The Conscious Funk of Joe Keyes and The Late Bloomer Band - Multiflora Q&A with Joe Keyes

Joe Keyes and the Late Bloomer Band from Baltimore gave one of the most uplifting and memorable performances at DC’s first annual Funk Parade last year in 2014.  As the local DC advocates start to build awareness of “the funk” for this year’s highly anticipated follow up for the second annual Funk Parade in 2015, we let Joe Keyes, the man himself, start greasing the wheels. Joe Keyes “The Late Bloomer” and The Late Bloomer Band take audiences back to the days of Sun Ra, early P-Funk, and the inspiration of brother Gil Scott-Heron, when bands were lead by the strong force of individuals with passion, vision, and intensity. We sat down with Joe Keyes for a short Q& A with resident Multiflora journalist, Kamyar Arsani.

Joe Keyes (Vocal Vibeologist) from Freehold, NJ is a “late bloomer” who “wears” Miles Davis and Funkadelic. He thinks Sun Ra and vibes Defunkt. This man, not only leads, but teaches. He guides his audience through mazes of jazz in a funky way and also mentors young, local musicians in and around Baltimore, Maryland. He is a booty shaker, and if you don’t believe my words, come out to hear his music this Friday, February 6 to Tropicalia in Washington, DC, to become a believer in his funkeology. I had the chance to interview the man himself and ask him about his interests and the story of his band.

Multiflora: Where did you grow up? What did you grow up listening to?

Joe Keyes: Born in 1960 in Freehold, New Jersey. Graduated from the same high school as Bruce Springsteen. I started buying James Brown 45s when I was 5-years old. Hendrix and a lot of jazz and slow jams.

Multiflora: What groups have you played with?

Joe Keyes: Sons of the P out of the San Francisco Bay Area in the 80’s. I.N.N. (Invisible Netwerk News) in New Jersey in the early 90s. Clones of Funk out of Annapolis, Maryland around 1996 through 2000. Grilled was really my first band of my own. And now Joe Keyes and The Late Bloomer Band. We are coming up on 5 years.

Multiflora: You seem to be a devotee of Gil Scott-Heron, P-Funk, and Sun Ra. What is it about these artists that inspires you?

Joe Keyes: Conscious vibes.

Multiflora: How did the Late Bloomer Band come to be? Where are you based now? What are your band practices like? Are they more like rituals?

Joe Keyes: Met some local kids at a jam session here in Carroll County, Maryland. Pitched my vibe to them. And here we are, loosely based in Westminster MD. I have a very big band. And I also mentor local young musicians. Love and good positive vibes is what the theme of my home is.

Multiflora: I hear you cook when the band comes over to your house to practice. Tell me, what’s the favorite dish?

Joe Keyes: It’s my roommate that cooks. He is a 73-year old farmer type who loves to cook. The band really likes his potato soup.

Multiflora: Where are you looking to go with The Late Bloomer Band?

Joe Keyes: To spread love, music, and healing vibes around the world.

Multiflora: Name three records you would want on a desert island?

Joe Keyes: Agharta by Miles Davis, Thermonuclear Sweat by Defunkt and The First Minute of a New Day by Gil-Scott Heron.

Multiflora: Many thanks for your time.

Listen to Joe Keyes and the Late Bloomer Band’s single Stinkbug In My Brownie HERE

Multiflorist Kamyar Arsani is an Iranian-born Sufi poet and musician. He now resides in Washington, DC where he teaches drums and percussion at The Sitar Center.  He leads a collaborative project called “Silent Note,” performing Sufi/Desert Blues music. He also is the singer of the Washington, DC-based dance-punk experimental band, Time Is Fire, and he is in the process of publishing his first solo album called “No Freedom.”

Friday February 6
Listen Local First and The Funk Parade Present Joe Keyes and the Late Bloomer Band
Doors 8PM
at Tropicalia
2001 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009




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