[Excerpt from the de-funked Wikipedia article ] Urban Family Dog (UFD) was an 8-piece American retro funk rock ensemble and horn sectionformed in Los Angeles, California, in 1994. The band’s final line-up was Keri Johnson (vocals), Josh Geller (guitar), Charles Chastain (bass), Nels Dielman (Drums), Steve Stassi (Trumpet), Mike Rotondi (Trumpet), Matt Lilley (Sax) and Bob Harrington (Bass Bone). Their musical style fused traditional funk with elements of other genres including hip hop, rap and progressive rock.
Nearly all of UFD’s eight members grew up in the LA basin (from Simi Valley to Ladera Heights), and the wide range in their personal backgrounds and interests made UFD a quintessential L.A. band following the footsteps of The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Living Colour. UFD’s music has a subtle message promoting unity through diversity, which is exemplified by the varying background of its members and the unique, cohesive sound they produce together. Vocalist Keri Johnson grew up in a middle-class African-American household; Bassist Charles Chastain squatted for an entire year in a vacant house in the South Bay recording music with a friend who’s now a CHP officer. Saxophonist Matt Lilley graduated from bothHamilton High and Cal State Northridge music programs. Guitarist Josh Geller got his first guitar as a Bar Mitzvah present and took lessons at McCabe’s throughout high school, while Drummer Nels Dielman grew up in rural Baker City, Oregon before attending Musicians Institute in Hollywood and Berklee in Boston.
One of the unique features of UFD’s groove is the upside-down relation of the guitar and bass. Chastain’s funk-filled slap bass is extremely busy and rhythmic, while Geller’s open, syncopated guitar parts tend to weave around the grooves. UFD’s horn section, known as the K-9 Brass, played film-score motifs and jazzy, open solos.
UFD’s third CD, 3-Finger Charlie, named in tribute to bass player Charles Chastain (who attended Grove School of Music) is a reference to his grisly encounter with a Skilsaw November 2001 and his subsequent recovery. Chastain successfully duplicated all the parts originally recorded with four fingers with only three functional digits in subsequent live performances. 3-Finger Charlie was produced, engineered, and mixed by drummer Nels Dielman and was recorded entirely in the band’s studio in Westchester, CA. Dielman, an award-winning art director, featured in Kevin Roberts books Lovemarks and SISOMO for his Lexus IS Mosaic project, also designed and produced all the album artwork.