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The Phunk Junkeez are an American rap rock band from Phoenix, Arizona that formed in 1991 and have established a strong underground following. The band has toured the U.S. extensively, even making it as far as Japan.
|Also known as||PJ, The PJ Crew, Junkeez|
|Origin||Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.|
The band has had member changes over its 24 years, especially on guitar, but three original members still make up part of the band to this day: Soulman (singer), Jumbo Jim (bass) and DJ Roach (singer and DJ).
The Phunk Junkeez founders, Kirk Reznik (a.k.a. "K-Tel Disco") and Joe Valiente ("Soulman"), started performing to prerecorded beats under the name "White Boy Rap," a name Soulman used for solo performances. Later, they performed as an opening act for such artists as MC Hammer and Run-D.M.C. That project turned into "BumRap" in 1987, followed by the "Phunk Junkeez" in 1990. In 1991 the two rappers, Reznik and Valente, joined forces with "Last Laugh" members Todd Mahoney on guitar and Jeff Holmes on bass (Holmes stayed on until 1994 as a production/tour manager). Soon after, Kirk & Joe merged with a local band, "Freak Squad," and later that year brought in DJ Roach Clip from their rap days. The band members included Jumbo Jim (bassist), Mike Kramer (guitarist), and Disco Danny Dynamite (a.k.a. Disco Danny D, Disco Dan, DK Mueller) on drums. The Phunk Junkeez were a massively popular act in the Valley throughout the early 1990s, playing huge, illegal warehouse keggers and routinely drawing more than 1,000 fans into clubs. DJs Soulman and Roach Clip are both natives of Alaska and grew up in the same trailer park, although never met until both had grown up and moved to Arizona.
The band released their self-titled debut-album in 1992. This album was one of the most popular local releases from a Phoenix band in 1992 and 1993, and according to Zia Records music retailer it sold almost 30,000 copies in Phoenix alone. The Phunk Junkeez were signed to Trauma Records/Interscope Records and released their second album, Injected (1995), nationwide. This release was recorded in Atlanta and produced by Angelo Moore of Fishbone and Ross Robinson (Korn, Slipknot, At the Drive-In). Injected produced a successful single, "I Love it Loud (Injected Mix)," which was played in rotation on alternative stations nationwide, accompanied by a video featuring Chris Farley and David Spade, and was featured on the Tommy Boy soundtrack. "I Love it Loud (Injected Mix)" eventually reached a peak of 38 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Another track from the album B-Boy Hard was featured on the soundtrack to National Lampoon's Senior Trip. Phunk Junkeez toured extensively at this time, playing with No Doubt, Bush, Faith No More, Ramones, KMFDM, and mostly with 311. The Phunk Junkeez were given a shout out in the song "Jackolantern's Weather" from 311's self titled album released in 1995 as well as 311's "Misdirected Hostility" which was written after 311 witnessed the level of disharmony among the Junkeez, specifically a fight between Reznik and then guitarist Jeff O'Rourke, and a second brawl, later that same tour, next to the 311 dressing room between Reznik and Disco Danny D.
In Mesa, Arizona at a September 24, 1993, concert at the Mesa Amphitheater (opening for Dada), Phunk Junkeez had to be pulled from the stage after playing for several minutes past the city curfew, despite the requests of the producer and threats of calling the police. The Phunk Junkeez would not allow the show's producer Brad Laughlin to interrupt the set. This forced the venue to shut off the PA. The band kept playing with only stage amplifiers and soon the lights were cut as well. Once back stage, the band's leader K-Tel Disco tossed tables and chairs and threatened the producers of the event, who left without paying the band. By then, a large percentage of the audience left the venue, not wanting to see the mild pop of Dada, despite the popularity of their hit song "Dizz Knee Land". During sound check, the obscenities were loud enough that the band was banned from playing at Mesa Amphitheater for many years. They have played the venue at least twice since, the last time being with the Insane Clown Posse and 2 Live Crew in 2003. After numerous negative incidents between Reznik and the rest of the members over the next year, Reznik was voted out of the band. After the departure of Reznik, the band immediately toured and brought along a mobile recording studio to write their next album. Those ideas written on tour were the basis of Fear of a Wack Planet, released in 1998, which was recorded in Amsterdam and produced by Lee Popa, a clear side step from the previous releases by the band. At this point, the band began touring much more with such acts as Incubus, Shootyz Groove, The Urge, Insane Clown Posse, Two Skinny J's, and Clutch. Jeff O'Rourke quit the band after the bulk of this touring to pursue a career in movies.
