When it came time to title their new album, one decision was easy: “This isn’t The Budos Band IV,” proclaims drummer Brian Profilio. “This isn’t just more of the same.” The Budos Band embarked on an experimental journey since the release of The Budos Band III in 2010, seeking inspiration from sources far and wide.
While wizards use books of spells and alchemy to mix their masterful potions, the Budos employ heavy doses of continent-spanning psychedelic rock to beckon the occult and conjure the supernatural. Hence the title of the band’s fourth album: Burnt Offering.
“We made a conscious decision to embark on a new sound,” explains baritone saxophone player Jared Tankel. The heavy, trippy side the group unveiled on The Budos Band III reaches full flower on new tunes like “Aphasia,” “Trouble in the Sticks” and particularly the title track “Burnt Offering.” “We were messing around with an old Binson Echorec at practice one night and this loop emerged,” recalls bassist Dan Foder. The droning fuzz guitar is a call to the gods from below and encapsulates the band’s sonic progression perfectly. “This record is fuzzy, buzzy and raw, and more obviously psychedelic,” adds Profilio.
Like a cratedigger’s classic from a parallel universe, “Tomahawk” melds heavy, distorted guitar riffs with bright blasts of brass and bubbling drums. An eerie, ceremonial vibe awakens the slumbering giant “Into The Fog” and prods it to life.
Driven by melodies, rhythms, and changes that animate muscle and bone to move, yet compel the ear to lean in closer, these full-bodied instrumentals push Budos’ music deeper into new territory.
All lingering traces of touchstones of yore—be they Fela Kuti, Dyke and the Blazers, or Black Sabbath—have been wholly absorbed and filtered through the Budos Band’s ever-evolving aesthetic. “We sound nothing like our first record anymore,” confirms Profilio. Anyone content to just slap the old “Staten Island Afro-soul” tag on Burnt Offering and move on clearly didn’t listen to the music first.
The group composed more than two dozen songs in the course of making Burnt Offering, yet only recorded fifteen, further distilling its essence to ten classic cuts for the full-length release. If a new tune failed to capture the rambunctious energy of their live show, if it revised familiar territory or obvious influences, it got cut. Budos was determined to break new ground. “If any band says that’s easy to do, they’re fooling themselves—and not writing good enough songs,” insists Brenneck.
In order to reach the apex of the mountain, the band had to come together like never before. Always a brotherhood, the time spent writing and recording Burnt Offerings saw changes that many bands would have run from, but for the Budos presented opportunities to hone their craft. “Making this record reaffirmed that we work together really well,” says Profilio.
Burnt Offering breaks from Budos’ earlier records in another significant regard: this is their first album without an outside producer. “We had arrived at a different place sonically and needed see it through completely ourselves,” says Tankel. They still praise Daptone mastermind Gabriel Roth, who worked alongside Brenneck co-producing their first three records, but parting ways at this juncture made sense.
“We know exactly where we’re at,” says Profilio. “We didn’t want to have to explain ourselves if we were in pursuit of a specific sound or vibe.”
“We made the demo that got us picked up by Daptone in my parents’ basement when I was eighteen years old,” Brenneck recalls. “This album is a continuation of that, fifteen years later … with a lot more records under our belts.”
After all that time, Budos has become more than a band—it’s a brotherhood. “This is a real family band,” says Brenneck. “Guys who’ve been making music for a long time, and friendships that run completely parallel to the music.” They still rehearse religiously almost every week, even if some of those rehearsals encompass just as much drinking, socializing, and listening to music as actual practice.
That camaraderie doesn’t evaporate when they put their instruments down. On tour, they hit a brewery or pub for lunch en masse before sound check whenever possible, and like to stir up trouble. There are dust-ups and reconciliations. All that kinship comes to a head when they hit the stage. “We’ve seen some things out there that most bands don’t get a glimpse of these days,” suggests Tankel. “All of that craziness just brings us closer together. We couldn’t shake each other if we tried.”
And capturing the intensity of Budos’ electrifying shows on wax, making the grooves vibrate with excitement, was one of the biggest challenges of Burnt Offering. “We record live to tape, with minimal effects,” Brenneck says. Nowhere to hide, then. The band insisted that each song push the envelope. No room for filler.
The Budos have traveled far and wide—playing across four continents—since the band’s inception. A lifetime of world tours and weekly rehearsals went into the making of Burnt Offering, and the journey is far from over. As long as there are new audiences to thrill and sonic frontiers to explore, they’ll forge ahead. “We haven’t fulfilled our mission,” concludes Profilio. “We’re still very hungry.”
Dave Lombardo (founding member of Slayer):
“Q. What would be some of your main influences today?
