Diversity, Soul, Funk, and Rock: Boku Frequency

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

"Sometimes it's better not to ask." That was the response Boku Frequency's manager gave me when asked why Thomas (Bass, Lead Vocals & Dancer) emerged from a station wagon last New Years that was overflowing with girls. "That's just Thomas, he is the lady's man and lover of the band."

"Fancy Dancer" is just one of many songs that Thomas has written with Boku, and is a great self description. Originally from Chicago, he grew up in a musical family but refuses to name the really famous performers he is related to. He did divulge, after some prodding, that a few family members play in Quincy Jones' managed Side By Side. Thomas grew up singing in his musical family, and has won several dance and singing contests over the years. Today he plays the bass and writes songs about what he knows: lust, love, and his life experiences. The songs, "Straighten It Out", "What You Say" and "Change My Mind" all deal with the trials and tribulations he has faced in his many relationships with the opposite sex. He is the lover of the band.

Terry, or "Red-Eyed-Dread" inserts the funky rock element into Boku playing a natural, clear coated Fender Strat. He is the lead guitar player and keeper of the funky psychedelic riffs that he unleashes on audiences. When he was 11 years old his foster mother gave him a guitar to keep him out of trouble. She was also a gifted music tutor and soon Terry was screaming out the blues and learning how to really play. He listened to Johnny Winter and Jimi Hendrix while cutting his teeth on the riffs and sounds he was trying to swallow. Growing up in St. Paul eventually introduced Red-Eye to the Minneapolis music scene and his band Your Relatives was signed by the Atlanta Record Label Group. After playing with about 15 bands over the years down there he moved to Duluth nine years ago to concentrate on music education. He also wanted to add some diversity to the area and sound.

Education is also what brought versatile drummer Tony Dashiell to the Twin Ports area. He attends classes at UWS and is quickly gaining a reputation around town with his skills and stage demeanor. He twirls his sticks in an aeriel trick show that mesmerizes the audience and adds a little boost to Boku's electric funkadelic stage show. Eventually he's heading to Vegas with his style of fusion jazz and alternative rock to accomplish his lofty professional ambitions. Tony has been with the band for a year and often can't make practices with his busy class schedule. Boku uses "Back-beat" Harris from CTM Productions to practice and fill in on occasion.

Like many bands of the area Boku is enjoying a new recognition of the Duluth music scene. They played the Tap Room (May 6th) for Homegrown to a modest crowd, but those small crowds are a thing of the past. This summer they are sharing the stage with Grandfather of Rock Chuck Berry, Rough-nosed Rockers Foghat, and Wild Thing Tone Loc for the 4th Fest. More information and tickets are available at: www.duluth4thfest.com. There also should be a completed album that will be sold and released at the same show.

For Homegrown Boku was given an unfortunate early time slot, but that didn't discourage the band. On the song, "She's So Fine" Tony showed his flow as a rapper talking about, "All the fine girls on the street..." Red-Eyed-Dread was dressed in tattered jeans and had long dreadlocks that danced along to the beat. He was old school, and the band sounded like if Ike Turner joined with Bootsy and let Keith Moon show off in the back. On the groovy instrumental "Enter The Sun" Dread-Eyed-Dread had a spacey solo. It echoed and the notes were held just long enough before escaping in a quick tapping sound. Red-Eyed-Dread told me that, "when we started playing we played whatever, but doing originals inspires us." Boku is an original funkadelic groove rock band in the Duluth area. They are in the same community as the Black Labels and Flamscheram and will have a song appearing on the local album being done at Dirty Old Town Studios above the Big Lake Bookstore.