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6/18/2012 9:05:00 AM
Funk Frequency brings '70s & '80s dance music to new Sound Bites Grill
Funk Frequency consists of Michael Weight, lead & rhythm guitar, Julie Ericson, lead vocals, Rye Wylie on drums and backup vocals, Sam Meraz, bassist, and Neil Orlowski on keyboard.
Funk Frequency consists of Michael Weight, lead & rhythm guitar, Julie Ericson, lead vocals, Rye Wylie on drums and backup vocals, Sam Meraz, bassist, and Neil Orlowski on keyboard.

Guitarist Michael Weight from Los Angeles founded the hip dance band Funk Frequency in September of 2011.

Music has always been a passion for Michael, who started playing guitar at the age of 12 after hearing Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin play "Time to Rock." This Prescott-based band gets its influences from James Brown to KC and the Sunshine Band. Prescott's only '70s and '80s Funk and Disco Dance Band will be keeping the dance floor full this Saturday evening at Sound Bites Grill in Uptown Sedona from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Michael remembers taking music lessons and theory classes throughout school while playing in a bunch of garage bands, playing rock and blues.

In the 1980s, Michael played with a couple of Metal bands on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, CA with his brother who played drums.

Making little money, the opportunity arose to join the JJ Bad Boy Jones Band with Albert King's Brother In-law the famous Blues Musician.

After several years and a world of musical experience backing up Albert Collins, Albert King, Etta James, Junior Wells and others, it was time to move on.

Portland, Ore., was the next destination playing mostly blues at clubs and festivals in the Northwest. Prescott, AZ was chosen by Michael's girlfriend. Playing in several bands in Prescott including The Richard Dean band, Michael decided he needed to funk-out.

Funk Frequency consists of Michael Weight, lead & rhythm guitar, Julie Ericson, lead vocals, Rye Wylie on drums and backup vocals, Sam Meraz, bassist, and Neil Orlowski on keyboard.

"The ultimate reward for me is watching people get out of their seats and on the dance floor," says Julie Ericson (vocals) who loves being a part of Funk Frequency and playing music that people don't normally hear every day. Julie's love for music grew as she got older being involved in musical theatre and obtaining her BA in Theatre and Film from ASU.

Neil Orlowski, a Midwest native, an artist by trade, working for Hallmark Cards in Kansas for 13 years as an illustrator-designer, has always loved to be creative. Playing in various bands in high school with influences such as Elton John, Peter Gabriel and Jan Hammer, Neil grew to love jazz, fusion and rock. Neil has recorded commercial projects for Sprint and Hallmark cards and TV ads for Westport Communications. Playing keys in a dance band is very full filling.

Rye Wylie (drums) grew up in Upstate NY. He was home schooled for his high school years. At age 33 he has been an accomplished drummer for over ten years.

With a wide arrange of influences such as Dave Weckl, Toni Royster Jr., Horatio Hernandez and Dave Grohl, Rye has developed his own unique style. Rye is known among his own crowd of musicians as "Ryemachine," or simply "Machine."

Ryemachine started at a very young age banging on pots and pans and gradually moved up to the elementary and middle school bands. Many years of playing everything from funk, fusion, progressive rock, metal and jazz have given Ryemachine the advantage of being able to jump right into any given band and start rockin' the beat!

Sam's musical career started in high school, where he first learned the guitar and then moved on to the electric bass and played for his school's jazz band.

Sam also took an African drum and dance course throughout high school and several years in college where he was the teacher's assistant.

Having become proficient in keeping a steady beat, he also learned basic music theory as well as the piano in order to round himself out a bit more in the musical field. He had a brief time when he did not play any music, instead opting to work and trying to find which degree would be right for him.

After moving to Chino Valley, he started taking up the bass again when he got an offer to play in a small band that was desperately in need of a rhythmic section. Now, Samuel plays for Funk Frequency, funk-ing up the place with that groovy bass rhythm!

You can see "Funk Frequency" Friday, June 22, starting at 9 p.m., at Sound Bites Grill located at the Hyatt Pinon Pointe in Uptown Sedona.

Dinner will be served until midnight and dancing is encouraged.


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