An Interview with Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band

Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band was just one of the many acts performing at this year’s first annual Capitol City Carnival. I had a chance to chat with them for a bit inside their hospitality tent. Along with the performing musicians, carny acts, burlesque and freak shows, CCC also offered beer tasting tents from 50 of the countries (and Europe's) best microbreweries. So by the time this interview took place early Saturday evening everyone involved had been enjoying all the fine beer the three day festival had to offer. So I apologize that some of these answers and questions tend to stray way out in left field. I blame my impediment on the Magic Hat # 9.
The Band:
AL- AL (AKA Sweet Nasty) - Bass
Derrick Johnson - Trombone
Grady Gilbert - Guitar
JP Miller- Guitar
Josh Phillips - Vocals,percussion, guitar
Greg Hollowell - Sax

HGMN: So what's new with the Booty Band these days?
AL-AL: A 16 wheeler trailer hit us in New York. It totaled our van and trailer. What else new has happened?
Josh: We have had several new drummers...
AL - AL: Yes. We have new drummers coming in and out.

HGMN: So you still don't have a steady drummer yet?
AL-AL: Nah. Our old drummer quit the band back in August. And there are different reasons why that...
Josh: He retired.
AL-AL: Yeah. He retired.
Josh: He's golf pro now.
(More laughter)

HGMN: How did you come up with the name, Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band?
Josh: Go ahead, AL.
AL-AL: Let's see, Yo Mamma's Big Fat Booty Band...we were in Tokyo...we were with that DJ show, right?
Derrick: That's right.

HGMN: What were you guys going by at that time?
AL-AL: Nothing really. We were just doing open Mic and stuff like that.

HGMN: In Tokyo?
AL-AL: Yeah. We were just up there chillin' and stuff like that. We went to this restaurant...was it a restaurant we went in to?
Derrick: Yeah. It was a restaurant.
Grady: It was a strip bar!
AL-AL: Was it a strip bar?
Josh: No.
AL-AL: It was a porn closet! I Remember. (Laughs) We were trying to think of names of bands and stuff like that. We were doing open Mic and stuff.

HGMN: You were all doing open Mic in Tokyo...
Josh: We actually met in Tokyo. We were on an exchange program with Americore.

HGMN: Oh, ok.
Derek: I love Japanese people. Damn.

HGMN: Can you guys speak Japanese?
AL-AL: Iko do ne.
Greg: Konnichiwa.
Josh: ShiShi-sama
Grady: Toshiba!
Josh: Let's get to the point here!
AL-AL: Oh Yeah. We were thinking of different kinds of band names and stuff like that...
Grady: Toshiba!
AL-AL: Sorry for the ADD interview (laughs). And we were trying to think of band names and we went in to a porn store...
Josh: It turns out that Boo-de in Japanese means Funky. Boo-De Mama, which is Funky Bootie.

HGMN: That's the name of the porn shop?
Josh: No. It's one of the videos. Boo-De Mama.

HGMN: So how many of you actually met in Tokyo?
Josh: There were five of us.
As entertaining as it was I could have easily spent another 20 minutes on how they actually came up with the band's name. I think I was so confused at this point that I just needed to change the subject. I had previously heard two different versions on how they originally came up with the bands name. The story they told me was something toally different. With a little polish they should definitely stick with this version and run with it.

Every band has their favorite cover songs. Is there a song you always wanted to cover but for some reason never got around to doing it?
Josh: I always wanted to cover, (sings) 'In the summertime...'
Greg: I wanna cover Matthew Wielder's 'Ain't nobody gonna break my stride'.
AL-AL: I wanna cover the whole Red Hot Chili Peppers album, Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic.

HGMN: That would be cool. Why don't you guys make that happen?
Josh: We're lazicians.
Derrick: We should make that happen.
AL-AL: Actually, that may be in the works.
Derrick: Stairway to Heaven with a horn section. That would be bad as hell.

HGMN: Are you guys working on any new material?
Josh: Right now we're just in the whole process of kinda going through drummers and not sure who it's going to be - back stepping, teaching our old music but at the same time we're jamming more than we ever have and its kind of opened things up.

HGMN: Do you plan on putting out a live album sometime in the near future?
Josh: Yes.
Derrick: Will it ever happen?
JP: Actually, for a long time that's all we had was live albums cause we kept trying studio stuff and it just all we kept selling our live shows. The next time we got a good live show we got rid of the old one and get the new one and press it. So we sold live shows the first four years of the tour. Now we have an album out, a studio album. I imagine at some point we'll probably put out something else live. Also, the HGMN people were saying that their live albums were selling better than any of their other stuff. They want their live stuff these days.
AL-AL: We'll give them what they want. (Laughs)

HGMN: Let's talk about your studio album. What song are you most proud of and why?
Derek: Time is now.
Josh: I like the song, 'Now you know', which actually the moog company out of Asheville; they're re-doing that and using all moog equipment. It's going to be coming out soon on one of their compilation albums with a bunch of other bands. They're taking all these songs and running every different track through their moog equipment. That's actually my favorite track on our album so that's pretty cool. I'm really looking forward to that.
AL-AL: Time is now. It's just a good mix.
Derrick: It just makes you want to break shit, man.
AL-AL: Its got everything. Its got funk, its got a little bit of rock in it. Yeah, it's just how it's put together. It's put together pretty well.

HGMN: Which of your songs best describes you as a band?
AL-AL: If you wanted to describe bounce music that's the track to describe bounce music.
Josh: We have a hidden track on the CD. It's called, 'I do what I want'. That's my favorite because it's us being totally ridiculous. I don't know if anyone who listens to it appreciates it as much as I do because I was there. I saw it happen and it was just like, uh, us having fun in the studio. I don't hear it as much as I do the other songs, so those token times that I do wind up listening to it...

