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.

Jen Durkin toured with Parliament-Funkadelic keyboard-composer legend Bernie Worrell as a member of his Woo Warriors band.

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