Interview: Ladi Kolsky of Fatty Lumpkin

PTV talks to the burgeoning blues-rock band's guitarist, prior to January 26th's Rock Café show

Influenced by Hendrix, Pharaoh Sanders, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Motown and progressive jazz rock units like Coliseum, Fatty Lumpkin is one of the Czech Republic's most visible and exciting contemporary blues-rock units.

Featuring Glaswegian singer/saxophonist Lord Nelson, Londoner Joe Cooper on bass, Czech guitarist Ladi Kolsky, and Israeli-born drummer Uria Kormerchero, the band released their debut CD in autumn 2005.

This self-titled effort showcases Fatty Lumpkin's ability to combine Nelson's soul-jazz, Cooper's funk, Kolsky's unique, bluesy proto-metal/psych prowess, and Kormerchero's adept drumming. The result is a heady jazz-rock-blues-funk-R&B brew.

The band's regular live appearances around the Czech Republic have built them a strong following. Their January 26th concert will celebrate the release of a DVD documenting their live shows and the launch party for their Winter 2006 national tour.

We met Ladi Kolsky to discuss Fatty Lumpkin and also his unique musical experiences in the US South.

Darrell Jónsson: Can you tell us something about your current lineup.

Ladi Kolsky: To start, Lord Nelson is likely the most dedicated and musical person I know. He lives to sing and play sax. Even though he has never been to a conservatory, he knows theory. He is a very talented guy.

He is from Scotland but I don't know what influences he brings from there except that he is very jazzy. He is like having two people in the band working as a singer and a sax player. He has a distinct singing style which I like.

Our bass player Joe is completely English. A completely English musical view, English thinking. If you listen to our recordings you would definitely say this guy is from London. He has a James Brown-influenced 70s funk style, and is a very big fan of Jack Bruce. Basically, Joe is our funky man, Nelson is completely jazzy and I can say I play rock 'n' roll.

DJ: How about your drummer Uria?

LK: He is a very good guy for tempo. At the same time he is not the sort of drummer that sticks to the beat and loses his heart in the process. Uria has both tempo and heart. Add it all up and that is Fatty Lumpkin.

I'm a 60s/70s-style guitar player. I like Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Cream and [CZ guitar god] Radim Hladík. But I never tried to copy them. Instead I was always just taking the best general idea and feeling from each guitar player, and taking it from there. It was just better to improv along with them instead of just copying their guitar solos.

DJ: In 1997 your band was invited by jazz bassist Stanley Clarke's manager to go to the US. Can you tell us something about that experience?

LK: The band I was in then fell apart, our singer was getting a divorce, and the whole band was falling apart. So I quit the band and went to the US without even a guitar.

DJ: Did you have any contacts to work with?

LK: Well, yeah I had some connections for jam sessions, and I started playing around, and did some work to get some money to buy a guitar. Then I started playing with some bands in Florida, and finally joined the Anthony Wild Band. It was kind of funny because they were all in their 50s and I was 25. They were a well known roadhouse and concert band and we also opened for a few acts at festivals like Lynyrd Skynyrd. They didn't ever ask me ever to play exact solos or parts though. So it was a perfect place to do what I'd done in my youth - just playing [freely] along with the vinyl. It was cool.

DJ: So you were able to learn a few things in the US that you may not have in the Czech Republic?

LK: Well, I met a lot of musicians and recorded with Stanley Clarke in his studio, and played with a band at Ozziefest. So definitely, I returned three years ago and I'm still living with, and trying to use the experience, both with music and how I survive and operate as a musician.

DJ: Czech musicians and groups are certainly doing innovative things with music, yet the general perception seems to be that Czech musicians and groups never really do anything new. Why do think this is?

LK: We have lots of good Czech musicians. The problem is one of a lack of dedication, and the forces that break bands down. So there are not so many established bands. People might be in 50 bands or projects that are always falling apart, so it's hard to find them. It's a bit like Czech business - we don't have many old, established [world recognized] businesses yet either.

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"It's so great that you are making such wonderful music. I listen to your cd all the time. I hope one day you will make it back to Daytona Beach, Florida. Share your music with the world."
Mary Elisha
August 20th, 2006

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