Ivan Neville is the son of the famed New Orleans musician Aaron Neville. In 2003, Ivan, along with his cousin Ian Neville, formed Dumpstaphunk.
Since that time, they have become a driving force in the modern funk scene. In 2010 they were voted “New Orleans’ Best Funk Band” by New Orleans’ alt-weekly publication The Gambit, and in 2009 they were given the “Best Funk Award” by Offbeat magazine.
Dumpstaphunk has performed at some of the premier music festivals around the country including Bonnaroo, Voodoo Fest, Jazz Fest, 10,000 Lakes and High Sierra. Most recently, they performed at the Bear Creek Festival in Live Oak, Fla., which featured some of today’s best funk bands. Pensacola is their first show since.
IN was lucky enough to catch up with Ivan, at home for the holidays in New Orleans, to talk about his music and their upcoming show in Pensacola.
IN: Where did the name Dumpstaphunk come from?
Neville: I had written a song some time ago, before the band was formed, that had that word in it. When it came to naming the band I thought, “What is the nastiest, funkiest thing I know?” A dumpster. The name just stuck. Dumpsters are funky—Dumpstaphunk.
IN: Describe your musical style.
Neville: Funk is lively, very energetic with lots of syncopation and spontaneity; it gets your body moving. It is about something significant to us. It gets you sweaty.
IN: There are so many musical influences floating around New Orleans; what made you choose funk?
Neville: It chose us. We listen to so many different genres of music and are influenced by all of them. It really chose me. Being around Art Neville, founding member of The Meters, was a big influence as well.
IN: You recently performed at the Bear Creek music festival; what was that experience like?
Neville: It is such a fun festival—so cool. Many of our friends are there and we love each other. Lots of listening and jamming. The people are raging fans and music lovers. We are fans too. Lettuce and George Porter were great. We sit in with one another. I am enjoying my time off right now.
IN: The band has recorded two albums, the first in 2007, “Listen Hear,” and the newly released “Everybody Want Sum.” How did the music progress from the first to the second album?
Neville: We became more focused. More of the music got passed around. In the beginning, it was me doing the majority of the singing. The latest recording represents more of a true collaboration. The first one was that, but, a whole lot more on the second. We have evolved more as a band. It all comes from the same place. We listened to each other, and to other stuff. It came from where we want to go.
IN: Before Dumpstaphunk was formed, you released four solo albums; what did you learn from that process?
Neville: I learned about making records, about how you want to sound. I learned how to be on a record; learned how to perform live. The same thing, just different approaches. Try to flow as naturally as you can.
IN: You have been touring quite a bit; what is your schedule like?
Neville: It is pretty hectic most of the time. We get to slow down during the holidays, which is nice. Cool out and watch ESPN. We are looking forward to a European tour someday.
IN: What was it like growing up in the Neville household?
Neville: It was fun—normal I guess. Lots of music was going on, and watching my dad and uncles in the studio, seeing it up close and personal being recorded.
IN: Did you play music in school?
Neville: I was in a stage band in school. I have never been formally trained; I learned by ear.
IN: Tell us about your involvement with the Tipitina’s Foundation?
Neville: I do all I can. I play when I am available and when the opportunity presents itself. I don’t do more than anyone else. There are many more who have given so much to the area and its charities.
IN: You have worked with some incredible musicians including Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, Robbie Robertson and Delbert McClinton. What was it like to be in Keith Richards’ solo project band the X-Pensive Winos?
Neville: Very cool. The band was great. Prior to that I had been in the Neville Brothers’ band and played in Bonnie Raitt’s band. Being in the X-Pensive Winos was the coolest thing I have ever done. Keith wanted to do stuff. He had a group of guys he liked playing with. We would be in the studio and we would make a bunch of music. We made two records. Being in a band with Keith Richards, being on the tour bus—I mean, it was an absolute fun experience. It was the highlight of my musical career. Keith Richards just recently released a compilation record of the Winos. They were all amazing musicians—a cool collaboration. It was playing music with the same people, but with a different approach on the same songs. Keith would say, “When you are working well with the crowd, every band is the baddest band in the world” on any given night.
IN: You are on the cover of Offbeat caroling?
Neville: Yeah, we were supposed to pretend to be caroling, but the whole time I was cracking everyone up with jokes. We could not stop laughing.
IN: What can our readers expect from your show?
Neville: Expect a sick show. It is our first show since Bear Creek. We are going to throw it down.
WHEN: 9 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.) Thursday,
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox Place
COST: $10-$15, 18 and up