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Downtown Live at the Gazebo: Let’s get Phunky!

Downtown Live at the Gazebo is tomorrow night (Thursday, September 21st) on Virginia Street in Downtown Zachary from 6:30-9:30pm. This free event will include food vendors, an adult beverage tent, face painting, and most importantly live music by The Phunky Monkeys!

Staff writer, Lauren Pope talked to Mike Taylor, who does all the things for the Phunky Monkeys as the owner/manager/lead singer/equipment guy, and got some scoop on the band and what you can expect tomorrow night. 

How did the Phunky Monkeys come together? What’s the story behind the band’s formation?

The drummer and I and one of the lead singers were in another band, and as bands do there were some disagreements. We walked away from the other band and formed this band in 2011. We’re all lifelong musicians, and just wanted to continue doing what we’re doing. We had a vision we wanted to fulfill, and it’s been pretty successful.


What’s the inspiration behind the band’s unique name?

The original name of the band was “Taboo” but it wouldn’t get a great response.  You’d tell people and get just sort of noncommittal shrug.  I knew we needed a name that would get a response. One of the DJ’s at Razzoo’s in New Orleans suggested we use Phunky Monkeys after a YouTube video he just watched. 

How would you describe the musical style of the Phunky Monkeys to someone who’s never heard your music?

We try to please everyone. That’s usually impossible, but we still try. We want everyone who sees us to have something positive. We strive to do every genre: R&B, country, hip hop, 70’s and 80’s, 50’s big band, and even a bit of zydeco. We want to be able to touch everybody and give them all that one song that really excites them.  We’re a cover band, and we want all our songs to sound as authentic as possible. We try to get musicians that can play a variety of styles.

Tell me more about the makeup of the band.

We’ve got a regular backline of bass, guitar, drums plus instrumentalists who play a few different things. So, we have horns, violin, flute, sax and guitar. We have musicians who can put down one instrument and pick up another for the next song.


Which song do you believe best represents the essence of the band and why?

I couldn’t. It would be too much of a disservice. One song would leave out the rest of the show. We can have one song that’s the best for the moment, but then we go on. Might be Callin Baton Rouge one night and an R&B song or something else another.


Do any of you have quirky pre-show rituals or superstitions?

No, because we play every day. We’re not weekend warriors. We are out with each other more than we see our significant others. Just try to get ready for the show.


For tomorrow night’s show, any song from your upcoming song list that you’d like to tease?

Well, we’ll have to do 21st Night of September.  People will enjoy the setlist. We’ve got some R&B, 70’s, funk, line dancing, Whitney Houston, Callin’ Baton Rouge, country, hip hop, pop. Should be a very well-rounded show.   


Final message to fans?

Just come on out and enjoy some really good music. You can dance or just sit in your chair, but either way you’re going to see a quality show with some quality music and just spend 3 hours really enjoying life.


Concert goers are asked to bring a lawn chair or blanket, and please leave ice chests at home. 

Downtown Live would not be possible without the many volunteers, vendors, and sponsors. Thank you all! 

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