Locals Only: : Called On The Carpet

Local Funk/Rock act Black and Tan Carpet Band turns tight grooves, solid live show into growing following

Feb 12, 2003 at 2:06 pm

When you hear the name the Black and Tan Carpet Band, you probably first think of beer. Or maybe cleaning beer out of a dirty patchwork rug.

Or if you've seen the actual band live or heard their debut EP, Dirty Mama, you'll more likely think of the organic Funk and Roll band that has been working over the Cincinnati club circuit like a prizefighter for the past couple of years. (For the record, the name came from the color scheme of their early practice space).

The band's origins do indeed have their roots in beer: Friends and acquaintances from the same neighborhood, the members first got together in early 2000 to simply drink and jam. "It turned out to be one of the most memorable jams I've ever done," says singer/guitarist Mikey D. All the BATCBers have, um, enigmatic stage monikers — there's bassist/singer Psycho D, singer/guitarist Sal Paradise and drummer/singer Sir Tokalot (whose name suggests a little more than beer is steering the BATCB ship).

The BATCB — whose members previously played with Recreational Guys and Yen Renaissance — has a zip-lock tight, creative groove that is steeped in classic Funk, but classic, melodic Rock & Roll is also an apparent influence. Improvisation occasionally plays a role in the BATCB sound and some "Jam Band" fans have understandably taken to the crew's funky vibe. But the band is quick to point out that they have a sound that could easily appeal to anyone.

"(We add) a touch of something new and different for people in any 'scene,' " says singer/bassist Psycho D.

CityBeat posed some decidedly un-funky questions to the funkateers about their music and where they'd like to go with it.

CityBeat: Let's talk influences. You're overwhelming influence would appear to be classic Funk. What other music does everyone listen to? Anything that might surprise people?

Psycho D: Funk is only one element in the amalgam that is BATCB. I think my extensive "Sunday Night Disco" experiences decisively placed the Funk in my soul. I mean, James Brown, P-Funk, Bootsy.

Sir Tokalot: Yep, any given break at band practice and Psycho D is slappin' it out. As for me, the only Funk influence is Psycho D himself. I've always warmed up to the stuff most other people didn't, such as early Prog Rock-era (bands). Anything with a different, non-repetitive drumbeat.

Mikey D: Funk is significant in what influenced me. Without it, I never would be able to "feel" the music. I truly believe that emotion is the key to songwriting.

PD: Someone at a show once said we remind them of a hippie Alice In Chains!

Sal Paradise: The Beatles are by far my biggest influence, but that's just scratching the surface.

CB: What do you think is the key to building an audience in Cincy?

PD: As the quality of "live shows" gets more interesting to watch, the more excited people in Cincinnati will be to see what the original bands here have to offer. We've been blessed with great friends, who get a lot of different people out to BATCB shows. They come to our shows no matter where we play.

MD: More and more people are coming out to see local bands. It's not just about getting signed to a label. People are playing good music because they want to.

CB: What's the goal for the band? Are you hoping to tour? Any plans to put out another disc yet?

MD: I just want to meet Tom Petty!

SP: I hope touring is our next big step. Since we formed BATCB things have been in a constant upswing!

ST: I want to quit my job and devote most of my time to writing and practicing. Ultimately, I want a castle with a built-in recording studio.

PD: Echo that, bro! Ultimate goal — to play in front of as many people possible, as often as possible. We will tour ... it's an immediate goal. We are going to the studio as we speak to record a full-length. And we plan on taking much more time with it in order to record the best Rock album of the new millennium!

THE BLACK AND TAN CARPET BAND perform Saturday at the BarrelHouse. For more on the group, you can dial up www.batcb.com.