When I first started working at the Plaza Live in Orlando, FL, I helped transition the venue from a venue that was focused on community theater, to promoting concerts. We were the new kids in town at promoting concerts. With that came a lot of fierce competition, especially in anything that’s mainstream. I quickly learned that we had to carve our own niche in the market and do something different. That’s when I stumbled upon The Subdudes form New Orleans, and discovered New Orleans music. Soon after that, I had the privilege to book a show with Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk, and was completely blown away. They were one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen, still to this day!
It was really fun getting to sit down with Ivan Neville for this conversation and episode #019 of the podcast. We got a chance to talk about some of his favorite places in New Orleans, what it was like to grow up in a household full of musicians with the Neville Brothers and his dad Aaron Neville. Ivan also talks about the tradition of the Mardi Gras Indians, and Dumpstaphunk’s new single “Justice” featuring Trombone Shorty, which was release on January 16, 2017 on Martin Luther King Day, and the week of the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump.
Ivan Neville grew up in New Orleans and was surrounded by music his entire life. He had his first Top 30 Billboard hit “Not Just Another Girl” in 1988 from his “If My Ancestors Could See Me Now” album. He also contributed keyboards on two Rolling Stones albums, as well as a Keith Richards solo project. He was a touring member of the Spin Doctors, and has also contributed on the albums of Don Henley, Paula Abdul, Bonnie Raitt, and many more. In 2003, he formed the New Orleans powerhouse funk band Dumpstaphunk who has performed at some of the world’s biggest festivals such as New Orleans Jazz Fest, Bonnaroo, Hangout Fest, High Sierra, and many more.
Ivan has so much history and so many great stories. I could’ve talked to him for hours. Hopefully we’ll have a round two sometime down the road. I hope you enjoy this episode with Ivan Neville.
Listen to the new single "Justice" by Dumpstaphunk featuring Trombone Shorty
Apple Music: https://itun.es/us/IMFthb
Highlights from this Episode
Ivan Neville’s Recommendations of Restaurants and Venues in New Orleans [7:05]
The new single “Justice” [9:08]
Performing with Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead [11:05]
Ivan’s favorite Jazz Fest memory [13:42]
Growing up in a musical family [14:58]
The first time Ivan picked up an instrument [19:03]
The story behind the Mardi Gras Indians [22:45]
The story behind the song “Justice” [28:04
Quotes from Ivan Neville
“James Booker to me, was the most amazing piano player I’ve ever heard.”
“I listened to songs by ear, and was able to copy them from radio.”
“If you’ve been to Mardi Gras and haven’t seen a Mardi Gras Indian, you’re missing out.”
“ We are one nation, and that’s what we need to realize.”
“We do have a voice to say things.”
“Love wins out over hate.”
“You have a voice, use it.”
“Do, Study, Practice, and Learn everything you can.”
“Take some time everyday to get better at every aspect of your craft.”
Links to Things & People Mentioned
Maple Leaf Bar - New Orleans
Jacques Imos - New Orleans Restaurant
Peche Restaurant - New Orleans
Mandina’s Restaurant - New Orleans
Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead
Sweetwater Music Venue
New Orleans Jazz Fest
“Big Chief” by Professor Longhair
Krewe of Zulu
Rebirth Brass Band
Ivan Neville’s Definition of Making It
Doing what you love, and paying your bills.