It’s going to be a milestone night at Dane Dances tonight: The final Clyde Stubblefield All-Star band performance will take place on the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center Rooftop.
For Joey Banks, a local drummer who was close friends with Stubblefield, it will be one final tribute to his fallen bandmate, friend and the legend under that name. The band is transitioning into a new name – Funkee Jbeez.
“We will continue to do a Clyde tribute for every show that we do and we’re going to do his hits and continue to play his music … we’re just going to continue to expand into other areas of funk from the ‘70s all the way up to current,” says Banks, a two-time Grammy-nominated drummer. “And we’re going to write original material which we weren’t really able to do before.”
It’s something that Banks says he is not really happy about. Earlier this year, Banks was handed a “cease-and- desist” letter by Jody Hannon, fiancé of the late Stubblefield, which instructed him to stop using the name and image of Clyde Stubblefield, which included the Clyde Stubblefield All-Star Band name. That hurt Banks quite a bit because he considered Stubblefield to be a close friend and mentor.
“Everything that had to do with that band was for Clyde,” Banks tells Madison365. “It was to pay tribute to him. He really hadn’t played prior to putting the band back together for three years. I really put the band back together to keep him visible, keep him relevant and in the public eye. He loved Funky Mondays.”
Stubblefield, the longtime bedrock of the Madison music scene, was named the sixth-greatest drummer of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine in April of 2016. He is world-renowned as James Brown’s “Funky Drummer. He had battled kidney disease and other health issues since 2009, with many musicians and supporters rallying to his aid through numerous benefit concerts. Stubblefield passed away at in 2017 at age 73.
“At the end, Clyde was pretty healthy and he was starting to sing more and he was pretty active all the way up to his death,” Banks says. “He was in New York, he was in Nashville, he was in Los Angeles … playing drums … the week before he died.
“A lot of people told me that having him in the band and playing added years onto his life,” he adds. “There’s no better place for Clyde to be than behind the pit. That’s his livelihood; that’s his life.”
Special guest singers Megan “Bobo” Megan Pope and Katie Cass will be joining the Clyde Stubblefield All-Star Band tonight in their final performance under that name. Also headlining Dane Dances will be The Voices, who will be singing tribute renditions of many famous R&B groups like The Temptations, O Jays, Spinners, Stylistics, Four Tops, Manhattans and Whispers.
In between musical performances, Dane Dances will celebrate the work of Madison Out-of-School Time (MOST) and all Out-of-School Time professionals at the last Dane Dances event of the year tonight.
What can we expect from the Clyde Stubblefield All-Star Band in their last performance under that name? Definitely a bunch of Aretha Franklin songs, Banks says.
“The timing will be perfect to do Aretha songs with her funeral being today,” he says. “We’re going to wear all black out of respect for both Aretha and Clyde. We’re going to have a really good time and make it a fun party. That’s what Clyde would have wanted.”
The final Dane Dances of summer will take place tonight, 5-9 p.m., on the Monona Terrace Rooftop in downtown Madison.