We Want the Funk: Legendary Drummer Clyde Stubblefield Heats Up Monday Nights  
Christina Endres

It’s a Monday night at the King Club and the people have gathered to praise the pulse of a shining red drum set. The dance floor is thumping, the disco ball is twirling, the music is hot and the crowd is satisfied because they’ve found the place where one night a week, worries and inhibitions get left behind and an otherwise diverse group of people come together in the name of funk.
Every Monday night, internationally known drummer Clyde Stubblefield, who spent part of his career in James Brown’s band, takes his throne behind the drum set and lays down his famous funky beats for the eclectic crowd at the King Club in Madison. Along with the Clyde Stubblefield Band, Stubblefield creates an atmosphere overflowing with energy and enthusiasm and rooted in rhythm and blues.
 The event, called “Funky Mondays,” is a place where a globe-trotting musician like Stubblefield can have fun and play to his home crowd and where music and dance lovers can appreciate the enjoyment of having a renowned musician give a show in an intimate setting every week.

Clyde Stubblefield
Matthew Wisniewski/Curb
Drummer Clyde Stubblefield lays down the funk at the King Club in Madison. Click on the image to view photo gallery.

I challenge anyone to find a Monday night like that anywhere in the Midwest,” said Tristan Gallagher, co-owner and booking manager for the King Club. “I mean, it’s going off every Monday night, and it’s Monday night for God’s sake. How can that be? It’s because Clyde is great, the band is great, and they pack a nine piece band onto that little stage and just roll it down.”

Ben Jones, 21, who recently went to Funky Mondays for the first time, said the big sound coming from that little stage kept him dancing all night.

The atmosphere, the band, everything was so intimate, so relaxed and so fun that I had no inhibitions to dance,” Jones said. “I really felt like I wanted to dance to every song, no matter what the tempo was.”

When he’s not propelling bodies from their seats to the dance floor at the King Club, Stubblefield plays at different venues and travels across the country for gigs, playing with other bands or with the FunkMasters, a band he heads with fellow drummer Jabo Starks. Almost every Monday, though, he’s back in Madison, on stage at the little club on King Street. Stubblefield said he enjoys playing at the King Club because he’s very comfortable and can use the night as almost a rehearsal to improve and try new things for his gigs during the week.

“This club is our home,” Stubblefield said. “We love it. We love the owners, we love the employees and we love all the people we work with … This is where we can make all our mistakes and don’t have to worry about it.”

The Clyde Stubblefield Band keyboardist, Steve Skaggs, agreed completely: “This is our homefield advantage.”


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