The Bamboos (funk band)
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- 1 Biography
- 2 Members
- 3 Awards and nominations
- 4 Discography
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Formation and early releases
The Bamboos were formed in 2000 in Melbourne Australia by NZ-born producer/guitarist/songwriter Lance Ferguson. The initial line-up consisted of Ferguson, Ben Grayson on Hammond organ, Stuart Speed on bass and Scott Lambie on drums. The band's first live performances were at The Night Cat in Fitzroy, where over an evening they would play three sets of instrumental material drawn from artists such as The Meters, James Brown, Grant Green, Ivan 'Boogaloo Joe' Jones and Reuben Wilson.
In 2001 The Bamboos released their first self-funded 7" 45 RPM single containing the original songs "Eel Oil" and "Blackfoot", earning them international acclaim from UK Deep Funk DJs Keb Darge, Snowboy, Mr Scruff, Patrick Forge and Russ Dewbury. This recording would begin the studio partnership between Ferguson and Producer/Engineer John Castle that would see every Bamboos release until 2015 being recorded at Castle's The Shed Studios in Canterbury, Melbourne.
The Bamboos second release was a remix for a side project of UK artist Quantic called The Limp Twins. It was released as a 7" B-side on the Brighton-based UK label Tru Thoughts Records in 2003. By this point Scott Lambie and Stuart Speed had left the band to be replaced by drummer Jamie Jones and current bassist Yuri Pavlinov. A horn section consisting of Ross Irwin (The Cat Empire) on Trumpet and Bruce Sandell on Tenor Sax & Flute expanded the line up to a six-piece.
In 2004, their next single, "Tighten Up"/"Voodoo Doll", was released by Kenny Dope (Masters at Work) and Keb Darge Legendary Deep Funk on their U.S-based imprint Kay-Dee Records. Both Jamie Jones and Bruce Sandell left the band in 2004 to be replaced by Daniel Farrugia and Tenor Saxophonist Anton Delecca.
A chance meeting between Lance Ferguson and Tru Thoughts A&R Rob Luis in a Brighton club (where Ferguson was able to hand Luis a demo cdr of new material) led to The Bamboos being signed to the Tru Thoughts label full-time in 2005.
Step It Up (2006)
The Bamboos debut album, Step It Up, was released by Tru Thoughts in 2006 (Ubiquity Records releasing it for the U.S territory). The 11 track album included 9 instrumentals and two vocal tracks featuring U.K Soul artist (and Tru Thoughts label-mate) Alice Russell. Part of the album was made up of songs already released on the band's early 7" releases (though the songs 'Tighten Up' and 'Voodoo Doll' were re-recorded as new versions for the album). Upon release 'Step it Up' received positive reviews within the Funk/Soul scene and enabled the band to embark upon their first Australian, U.K and European tour that year. The Bamboos live show had evolved by this time into a non-stop 'Live Mix'-style set where each song segued into the next. It was a format influenced by artists such as James Brown and Breakestra and also Lance Ferguson's experience as a DJ. The album title track 'Step It Up' gained visibility with its use in high-rating U.S TV shows Greys Anatomy and Ugly Betty. 2006 also saw The Bamboos record 'The Witch' remix for Tru Thoughts artist The Broken Keys and an Aus/NZ tour as backing/support band for label mates Quantic and Alice Russell. Melbourne vocalist Kylie Auldist officially joined the band full-time in 2006 debuting on stage at Meredith Music Festival for the late night 4 am set.
