Booty calls

Onward and upward: Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band releases its new album, Onward!, in October, though local fans get a sneak peak this weekend. Photo courtesy of jabberpics.com
Onward and upward: Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band releases its new album, Onward!, in October, though local fans get a sneak peak this weekend. Photo courtesy of jabberpics.com

Five years can be a long time to wait for anything. If the body’s cells regenerate every seven years, after five years you’re more the new self than the old one. After 11 years of recording and performing, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band has regenerated more than once, which is partly why five years passed between the group’s first two records, 2007’s Now You Know and last year’s Doin’ It Hard.

But the Booty Band’s latest release, Onward!, signals a new pace as much as a new direction — and, when it comes to inspiration, a new dimension. “Mary Frances is an interesting one,” trombonist Derrick Johnson says of the Booty 2.0 singer who also plays keys. “She has music come to her in dreams, and she wakes up singing it. We have one song called ‘The Dream Song’ in which Garry Shider came to her in a dream — he was Starchild in P-Funk, and he had just passed away — and she woke us up and was like, ‘Garry just came to me in a dream with a song.’”

Even when the grooves aren’t being astrally projected into their heads, the Booty Band finds inspiration for songwriting elsewhere.

“When you have somebody who can pull something out of the middle of a dream state, it inspires you to push a little bit harder to write a really killer song,” Johnson says. “Some of our songs take cues from old P-Funk and the Ohio Players or, on some of the production themes, we experiment like the Mars Volta. We’re never afraid to push boundaries, so we’ll have a spaced-out section in the middle of a funk song.”

The band's eclectic nature may have been heightened in part by constant lineup changes and the ebb and flow of inspiration that comes with them.

“Putting out an album is a big adventure,” Johnson says. “We’ve gone through a few drummers between then and now. Our old drummer ended up getting prostate cancer and having to leave the band, so we went through a spell of trying to find different drummers.”

The band finally rounded out its sound with Lee Allen on drums and Frances on keys and vocals. “We were like, ‘OK, it’s time. We need to put out an album so that people will know the sound of Booty Band,’” says Johnson. The group plans to continue releasing albums annually to make up for lost time.

The release show on Friday, Sept. 27 (see box) will be a special treat for Asheville — the rest of the country doesn’t get to hear Onward! until Oct. 22. Additionally, guests who arrive at The Orange Peel before 9:30 p.m. will get a free digital copy of the album and some free tracks by openers The Fritz and DJ Adam Strange. It’s just a small way for the Booty Band to give thanks to the town that’s nurtured them.

“We’ve had really big productions and they’ve all been tested out in Asheville, and the town loves it, so they keep us fresh and not worried about trying to do something completely ridiculous,” Johnson says. “When we played at Bele Chere, our bass player went crowd-surfing on an air mattress. No one in Asheville batted an eye. They just loved it. That’s the type of energy and support that you have to have before you take it to a national level.”

— Max Miller can be reached at mmiller@mountainx.com

who: Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band with The Fritz and DJ Adam Strange
where: The Orange Peel
when: Friday, Sept. 27 (9 p.m. 18+; $10 advance /$12 door. http://theorangepeel.net)

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