Note: the following biography is not a finished work.
The Kazoo Funk Orchestra were a collective from the west of Scotland, formed in 2005 by chief songwriters Big Beard and Little Beard. In fact, the original name of the band was Big Beard, Little Beard & The Kazoo Funk Orchestra, but it was soon shortened as additional members joined.
Working out of a DIY project studio, the collective exchanged influences and took inspiration from various genres to create their eclectic mix-tape sound.
The early line-up included, Big Beard, Little Beard, Krash Slaughta (Monkey Mafia), Grum, Mechanical Monkey, The Boy Blunder, Smalls and The Boyce.
Early in 2006 they submitted a demo to Your Sound, a networking event / competition that was running out of Glasgow’s legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. The collective was invited to attend the event, which they did, holding a finger painting session at their table. On the 6th of March 2006, The Kazoo Funk Orchestra were crowned Your Sound's runner-up and were later featured on the ‘Your Sound - Best of Term One’ compilation album (released October 7th, 2006).
On the 8th of March 2006, the Kazoo Funk Orchestra made their radio debut with Baby You’ve No Eyes on XFM Scotland during the X-Posure Scotland show hosted by Jim Gellatly.
Two days before the release of Midnight Finger Painter, members of the KFO took to Glasgow and facilitated finger painting sessions across the city in what they called the ‘Pre-release Ponder Wander’, where anyone could join in and create a unique finger painting . Advance copies of Midnight Finger Painter were handed out and the finger paintings created at the sessions were used as free gifts in the first 500 copies sold.
Their debut album, Midnight Finger Painter, was released on May 29th, 2006. The record instantly began receiving airplay on XFM Scotland, Old Jock Radio, BBC Alba's Rapal and VOX.
El Baterista and Jim ’n’ Tonic were then added to the KFO’s line-up to provide drums and bass for the live shows that followed the release including, ’The Big F**K Off’ at the Paisley Student Union (SAUWS), Coreskills at Nektar in Edinburgh and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. Part-Time Kris joined the KFO for one night to cover for El Baterista at Coreskills.
Little Beard and MC Smalls re-located to Toronto after getting hitched in July 2006. Determined to continue creating music together despite the Atlantic divide the Kazoo Funk Orchestra created a virtual work space. Built from scratch by the rather talented Mechanical Monkey, the portal was where members of the collective passed song ideas, lyrics, audio tracks and recording sessions back and forth while working on the follow up to Midnight Finger Painter.
All the while the KFO continued to gain support with reviews, features and airplay from the likes of Is This Music? , My Old Kentucky Blog, Rock Louder, Three From Leith, BBC Radio York (Raw Talent - December 3rd 2006), SubCity Radio and A Place In Between.
After being heard on Old Jock Radio the Kazoo Funk Orchestra were booked for a generous slot at the 2007 Wickerman Festival. This single booking kick-started a tour of the UK.
The Kazoo Funk Orchestra at the Connect Festival 2007
It was around then, that Krash Slaughta and Jim ’n’ Tonic left the band to work on their own material. The Boyce took over for Jim ’n’ Tonic on bass and DJ NoFace took over on the turntables.
By December 21st, 2006, hard copies of Midnight Finger Painter had completely SOLD OUT!
As the holiday season approached Big Beard wrote a little festive ditty, Santa’s Dead, which was released as a free download on Xmas Day 2006.
The collective then released their second record, Adventures In Fuzzy Felt Land, on January 31st, 2007. The release coincided with a feature on Old Jock Radio (February 1st, 2007), in which tracks from the record were hand selected by the host, Les Bell. This was followed on March 22nd with Big Beard appearing as a special guest on the show.
Grum participated in a telephone interview with Tiffani Fulgoni of PiratePods, a recording of the interview was made available via the Pirate Pods website on May 15th, 2007.
On July 19th, 2007 members of the KFO visited Old Jock Radio where they performed a live session and were asked questions by listeners via MSN messenger.
Big Beard and Little Beard at the Wickerman Festival 2007
The following day, the Kazoo Funk Orchestra performed in the Solus Tent at the Wickerman Festival to a packed crowd despite their set running alongside headliners Fun Loving Criminals.
Grum, Little Beard and MC Smalls at the Wickerman Festival 2007
The Wickerman Festival marked the first date of their UK tour. From there the collective headed south to play Sheffield, London, Bristol, Chepstow and Leicester before returning to Scotland for a show in Glasgow. These dates were swiftly followed by a slot at the Kelburn Garden Party (Ayrshire), a showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a set at the Connect Festival (Inveraray Castle).
The Boy Blunder and Little Beard at the Connect Festival 2007
A skateboarding promo video by CREME Skateboards called, Trailer Trash , was released on August 20th, 2007 featuring three Kazoo Funk Orchestra songs.
On October 1st, 2007 the Kazoo Funk Orchestra began releasing a new song each week, completely free. Fifty weeks and fifty songs later, they were released internationally as the Kazoo Funk Orchestra's 3rd record, This Album Is Self Titled (July 26th, 2008).
