There’s too much damn carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, terrorists are opening fire on concerts, drones bomb innocent civilians and a bigoted billionaire with a fucked up mop head spews hate on the campaign trail. Who could have the audacity to tackle this troubled world and still have a sense of humor about it? Project N-fidelikah, a new funk punk ghetto underground quartet.
The oddball roster enlists George Lynch on guitar, Chris Moore on drums, Pancho Tomaselli on bass and Angelo Moore on vocals. And if a group comprised of musicians whose credentials between them includes Fishbone, Dokken, and WAR sounds like an impossible mashup, Project N-fidelikah will make a believer out of the skeptics.
The band actually first branded itself as ‘The Infidels,’ but tepid venues led them to rethink things. “We didn’t want nobody coming up trying to shoot us at the concert, cut our heads off, so what I decided to do was take the Infidels and change it into almost a Swahili afro-centric name!,” Angelo Moore quips. “What if a lady’s name was N-fidelikah? What if N-fidelika was a giant Native American twerking robot who smashed all the villains with her ass?”
The true story behind Project N-fidelika is less of a conspiracy hatched in a dimly lit basement and more of a day at the office at ESP Guitars. Tomaselli looked at a picture of the legendary George Lynch and thought about working with him. The bassist asked for the Dokken guitar god’s number, called him up and forged the beginnings of the band. Drummer Chris Moore from Santa Ana got recruited into the fold, but they still needed a lead singer.
Moore suggested another Moore in the form of Fishbone’s Angelo Moore. “We both got the same name,” Angelo says. “Automatically, cosmically and karmically, that’s the hookup right there.” The group met up him at the Mint in Los Angeles to offer up the spot. Project N-fidelikah became a true melting pot with Lynch a Native American, Tomaselli coming from Ecuador and Angelo being black. Oh yeah, and then there’s Chris! “They call me THC, that’s ‘token hot cracker!’” he laughs.
With N-fidelikah assembled, it came time to twerk out the jams. The chemistry exceeded all expectations. So, too, did the music. Lynch, the elder of the band at 61-years-old, is relishing the opportunity to be innovative instead of being held as an ‘80s rock museum piece. His riffs on the band’s forthcoming album are stunning and power funky grooves like “I Wanna Be White But I Can’t.”
Angelo’s slapstick soul wails most righteously on “Project Blackout,” the archenemy of Project N-fidelikah. He serves up the clever anti-police brutality lyrics, “Blue Klux Klan and that KKK-pasa? / Programmed to kill darkies and la raza!” before screaming “blackout!” on the chorus. “There’s no creative dictatorship here,” Tomaselli says. “There is no rock star element in this band.”
Project N-fidelikah debuts at the Troubador and has more tour dates in store for the New Year to support the release of their tentatively self-titled album, one recorded, mixed and mastered in four months despite all the band members competing responsibilities. Not bad for what was supposed to be a one-off. “To put in East LA words, you had a baby with a chick that you were like ‘ah, fuck, I don’t know,’” Tomaselli explains, “and then the baby’s born and you’re like, ‘Oh my god, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I love you, let’s get married!”
The band erupts in laughter at Tomaselli’s wisecrack showing that these veteran musicians are having the time of their lives. And they’re doing it without shying away from the problems of the world, a vision that says having a conscious doesn’t have to come at the expense of joy or hope. “Just the visual of us is saying that we can all get along,” Angelo says. “Now that we broke some boundaries, we’ve got some badass, challenging music!”
Project N-fidelikah performs with Halo Circus, The Teddy Campbell Band and others at The Troubador, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, www.troubadour.com; (310) 276-1158, Mon. 7 p.m. $15. All ages.