The Bamboos 2007 second album Rawville, marked a stylistic move towards more vocal-based material and featured vocalists Kylie Auldist (Aust), Tyra Hammond (NZ), Fallon Williams (US/Aust) and hip hop artist Ohmega Watts (US). Of the five instrumentals (which included the popular live staple 'The Witch'), one was recorded at Quantic's Brighton studio in 2006 ('Tongan Steel') live to analogue tape. Upon release 'Rawville' was described by UK-based IDJ Magazine as "arguably the best funk album of the modern era". U.K music promoter/DJ and label owner Adrian Gibson named The Bamboos "the best new Deep Funk band in the world today". The band embarked on another tour that encompassed Australia, U.K and Europe, performing at venues including The Jazz Café in London and countries including Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy and Belgium. Phil Noy had joined the band on Baritone Saxophone at this point, expanding the group to an 8-piece. Kylie Auldist also joined the touring party, and so impressed Tru Thoughts label A&R at the Brighton show that they immediately signed her as a solo artist for the label. In 2007 The Bamboos also performed as the backing band for New Orleans R&B/Funk legend Eddie Bo at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne.
The band's third studio album, Side-Stepper, was released in 2008. The album maintained a higher proportion of vocal tracks and included several songs heavily influenced by the Northern soul/Motown sound. The album included contributions from guest vocalists Megan Washington (Australia), Paul Macinnes (Sweden) and TY (UK). Side-Stepper featured the singles "King of the Rodeo" (The Bamboos first video clip) and "I Can't Help Myself" (Later nominated in the Blues & Roots Work of the Year category in the APRA Awards). Original band member keyboardist Ben Grayson left the band at this point and was replaced by Dustin Mclean. Upon release 'Side-Stepper' received airplay on national youth radio station Triple J, Triple R (Feature Album), PBS 106.7FM (Feature Album), and on Mark Lamarr and Craig Charles's BBC radio shows.The Sunday Age named it "Album of the Month" and The Brag and Inpress 'Album of the Week'. The Bamboos were included in The Age's "Top 100" list of influential people in Melbourne for 2008. That year The Bamboos also released a live album, Listen! Hear! The Bamboos Live!, compiled from shows during a week-long residency supporting The Cat Empire at The Metro Theatre in Sydney. During this year The Bamboos also recorded music for the multi-platinum million-selling Nintendo Wii video game, de Blob.
The Bamboos fourth album 4 was released by Tru Thoughts in 2010. Of the 12 tracks three were instrumental and the remaining nine featured vocalists Kylie Auldist, Lyrics Born and King Merc (the latter actually Lance Ferguson with vocal processing effects). The album incorporated elements of Psychedelic rock and soundtrack music into the blend of Funk, Soul and Hip Hop that comprised the sound of the band's earlier albums. It was also the first album to feature a live string section. Kano Hollamby produced the album cover artwork which depicts the band looking out of framed boxes (Hollamby was responsible for all Bamboos album/release art up to this album), and two video clips were produced for the album's opening singles. UK's Blues & Soul Magazine called it 'Simply Stunning' and 'an Instant Classic'. The band embarked on a tour of Australia, U.K and Europe adding Stevie Hesketh (Jet, The Drones) on keyboards, recording BBC Radio Sessions for Craig Charles and performing at venues such as The Barbican (U.K) and La Bellevilloise (France). The song 'On The Sly' was later used in a scene of the hit U.S movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. 'You Ain't No Good' featured on the U.S TV show Hellcats. In 2010 The Bamboos also appeared on ABC TV's Sunday Arts Show, headlined The St Kilda Festival and performed as the backing band for U.S Soul legends Syl Johnson and Eddie Floyd.
Medicine Man (2012)
In 2012, the band released their fifth studio full-length, entitled Medicine Man. The album consisted of 12 vocal tracks, featuring Kylie Auldist and guests including Aloe Blacc, Daniel Merriweather, Tim Rogers, Megan Washington, Bobby Flynn and Ella Thompson (the latter who would join the band as a full-time member in the same year). Current drummer Graeme Pogson replaced Daniel Farrugia in 2011. 'Medicine Man' debuted at No. 28 on The ARIA Top 50 Albums Chart and No. 10 on the ARIA Top 20 Australian Albums Chart. The lead single 'I Got Burned' (written by Ferguson and sung by Tim Rogers) was the band's most commercially successful single to date, gaining crossover success with airplay on commercial stations such as Triple M and Nova, as well as High Rotation status on Triple J ('Most-Played Track' for week ending 24.03.12). It was the 4th Most Added Track on Australian Radio for the week of 19.03.12. The song would later rank at No. 54 on the Triple J 'Hottest 100' for 2012. It peaked at No. 14 on the ARIA Australian Singles Chart and No. 1 on the AIR Independent Singles Chart. 'I Got Burned' also featured in the opening scene of successful Australian TV show House Husbands. The album's title track featured in an episode of U.S TV show CSI: NY. The band embarked on their largest national tour of Australia in June 2012, including performing in Melbourne at The Corner Hotel over two nights with many of the album's guest vocalists in attendance. Triple J would later broadcast this performance as part of their 'Live at the Wireless' sessions. 'Medicine Man' would go on to receive three ARIA Nominations; Best Independent Album, Best Live Group, and Best Urban Album. It was also a finalist for the AMP Australian Music Prize. In 2012 The Bamboos also performed on the Adam Hills Tonight TV Show and at The AIR Awards, Falls Festival and Homebake. They recorded a cover version of the Rolling Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" for Mojo Magazine (U.K) and released the free four-track EP Live at the Metro through their Facebook page in November 2012.
Fever in the Road (2013)
Fever in the Road, the band's sixth studio album, was released on Lance Ferguson's own label Pacific Theatre in Australia and New Zealand. It was licensed for release in Europe/UK by Sony, in the US by Nettwerk Music and in Japan by Holiday Revolution. It was the first album in six years to not be released by Tru Thoughts Records. Shifting gears from the previous album Medicine Man, Fever in the Road eschewed guest vocalists in favour of highlighting the groups full-time singers Kylie Auldist and Ella Thompson. Ferguson stated in the press: "The last record was so guest heavy that I felt compelled to make a record like this...I’m certainly not ruling out collaborating with other people in the future, but I just felt that the right thing to do now was to make the musical statement that this is the sound of The Bamboos." Renting a studio in the inner Western Melbourne suburb of Yarraville, Ferguson wrote and co-wrote the record with Thompson and Auldist over several months in late 2012. The album was co-produced with longtime Bamboos studio and live engineer John Castle, and had a dense, layered and 'darker' sound. Ferguson cited influences including the music of Stereolab, Beck and Tame Impala. Keyboardist Simon Mavin performed on the album, but would leave the band shortly after due to the burgeoning success of his group Hiatus Kaiyote. Luke Saunders joined on keyboards in mid-2013. Between recording the new record and its release, the band embarked upon a national Australian tour with vocalist Tim Rogers called 'the Rock 'n Soul Medicine Show'. The tour capitalised upon the success of the "I Got Burned" single and also included re-arrangements of some You Am I (Rogers' band) songs alongside several new originals penned by Ferguson and Rogers. The two would continue their musical partnership in 2013 working on the Foxtel Studio Channel TV show Studio at the Memo, a music-oriented variety show with Rogers hosting and Ferguson acting as Musical Director. Released in November 2013, Fever in the Road debuted at No. 1 in the Australian iTunes R&B/Soul Chart and number 41 in the ARIA Digital Albums Chart. The lead single "Avenger" was added to high rotation on Triple J. A video clip for the single was directed and produced by Sydney-based design team We Buy Your Kids, who also designed the album cover and animated graphics for the live show. The Fever in the Road national Australian tour in late 2013 culminated in a performance at Melbourne's esteemed Forum Theatre, the largest stand-alone ticketed event the band had played to date. Other live appearances during this period included Splendour in the Grass, Meredith Music Festival, Byron Bay Bluesfest and Splore Festival in New Zealand. Ferguson and Thompson also performed "Avenger" on the SBS TV show RocKwiz. In June 2014 the band performed in Yokohama and Tokyo, Japan, and also embarked on a promo tour of the west coast of the United States. The tour included live performances at KEXP and KCRW, with U.S college radio showing support for the new album. In mid-2014 Ella Thompson left the band to pursue her solo career and other projects. "Avenger" was nominated at the 2014 APRA Awards in the Blues & Roots Work of the Year category. Fever in the Road was nominated for Best Blues & Roots Album at the 2014 ARIA Music Awards.
The Rules of Attraction (2015)
A full collaborative album with Tim Rogers entitled The Rules of Attraction was released on Atlantic Records on 22 May 2015. Recorded at both at The Shed Studios and Lance Ferguson's home studio, the album featured twelve songs co-written by Rogers and Ferguson. Upon release The Rules of Attraction debuted at No. 12 on the Aria Australian Artist Album Chart and No. 26 on the overall Aria Album Chart. The lead single "Easy", featuring a video clip directed by Grey Ghost, was premiered by Richard Kingsmill on Triple J in Australia and added to high rotation on Triple M. 'The Rules of Attraction' was also the feature album on Double J. The album received 4-star reviews from Rolling Stone Magazine, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. The Bamboos followed on from an Australian national tour in June with performances as house band on the ABC TV 'Saturday Night Crack Up' TV Special hosted by Eddie Perfect, and the AFL Grand Final Eve Special Broadcast for Triple M. Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the band (2000–2015), an official birthday show happened on 18 September to coincide with The Northcote Social Club's 10th anniversary. Guests on stage on the night included Remi, Bobby Flynn and previous Bamboos drummer Daniel Farrugia. In October 2015 'The Rules of Attraction' was nominated for an Aria Award in the Best Blues & Roots Album category and The Bamboos were nominated in the 'Best Live Act' category in The Age Music Victoria Awards. In November 2015 a digital compilation album 'The Best of the Tru Thoughts Years' was released to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the band. The compilation comprised 14 tracks drawn from the first five Bamboos albums (released on U.K label Tru Thoughts Records), in addition to three live tracks from the 2007 'Live at No Standing' live album, which was previously available on cassette only. In 2016 the song 'Easy' was nominated in the 'Blues & Roots Work of the Year' category at the APRA Awards.
Following on from the release of ‘The Rules Of Attraction’, the band performed with Tim Rogers through 2016 at events including Mossvale Festival, Perth Festival, Moomba Festival, The Adelaide Croquet Club and Lost Lands Festival. Other live engagements for the year included Blues On Broadbeach, Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and the groups first show in Bali at Ku de Ta. Ferguson spent three months from August to October in his home studio writing what would become the bands 8th studio album, collaborating with Kylie Auldist and other members. The band entered the newly set up Union Street Studio with long-time producer/engineer John Castle in December to record the new material. The 10-year anniversary of Kylie Auldist’s joining The Bamboos was celebrated in 2016 with a special show at Cherry bar and the year was rounded out with performances at Woodford Folk Festival.
With the brand-new album fully recorded, bandleader Lance Ferguson devoted much of 2017 to the recording and release of his solo album ‘Raw Material’. It was expected that The Bamboos 8th studio album would be released n mid/late 2017, but label negotiations and release scheduling issues would force it’s eventual appearance back to the start of 2018, more than a full year after it was finished. Several line-up changes occurred throughout this year, with Tenor Saxophonist Damon Grant joining after Anton Delecca moved to New York to pursue Jazz studies. Keyboardist Luke Saunders also left to move to Sydney, and would be replaced by Daniel Mougerman. Percussionist Phil Binotto joined in 2017 to expand the group to a 9-piece lineup. In November the band released a cover version of The Easybeats hit ‘I’ll Make You Happy’ as part of the Easybeats tribute 'Rebeat' E.P featuring vocalist Montaigne and released by BMG. Through November and December the band presented a 4-week residency at the famed ‘Soul In The Basement’ night at Melbourne’s Cherry Bar. Week one celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the ‘Rawville’ album release with the album played in full. Week two was an all-cover version theme. Week three harked back to early influences with an all-instrumental non-stop segued set, and the final week saw the brand-new unreleased album previewed and played in full.
