Yo, dat shit smell dank, yo. Can I sit in witcha?"
It was DeWayne McDaniel! A brief tearful reunion ensued, and they quickly drove to the pawn shop to secure DeWayne's trumpet. This being Sunday, the shop was closed, so they jimmied the lock and found the horn after a brief search. Leaving $40.00 and the pawn ticket on the counter, they headed out of town.
As they drove north on Rt. 12 they were pulled over by the State Police. Everyone except Rake had outstanding warrants from a total of seven states. The car was searched and their stash of ganja was uncovered.
In a final karmic glitch, it was in the County Jail holding cell that they encountered the last two musicians they had been searching for. The final pieces - Otis Calhoun (sax) and Ray Butts (trombone) - were in place.
Cali At Last
Rake's attorney, Morty Goldstein, managed to get the fellas released on a technicality. They returned to the trailer near Jackson (dubbed the Wigga Hilton), and worked through the summer of 2006, jamming and writing non-stop. In September the entire group - nine including Rake - flew to Oakland International, then made their way up the coast to Dingersville (pop-up map), a tiny town in the mountains of Mendocino County.
Near Dingersville, at terrapindream studios, the fellas set about the ultimate transformation. Bubba and Rake knew they had collected a red hot crew of blue-eyed southern soul brothers - ready to rock - but it was crucial to add a touch of west coast vibe. The boys were much too feral for the laid back northern Cali scene. These goofy wiggas needed a crash course in hippie culture.
They began spending time with local Rainbow family - at drum circles, full-moon potluck acoustic jams, family councils, reggae shows and festivals. The band soon assimilated into the local scene and even began performing some of Rake's more mellow material.
Rake and Bubba set up a high-tech sweat lodge outside of the studio, complete with surround-sound speakers. Throughout the spring of 2008 the band sat in a series of purification ceremonies, during which they ate sacred mushrooms and listened to hours of blistering 60s psychedelia, 70s funk, 80s punk and 90s hiphop.
After six weeks of blowing their minds, they began work on their debut project, Land of a Thousand Doses.
The CD is in production and is scheduled to be released October, 2008. Already, life for the band has been a whirlwind of touring, interviews, television appearances, and even some controversy - their public feud with Bill O'Reilly has been extensively covered by the rock press and internet blogs.