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Galactic's Funk Sound Finds Permanent Home In Legendary New Orleans Club

Ben Ellman, Robert Mercurio, Stanton Moore, Jeff Raines and Rich Vogel of Galactic, at Tipitina's, New Orleans, La. November 2018.
Melissa Stewart
Courtesy of the artist
Ben Ellman, Robert Mercurio, Stanton Moore, Jeff Raines and Rich Vogel of Galactic, at Tipitina's, New Orleans, La. November 2018.

Named after the beloved Professor Longhair song, Tipitina's is a famous club that the New Orleans band Galactic has frequented for over 25 years. Now, the longstanding funk band out with its 10th album, Already Ready Already, owns the place.

"I can remember numerous times in numerous interviews where every member of the band has been quoted as saying that it was our favorite place to play," drummer Stanton Moore says about Tipitina's. "It is our musical home away from home, so it's been in the back of our minds for maybe 20 years where it's been a pipe dream."

After two years of talking with the owners and seven months of negotiation, Galactic finally made that pipe dream come true. All the while, a 10th album was in the works, including a track titled "Touch, Get Cut" featuring New Orleans neo-soul singer Erica Falls. Saxophonist Ben Ellman explains that the title 'Touch, Get Cut" is what Falls would always write on her leftover food that she would leave on the bus "to make sure that nobody would eat it."

"It just felt like an appropriate title for a song featuring her," Moore says. "And to use her words, she is intentionally referencing the Me Too movement ... so it had a whimsical beginning, but much more serious lyrical content."

For Mardi Gras, Galactic will be continuing its nearly two decade-long tradition of playing at Tipitina's all night the Monday night before Fat Tuesday. They call it 'Lundi Gras.'

"Now that we have Tipitina's, people ask me 'What goes through your mind?' I say 'Well, play every gig like you own the place.'" Moore says. "But you know, you don't want to be cocky. You just want to play with confidence and joy."

Already Ready Already is out now via Tchoup-zilla Records. Band members Ellman and Moore spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about Tipitina's, concepts behind Galactic's latest album more. Hear their conversation at the audio link.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
Ned Wharton is a senior producer and music director for Weekend Edition.
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