Meanwhile, Canadian hip hop artist Weapon of Choice remixed Did You Ever Get That Balloon That I Sent You? The remix was made available as a free download on November 11th, 2007.
The Kazoo Funk Orchestra was ranked #3 under the "Best Live Act” category in Jockrock’s 2007 poll behind Biffy Clyro (#1) and Aerogramme (#2). Trailing the KFO on the poll were Frightened Rabbit (#4) and We Were Promised Jetpacks (#5).
The Boyce and The Boy Blunder at the QMU (Glasgow)
Bad Connection was featured in an Italian short film by Erika Errante Barruffaldi entitled, Eartheart , on the 16th Feb 2008. The following day Weapon of Choice released his second KFO remix, Information In Formation.
On May 18th 2008, Baby You’ve No Eyes was broadcast on XMU XM satellite radio, which marks the Kazoo Funk Orchestra’s first trip into orbit.
It was around this time that Herbal Gerbal, Part-Time Dave, Glowstick Girl, Loop de Loop, Country Bumpkin and Mia Funkyslice joined the collective.
Country Bumpkin, Herbal Gerbal and Grum at the Kelburn Garden Party 2008
In July 2008, the collective hit the road on their 8-stop Scottish tour. They kicked off the tour by supporting Har Mar Superstar at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow (July 9th 2008), which was followed by The Basement in Annan (July 19th 2008), the Wickerman Festival in Dumfries-shire (July 26th 2008), The GRV in Edinburgh (Jul 30th 2008), Classic Grand in Glasgow (August 1st 2008), Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival in Inverness-shire (August 8th 2008), Wizard Festival in Aberdeenshire (August 22nd 2008), The Mill in Glasgow (September 3rd 2008), BBC Rapal in Stornaway (September 11th 2008) and The QMU in Glasgow supporting Hayseed Dixie (September 16th 2008).
July 26th 2008 also marked the launch of the Kazoo Funk Orchestra’s 3rd record, This Album Is Self Titled. The record was launched during the band's set at the Wickerman Festival, quite literally, when they attached copies to helium balloons and sent them out into the crowd. Limited edition copies of the CD featured a crayon in the spine and a colouring book inlay.
Following the session at BBC Rapal, Little Beard departed from the band due to a long-term health condition that required brain surgery in October 2008. After which, Little Beard returned to the Kazoo Funk Orchestra as acting manager, but retired from performing and creating music. A friend of the collective, Ally, was brought in to replace Little Beard.
On October 1st 2008 the Weapon of Choice released his self titled album featuring an earlier collaboration with Little Beard entitled, The Reasons Why.
Baby You’ve No Eyes became the theme tune to The Waiting Room radio show on January 7th, 2009 which coincided with The Waiting Room featuring a selection of KFO tracks on the show.
On January 16th, 2009 BBC Alba broadcast the live session that the Kazoo Funk Orchestra performed for their Rapal TV show back in September 2008.
Baby You’ve No Eyes was then featured on the Under the Radar magazine CD sampler, Issue 25, which went on sale early February 2009.
Also on sale in February 2009 was Plan B magazine Issue 42 which featured a review of This Album is Self Titled.
Greek TV show Art Über Alles featured the Kazoo Funk Orchestra on March 12th 2009 - it's probably worth noting that the interview was a tad outdated by the time the show was aired.
The following day (March 13th 2009) the collective was interviewed for the first issue of Merci Magazine (Japan) and Robots In Your Eyes was featured on the cover CD.
On June 15th 2009, Little Beard handed over the management of the Kazoo Funk Orchestra to The Boyce and exited the band. His last act as manager was booking a slot for the KFO for the Alchemy Festival in Lincolnshire (September 18th 2009) and a gig at Mad Hatters in Inverness (September 26th 2009). This also marked the Kazoo Funk Orchestra's departure from Planet Groucho Records.
Update: On October 20th 2015, for the first time since 2007, Big Beard, Little Beard, The Boyce, Grum and Mechanical Monkey got together to discuss the future of the KFO. The rendezvous took place at Stereo in Glasgow. News from the rendezvous is yet to come.
If you could splice The Flaming Lips with the Polyphonic Spree within a multi-coloured balloon fight, well, quite frankly, you'd be nowhere close to how much fun it was as the grownups became kids at the best technicolour birthday party ever. The band of the weekend was without any question, The Kazoo Funk Orchestra.
- Chay Woodman, Skiddle (Wickerman Festival 2007)
Music as playschool: bright, day-glo, and totally irresistible. They are a grab-bag of everything with the added bonus that the crowd feel like honourary members for the set. The exquisite party band.
- Tony Kiernan, Is This Music?
- Rishi Dastidar, Being Beta (July 27th 2007)
Humorous lop sided lofi skiffle/folk/punk with added electro bleepiness. Damned entertaining. Dip a toe in white boy reggae too. Oddball vocals and general eccentric pop chops with dex fx.
- Bugbear Bookings (Dublin Castle, London - July 25th 2007)
- Mark Barton, The Sunday Experience (Jan 14th 2008)