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Jay Funk Dawg

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Interview with Zach Lucas , leader and saxophonist for Booty Juice and member of the Jennifer Hartswick Band and the Latin-Jazz juggernaut Insight. Zach is an incredible composer and improvisationalist who studied composition in Boston and founded his group Booty Juice. Booty Juice has release 2 CDs, their latest effort "Discharge" contains some serious epic grooves and heavy hitting metal-funk.

Zach Lucas has been playing professionally since the age of 15, when he played with the Hip-Hop band Splifted Souls and the Reggae/Ska group The Heptals in Boulder, Colorado. While in high school he attended the University Of Colorado music program and received a merit scholarship to the New England Conservatory of music in Boston in 1999, where he met the members of Booty Juice. There he studied with George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, and Bob Brookmeyer.

After graduating in 2003, he moved to Manhattan, where he resides today. I spoke to Zach recently about the band and their upcoming tour. Booty Juice will start their Canadian tour @ The El Mocambo in Toronto, on Jan 13, 2005 with Toronto's The Void.


Who came up with the name?

I came up with the name in a hurry because I needed to submit a name for a talent show. I had just watched the movie Fear of a Black Hat, and Bootyjuice is the name of a song in the movie. A school talent show is where Bootyjuice made its debut in 1999.

How did the band get together, was it a gravitation of certain students and friends who were studying together in Boston?

We all met at the New England Conservatory in Boston in 1999. It just happened. The school was so small that it was inevitable that we would find eachother.

bj.groupphoto.jpg top: Zach Lucas, middle left: Mike Gamble, middle middle: Conor Elmes, all the way to the right: Tony Kieraldo, all the way to the left: Joe Mazzarella, middle bottom: Joe DeMatteo

How did the collective find this sound? Is the unison guitar and saxophone lines a key part of the band's sound?

The sax and guitar come together as the vocal aspect of the group. It is a crucial part of the sound since we don't have a lead singer.

How did Booty Juice's members get involve with the Jennifer Hardswick Band?

Conor Elmes (our drummer) is from Vermont and has known Jennifer forever. He recommended me (Zach Lucas) for the winter tour in 2004 and I have been in the group ever since. Also, every member in Bootyjuice has played with Jens band at some point in 2004. We are all good friends.

photo1.drums2.jpgConnor Elms

We all saw Connor sitting in with VORCZA at Evolve, what are the other side projects of the group?

There are too many side projects to mention. Everyone in the group is talented and have other projects that we are actively involved in.

What is it that Booty Juice does best?

We have a great time playing with eachother, which is apparent when you see us live. We have more fun than the audience. To answer the question. We love playing together.


How has the songwriting changed since your release "DISCHARGE". How does a song develop from a personal composition to a band arrangement?

The songwriting hasn't changed since Discharge. The new material is just as hard hitting as the older stuff. The way we learn songs is usually in a basement over the period of two or three days of practicing and partying.

photo4.drums.jpg Joe DeMatteo with Booty Juice at EVOLVE 04

What is the most striking aspect of your experience playing in Canada at the Evolve Festival in 2003? Were you guys nervous playing with MMW? I notice that those photos grace your website.

That was a great time. The stage and the crowd were amazing. There was so much energy at that festival it was scary. I was amazed at how genuine everyone I talked to was. We are never nervous playing before or after anyone because we focus all of our attention on the show at hand. We were thrilled to play before MMW. I hope we get a chance to do it again sometime.

What about this upcoming tour is going to be the most exciting?

I think just being in Canada is going to be incredible. Everyone is cool. We can't wait to play shows in places that we have never been and create a new group of Bootyjuice fans in a different counrty.

photo3.guitar2.jpg Mike Gamble

How did this tour come about?

Graeme Walker (Bassist/Vocalist for Grand Theft Bus). He is the man. We really didn't have to anything at all. He spoke to Conor at the Evolve festival this past year and that was it.

What are the bands' plans in the near future? Touring, new CD etc?

We are planning on recording a CD after this Tour. It is always a good idea to record at the end of a tour because you still have all that juice from performing your songs on stage. We plan on spending a lot of time on the road this summer.

How does the band juggle all these projects and still keep Booty Juice, you know "fresh"?

It is always refreshing to play with Bootyjuice after playing with other projects. I think that's what keeps it fresh. Playing with the same group everynight can have its downfalls.

What do you want people to know about Booty Juice? How would you describe your music to a guy you just pulled off the street?

People should know that Bootyjuice is fun. We don't take ourselves seriously. However, we do seriously rock. It is a unique music because we write all of our songs and have created our own sound. It is modern in the respect that this music is happening now and at no other time in history has it happened or will happen again. In other words. Come and get a slice. It's fun.

photo2.guitar.jpg Tony Kieraldo

What CDs does the band groove out on while on tour together? Which independent bands in the North Eastern US are your favorites?

We have eclectic tastes in music. Charlie Parker is always on the menu for me. Joey Mazz (keyboard) loves the Ohio Players and Al Green. Mike Gamble (Guitar) is always close to Metallica or Primus. Joe D (drums) is in love with Teddy Pendergrass. Tony Kieraldo (synth bass) just started to play the accordion and Conor Elmes is a reggae superstar. Some independent bands that we enjoy are The Jersey Band, Trizzo, The Inbetweens and Eric Beyondo.

What does 2005 see for the 'Juice?

We are going to be playing much more in 2005 and we plan on hitting up more festivals. Also, our new CD will be released this year.

Check 'em on tour:

Thursday, Jan 13 El Mocambo Toronto, Ontario w/The Void

Friday, Jan 14 The Pepper Jack Cafe, Hamilton, Ontario w/Diesel Dog

Saturday, Jan 15 Cafe Dekcuf, Ottawa, Ontario w/Vanderpark

Tuesday, Jan 18 Studio 112 Saint John, New Brunswick

Wednesday, Jan 19 Paramount Lounge Moncton, New Brunswick

Thursday Jan 20 Chuggles, Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Friday Jan 21 The Attic Nightclub, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Saturday Jan 22 The Cellar - UNB Fredericton, New Brunswick

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thanks guys...

Since Evolve4 I have been going gaga over Booty Juice... in fact I bought their CD at Evolve 4 '03 and subsequently my band High Plains Drifter ( High Plains Drifter ) went into the studio in Lunnenbourg at Red Fish Audio, where we lived for 4 days of recording and debauchery... We listened to the "Discharge" album every chance we got, and were really influenced by their modern, heavy approach to funk... their long melody lines and the interwoven guitar/saxophone parts. Since everyone in the band has tried to steal my copy...

I hope some peeps get to check'em out on this tour...

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