Have you ever tried to spend some funny money? Have you ever listend to some Funny Money? Do you even know what it is?
Funny Money Band Members
FUNNY MONEY is:
Steve Whiteman – Lead Vocals
Jimmy Chalfant – Lead Drums
Dean Cramer – Lead Guitar
Mark Schenker – Lead Bass
How did FUNNY MONEY begin?
Just ask the Funny Money’s exuberant front man, Steve Whiteman. In his own words, the man known for his stage antics and vocal acrobatics with Atlantic Records recording artists KIX, provides us with an amusing, albeit historic chronology of the band’s humble beginnings…
“Funny Money was conceived in the fall of 1996 when musician Billy Andrews met me at a local fund raiser in Baltimore. He asked me what I had been up to since the demise of KIX and I shared with him that I had been teaching vocal lessons and kind of wanted to start a band again. Billy pretty much invited himself to my house one day and we listened to some of the old KIX demos I had laying around the house and some new material I had written with Shea Quinn of The Sharks fame. He pretty much sold himself to me on the idea that we could launch a band around the original music that I had lying around and we could even mix in some cover stuff as well. The only thing we needed was a band!”
“It didn’t take Billy long to recruit bassist Ned Meloni, who had played with New York’s Ice Water Mansion, DC bad-boys Monarch throughout the 80’s and done a lot of studio work with a wealth of great musicians. Drummer Bobby George quickly followed and our rehearsals began immediately. After a few practices, I felt the need for another guitar player to round out the sound. I decided to invite one of my vocal students, Dean Cramer to try out because he had helped me out with some guitar work on some of my earlier demos. Dean came in and scored the job with no problems. We finally felt we had the band we were looking for, but drummer Bobby George left the band before we really got a chance to get started. Enter drummer Geoff Burrell from Tubefreeks and Swingin’ Dix fame. Geoff pretty much blew everyone away after his first audition, so he was scooped up and now, the Funny Money band was finally complete!”
“After a few gigs, it was fairly obvious that the fans wanted to hear some of the old KIX material, I finally relented and started mixing the originals with the KIX stuff and it seemed to work as the crowds continued to get bigger each week. In 1998, we released our first, self-titled CD which was produced and engineered by Billy. It got rave reviews! We followed that one up in 1999 with Back Again which was recorded, produced, and engineered at the House O’ Billy! After that, we thought it would be fun to try and capture the energy and humor of the live show, so we released Even Better Live, which was recorded at Jaxx nightclub in Springfield, Virginia in 2001. Things were going well until 2003 when the line-up took a hit. Billy, Ned and Geoff all announced they were leaving to pursue other interests. At this point, Dean and I decided to keep things going, so we recruited former Centerfold bassist Mark Schenker on Ned’s recommendation, Sam Stillwell on drums, and Lewis Coppola on guitar. Things were good again on the Funny farm!”
“In 2003, Funny Money was working on their fourth release, Skin To Skin, when Ronnie Younkins’ band the Blues Vultures were playing some shows with us and Ronnie had coaxed Jimmy out of retirement to play in his band. Mark suggested we ask him if he’d like to play on a few tracks for the album. He agreed and I made a call to KIX guitarist Ronnie Younkins to see if he’d like to join us on a song as well. Mark invited his friend and former Centerfold guitarist, Rob Galpin, to join the fun since a couple of the songs on Skin were co-written by Rob and Mark. What we found was that there was a definite chemistry flowing in the studio with Mark and I, and Rob and Jimmy. I really had a tough decision to make because Rob and Jimmy provided so much in the way of writing, arranging and creativity on that record and it just felt right with them there. After much thought, I decided to approach Sam and Louis to ask them if they would mind me giving Rob and Jimmy a shot in the band. This was a tough decision because they were both great musicians and fun guys to be around, but they understood and were quickly snapped up by other projects that were equally as talented. As a result Skin To Skin was our best reviewed and top selling album to date!”
“In 2006, Dean Cramer, decided to leave the band. After much thought and discussion within the band, it was decided that Dean shouldn’t be replaced and so we opted to try something different…a four-piece lineup! So far, this is the strongest and most creative band I’ve had the opportunity to play in. The new record, Stick It!, is set to be released in December of 2006 and it will prove to be the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. Rob and Mark’s contribution to this record separates it from the rest. Once again, Mark is at the controls on this one, just like the last one, but we managed to get and old friend of mine and Jimmy’s, and producer of the KIX classic Midnight Dynamite, Beau Hill to do the mixing. That last ingredient really put ‘Stick It!’ over the top. The music is awesome, the playing is terrific, and the feeling I get onstage when we play these new songs is unbelievable. To date ‘Stick It!’ has out-sold all other FUNNY MONEY CD releases combined. FUNNY MONEY has hit a new peak!”
“In October of ‘08, Rob’s new addition to his family and associated obligations led him to depart FUNNY MONEY after four years. We’ll miss hanging out with him and his wonderful playing every week, but lucky for Mark, Jimmy and I, Dean Cramer was available and willing to come back to the dark side! He was the first one we thought of to ask, it was the best choice for us on a personal level and we’re damn lucky Dean was available. We’re thrilled to have Dean with us and we are fortunate to be able to continue playing with our good friend back on guitar duties.”
Funny Money Homepage
Funny Money Band Rocks!
Filed under: Rock Bands
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