rouble Funk, a musical group born on the streets of Washington, D.C., is synonymous with the emergence of the non-stop, percussion-driven, best seen live, experience the party, audience participatory call and response, grassroots, homegrown music called Go-Go. For the past 30 years, these worldwide ambassadors of THE musical genre Go-Go—a distant but older cousin of Hip-Hop—have taken its sound from the gritty streets of D.C. to the clubs of the nation, and on to music festivals around the world.
Ambassadors of Go-Go
The band and their sound—developed by mixing an uproarious blend of swinging, up-tempo 70’s funk with a 60’s style horn section, heavily laden with infectious percussion, topped off with booming vocals and the genre’s trademark call and response—burst onto the music scene in 1978. Their original writing team includes bandleader, bassist, and vocalist Tony “Big Tony” Fisher, keyboardists Robert “Syke Dyke” Reed and James Avery, and trumpet player Taylor Reed.
Most recently, Big Tony and Trouble Funk were featured in the HBO series “Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways.”
Trouble Funk, with their raw, party-driven style, captured the attention of music enthusiasts of a variety of genres and catapulted onto the national and international music scene. They frequently toured with notable punk rock acts Minor Threat and the Big Boys while gracing the stage on major music festivals with legendary artists Curtis Mayfield, Parliament Funkadelic, Red Hot Chili Peppers, UB40, Def Leppard, and Fishbone, to name a few. The band also recorded with Kurtis Blow and appeared in his video, “I’m Chillin.”
From 1986 to 1988, Trouble Funk toured extensively throughout the United States, playing legendary venues such as Madison Square Garden and the Apollo Theatre and on worldwide stages with multiple stops in Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Spain, Nice, Denmark, Germany, and Japan. A stop in Switzerland included a performance at the highly regarded Montreux Jazz Festival. In 1994 Trouble Funk returned to Japan for an extended tour.
Today, Trouble Funk still tours frequently, playing a variety of festivals while their music has been kept relevant through sampling. “Pump Me Up” is one of the most sampled tracks of all time, appearing in more than 70 songs by various artists including Will Smith, Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five, M/A/R/R/S, Guy, Public Enemy, 2 Live Crew, George Clinton, Vanilla Ice, EPMD, Run-DMC, George Michael and Black “Pump Me Up” is also featured in Style Wars and the fictional R&B radio station WildStyle in the game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Most recently, Big Tony and Trouble Funk were featured in the HBO series Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways where Dave Grohl reveals that Trouble Funk was a big influence on his musical career. In fact, so much so that Dave asked Trouble to appear on stage with Foo Fighters and other notables for the 4th of July Celebration Concert in Washington, DC’s RFK Stadium.