Conducted By Donna Rodgers

Dam-Funk," the combination of Damon Riddick's nickname, & funk, the music he loves, is appearing at SXSW 2010, his first. "I have no idea what I am putting in my festival survival kit. I guess I will start thinking about it pretty soon. Maybe somebody will suggest what to put in it. I do know that regardless of what is in that kit, I will be bringing the funk to SXSW this year."

How did you get started?

I started playing in high school, in Pasadena, California, in the days of two-cassette tape players &
Prince, Rush, Todd Rundgren, my favorites. I've kept going and going. I like to use instruments from that period to make my music.

 

Where do you like to play?

Some of my favorite cities are San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles,

Tel Aviv, London, Brussels, and I love Korea & Japan. I like to play indoors & live by "AAA": Accept, Adjust & Adapt. I'm ready for anything.

How do you describe your sound?

It's modern funk.

How did you choose your name?

It's a combination of me -- my nickname -- & my music -- funk.

Growing up, my friends always called out "Dame," although I spell it without the "e" because that's a woman, so the long mark over the "a" is supposed to tell people how to pronounce it. I think a lot of people think I'm saying something else...

 

Funk is in my name because I'm here to represent a style to the fullest, and I'm going to stand for something [specific]. I'm not all over the place with fads, changing what I do every six months or a year. I want to leave a legacy, no fads, no quick here-and-there. This is modern funk that can stand the test and last.

What are your musical influences?


Steve Arrington [of Slave], Prince, Aurra, Todd Rundgren,
Frank Zappa, the original Van Halen, P-Funk & Sly [Stone]] more distantly.

What are your musical guilty pleasures?

Oh, AOR [album-oriented rock), or something like Page [synthpop] or even some of my metal interests, or metal funk stuff, maybe some prog rock.

Beatles or Stones?

Definitely Stones.

Did you have a first celebrity crush?

I'd have to say that's a double-barreled crush, of Pam Grier & Linda Blair, yeah, from 'The Exorcist,' she was pretty scary. Pam Grier was a lasting crush.

What was your scariest/creepiest/strangest experience while on tour?

Everything's really been great, everything's been cool so far. The truth is, when I travel, I am always on my best behavior. I'm aware of my moves, & I try not to get into situations that are risky. I stay close to the hotel, play my music, interact with my fans, but I haven't had any of those [scary moments]. Guess I'm lucky.

What's next?

After SXSW, I'm going on another European tour in April. I'm going to Moscow, Croatia, Japan, Australia. Then I am heading off to South America, very cool. Wherever I go, I am spreading the music & the funk, sometimes in places it's never gone before.

 

So many of the greatest funk musicians didn't have the chance to take their music to the world, and I'm dedicating part of what I do in their honor and memory.