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Greyboy Allstars

On the heels of highly successful reunion tour last year, The Greyboy Allstars met in the studio for the first time in a decade to make What Happened to Television?, which is also the group's first collaboration with DJ Greyboy since their seminal 1995 debut, West Coast Boogaloo.

As on that album, which featured former James Brown musical director Fred Wesley, one hears on What Happened to Television? elements of the old-school funk and soul that have always preoccupied the band's namesake DJ, who returns here as co-producer in addition to performing on a track.

It was as an extension of Greyboy's weekly residency spinning records at San Diego's now defunct Green Circle Bar that the Allstars first formed in 1993-a diversity of emerging independent musicians who coalesced around a scene-defining DJ and his unique ear for music. After a few years in which word of the group-and, soon, the Allstars themselves-made their way around the world, it became clear to Greyboy that he was not interested in the touring life. So, retaining his name and spirit, the band continued on without him, recording and performing together for several more years.

What Happened to Television? reunites Greyboy with the band he and co-founder Karl Denson originally handpicked-Robert Walter (keyboards), Elgin Park (aka Mike Andrews; guitar, vocals), Chris Stillwell (bass, vocals) and Zak Najor (drums, percussion, vocals)-each of whom shared in the album's songwriting responsibilities.

Television was written and recorded in about a week's time, even though all of the writing took place during, rather than before, the group's reunion in the studio. "No one was allowed to bring any ideas that they had in. We had to sit down and all create together," explains Elgin Park.

The album was recorded totally live, without the use of computers. What few edits were made were done by the old-fashioned technique of cutting tape by hand. Capturing the sounds when truly fresh was, in part, a nod to the spontaneous brilliance of the band's shows. But it was more a case of the music simply feeling great to everyone right away that allowed the recording to begin-and be completed-so quickly.

"We were trying to be more composition minded and work on songwriting and song craft," says Walter. "It was possible that we'd go in there and not come up with anything and be sort of stuck with a bunch of material that wasn't really developed. But it flowed." He adds, "The music really is a product of the group," an observation supported by the way the album sounds unlike anything they've done before together, or in any of the band members' divergent solo careers.

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

What Happened to...

Sci Fidelity Records / Knowledge Base
2007

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What Happened to TV?

Sci Fidelity Records / Knowledge Base
2007

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