|Cultural origins||Mid-1980s, United States|
|Derivative forms||Nu metal|
Funk metal (also known as thrash funk) is a subgenre of funk rock and alternative metal which infuses heavy metal music (often thrash metal) with elements of funk. It was prevalent in the mainstream during the late 1980s and early 1990s, as part of the alternative metal movement. The genre has been described as a "brief but extremely media-hyped stylistic fad".
Characteristics and origins
According to AllMusic, funk metal "takes the loud guitars and riffs of heavy metal and melds them to the popping bass lines and syncopated rhythms of funk". AllMusic has claimed that "funk metal evolved in the mid-'80s when alternative bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fishbone began playing the hybrid with a stronger funk underpinning than metal." The self-titled 1984 debut album from Red Hot Chili Peppers has been cited as the first funk metal release.
Faith No More have been described as a funk metal band that dabbled in rap-metal. Rage Against the Machine's mix of funk and metal not only included rap, but also elements of punk rock. Certain bands not from a punk/alternative background, such as glam metal groups Bang Tango and Extreme, have also frequently incorporated funk into their musical style. Bands such as Primus and Mordred emerged from the thrash metal underground. Primus, a band that crosses many genres, has been widely described as funk metal, though bandleader/bassist Les Claypool dislikes the categorization. Claypool has stated "We've been lumped in with the funk metal thing just about everywhere. I guess people just have to categorise you". Living Colour have been cited by Rolling Stone as "black funk metal pioneers." Entertainment Weekly noted in a May 1991 article that "Despite the rise of black rockers like Living Colour, the American funk-metal scene is predominantly white."
Mainstream popularity and decline
The success of Faith No More's 1989 single "Epic" helped heighten interest in the genre. It had reached a commercial peak by late 1991, with funk metal albums such as Blood Sugar Sex Magik (by Red Hot Chili Peppers), Sailing the Seas of Cheese (by Primus) and Mr. Bungle's self-titled debut attaining critical acclaim from the mainstream music press. Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post claimed in an 1991 article that "much of it sounds like art rock". By the latter part of the 90s, the genre was represented by a smaller group of bands, including Incubus, Sugar Ray and 311. During 2001, Alien Ant Farm released a hugely successful funk metal cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" (an electro funk song).
In 2016, Vice Magazine referred to funk metal as "a mostly-forgotten and occasionally-maligned genre". Mr. Bungle guitarist Trey Spruance mentioned his fondness for the genre in a 2007 interview. When asked if he thought it would make a comeback, he stated "Fuckin' revisionists probably won't think its cool enough... they'll go straight for the flannels and heroin."
- Prato, Greg (16 September 2014). Primus, Over the Electric Grapevine: Insight into Primus and the World of Les Claypool. Akashic Books. ISBN 978-1-61775-322-0.
- Jenkins, Mark (27 October 1991). "California's Funk-Metalists, Putting on Airs". Retrieved 31 January 2017 – via washingtonpost.com.
- Potter, Valerie (July 1991). "Primus: Nice and Cheesy". Hot Metal. Sydney, Australia. 29.
- Darzin, Daina; Spencer, Lauren (January 1991). "The Thrash-Funk scene proudly presents Primus". Spin. 6 (10): 39.
- Dunham, Elisabeth. "Roll Over Manilow: Thrash funk is here". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
- "Mordred - Biography, Albums, Streaming Links - AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- Funk Metal. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- Rap-Metal . Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- The Battle of Los Angeles : Rolling Stone. November 1, 2003. Archived from the original on April 14, 2010. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- Prato, Greg. Bango Tango > Overview . Retrieved February 3, 2012.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Extreme > Biography . Retrieved February 3, 2012.
- Gore, Joe (August 1991). New Rage: The Funky from Guitar Player. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- Mitchell, Paula Ann (June 2, 2013). "Mountain Jam Music Festival kicks off Thursday". The Daily Freeman. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Primus Biography at AllMusic. Retrieved November 27, 2009. Appeared earlier in the book All Music Guide on page 290 in 2001 and on page 888 in 2002.
- "If You Won't Play the Album, They'll Sing It, From the Top". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-11.
- Crocker, Chris (1993). Metallica: The Frayed Ends of Metal. Macmillan. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-312-08635-0.
- Swenson, John (1999). The Rolling Stone Jazz & Blues Album Guide. Random House. p. 337. ISBN 978-0-679-76873-9.
- Wolf, Mike (November 1999). "Primus: Antipop". CMJ New Music Monthly (75): 57. ISSN 1074-6978.
- Gehr, Richard (July 1995). "Primus: Tales from the Punchbowl". Spin. 11 (4): 72. ISSN 0886-3032.
Primus, unlikely gold-selling white trash purveyor of bad-ass pinballing funk-metal...
- Amador, Valery (September 9, 2010). "Les Claypool Becomes A Professor At Bootsy Collins' Funk University". Bass Musician.
Primus' breakthrough 1991 album Sailing The Seas Of Cheese was for many their introduction to 'funk-metal', a genre Claypool has become synonymous with thanks to his frenetic, virtuosic combination of strumming, tapping and slapping, a style which and has spawned legions of imitators.
- Terlino, Craig (June 24, 2013). "Sailing The Seas Of Cheese Revisited: Les Claypool Of Primus Interviewed". The Quietus.
...Primus proved part of that crossover between funk and metal, continuously and carefully reinventing it, bringing it into the 90s and far beyond.
- Hart, Josh (June 6, 2011). "Primus Set To Release New Album, 'Green Naugahyde,' This September". Guitar World.
- Weingarten, Mark (December 4, 1999). "Primus Mixes Metal With a Bit of Satire". Los Angeles Times.
- Kilby, Dylan (November 3, 2014). "Album Reviews: Primus – Primus & The Chocolate Factory and the Fungi Ensemble". Music OMH.
- Potter, Valerie (July 1991). "Primus: Nice and Cheesy". Hot Metal. 29.
- Fricke, David (November 13, 2003). Living Colour: Collideoscope : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- "How Bad Brains Created the Best Funk Metal Album 30 Years Ago - VICE". Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- MacKenzie Wilson. "Alien Ant Farm". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- "Trey Spruance interview". Retrieved 5 January 2017.