Funkmaster Bootsy Collins Joins Lettuce On New Song “Keep That Funk Alive”

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In this day and age, a singular, definitive stamp of approval is a hard thing to come by. Unless, of course, you’re the modern funk band Lettuce and THE Bootsy Collins steps into the studio to put his timeless spin on your new record—which is exactly what happened when the band was tracking “Keep That Funk Alive” from their upcoming album Unify. Within the first few seconds of the track, fans are met with one of the dirtiest envelope-filtered bass runs since Mothership Connection, a glowing sign that this group is more than capable in their role of funky preservation. Not so much a passing of the torch as it is a welcoming with open arms, Bootsy and the GRAMMY-nominated sextet of Lettuce—Adam Deitch (drums), Ryan Zoidis (saxophone), Adam ‘Shmeeans’ Smirnoff (guitar), Erick ‘Jesus’ Coomes (bass), Nigel Hall (keyboards/vocals), Eric ‘Benny’ Bloom (trumpet)—all join hands in honor of, you guessed it, keeping the Funk alive; an idea which Deitch gleaned from a pre-vax Covid-era Instagram post of Bootsy’s before the two had even met. “Linking up organically with one of the inventors of funk music, eternally iconic bassist and vocalist Bootsy Collins, still feels like a dream,” says Deitch. “Bootsy wants to keep the Funk alive…and we wholeheartedly agree with that statement. Major props to Bootzilla for believing in us!” Fans can listen to “Keep That Funk Alive” right here, pre-order or pre-save Unify digitally ahead of its June 3rd release at this link, and pre-order vinyl and Unify-centric merch bundles here.

For more information please visit lettucefunk.com.

More About Unify: “Dealing with the pandemic, being in separate places, trying to survive without our best friends, without touring, not to mention the political divide in this country,” says Deitch. “We really needed to unify.” Zoidis recalls, “This album came together at a time when we were away from each other longer than we had been in years.” Although the band was able to do a lot of writing and pre-production from their respective home studios, they hadn’t been in the same room or on the same stage together since their European tour was cut short in March 2021, so the first song on Unify captures the raw energy of a much-needed reunion at Colorado Sound Studios—though, that’s not exactly where the story begins.

The roots of Unify took hold several years back when Lettuce assembled at Colorado Sound to begin work on Elevate. Armed with dozens of songs, the band tracked enough material for that record, its successor, and then some (including a vinyl-only, 45-minute, live-in-the-studio, one-take improvisation, Vibe). Combined with some stellar pre-existing tracks held over from the prior two albums, Lettuce was now primed for a third. The group decamped to the Denver studio and reunited with its esteemed engineer, Jesse O’Brien, mixing alongside O’Brien, and, once again, self-producing the finished work. And, rather than extensively road-testing the songs- fleshing out the repertoire in countless performances on tour before being recorded, this time the band discovered the music as much as made it; essentially debuting the new material as they tracked it live in the studio.

A totally collaborative effort, there were exciting cuts full of brilliant lyrics and arrangements from Hall (whom Coomes calls “one of the greatest singers ever”) and fiery horn parts from Bloom, not to mention the tantalizing prospect of unveiling it all on the upcoming tour. “It’s very, very exciting. Our audiences are going to hear how we end up interpreting these songs for the first time, in the live form, and then for the 300th time; they’ll get to hear right along with us how the songs will morph and evolve,” says Smirnoff. Adds Coomes, “We’re just getting tighter and tighter. Really, these are the first records made with the six of us as a team, and it’s the best the band has ever been: live and in the studio; the funkiest and the most fun.”

Lettuce will take their plethora of brand new material out on the road (and across the pond) for the Unify World Tour. The tour picks up again next weekend at Martinsville, Virginia’s Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival, and for the rest of the Summer, the band will hit some of the country’s most beloved festivals including Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Sonic Bloom, and High Sierra. Lettuce will begin their European leg of the Unify World Tour on September 20th in London. A full list of tour dates is below and ticket information can be found at lettucefunk.com/tour.

Catch Lettuce On Tour:

May 26-29 – Martinsville, VA – Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival

June 16-19 – Hummingbird Ranch, CO – Sonic Bloom Festival

June 19 – Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

June 23-26 – Rothbury, MI – Electric Forest Festival

June 24-25 – Swanzey, NH – Northlands Music & Arts Festival

June 30-July 3 – Quincy, CA – High Sierra Music Festival

Aug. 11 – Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre

Aug. 12 – Huber Heights, OH – Rose Music Center at The Heights

Aug. 13 – Richmond, VA – Jam Packed Craft Beer & Music Festival

Aug. 26 – Martha’s Vineyard, MA – Beach Road Weekend Festival

Sept. 20 – London, UK – Scala

Sept. 21 – Tourcoing, France – Le Grand Mix

Sept. 23 – Paris, France – Billard L’alhambra

Sept. 24 – Rouen, France – Le 106 club

Sept. 26 – Frankfurt, Germany – Batschkapp

Sept. 27 – Rotterdam, Netherlands – Bird

Sept. 28 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso Noord

Sept. 29 – Leuven, Belgium – Het Depot

Sept. 30 – Berlin, Germany – Gretchen

Oct. 2 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Pumpehuset

Oct. 3 – Oslo, Norway – Cosmopolite Scene

Oct. 4 – Jahanneshov, Sweden – Slaktkyrkan

Oct. 5 – Gothenburg, Sweden – Jazzklubben Nefertiti

Oct. 7 – Hamburg, Germany – Mojo Club

Oct. 8 – Brno, Czechia – Groove Brno

Oct. 9 – Vienna, Austria – Club Porgy & Bess

Oct. 11 – Bern, Switzerland – Bierhübeli

Oct. 12 – Pisa, Italy – Lumiere

Oct. 13 – Rome, Italy – Monk Club

Oct. 14 – Milano, Italy – Santeria Toscana 31

Oct. 15 – Rovereto, Italy – Auditorium Melotti

Oct. 17 – Stuttgart, Germany – Im Wizemann

Oct. 18 – Mulhouse, France – Noumatrouff

Oct. 20 – Barcelona, Spain – Sala La Nau

Oct. 21 – Madrid, Spain – Sala Caracol

Oct. 22 – Cenon, France – Le Rocher de Palmer