is the brazenly category-defying love child of singer/songwriter Jara Harris, who also happens to play drums, bass, guitar and keyboards extremely well. He’s a Mission Viejo native who has painstakingly nurtured his rainbow-shaded band through the sunniest of times to the pitch-black bleakest. This racially and sexually mixed sextet of funk-rockin’ show-stoppers has morphed through several permutations of membership to arrive - in 2006 - with both the master plan and the master band. The result is Slapbak's latest album, The Key
: 16 tracks of cranium crushing grooves twisted up from the best that soul, metal, hip hop and the elusive "other" have to offer.
Slapbak is lead singer/bassist Jara Harris, rapper/vocalist TJ Quake, co-lead singer Aleida, guitarist Jeff "J-Rok" Harris, drummer M.A.T.T. and turntablist DJ Ruffnek. Jamming in a circle with all members facing each other, they push each other to dizzying heights of intensity. Leader Jara rocks the center, concealed by a cap as he effortlessly sings and serves his bass a serious thumpin'. As an impenetrable cipher, Slapbak hammers out a funk fortified force field that’ll knock the uninitiated to its knees! Speaking after hours from Slapbak's 2nd floor recording/rehearsal studio (a non-descript Santa Ana office space by day), Jara explains, "This band is the key to Slapbak eruptin' up from the underground to a whole `nother level. We're a powerful unit able to unlock the essence from several styles at once. That's why we call this CD The Key." But is the world ready? Jara insists it is. "Rawness - especially in hip hop - is what's happening now. And alternative rock has been flexing an extra funky pocket. So the industry is meeting Slapbak half way - and it's about time."
Old-school ears will perk up like a pit bull's when they hear The Key
’s first single: a funky flip of `70s soul legends War
's iconic classic "Lowrider." Ironically, Earth Wind & Fire
bassist Verdine White - a huge Slapbak fan - was the one who suggested they try it. "I couldn't stop giving him the evil eye at first," Jara admits. "But one day while I was in my car, I got the idea to slow it down. I cut a quick demo and when Quake heard it, he was with it. Aleida added a 'Cruisin' down the streets / Checkin’ out the freaks' hook and Ruffnek threw some tables on it. When we played it for Verdine and our manager Scott, they were beside themselves!" Slapbak also closes The Key
with a cover of Sly & The Family Stone
’s "Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin)," a jam that has been in their show set list since day one.
Slapbak has another surprise in store on the rousing and sexy anthem "California Girls (Dipped in Chocolate)," featuring a guest appearance by new friend and brother-in-funk, Shock G of Digital Underground
. The band had encountered "Digital" many times on the road, beginning in 1997 at the Belly Up club in San Diego . Seven years later, Shock G e-mailed Jara out of the blue and an alliance was formed. The first recorded documentation of this union is on "California Girls." "Shock recorded his vocal in the bathroom," Quake states, "and his rap was off the chain! Even the people in Shock's crew said they've never heard him flow quite like this." D.U.’s Shock G, Money B and Eli grace another song on The Key, too, titled "We Ain’t Playin’ Wid It."
Listen to Slapbak's cover of War's "Lowrider":
| Windows Media
More on Slapbak HERE
, and check out more tracks at Slapbak's MySpace Page: www.myspace.com/slapbak
(Streaming audio and/or video links may expire without notice)