Artist of the Month, November 1996
To describe the Mo'Fessionals (music) is hard as hell," vocalist
Zoe Ellis has said. "People call it funk, but I think it's more
"I call it progressive soul," says drummer Loring Jones.
The labels come and go as critics, fans, and even band members try to
describe the music of the Mo'Fessionals, but the one constant that remains
is the driving energy, popularity, and get in your face dance your ass
off enthusiasm of this Bay Area band. H.E.A.R. is a long time fan of the
Mo'Fessionals and we're excited by this chance to honor them as our Artist
of the Month for October.
The Mo'Fessionals got it going about six years ago rising out of a band
called The Church of the Grand Funk. The Tower of Power influence was
strong, but the Mo's added jazz stylings, along with rock, reggae, funk,
soul and rap. The sound was big brash and bold and influenced other bands
in their wake. The original horn section has been replaced and the 11
member band is now a solid pack of 8. The line-up includes Chris Burger:
Rapper; Teal Collins, Zoe Ellis, and Mike Marshall: Vocals; Loring Jones:
Drums; Erik Smyth: Guitar; John Wilson: Bass; and Jeff Young: Keyboards.
Recognition and awards have been part of the Mo's steady climb during
the past five years. In 1992 the band won the San Francisco Weekly's Alternative
Music Award for Best Funk Band. In 1993 their album The Mo'Fessionals
Live at Slim's won a Bay Area Music Award as the Most Outstanding Independent
Album of the Year. 1994 and 1995 saw the Mo's win the SoCo Rocks competition
as club goers voted the band their Favorite Bay Area Band. And in the
Spring of 1996 The Mo'Fessionals won the title as The Best Unsigned Band
in Northern California. Their selection put them at the top of the more
than 800 bands entered in the contest, and resulted in the band playing
two consecutive sold out nights at The Great American Music Hall in San
Here's just a couple samples of what some of the critics have been saying
about the band:
"... the Mo'Fessionals combine an array of homegrown sounds
- .... gospel singing, hip-hop rhythms, and jazz improvisations - into
a stylish, high-energy urban dance music all their own...."
San Francisco Bay Guardian, Jason Fine.
"... five alarm flashes of '90's brilliance.... the Mo's lay
raps and harmonies over purely original funk...they raise the roof ...This
group has its finger on what rap needs to do to move ahead in the '90's
take it out live in style." URB Magazine, Los Angeles, Todd
"Word is definitely out on this band and their reputation as
frenetic, unstoppable performers. (At a recent show) The Mo's delivered
a non-stop hour-and-a-half tour de force of '70's soul, '80's funk,
and '90's hip-hop, often within the space of one tune! ... wicked-quick
unison horn-riffing, tasty instrumental improv, close-harmony a cappella
gospel, witty rhyming, tricky song structure changes and one thumping
nation under a groove." East Bay EXPRESS, Harold Olaf Cecil.
The Mo'Fessionals are a hardworking dedicated gang of
musicians exploding the trite formulas of musical formats and categories.
The band also has their own Web Site where you can stay current with
their tour schedule, listen to song samples, and order their CD. The
Mo's can be found on the Web at straw.com.
We're proud to honor the Mo'Fessionals as our Artist of
the Month and we urge you to get out and see them and grab a copy of their
CD. You'll be dancing and prancing and spreading the word 'fore you know