Sal started playing guitar at the age of 7. Forbidden to touch her older brother's guitar, she made several attempts to create her own from planks of wood to mime to Bohemian Rhapsody. Finally realising her genuine interest and potential, her brother began teaching her to play.
Sal began writing songs almost as soon as she could string a few chords together, and when personal circumstances changed, music became more important in her life as a form of solace and self expression. By the age of 12 she was gigging with a highly successful jazz band, with whom she made several TV appearances and recorded a charity single at SARM West Studios London with producer Trevor Horn.
She attended Coventry School of Dramatic Arts and was heavily involved with the music aspect which included writing a score for a production of a Bertolt Brecht play. Sal also studied with jazz guitarist Frank Evans. During this period she played many gigs including The Cafe Royale London.
After a time Sally began concentrating on her song writing and started a band playing her own songs with long term friend and partner Alex (see below). The earliest incarnation was all female group Big Mambo, who headlined Berlin Pride and appeared several times on BBC West. Funkinsteins were to follow later, formed with Sal as the creative song-writing force while Alex's role was that of charismatic bassist and super-organiser. Frustrated at the difficulty of finding like-minded musicians, Sal began using computing to get the sounds she could hear in her head into her songs and says "we think we were maybe one of the first bands to use live and sampled sounds in this way".
Sal admits to an 'unusual' taste in music though I would use the word 'extensive': Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Judy Garland rubbed shoulders with her brothers' favourites Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Queen. Add the funk and soul of Chic, George Clinton, Parliament, Tower of Power, Stevie Wonder, Larry Grahame, Gladys Knight, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye to the mix with two pinches of Prince and you have an inkling of the Funkinstein sound.
"Funkinsteins the band has had various successful line ups, and has worked with many talented people, but this line up is by far the best. Being in a band is for us like being in a crack commando unit; work hard, funk hard and watch each other's back............... after our last drummer left we searched for a year to find a replacement and were on the point of throwing in the towel when out of the the blue one day in December we had a text from a guy called Jon. Jon had seen our ad on a website, and he himself was at the point of selling his drum kit!........ but thought we sounded interesting. The rest, as they say, is history. Alex and I still say he is the best Christmas present we've had. You need a lot of faith, heart and soul to be a Funkinstein; Jon has it all and is a phenomenal drummer to boot."
Amazingly (and you will understand the use of that word when you see the band live), Alex only started playing bass at the age of 19 when Sal (see above) bought her one to see how she got on with it. Little did she know, Sal had already arranged for her to play her first gig two weeks later. After that there was no turning back and Alex has been gigging and playing her bass ever since.
Early musical influences were all music funky....ie 70's funk; bass influences being Bernhard Edwards (CHIC), Verdean White (EWF), Mark King (LEVEL 42) and Bootsy Collins (FUNKADELIC/PARLIAMENT).
"I love all music that has groove and feeling. Funkinsteins is our greatest achievement as a powerful original funky live band and in the last couple of years we have gigged over 150 gigs and performed at some great festivals. Very proud and funky. May it continue....."
Aka Jay, aka Jonny Cab, aka Jonny Porno, aka "the muscles from Brussels" (as well as a few others we can't mention here).
Jon's interest in music was nurtured by his parents who bought him a Walkman to listen to random music (anything from Cats the musical to Holly Johnson to NWA) while in the back of the car travelling through southern France.
After a failed attempt at the violin (such an unforgiving instrument) he finally found solace at the age of 12 beating wooden shells with sticks. With the help of some friends and a Remo Junior pro he started his first band. As the years passed the bands got better, the kit got better, Jon's drumming got better.
"I've played many a gig, from Scout huts to Glastonbury Festival, and after a plethora of originals bands, from live drums and bass, to rock (which kinda suited my upbringing of rave and funk), I found myself seeking something new and exciting with the drive and professionalism that matched my own. And luckily enough I happened upon the Funkinsteins, drummer hunting. And as they say, the rest is history, or history yet to be written."
This hard-working band have appeared at more venues and festivals than you could shake a stick at - The Live Theatre Newcastle, The Globe Festival Manchester, Itchycoo Park Festival Somerset, Rhythm Booze Festival Avon, Festival Of The Sea Plymouth, Ashton Court Festival, Fleece Bristol, Fiddlers Bristol, Warwick University, Bristol Carling Academy, Peace Festival Leamington Spa,Hugh Cornwell Trowbridge Civic Hall, White Feather Festival Dorset, GoldCoast Festival Croyde, Dublin n Castle London, The Studio London, Great Dorset Steam Fair, London Pride to name but a few.
Here are a few reviews of their live performances....
Shayne : Lemonrock Gig Guide
(Excerpt on a live performance at The Poachers, Portishead):
There's funk and there's funk but just when you thought you'd heard all kinds of funk, up pop The Funkinsteins and their personalised and highly addictive brand of funk opens your ears to the freshest and funkiest of funk you're ever likely to hear.
The Funkinsteins don't just play any old funk they might have discovered rummaging through the discarded vinyl from the seventies, they breathe funk, it escapes from every pore and fills the room with an encapsulating atmosphere of three people delivering everything it says on the tin and more.
To say I enjoyed The Funkinsteins at The Poacher last night would be a huge understatement, it was more of a reawakening to the beauty of the most divine bass lines imaginable, intense drumming that bombarded the four walls of the pub with a vengeance, a singer/lead guitarist whose voice was only ever meant to sing those type of songs, and songs that stay, creep into your subconscious mind and then make you get up at stupid o'clock to write a review whilst listening a little more to the same songs on myspace (I will buy them, honestly).....
(On a live performance at The Stag's Head, Corsham):
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a Live Music Night we had in the Stags Head last Thursday evening with our two new Corsham Live Music Night (CLMC) bands taking the first two slots, followed by a sensation! The headline act was the Funkinsteins and ya had to be there to believe it! WOW!!!! sums it up... Sally on lead guitar and vocals was brilliant and had everyone goggle-eyed, Alex is one of the best bass guitarists Ive ever seen (and Ive seen a few!) with her funky riffs and driving beat pushing our fantastic (as always!) drummer Jon Carter to produce another one of his brilliant performances - he must have covered more mileage than on the clock of his old Golf TDI. Its a night I will never forget and makes it great to be part of the CLMC setup.
(On a live performance at The Fleece, Bristol):
From the opening notes of Get Up and Dance, the Funkinsteins had the Fleece audience by the throat, and they shook them around and wrung them out.
Playing a lively amalgamation of sheer funk and rock, the Funkinsteins are able to push their overwhelming charisma in the face of any audience. With their energy fuelled fusion of feel good tunes, it's an experience they are sure to enjoy.
Funkinsteins' Album Reviews
You might like to explore some of the other sites featuring the Funkinsteins: