The Asher Fulero Band plays the type of jazz/funk fusion that is hard to do well. It walks the fine line between super chill jazz, chunky, dance-floor funk, and exploratory jam band noodling, without straining at the seams. Frontman and keyboard player Asher Fulero has been making music for a long time with multiple projects in the works and makes the entire enterprise look incredibly easy for those of us without that much drive. Whether he is playing as Halo Refuser, his mid-tempo psy/bass electronic work, as Darkwhyte, dub/chillout downtempo instrumental hip-hop, or as the funky, jammed-out Asher Fulero Band, he puts his own unique spin on every genre he touches. Catching Air is the band's first full-length studio album, with cameos by Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) and Mimi Naja (Fruition) and production by Justin Phelps (The Mars Volta, Mr. Bungle). It's a polished record that impressively hits a sweet spot for fans of piano-driven jam bands, hook-ready funk, and psychedelic trips into high-energy circuitousness. Fulero chatted with the Source last week about the debut album and his upcoming show in Bend.
Source Weekly: So, I'm guessing music was in you from a young age?
Asher Fulero: Oh yeah. Music has been a lifelong pursuit for me. I started playing piano when I was four and started taking piano lessons in early grade school. I ended up going to music school for college and getting a degree in music and then spent the next 15 years as a performing musician and a studio session musician. Maybe my freshman year of college I dabbled in other majors I might look at, but there really wasn't ever any competition.
SW: And keyboard and piano were always that first love?
AF: Yeah, I'm a piano player. I do actually appreciate all facets of music and genres of music so I try really hard to play all the different genres I can get my hands on, but also throughout my life I've been lucky enough to play all the different roles. I've been a side man and a front man, a for-hire guy. You know, I've been a sound man and a tour manager. I do pretty much everything for the band right now as we're still gathering our team. The band is still growing its wings in that capacity.
SW: I was trying to describe your band's sound and it's funny because there's a dichotomy between some of the lyrical content and how upbeat and fun the music is. So, it's this really upbeat funk but also some pretty bluesy lyrics at points. How would you describe your sound?
AF: I think a sound is hard to describe that way, as they say about most music. But I generally gravitate towards three main areas. There's the classic psychedelic rock, there's the funk/jazz fusion, and then there's the improvisation. I wanted the band to embrace the improvisation side and I think the album captures that really well.
SW: If you had to describe to someone here in Bend what your show is going to be like, how would you describe the typical Asher Fulero Band show?
AF: A high energy, psychedelic dance party. But it definitely has a rock edge. But maybe with a Peter Gabriel tune in there and some old-school Traffic/Pink Floyd jams. It's a little bit of everything.
Asher Fulero Band
7 pm, Thursday, Oct. 29
McMenamins Old St. Francis School
700 NW Bond St.