Night Time People (2018)
On Feb 20th 2018 The Bamboos released their first new original music in nearly three years with the single ‘Lit Up’. The track was mixed by engineering legend Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, Roxy Music, The Cure) and accompanied by a video clip directed by Chris Nelius. Coinciding with the release of the new single, the band secured the opening support slot for U.K Pop star Robbie Williams Heavy Entertainment Show Australian Tour, performing to their largest audiences ever in arena concerts in the countries capital cities. The Bamboos played to 20,000 people on the Geelong leg of the tour, at a record-breaking capacity attendance of A Day On The Green. The Bamboos 8th studio album ‘Night Time People’ was finally released on July 6th on Pacific Theatre and BMG. It contained 11 original songs, with the digital and CD versions including three different versions of the song ‘Broken’ featuring three different guest rappers (Urthboy (Aus), J-Live (U.S) and Teesy (Germany). The remaining songs on the record were performed by Kylie Auldist. Upon release the album debuted at the #1 on the Australian iTunes R&B chart. It received 5 star reviews from U.K’s Daily Mirror and Blues & Soul Magazine. The Age called it “instantly addictive” and Rolling Stone Magazine proclaimed it’s “undeniable Soul charms”. The band embarked on a national Australian tour in August to support the albums release, which included a sold-out show at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne. ‘Night Time People’ would go on to be nominated in the ‘Best R&B/Soul/Gospel Album’ category of the 2018 Music Victoria Awards. Other performances during this year included Sunset Sounds, Gumball Festival, Granite Town Festival and a live performance for International Record Store Day at Northside Records, accompanied by the release of a Limited Edition vinyl 7” single featuring the tracks ‘Golden Ticket’ and ‘Work To Do’ (Live At Cherry Bar).
- Lance Ferguson (Guitar; 2000–present)
- Kylie Auldist (Vocals; 2006–present)
- Graeme Pogson (Drums; 2011–present)
- Yuri Pavlinov (Bass; 2002–present)
- Ross Irwin (Trumpet/Tambourine; 2003–present)
- Phil Noy (Baritone Sax; 2007–present)
- Damon Grant (Tenor Sax/Flute; 2017–present)
- Daniel Mougerman (Hammond Organ; 2017–present)
- Phil Binotto (Percussion; 2017–present)
- Anton Delecca (Tenor Sax/Flute; 2004–2017)
- Luke Saunders (Hammond Organ; 2013–2017)
- Ella Thompson (Vocals; 2012–2014)
- Simon Mavin (Hammond Organ; 2012–2013)
- Ben Grayson (Hammond Organ; 2000–2008, 2011–2012)
- Stevie Hesketh (Hammond Organ; 2009–2010)
- Dustin McLean (Hammond Organ; 2008–2009)
- Bruce Sandell (Tenor Sax/Flute; 2003–2004)
- Danny Farrugia (Drums; 2004–2011)
- Jamie Jones (Drums; 2003–2004)
- Scott Lambie (Drums; 2000–2003)
- Stuart Speed (Bass; 2000–2003)
Awards and nominations
- 2016, Blues & Roots Work of the Year ("Easy") (Nominated)
- 2014, Blues & Roots Work of the Year ("Avenger") (Nominated)
- 2010, Blues & Roots Work of the Year ("I Can't Help Myself") (Nominated)
ARIA Music Awards
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2012||The Bamboos – Medicine Man Tour||Best Australian Live Act||Nominated|
|Medicine Man||Best Independent Release||Nominated|
|Best Urban Album||Nominated|
|2014||Fever in the Road||Best Blues & Roots Album||Nominated|
