The Drew Schultz Funk Machine is a band of soul torchbearers, carrying on the legacy from the legends of Motown and classic R&B. Founded in 2006 as the Rhythm and Blues ensemble at New York University, the group has gone on to perform and record with some of the largest names in soul including the Four Tops, Funk Brothers, Dennis Coffey, James Jamerson Jr, and more. "THE DOVETAIL TAPES" are the first live recordings released by the band, who backed countless Motown and R&B legends on Drew's debut album, "Back To Class."
The group was founded by drummer/writer/producer Drew Schultz, who learned the ins and outs of soul music under the mentorship of Funk Brothers drummer Uriel Jones and original Earth, Wind, & Fire member Ralph Johnson. Schultz earned his stripes in the industry during a five year stint playing drums and percussion on the road with legendary Motown groups the Four Tops and Temptations. He has also appeared on stage backing up Aretha Franklin, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Miracles, The Dramatics, The Contours, Freda Payne, Harold Melvin's Blue Notes, The Velvelettes, Wayne Kramer of MC5, and Mary Wilson of the Supremes. As a journalist he has written for Modern Drummer Magazine, and he worked at Universal/Motown as a pre-production engineer on projects by the Jackson 5, David Ruffin and Jimmy Ruffin, and the Four Tops. Drew is currently on staff as a teacher at the Detroit Institute of Music Education, a new pop-oriented music college in the heart of the Motor City, and has been dubbed "Kid Motown" by the Detroit News. He is the spearhead of the Back To Class project, a series of his original compositions and arrangements performed by soul music legends, with 50% of profits benefiting public school music programs. The project has featured appearances by the Four Tops, Funk Brothers, Dennis Coffey, Melvin Davis, Spyder Turner, Pat Lewis, James Jamerson Jr, McKinley Jackson, Ken Knox of Chairmen of the Board, Lenny Pickett of Tower of Power/SNL, Mark Scott of The Miracles, Reginald Torian of The Impressions, Buddy Smith, and many more, with The Funk Machine featured on every release.
Guitarist Emilio Tostado and bassist Jent LaPalm have been Funk Machinists since the group's inception. LaPalm hails from Minnesota, where he studied under Prince's drummer Michael Bland and toured with the Electroclash duo Fischerspooner before joining New York University's jazz performance program. While at NYU he continued to perform, write, and record with acts including John Legend engineer McGowan Southworth, and produced tracks for multiple corporate events. Emilio moved from Chicago to attend NYU as a film and sociology student while performing with the Funk Machine, eventually joining the Milo Z band on multiple international tours, opening for Larry Graham of Sly & The Family Stone, and striking up a friendship with Irish Songwriter and "Once" movie star Glen Hansard, leading to a guest appearance in his hometown with the Swell Season. Emilio currently works at the New York City Guitar School, one of the largest music schools in the city.
Keyboardist/Trumpeter/Vocalist John Guari grew up in the Minneapolis area alongside Jent, moving to NYC after completing his music degree at the legendary University of North Texas jazz program. While at UNT, John's composition "November" appeared on the Grammy Nominated album Lab 2009 by the North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band. The song also received the DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award in 2010. John regularly performs with P-Funk/Amy Winehouse band member Lawrence "LAW" Worrell, and has appeared on stage with Ben Folds and the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra.
Lead vocalist Chris Ams grew up in the Metro Detroit area, immersed in the sounds of Classic Soul and Motown. He honed his skills as both a vocalist and visual artist at Oakland University, where he studied with hip hop violinist and Artist-In-Residence Regina Carter. After connecting with Drew in Detroit, Chris moved to NYC and joined forces with The Funk Machine. His artistic talents have been seen in album artwork and set design for theater and film, and won him the 2013 Artist of the Year award from RAW Arts. His vocals have garnered the acclaim of legendary Motown songwriter/vocalist Barrett Strong when The Funk Machine performed as the house band at an event in his honor at NYC's Cutting Room venue.
The Funk Machine has performed live across the country, and has held a multi-year residency at The Bitter End, the legendary NYC night club that hosted legendary performances by Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, and Hall & Oates, and saw the musical birth of stars including Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Lady Gaga, Joan Baez, and T-Bone Burnett. At the Motor City Casino in Detroit, they joined forces with The Four Tops and other guests from the Back To Class project, presenting the first donation to the music programs of the Detroit Public Schools. They were featured in the Don Was All Star Revue at the Detroit Orchestra Hall, spotlighting the project on stage alongside Melvin Davis, Spyder Turner, James Jamerson Jr, McKinley Jackson, and Ken Knox. In order to pay tribute to Motown Guitarist Eddie Willis, The Funk Machine formed a one-time mega group with The Funk Brothers band in Detroit, performing hits with special guests including Carolyn Crawford and Dennis Coffey. In Cleveland they appeared live with Buddy Smith, bringing the Northern Soul legend to Schultz's childhood school district for several masterclasses.
This group prides itself on authentically and energetically representing the legacy, sound, and soul of the legends who have taken them under their wing, whether performing classic covers or R&B-steeped originals.
released January 10, 2015
The Drew Schultz Funk Machine
Live: The Dovetail Tapes
- Emilio Tostado: Guitar, Vocals
- Jent LaPalm: Bass, Vocals
- John Guari: Keys, Vocals
- Chris Ams: Lead Vocals
- Drew Schultz: Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Drew Schultz
All songs written by Drew Schultz
Cover artwork by Nikki Metivier
(c) 2015 Drew Schultz / Pax Productions LLC
all rights reserved