A. Lately I’ve been really into all aspects of Funk. The Budos Band etc. I’ve always been into James Brown, but I’ve been listening to him a lot more lately. I’ve also been reaching into my vinyl collection and listening to some of my favorite Punk albums.. Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, Black Flag.”
» MusicLegends.ca February 2014
Sasha Frere-Jones (New Yorker music critic):
“Q. What’s the latest song that super-glued itself in your brain?
A. The Budos Band, “Black Venom”
» Mother Jones, November 2010
“The Budos Band may well be Daptone’s best actual band — all-instrumental and imbued with a sleazy, extra-sinister undertone of gleeful malice (accentuated tonight by scary Halloween-monster masks and nicely undercut by some vicious cowbell), they alone can thrive without an outsized personality at front.”
» The Village Voice, October 2009
“The Budos Band is 12 people who all lock into sync with the military precision of James Brown and Fela Kuti’s tightest ’60s and ’70s ensembles. Like those sprawling units, these Daptone recording artists possess an innate feel for the deepest funk rhythms and the most rousing Afrobeat arrangements. Because they use no vocals, the onus is on the Budos Band’s instrumental prowess. This is primal, percussion-heavy music that’ll make your soul sweat.”
» The Stranger, April 2009
“Coming straight out of Staten Island via Lagos through Addis Ababa with a pit stop somewhere on the Mississippi, the 11-member Budos Band is one of the hottest instrumental Afro-beat-funk-soulsonic orchestras on the scene today… this young group gets a room hopping wherever it plays. The sweat pours from the stage to the dance floor.”
» The Province, April 2009
“L.A. Record: Ever consider a Slayer cover?
Jared Tankel (Budos Band): I’ll tell you what—we actually tried doing Black Sabbath ‘Black Sabbath’ because a lot of us like Sabbath and there’s a metal thread through our tastes. And it was a little weird…”
» L.A. Record, April 2009
“The smooth-groove hypnotic Afro-funk ensemble, which features 12 horn-blowing, gourd-shaking, guitar-picking, bongo-beating musicians in its studio recordings, played its energetic, gravy smothered instrumentals to a crowd of wowed admirers for well over an hour, breaking only long enough to swig Tecate and share expletive-laden tour stories with the crowd in thick Brooklyn accents. If this band was a mattress you could bounce a quarter off of it. They’re that tight.”
» L.A. Examiner, April 2009
“The Budos Band packed the place and their relentless driving afro-beat funk, spearheaded by deft horns, pulsing percussion, and on point rhythm guitar/bass did not disappoint. Though I’ve caught this act before, this was the first time I felt the room becoming so humid with ecstatic dancing that the walls started sweating as much as everyone else. If you’re looking to shake that thing out, trust in Budos to get the job done.
» Short and Sweet NYC, January 2009
“Favorite band to see live twice”
» The Minority Report, January 2009
“With its vintage-sounding blend of horns, hand percussion and Farfisa organ, the Budos Band earns its self-description as the paragon of ‘instrumental Staten Island Afro-soul.’”
» The New York Times, December 2008
“The Budos Band II is a kung fu kick to the ears. The Budos Band have a knack for sounding bigger than life from start to finish.”
» jambands.com, july 2007
“The Budos Band… a 12-piece riot of juicy horns, frenzied drums, psychedelic Farfisa, and fat guitars that whip Afrobeat, Ethiopian, Latin, and funk ingredients into a uniquely danceable mess… brought their instrumental rough-and-tumble to a jubilant, sold-out crowd at Joe’s Pub late one steamy Thursday night last month. The excuse was to celebrate the release of their sophomore effort, Budos II, a hot symphonic platter that mixes such sonic icons as James Brown, Fela Kuti, and Mulatu Astatke with some as-yet-to- be-determined sources found brewing within the island’s “dormant” Phresh Kills Landfill.”
» The Village Voice, September 2007
“The Budos Band’s second album, much like their first one, is practically an archeological dig. They’ve broken down through all the strata of the post-punk/post-disco era to uncover the fertile soil of late 1960s and early 70s Afrofunk and soul-jazz, not to mention funky 70s blaxploitation soundtracks, 60s Now Sound LPs, Ethio-jazz and plain old superbad funk. The end result is something so hip it could kill you in large doses-in the right doses it just plain kills… This is a supremely entertaining record, perfect for dancing, driving or just providing a soundtrack when you want to nod your head in time to something.”
» Pitchforkmedia.com, September 2007
“Here comes The Budos Band, walking off a Staten Island ferry and armed with chops they sharpened after school at a community center. There is no amateurishness here; their instrumentals could’ve been performed in 1970 as much as 2005. The 11-piece ensemble’s eponymous debut album, recorded in just three nights, is one of this year’s best dance records, embodying funk’s best elements and keeping the mind locked in their hands throughout most of its too-brief 37 minutes.”
» Stylusmagazine.com, December 2005
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