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  • Break It Down: Bosco Mann of The Dap-Kings

    Fri, 12 Oct 2007 09:22:24

    Break It Down: Bosco Mann of The Dap-Kings - A soul music believer on Brooklyn hideouts, Smokey Robinson and hatchet-throwing

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    As indicated by the comet-like ascension of UK singer Amy Winehouse as well as burgeoning acts like Ryan Shaw, vintage soul sounds are back in demand. Brooklyn-based band The Dap-Kings were the backing band on Winehouse's hit single "Rehab," and as the house band for Daptone Records, they've been quietly sowing the seeds of a soul revolution.

    "Daptone recording artists are soul excitement!" is how the tagline goes, and The Dap-Kings are an eight-piece, swingin' soul machine lead by bassist Bosco Mann. The 'Kings have recently entered the limelight once again as the musical engine behind old-school soul singer Sharon Jones on the new album, 100 Days, 100 Nights, which sounds so classic it could have stepped straight out of the 1960s.

    We traded emails with Mann, a co-owner of Daptone Records, to find out what makes him tick—or at least what keeps him going. His love of soul was no surprise, but his hatchet skills were unexpected....

    What have you been listening to lately?

    Lots of gospel, R&B and soul records from before I was born, rough mixes of Naomi Shelton and the Menahan Street Band albums, and my phone ringing.

    Where are you currently living, and what's the best place to hang out in your neighborhood?

    I live in Brooklyn. I don't hang out that much, but when I do, the Lucky Cat on Grand Street is kind of our Daptone family dive.

    When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    A math teacher.

    What's the most dramatic thing you ever did to save money as a starving musician?

    Toured Europe with Antibalas without any hotels—just tried to hook something up every night. It was pretty rough. Ended up sleeping backstage at a few clubs. A lot of floors.

    Tell us one of your favorite song lyrics in the whole wide world?

    I don't like you / but I love you—Smokey Robinson

    What's your most cherished musical instrument, paraphernalia, or accessory?

    Black Beauty—a beautiful wooden tambourine that was handed down to me by my uncle Steve. It put magic on many, many, many records that were previously un-magical.

    If you could change one thing about the music industry today what would it be?

    One thing? That's hard. I'd change everything except the record stores, the LP's, the 45's and the musicians.

    What's the craziest thing you've seen a fan do at one of your shows?

    Sit down.

    What never goes out of style?

    Blue jeans, breath mints and the Undertaker.

    Do you have secret skills we should know about?

    I can throw the shit out of a hatchet.

    What's your favorite drink?

    Bustelo Cool.

    What was the first song you would (or have) played for your newborn child?

    Aphrodite's Wish by Chuck Gordon.

    What has been your sweetest victory to date?

    Selling out the Apollo with Sharon.

    —The ARTISTdirect Staff

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