interview ROBERT "FONKSTA" BACON  (May 2007) | Interview By: Eddie Gurrola

Dubcnn recently sat down to talk to a true legend of Funk and Hip-Hop. To many he is an inspiration and to all who have heard his contributions to music are aware of Robert "Fonksta" Bacon' immense talent. We took time to discuss with him his memories of working and recording with (DJ) Quik, his current projects including a solo album currently in production called "Earth Smells Funny" and even find out what he has been working on recently. We find out who he still wants to work with in the industry and even hear about the time he recorded the acclaimed "Medley For A V" Reprise track from the album "Rhythm-al-ism" as well as much more in this exclusive interview.
As always we have the transcript for you to check and please feel free to send any feedback regarding the interview to: eddiegurolla@dubcnn.com

Interview was done in April 2007

Questions Asked By :
Eddie Gurrola

Dubcnn: So, we've heard your guitar work on many classic West Coast hip-hop tracks. If you could pick one track to call your favorite, what would it be, and can you share the experience you had in the studio recording the track?

Man...it's so hard to pick one favorite! Every track I ever cut came with its own story....so many different vibes and experiences, you know? One that comes to mind though is the instrumental jam "Medley For A V" Reprise, from Quik's "Rhythm-al-ism". We cut that track really late at night, after a long session down at Skip Saylor's studios in L.A. The main version of that joint featured a bunch of folks like Snoop, Nate Dogg, Hi-C, Mausberg, El Debarge, and a few others, so of course that session was one big party!

I can remember recording the main rhythm guitar parts with Quik & the engineer in the room, and when we got near the end, Quik gave me this look like "go for it Bacon!" So, I switched gears and went off into this Funkadelic type solo. I had gone into my zone, and when I looked up there was Snoop, Nate, El, and all these cats standing over me, groovin’! It was one of those moments where everyone in the room was tuned into the Funk, and the energy of that comes across in what I was playing.

Dubcnn: That’s a crazy story! What projects are you currently working on?

At the moment I'm involved with several projects in production. Most recently, I cut guitars and bass on the track "Hold On", produced by Dr. Dre, on Young Buck's new release "Buck The World". On that particular track, I tried to take it back to the O.G. sound & feel that I’m best known for. Raphael Saadiq and I plan to collaborate on material for his upcoming new album project, and I'm also currently in the studio working up material for my first solo release, which I really hope to have ready before the end of this year.

Dubcnn: Nice! Can you give us some more details on the solo album?

Yeah, the album is currently titled “Earth Smells Funny,” and it’s gonna be a heavy funk guitar oriented record strictly for the “heads.” I wanted to put something together especially for all the fonky people out there, all over the world, who have reached out and expressed to me over the years how much they would dig hearing a solo album. Man, words can’t express the feeling when some kid says to me “Man, you are one of my main inspirations for wanting to pick up a guitar or a bass.” That shit is better than getting paid, believe me! So, basically I just wanted to sprinkle a little funk out there for everybody who may have been wondering where I’ve been. I hope to have some cool guest performances on there as well, including the debut of my baby brother, “3B” aka “Fonkface”, who is one of the fonkiest dudes on the planet! It’s going to be a “ghetto-delic” experience!

Dubcnn: Sounds great, we can’t wait to hear it! A lot of fans associate you with your funky work with DJ Quik. What is it like being in the studio with him?

Being in the studio with Quik is always a creatively & spiritually fulfilling experience. It’s like being in the presence of a mad genius such as Mozart. The dude literally bounces off the walls, bursting with creative energy. Quik gives himself up completely to the music, even if it means coming out of the studio a physical wreck. We have always connected musically, and some of our best work together was the result of just hanging and having a good time and rolling the tape machine. I feel blessed and honored to have been there to contribute and help to create something that has stood the test of time.

Dubcnn: Are you going to be working with Quik and AMG on their new Fixxers album?

They know I’m there for them if they need my “thang” on anything. That’s family to me and always will be. That “Werk Wit Dat” is fonky! It’s my daughter’s favorite joint at the moment!

Dubcnn: You've also done some great independent production work with the likes of 2nd II None and Darkside. Are there any more independent productions coming?

Yes. I hope to get more of my tracks & beats out there this year, as well as developing some fresh talent.

Dubcnn: You've really brought a traditional musical influence to hip-hop. When you were first starting out, did you think you would be working on hip-hop tracks, and that hip-hop would sound as musical as it does today?

Thank you for that! And that’s a really good question, because I have always basically been a funk musician from the time I was coming up back in Detroit, to the time I first hit the scene in L.A. I became the “go to” guy for the West Coast rap producers like Quik, mostly because at that time they were deep off into sampling the funk, and I was able to bring original ideas to the table, making it less necessary to sample records. I was happy to have found a way to keep the live element in hip-hop, without losing the edge.

Dubcnn: Do you have any intention of forming your own band?

When the time comes to go out and promote my album, I will definitely call on some talented friends and put something fonky together.

Dubcnn: Have you ever tossed the idea around of forming a live band with Quik doing vocals?

I actually did put together Quik’s very first live band back in ‘92! We performed on the Arsenio Hall show, and did a brief American tour promoting the “Way 2 Fonky” album. I still remember us ripping the roof off some club we played in Houston. Nobody had heard no live Funkadelic-type thang behind a rapper back then, and I just remember the crowd with their mouths hanging wide open, dripping with sweat from grooving so hard like, “What the f--- just happened?” We have never discussed actually forming a live group together, though.

Dubcnn: Are there any artists you would like to work with that you haven't had the chance to yet?

Definitely. I would love to cut an entire record with Snoop, also with Kokane. I’ve always liked what Outkast was doing and would like to cut some funk with them and Sleepy Brown. Also Prince, Eve, Eminem, and a few others.

Dubcnn: That would be tight! Is there anything else you want to say to the fans?

I just want to say thank you to everybody who ever cared enough to read the album credits and find out who helped in the creation of their favorite artists’ music. And especially to those who went out of their way to reach out and say “great work,” or to even read this interview...it means more than you could ever know! Keep tha “P” in it!





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