Dap-Kings guitar ace Thomas Brenneck - also frontman for the Menahan Street Band, whose debut album, Make The Road By Walking (Dunham/Daptone), has just been released - joins the Dap-Kings in backing Sharon Jones at Guvernment (132 Queens Quay East) Wednesday (October 29).
Why did it take you three years to finish Make The Road By Walking?
The whole thing was recorded and mixed with no budget in my bedroom in whatever spare time I had between tours with Sharon Jones, Amy Winehouse and the Budos Band. I started by putting down some demos using a Radio Shack tape deck. Then I called up my musician friends in Brooklyn and put a rhythm section together with whoever happened to be available.
One of the best songs you've ever cut with your Menahan crew is Charles Bradley's The World (Is Going Up In Flames). Why isn't it on the album?
That's probably the record I'm most proud of having made. It'll be on Charles Bradley's album, which will be the next major release on Dunham. He's a construction worker from Bushwick who's been singing at a monthly James Brown tribute night at a bar in Queens. He's got this great song about Barack Obama in the style of Curtis Mayfield's We're A Winner called At Last Victory Has Come. We're just hoping he wins the election.
How did Make The Road By Walking end up being sampled by Diddy for Jay-Z's Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)?
A production team called the Hitmen, who work for Diddy, went to Big City Records in New York looking for records to sample. The owner of the store is a Menahan Street Band fan so he slipped our single in the pile of records he pulled for them. It was a crazy situation, not only having something I recorded in my bedroom being used in Jay-Z's next single, but having to approve Jay-Z's lyrics as part of the clearance requirements.
Will there ever be another Amy Winehouse album recorded by the Dap-Kings?
I wish we could do another one because she's one of the greatest artists we've ever worked with. When we were working with her, she was healthy and singing her ass off, but that was before she got married. The last project we were supposed to do with Amy was the theme for the new James Bond movie. Mark Ronson brought us to London but he couldn't get Amy to sober up enough to write a single line, let alone sing. I'd say it's unlikely that we'll be working on her next album.
Make The Road By Walking (Menahan Street Band)