As we were getting settled in for a nice chat before their recent show at the Bowery Ballroom, The Pimps of Joytime bandleader Brian J, being the ever-gracious host that he is, offered me a beverage. Upon grabbing a beer, he opened it in the most peculiar way. As many of us have done in situations without a bottle opener, a lighter is typically used, but much to my amazement I see a bottle of water used to pop the top. While asking what other tricks he has learned in his travels, instead of answering, he smiles demurely, hands me the bottle and asks that we get down to business.

Having a worldly vibe to their music, The Pimps boast many different styles in their playing, ranging from rock to electronica, and afrobeat to salsa.  This can be attributed to Brian spending time growing up and living in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans – hotbeds of music in each and every one of their own right.  Since the release of the group’s latest album, Janxta Funk, back in 2011, the band has been touring vigorously – playing upwards of 100+ shows a year. With a super tight touring schedule, I had to find out if there has been any time to work on anything new. “We have been working on some new material, but most is not ready for the prime time just yet”, says Mista J, “Once summer ends, we are taking some time off to concentrate on creating some new stuff.” With all this touring, there have been some great opportunities to work with some heavy hitters of the scene, including various members of the Neville family and Ron Ayers. I asked how it was working with musicians of such high caliber; Brian has only the upmost respect for them, and spoke of how “great of an opportunity it was to work with them”. He was especially proud of his experience collaborating with Cyril Neville, and had an amazing time working with him in the studio while producing his album Brand New Blues.

Circling back to this summer, Brian mentions “Being from the east coast, we are still new to the whole festival scene.”  This comment had me a little curious, since I saw them perform at Camp Bisco last year. After inquiring about that experience, Mista J said it is was funny I brought that show up. As he went on to explain, this was their first set that almost was not. Due to all the festival-goers eager to get in, there was “massive traffic and we had some issues getting to the artist entrance.” Brian and the gang were trying to go around the line when a police officer stopped them. After explaining the circumstances, the officer went on to say something like, “You don’t follow me! Follow me?” Still a bit confused, they followed the cruiser right to the artist’s entrance. As they had already missed their sound check, and it was almost time to perform, there was just enough time to park and jump right on stage. The band has yet to miss a performance, but admittedly learned a valuable lesson about working at a festival that day.

Speaking of festivals, we started to chat about the upcoming Equifunk V Festival in the Poconos on August 17th-19th, which The Pimps of Joytime will be playing.  The lineup features Galactic, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, SuckerPunch (ft. Marc Brownstein, Aron Magner, Jamie Shields, Mike Greenfield), Orgone, Bustle in Your Hedgerow (Benevento, Russo, Dreiwitz, Metzger), and The Main Squeeze, among many others.  Being an All-Inclusive event at an actual summer camp, and having already performed with many of the announced acts, there was quite a bit of enthusiasm about the upcoming event.  As we were discussing the activities that will be taking place around the summer camp, which will be converted to festival grounds (such as the epic pool parties, volleyball, basketball, and a huge field that Ultimate Frisbee can be played on), he did ask if there are ping pong tables, as “I am an unstoppable force once I am warmed up”.  Hmmm….a ping-pong tournament, perhaps?  Now, that sounds like summer camp.

Being that Brian J has worked with Cyril and Art Neville in the past, and Ivan Neville will be co-headlining Equifunk, I asked if there were any possibilities of a special guest sit-in between bands.  Staying ever-mysterious, Brian simply replied, “You never know, anything is possible”.  I guess we will just have to wait and see.  Equifunk has been known to have some pretty incredible sit-ins over the last couple of years; this year will be no different.  Which artists will be sitting in with each other is anybody’s guess; but rest assured, we promise that there are some surprises in store for you.

-Justin Maron

To check out music, tour dates, and other information for the Pimps of Joytime, click here:

For more information on the Equifunk V Music Festival, check out L4LM’s article here:

To purchase tickets to the upcoming All-Inclusive Equifunk Music Festival, click here:

Use discount code: L4LM for a $25 Discount on Tickets