|2015||The Rules of Attraction||Best Blues & Roots Album||Nominated|
- Age EG Awards
- 2012, Best Song ("I Got Burned") (Nominated)
- Age Music Victoria Awards
- 2018, Best Soul/Funk/R&B/Gospel Album ("Night Time People") (Nominated)
- 2015, Best Live Act (Nominated)
- 2014, Best Soul/Funk/R&B/Gospel Album ("Fever in the Road") (Nominated)
- Australian Music Prize
- 2012, Medicine Man (Shortlisted)
- Step It Up (2006; Tru Thoughts, LP/CD)
- Rawville (2007; Tru Thoughts, LP/CD)
- Side-Stepper (2008; Tru Thoughts, LP/CD)
- 4 (2010; Tru Thoughts, LP/CD)
- Medicine Man (2012; Tru Thoughts, LP/CD) AUS No. 28
- Fever in the Road (2013; Pacific Theatre, LP/CD)
- The Rules of Attraction with Tim Rogers (2015; Atlantic, LP/CD) AUS No. 26
- Night Time People (2018; Pacific Theatre/BMG, LP/CD)
- Live at No Standing (2007; Independent Cassette)
- Listen! Hear!! Live!!! (2008; Tru Thoughts, CD)
- The Best of the Tru Thoughts Years (2015; Tru Thoughts, Digital)
- Live at the Metro (2012; Independent digital EP)
- "Eel Oil"/"Blackfoot" 7" (2001; Bamboo Shack BR-001)
- "Another Day in the Life of Mr Jones" 7" (2003; Tru Thoughts TRU7058)
- "Tighten Up"/"Voodoo Doll" 7" (2004; Kay-Dee KD-002)
- "Step It Up"/"Step It Up" (inst.) 7" (2006; Tru Thoughts TRU7094)
- "Happy"/"Pussy-Footin'" 7" (2006; Tru Thoughts TRU7105)
- "Get in the Scene"/"Get in the Scene" (inst.) 7" (2007; Tru Thoughts TRU7124)
- "Bring It Home"/"Bring It Home" (inst.) 7" (2007; Tru Thoughts TRU7133)
- "I Don't Wanna Stop" (Marc Mac Remix)/"Bring It Home" (Lanu Remix) 12" (2008; Tru Thoughts, TRU7144)
- "King of the Rodeo"/"I Can't Help Myself" 7" (2008; Tru Thoughts, TRU7177)
- "Amen Brother"/"Tears Cried" 7" (2008; Tru Thoughts, TRU7179)
- "Turn It Up" Digital Single (2009; Tru Thoughts, TRUDD012)
- "On the Sly"/"Turn It Up" 12" (2010; Tru Thoughts, TRU211)
- "You Ain't No Good" Digital Single (2010; Tru Thoughts, TRUDD014)
- "The Wilhelm Scream/"Eel Oil" 10th Anniversary 7" (2011; Tru Thoughts, TRU7243)
- "Where Does The Time Go"/"I Got Burned" Digital Single (2012; Tru Thoughts, TRUDD047)
- "I Got Burned" Digital Single (2012; Inertia)
- "I Never" Digital Single (2012; Tru Thoughts, TRUDD054)
- "Midnight" Digital Single (2012; Inertia)
- "Avenger" Digital Single (2013; Pacific Theatre)
- "Rats" 7" (2014; Holiday Revolution)
- "Easy" Digital Single (2015; Atlantic Records)
- "I'll Make You Happy" (ft. Montaigne) Digital Single (2017; BMG)
- "Lit Up" Digital Single (2018; Pacific Theatre/BMG)
- "Golden Ticket"/"Work To Do" (Live At Cherry Bar) 7" (2018; Pacific Theatre/BMG)
- "Broken" Digital Single (2018; Pacific Theatre/BMG)
-  Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- ARIA Music Awards for the Bamboos:
- Search Results 'Bamboos': "Search Results for 'Bamboos'". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- 2012 winners and nominees: "Winners by Year 2012". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 17 December 2015.
- 2014 winners and nominees: "Winners by Year 2014". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 17 December 2015.
- 2015 winners: "And the ARIA Awards Goes to..." Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 27 November 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
- Search for "Bamboos" at australian-charts.com
- "Releases". Lance Ferguson. Retrieved 13 July 2014.