The Band Is Bond’s Freekbass Discusses Their Live Debut and All Things James Bond

Posted on Thursday February 11th in

bond
Ohio funk man Freekbass has teamed up with some of his friends, including Trey Anastasio Band’s Jennifer Hartswick and Nicholas Gerlach, to launch the Band Is Bond, a new collective of musicians playing the music, themes, and soundtracks of James Bond movies. And before they make their live debut at Brooklyn Bowl on February 16, Freekbass discusses his favorite movies, songs, and actors from the Bond franchise with Knockdown Alley.
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Since Dr. No came out more than 50 years ago, James Bond movies have been known for very specific things, including attention-getting theme songs. But then, lots of films have been known for their soundtracks. What drew you to playing the music of James Bond? Both the harmonic structure of all of the songs and the timelessness of them. Whether it be something just released in the last few years, such as Adele’s “Skyfall” theme, or Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” 50 years ago, the majority of these songs don’t sound dated and cross many generations of music and film lovers. Plus, there is a harmonic theme and orchestration that bridge all of the songs together from the ballads to the more rocking songs such as “Live and Let Die.”

What’s your favorite James Bond movie? And what’s your favorite James Bond theme? As far as movies, if you would have asked me this a few years ago I would have said Goldfinger hands down. But after seeing Skyfall a couple of years ago, it’s got to be close. I have always been a Sean Connery guy, but I really dig the darker spin they have put on the franchise with Daniel Craig. As far as my favorite theme, that is really tough because so many are so strong. I guess if I was forced to choose, probably “Live and Let Die.” That is one of those you almost forget it is a Bond theme because it is so identified with Paul McCartney.

And how did this particular lineup of musicians get together? Were you drawn together by your love of all things Bond? Or was it something else? When I thought of the concept for TBIB, I knew to make it work it had to have the right mix of musicians to pull it off. The very first person I called was Jennifer. The majority of the theme songs are by a strong and distinct female vocal, and Jennifer is definitely that. She got it and was onboard so that was the biggest piece of the puzzle to start with. I also know that so many of those soundtracks had such amazing string and synth parts and arrangements, so I called Razor Sharp Johnson from Bootsy’s Rubber Band and P-Funk. Razor is getting ready to start touring with my band, so I asked him at the same time if he would be interested in this project too, and he was onboard. The rest of the musicians are all at the top of their game and could handle this library of songs.
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Some Band Is Bond members have performed here previously. But what is it about playing Brooklyn Bowl that sticks out? I can’t think of a more perfect venue to debut the Band Is Bond. As I mentioned about the Bond music and movies being timeless, Brooklyn Bowl feels very timeless, too. The look and feel of the venue feels like something you would see in a Bond movie, let alone one of the best sound systems out there, so this is going to be great.

Your Brooklyn Bowl performance is the Band Is Bond’s debut appearance. Is this just a onetime thing or a launching pad for more shows? Oh, yeah, this is just the beginning. Everyone tours with their own projects so the idea is to do more targeted club and festival dates. We also plan on recording on album with some original songs with the same sound of the Bond themes. And big picture … who knows … maybe a Bond movie theme?

And what can we expect when you play here on February 16th? This will be a very special night. As I mentioned, it will be the project’s debut. We have put some interesting spins on the songs, and I am sure the energy in the band will be at a high with it being our first performance. Plus, I think Brooklyn Bowl has some very cool things they are doing to tie into the theme of the night.
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