HGMN: How long did it take you to complete the album?
Josh: Twenty days spread out between three months. Twenty days in the studio. We were touring in between, so...
JP: Its like we're on the road, we come home and go in the studio. We get back on the road, come home and go in the studio and go back on the road.

HGMN: This is a question for AL-AL. Who has been the biggest influence for you? At what point growing up did you realize that you wanted to be a musician?
AL-AL: Flea, from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Whenever I heard the album, What hits!?, I was going through all the different songs they did over the years. That song, uh, that whole album, I heard the bass and that was the instrument I wanted to play. That's the main instrument I really wanted to play. I was playing trumpet at first because at first that's what I really wanted to play. But whenever I heard that I just picked up a bass. That was it. I wanted to be a bass player.

HGMN: What's you favorite album of all time?
AL-AL: I don't know, man. There's a bunch of different genre's I like. Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic is one of my top favorites but I like 'One hot minute', too. I like Jamiroquai's 'Traveling without moving', 'Space Cowboy'...there's a lot of em I like.
Grady: Like a Virgin.
AL-AL: No. Not Like a Virgin.

HGMN: Is anyone here a closet fan of someone? Someone they don't care for anyone else to know about?
Grady: I'm a big 80's music fan. I can't get enough of it.

HGMN: What's your favorite 80's song?
Grady: My favorite 80's song? (Sings) "Hello. Is it me you're looking for...?" Lionel Ritchie. Hello.
Derrick: I'm actually a huge Garth Brooks fan.

HGMN: Really?
Derrick: Yeah.
Greg: Gangster Rap!

HGMN: Who's your favorite Gangster Rap artist?
Greg: Little Wayne, Hurricane Chris...

HGMN: What's yours?
Josh: There's no band I listen to that I'm not proud to listen to. I can honestly say that.
Grady: Seven Mary Three!
Josh: If you want to hear something embarrassing, my first band ever, our first song that we covered...I was fourteen, I think, and we played a middle school dance. Our drummer backed out two days before, so my dad ended up coming and sitting in on drums. It was horrible. Our first song was, uh, (sings) "I have become cumbersome". That was our first song. And the second I started singing it there were all these kids right in the front...they just started giggling and ran back.
Greg: They turned around and walked off.
Josh: It was so embarrassing.

HGMN: What's the craziest thing that's ever happened to you guys as a band?
Grady: We got hit by a fucking 18 wheeler while somebody was sleeping in the back!
AL-AL: One of the craziest moments for me was when we played Shakori Hills Grass Roots festival...and like, we played this song naked. They requested it and you know Shakori Hills is like a family festival but it was three in the if you're up at that time of the night you deserve to see some naked people, right?

HGMN: Of course.
AL-AL: (Laughs) Anyways, besides that point, there were people dancing on stage. There's about thirty people dancing on stage. Everybody was having fun and getting into the music and stuff like that. We played naked...we got to a point where we all got naked. And seriously, there were about seventy people that got butt ass naked! On stage there were girls hula hoopin', cartwheelin' on the stage topless.
Josh: Did you say seventy?!

HGMN: That's what I heard, seventy.
Josh: More like...nine.
(More laughter)
AL-AL: No, no. Nah, dude. It was more than that, man. Freekin' Hollywood was doing back flips. She was doing back flips and shit! She was down there butt ass naked! You were like, "Oh, God!" You can hear it in your, whatever, man. And when you first looked at her you were like, "Oh, God. What have we done?!"
Josh: I say the story that I tell more than any other story, and I think it's amazing, we played this wedding one time, and this is like multiple stories. We played this wedding and we ended up going back to their hotel to party with them that night. Derrick winds up puking all over their hotel room. They're like this newly married couple. We're leaving the hotel and we're like, "Dude, we're leaving!" He's like lying in the little area between the bathroom, the little vanity room. He's laying there in his own puke. (Laughs), "Derrick, we're leaving. You wanna come?" He's like, "Ahhhhh". So we just threw a pillow over his head and we left.
Josh: And then...that same night I wind up getting in a bathtub at like six in the morning and falling asleep. I flooded the whole hotel room. And then AL...we're driving and, uh, AL winds up opening the side of the van, starts peeing out of the van. We're driving down the hwy and he's peeing out of the van! We're going, I think, fifty at that point. And we're like, "Oh my God. It's extreme peeing!" And Greg was like, "No it's not. It's not extreme peeing unless we're going sixty!" And then we were all like, "Crank it up to sixty!" And our tour manager goes to sixty. So not only were we not concerned that the door is wide open on the interstate...
JP: And your bass player's dick's out!
Josh: We were like, "Speed up! Go for it!"
(More laughter)
Josh: That's my most repeated story anyways.

HGMN: That's pretty crazy. You're lucky you didn't get a ticket.
AL-AL: Nope. I did pee on somebody's car once.
JP: A Cop came up and he pissed in his face.
AL-AL: Of course he was pissed off about the urination in the face but I was like, "Do you know who the fuck I am?!" He's like, "Oh, I'm sorry." I love it! When you're in a band it's totally cool.

HGMN: Who was this?
AL-AL: The cop. It's totally cool, man.
JP: The deputy comes up and mumbles something else and AL says, "I can't hear you over my awesomeness!"
Josh: I want you to explain the fact that this is a beer festival.
Greg: Yeah. Maybe in the first sentence.

HGMN: Do you guys have a favorite beer? What's the best tasting beer that you've tried out here?
Josh: I'm going to stick to my local home brew, Asheville Brewing Company. They're definitely my favorite here.