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The Funky Knights

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Randy Pratt of the Funky Knights from 2010

When last we caught up with you, you had been recovering from a traffic accident. You were able to play again, but with some accommodations. Have you continued to improve since then?

I hope that I'm improving all the time. I've gotten used to the deformity and I switched back to a 34"scale, four string bass, so I'm a completely different character now, anyway. Thanks for asking.


You were with the Lizards when we last interviewed you. What happened to that band?

We've splintered into different projects, but we're still close. We're actually finishing a new CD now.


You also mentioned a third Star People disc that might be released down the road (and a graphic novel) - any further news on that front?

The guitarist, Bob Dean, who moved to Florida, may be coming to New York  soon, so we're going to finish the 3rd CD, which is already about 75 percent done. I don't know if you were aware, but the 2 singers from Star People and I are 3/5 of The Funky Knights, though it would be difficult for two bands to be more different. The Lizards and Star People are "recording only" projects now. The Funky Knights rule my world.


So, tell us about Funky Knights. How did you hook up with that group?

The Funky Knights lorded over the NYC bar scene from 1988 - 1994. We played 1000 sets during that period and got as tight as only that much work can get you. We had a big following. We've reunited after not playing together for almost 20 years and it feels like we never quit!


How would you describe the sound of the group?

Like Sam Kinison fronting K.C. and the Sunshine Band. A disco-blues fusion with a raunchy sense of humor. Like Little Feat meets Barry White, if you can picture that.


Where did the name come from - any special meaning beyond the obvious?

I worked in a comic book store in the 80s and on a slow day a friend and I designed a poster titled "The Funky Knights and the 10 laws of the new round table". It is, perhaps, too x-rated to quote here, but I thought it was so funny that I started to imagine a real band of that name that could live up to the bawdy attitude. Have you ever heard of "Blow Fly"? He was a role model for the band.


What's ahead for you?

We've already practically finished our 2nd and 3rd CDs! We need to find some bars where we can let it all hang out and do our "Dance all night" wild parties that we are famous for. We're adjusting to doing concerts, which we didn't really get to do much in the old days. We're trying to learn to behave ourselves, which isn't easy!


If you were a superhero what music person would be your archnemesis and why?

Lou Reed annoys me. I wouldn't mind doing battle with him in the streets of New York. He's pompous and gets far more credit than he deserves. Maybe Puff Daddy, the "crap pimp". I may have to clean up a bunch of musical a**holes...what's my super power?


If you were to assemble the ultimate band, who would be in it?

Tom Jones  and Rachel Stavish(Sharks) on vocals, Jimmy Nolen (James Brown, r.i.p.) guitar, Mel Galley(Whitesnake, Trapeze, r.i.p) guitar and bass when I play harp. Paul Gifford(Funky Knights) drums, vocals, Bernie Worrel,(Parliament) keys and yours truly on bass and harp. I'm ready, let's raise the dead and go!


If you were in charge of putting together a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view, what artists would be playing?

Early 70s versions of James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Trapeze, Ohio Players, Little Feat, Stray Dog, Captain Beyond and Al Green, Mob Rules era Black Sabbath, Point of Entry era Judas Priest, 1971 era Humble Pie with Frampton,  1968 Doors, 1969 era King Crimson and Cactus and The Rat Pack!...  ticket price, $5.50. (I may design a poster for that festival) Now, you get Madonna for $500.


What was the last CD you bought or what have you been listening to lately?

Tony Bennett's new one.


How about the last concert you caught for your own enjoyment?

We opened for Leon Russell and I watched his set...super cool.


Any closing thoughts for the readers?

The Funky Knights are a genre defying band with a complex image...potty mouthed sex maniacs one moment, darkly romantic the next, with a front man who can pull it off. It's humor that challenges you. Good songs and harmonies. Give us a chance, we'll make you dance!

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 3 at
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