Archives

Funksters Doco share their music and the stage

by Ryan Snyder

Funksters Doco share their music and the stage

The family tree of Josh and Trevor Booth is filled with artists of all breeds. Most recently, their father was a member of Backyard Tea, which found some regional success in the’60s and’70s. The lineage, however, began with a great, great, great uncle by the name of John Wilkes Booth who was an acclaimed actor in his time. Oh, and he also killed Abraham Lincoln. His r’sum’, however, also boasted oil exploration alongside stage performance and political assassination, which brings us back to present day and its influence on his descendents. Dramatic Oil Company, or DO Co., was an ill-fated prospecting venture that the elder Booth dabbled in and the name lives on with the brothers’ Raleigh-via-Winston-Salem’s Doco (www. myspace.com/doco). Their influences are both interesting and highly uncommon, particularly those of drummer Dave Burkart. You don’t often hear underground producer and bassist Bill Laswell bandied about as a major stylistic influence, though those with their ears to the ground should eventually come across the venerable world-music guru. The signature funk and go-go rhythms of drummer Bryan Mantia, a frequent Laswell collaborator, are also dotted all throughout Doco’s music. Even Laswell’s own deeply subsonic bass tunings seem to have crept their way into Josh Booth’s playing, though he also looks to hip hop for his influence. Burkart refers to their style as “funk gone bad” with layers of punk and metal, but let’s just get the Sublime comparison out of the way right now. You almost can’t help but think of them upon first listen to Doco. From the dub-heavy drum and bass right down to singer/ guitarist Trevor’s own voice, Doco bears plenty of resemblance to the punk-funk pioneers. But put both under the microscope and you’ll see that Sublime’s punk-leanings aren’t so evident in Doco. Rather, the latter owes a debt to the avant-garde funk scene that has proliferated under bassist Les Claypool’s many projects since the mid-’90s. They have the kind of groove that is just a little weird — not Claypool-weird, mind you — but just enough out of the ordinary to ensure that you may not ever hear it in the clubs or on mainstream radio. But then again, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s something sublimely reassuring to have tastes that aren’t embraced by the unwashed masses and then share them with a small contingent of like-minded people. Similar attitudes have led to the proliferation of online music communities where artists like Doco encourage fans to share their music with one another. It’s often the best marketing tool at the disposal of many unsigned acts and it’s helped fuel a raging civil war within the music industry. Bands like Doco are on the front lines while on the other side lies the gigantic music conglomerates and their attorneys doing their best to protect their own interests. Though they invariably get mixed up in the tornado of data swirling through every corner of the file-sharing universe, little seems to have been done to sway the downloading habits of millions. It should go without saying that this knowledge gives the three members of Doco a little peace of mind that one of the best promotional tools for independent bands is and will remain intact. “We just want people to hear our music,” said Trevor. “Even if someone came up to me at a show without any money but wanted a CD, I’d probably give it to him and tell him to burn copies for his friends.” Through their site (www.docotunes.com), Doco provides plenty of music for fans to download free of charge. Presently, there is an entire live performance from Raleigh’s Pour House entitled The Potato Gun Massacre that the band wants their listeners to not just download, but share with as many others as possible. It was recorded in May 2008 during the CD release party for their lone album The Fossil Record and it’s also a performance of which the band was particularly proud. “We have a lot of friends who are MCs and if they’re there, they really have a lot of fun coming up and doing that,” said Burkart. “We really like it, too.” The band laid down some of the heavy grooves that give them new fans at every show, while a stream of rappers local to the Triangle shot their rhymes straight from the hip. The spontaneity of the collaboration makes it an intriguing listen, but it’s the sheer funkiness of Doco that provides the biggest appeal. This wasn’t just a one-shot deal, however. The band maintains an open invite for any MCs with something to say to do it at their shows. “They just let us know beforehand and then we tell them when to come up,” said Trevor. “It’s a lot of fun for us and the crowd as well.”

Share: