TIR 68: Durkin Dishes on Deep Banana Blackout’s Fruitful Funk


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on THE ONE: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in TIR Episode 68 (two segments): One of the funkiest, most soulful, sassy, sexy, sultry and straight-out badass female singers of the post-1980s era — the sensational Jennifer Durkin. While TIR does not generally get caught up on racial matters it would be remiss not to express that Jen Durkin is quite possibly the most authentic-sounding white female funk and soul vocalist since the late, great Teena Marie. Best known for her recording and extensive touring with one of the principal bands that kept funk alive in the 1990s — Deep Banana Blackout — Durkin has also led and been featured in several other groups. And she has shared the stage and performed with some of the most celebrated funk and rock musicians, including touring with Bernie Worrell and playing with Fred Wesley, Clyde Stubblefield, George Porter Jr., as well as other P-Funk and Grateful Dead alumni.

Drawing on influences like Funkadelic, Tower of Power, The Meters and Led Zeppelin, Deep Banana Blackout emerged in 1995 and went on to release four albums (one studio record and three live sets) featuring primarily original compositions, the final one coming in 2002. Where they really made an impact was on the road where they developed a faithful nationwide following. As far as what was released, nothing hit harder than DBB’s 1998 live double CD Rowdy Duty. That fantastic set’s catchy sing-songy “Bump and Sway,” swinging and seductive “Breakfast at Volo’s,” James Brown-inspired “Get’chall in the Mood,” rhythmically rocking “Take the Time,” P-Funk tip of the hat “Pure Gravy” and Headhunters cover “God Made Me Funky” were among the decade’s prime funk highlights.

In this in-depth interview, the charming and humble Durkin reveals her remarkable 25-year career replete with thrills, spills, chills and daffodils. In addition to getting deep with Deep Banana Blackout, she reminisces about her wondrous time with keyboarding legend Worrell, the ups and downs of dealing with Deadheads, coping with the rigors of the road and music industry in general, her weakness for drummers, winning an American Music Award, and continuing to plug away with multiple projects today.

Time to get down to it with a very special vocalist who has more chops than a karate master!

Recorded October 2018


Scott Goldfine

As a fervid lifelong music & film enthusiast / student, I grew up in and around the Los Angeles entertainment industry. I have worked and held many positions in various media realms, since 1998 serving as Editor-in-Chief and now Associate Publisher for Security Sales & Integration, a trade publication serving the electronic security industry. I love several genres of music & film. The former includes funk (Parliament-Funkadelic, Prince, Ohio Players, etc.); blues (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Eric Gales, etc.); rock (Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, etc.); hard rock (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc.); jazz (Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Crusaders, etc.); R&B (Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Gil Scott-Heron, etc.); and more. I was a club disc jockey and ran a mobile DJ company (Musical Moods) for more than 15 years, which is where the name Dr. GX originates (Doctor Good Times). Fave film genres include horror (Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.); science fiction (Aliens, Terminator, 2001, etc.); action (Warriors, Road Warrior, Die Hard); westerns (Outlaw Josey Wales, Showdown at OK Corral; Wild Bunch, etc.); suspense (Jaws, Inception, Silence of the Lambs, etc.); drama (Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, etc.); and comedies (Life of Brian, Superbad, Ruthless People, etc.). I have attended many hundreds of concerts and movies (in theaters or screenings). I may as well also throw in a few favorite TV shows to give an even broader taste of my sensibilities. A handful would be Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Lost, Justified, Fargo, Seinfeld, Sopranos, South Park, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Key & Peele, Monty Python, Inside Amy Schumer, Louie, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Last Man on Earth, Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family and The Office. Fave authors are Stephen King, Clive Barker and Michael Crichton. I am also a big sports fan and lifelong supporter of the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB). Also enjoy my family of course, electronics/computers/AV gear, and animals, nature and outdoor activities. Graduate of Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica College and California State University Northridge (Radio-TV-Film, Psychology minor). Also studied at UCLA for kinesiology/psychology and earned post-grad Certificate in Accounting from Santa Monica College. Present main occupation is as Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Security Sales & Integration (SSI), which I joined in 1998. I am responsible for overseeing all editorial content in print. online, electronic, in-person and any other media or products for the electronic security industry's leading business-to-business trade publication. SSI is part of Framingham, Mass.-based Emerald Expositions.