Yo! What’s happening MD readers! I’ve been a Modern Drummer reader since 1995. My name is Lee Allen and I’ve been recording and touring with the funk band Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band from Asheville, NC since 2009. We recently released our fourth studio record Funk Life, and this album is straight up funk at its finest.
I’ve always been a fan of funk and soul. At a young age, I started playing drums along to my dad’s record collection, which included Tower of Power, Chicago, Herbie Hancock, Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Miles, and more. As a teenager, I got into the rock scene and loved playing along to Tool, Sevendust, Metallica, and Dream Theater albums.
I went to school at Berklee College of Music in Boston, which opened my eyes and ears to so many new styles and types of music and greatly expanded my musical palate and vocabulary. My experience has taught me that there’s something to learn from every genre and to pay attention to what other musicians are doing; their approach can teach you something that adds to the music you make. So be ready to absorb anything and everything you can in order to keep adding depth to your playing.
Since joining Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, I’ve toured through forty-nine of the fifty US states and hope to bring the funk oversees soon. The Booty Band has shared stages with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins, Galactic, Dumpstaphunk, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and more. We’ve played nationally recognized music festivals including Telluride Blues and Brews Festival, Wakarusa, Jam Cruise, Floyd Fest, Bear Creek, Hullaween, Center of the Universe Festival, Jazz Aspen, and Belle Chere in Asheville, NC.
I’m currently endorsing Anchor Drums from Raleigh, NC (anchordrums.com) and Humes and Berg Cases. My setup is 20×22 bass drum, 6×10 and 6×12 rack toms, 14×14 and 16×16 floor toms, a 6×13 main snare and 6×10 aux snare, along with a Roland SPD-S sampler with a trigger on the kick. I’m currently using a mixture of Istanbul and Zildjian cymbals.
Listen to “Funk Life” here: bootyband.com.