Their spring gig at Chichester’s Chichester Inn was such a success that Brother Strut are back for a double dose.
They play the West Street venue on Friday, November 28 at 8.30pm and return again at the same time on Saturday, November 29.
The band was formed by producer and sax player Steve Jones who was driven solely by his love of funk, blues and, in particular, American soul music of the 1960s and 70s.
But they’ve been spreading the word by the most up-to-date of methods, as Steve explains: “I promote our gigs through Facebook, through people living within 25 miles of where we are playing who have an interest in soul and funk. The great thing about advertising through Facebook is that you can be really specific and that you can start to notice and predict patterns.
“In a dying industry in terms of record sales, it is getting harder and harder to make any money, so really these days you have got to be a bit of an entrepreneur. You have to be prepared to be constantly making content and videos and marketing them to people. It means that you can do all that sort of thing on your own without agents or whatever, providing it is on a smallish scale. But actually our gigs are getting bigger and bigger. Chichester is the smallest one that we do. The average gig is about 200-300 people. I am hoping that for the next tour, we will get a bit more of a hand with all that side of it. You can’t forget that we have also got to be making and producing music. But really the live stuff for me is what it is all about anyway. That’s what we enjoy most.”
The band’s first gig was a year ago, and oddly, that’s when the band was all together for the first time.
“I just wanted to form a band for people that love funk and soul music. I was in a period when I was just pitching songs for other people, and I wasn’t really enjoying what I was doing. I wanted to do something that would make me happy and be surrounded by other people that loved that kind of music. I knew some of the guys and I also knew of some of the others. I decided that we would get some sessions together for what later became the album.
“I filmed all the recording sessions, and I put the filming together. I was promoting these videos. We used lots of different studios, but it looked like we were all at the same sessions when a lot of the time we weren’t. The first gig was actually the first time we were all together. Since then, we have all become good friends. But I had gone to meet everyone for quite a while beforehand just to make sure that it would all work and that we would all get on.”
As for the attraction of the music, Steve admits it’s difficult to put into words: “But certainly, rhythmically there are the elements of funk that I love, music that has got a groove, where there is no overplaying, where you are all together and there is an empathy for what you are all doing. Jazz is much more about the individual. This is much more about being together and being sympathetic to each other’s playing. There is just something about the music for me. That’s what soul music is about, I think.”
Steve is joined by Steve Pearce (bass), Frank Tontoh (drums), Otha Smith (guitar) and Sam Tanner (piano/vocals), a line-up that has played on numerous hit singles and albums and worked with artists from Stevie Wonder to Van Morrison, from Elton John to Amy Winehouse.