In 1999, Danny P replaced Jeff O'Rourke on guitar and the band began writing the next album. Danny P was a member of the local Phoenix band Surf Ballistics. The band has said that Danny P sparked creativity with the band and was a main driving force with the next four releases. With Danny P., the band had new energy, and became very popular on the national underground scene with non-stop touring, and were touring worldwide (South America, Canada, Japan, Mexico, China). The band quickly recorded "Junk EP" on their newly formed independent record label, "Uncle Scam Records." The band found themselves on national TV on MTV, MTV2, and USA Network when they put out a high-budget music video for the song "Bounce." The Junkeez were getting heavy local/national radio spins for the song "American Pimp" as well. With the EP selling very well, and the band playing radio festivals, they quickly decided to go into the studio to record a new album. the band built a state of the art studio in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The producer hired was Jeff Poe (Santana, Guns N' Roses), along with taking the work themselves. The album was mixed and parts were also recorded at Can/Nam studios in California. The studio was the home for other records such as Tupac's All Eyez on Me. In January 2001, the band released Sex, Drugs and Rap N' Roll (2001). This marked the start of the band becoming more underground, and also marked the first of the next three albums which bassist Jumbo Jim took over as the band's recording engineer, in their own Phoenix studio. New MC Milky (Soulman's little brother) also joined the band at this time to rap alongside Roach and Soulman.
After four albums and 11 years of touring, Drummer "Disko" Dan Mueller left the Phunk Junkeez to pursue other musical endeavors. The Phunk Junkeez added Steve "Dukes" Dueck. During the Sex, Drugs and Rap N' Roll tour, they joined up with Suburban Noize Records while supporting Kottonmouth Kings for most of spring and summer of 2002, abandoning the tour they were headlining to join the Kottonmouth Kings tour midway through, canceling all of their already scheduled shows without notifying any of the venues they had been scheduled to play at. Concert-goers arrived, excited and ready to see a show, but were informed that the band had not yet arrived and only later found out the tour had been canceled after frustrated venue managers, unable to get in touch with the band, visited the band's website and learned of the change in tour. The band began to tour over 200 days a year on both major and secondary markets in support of this album. The Phunk Junkeez then signed a record deal with Suburban Noize and released their fifth album, Rock It Science, the following year. After tracking drums for this album, Dukes left the band for the time being (he returned in 2007) for family reasons, and was replaced by Money Mike on drums. This album was produced by Jumbo Jim and Soulman, recorded by Jumbo Jim, and mixed by Ken Mary. The songs, "Same Ole Song" and "Fall in Line," from Rock It Science, appeared on the soundtrack to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. The band again toured extensively for this release. On August 23, 2007, the Phunk Junkeez released their most recent album, entitled Hydro Phonic. This album was also produced by Jumbo Jim and Soulman, engineered by Jumbo Jim, and mixed by Ken Mary.
Upon completing another tour of the U.S. and Japan, DJ Soulman struck out alone on a DJ tour of Japan. The Phunk Junkeez continue to play shows, but have thinned out their extensive touring to only play select cities and dates.
Phunk Junkeez have seen a number of band members depart and join since their inception. Below are the past as well as current members:
- K-Tel Disco (vocals) 1991–1995, 2016–present
- Soulman (vocals) 1991–present
- Jeff Holmes (bass guitar, tour manager, LD.) 1991–1995, 2016–present
- Todd Mahoney (guitars) 1991
- Mike Kramer (guitars) 1992–1993
- "Jumbo" Jim Woodling (bass guitar) 1992–present
- DJ Roachclip (turntables/samples) 1992–present
- "Disko" Danny D (drums) 1992–2000, 2016–present
- Jeff O’Rourke (guitars) 1994–1999, 2016–present
- Tony McClain (guitars) 1993
- Steve Dukes (drums) 2001–2002
- Danny P (guitars) 1999–2016
- Money Mike (drums) 2003–2016
- Jesse Valiente (vocals) 2001-210
- Richard Picklesworth (samples) 2000–2004
|1993||"I Am A Junkee||Naked Language|
|1995||"I Love it Loud"||Interscope|
|1996||"Me n Yer Girl"||Interscope|
|2001||"American Pimp/bounce(radio edit)"||Uncle Scam|
|2007||"In The Summertime"||Dmaft|
|1992||"I Am a Junkee"||Phunk Junkeez|
|1996||"Me n Yer Girl"||Injected (album)|
|1996||"I Love It Loud"||Injected (album)|
|2000||" Bounce "||Sex, Drugs and Rap N' Roll|
|2003||"Magnetic Mic Control"||Rock It Science|
|2003||"Gangsta Rock"||Rock It Science|
|2007||"Join In"||Hydro Phonic|
|2007||"In the Summertime"||Hydro Phonic|
|2013||" Everyday "||The Greatest|
|(2002)||Bootlegs, Bong Rips, and Bad Videos||DVD produced by Scott McCool|
|(2005)||Junkeez 4 Life||DVD produced by Zachary Yoshioka of Ballistic Entertainment|
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2008-10-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- David Holthouse (1996-09-05). "Overdose - Page 1 - Music - Phoenix". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2014-03-17.
- "Phunk Junkeez - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-03-17.
-  Archived December 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- [dead link]
-  Archived May 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine