TIR 131: Leo Nocentelli Tells How He Funkified the Meters


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott “DR GX” 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 131: A funk guitar giant who was one of the founders of the monumental Meters out of New Orleans — the legendary Leo Nocentelli (via phone). Although the band and its unique gumbo of rhythm and soul never crossed over with monster hits or sold millions of albums, their enduring influence as a touchstone of funk music’s foundation is undeniable.

Starting out in the 1960s as Allen Toussaint’s house band, the Meters released eight studio albums from 1969-1977. They were chockful of predominantly instrumentals that were often extremely catchy and usually supremely funky. Some of the band’s better known songs were “Sophisticated Cissy,” “Cissy Strut,” “Look-Ka Py Py,” “Chicken Strut,” “The World Is a Bit Under the Weather,” “People Say,” “Hey Pocky A-Way,” “Africa,” “Fire on the Bayou” and “Funkify Your Life.”

The Meters were musicians’ musicians and as such backed many of contemporary music’s biggest names in the studio or shared time on stage. That list includes Robert Palmer, Dr. John, Patti LaBelle and in the mid-1970s they were invited guests as opening act for the Rolling Stones. Since breaking up in the late 1970s for the past several decades the band members have performed and recorded together in myriad combinations, as well as worked as ace session players with a who’s who of popular music stars. Some of the other diverse artists Nocentelli has worked with include Otis Redding, Joe Cocker, Etta James, Albert King and Jimmy Buffet.

Nocentelli continues to play with several different bands on a regular basis as well as doing one-offs and making guest appearances. With The Meters having won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 just in the rearview mirror; the comprehensive 6-CD box set, The Meters: Gettin’ Funkier All The Time – The Complete Josie / Reprise & Warner Recordings (1968-1977) just released; and upcoming shows including a June 2020 birthday date with Zapp ahead, Nocentelli shares his fascinating story.



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.