Thomas Towers of Five Alarm Funk Talks Congas, Cannabis & How to Get Laid

Five Alarm Funk

We were lucky enough to spend a few moments in time with Thomas Towers of the Toronto-based Five Alarm Funk —think horn-fueled New Orleans funk, meets Frank Zappa, meets the Budos Band. His electric eight-piece ensemble has just released a sizzling new record. It’s called Sweat. And currently the band finds itself on their seventh consecutive national tour—a whirlwind twenty-two show twenty-seven day jaunt through the states and Canada. But who cares about all that. Does Towers smoke weed? And is this band stuff stoners like?

“Absolutely. Stoners like dancing to us, smoking with us, letting our music guide their trips, Five Alarm Funk IS stuff that stoners like!,” Towers tells us. No wonder he claims the band would be named Pakalolo Pete and the Pistol Wranglers if they had to choose a Hawaiian name. Hawaiian name? What? “We play all types of music,” Towers assures us. “And you better believe the chill stuff calls for a puff puff.”

Latest release

The new recorda grooving mix of monster horns, mad percussion and shredding pysch-rock guitars—was recorded at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver, BC. It features Gabe Boothroyd and Oliver Gibson on guitar, Jay Smith on bass, horn-players Eli Bennett and Kent Wallace, plus percussionists Tayo Brantson and Ricki Valentine. With over a decade of playing, recording and wring music together it’s the band’s sixth album to date and as fellow band mate and percussionist Tayo Branston puts it to Modern Drummer mag “it’s the epitome of Five Alarm’s signature sound, heavy, tight, intricate and powerful, with percussion leading the groove, heavy guitar tones, and screaming horns taking the melody and driving the intensity.”

“I’ve been smoking bong rippies all day, dude,” Towers who prefers sativa over an indica for drawing, music making, staying awake through a movie and enjoying the outdoors, tells us. So with that confirmation we decided to pull out the big questions. Those philosophical-type queries—you know the ones that really get ya thinking about the universe and your place in it—important, life-affirming questions like:

Q&A by SSL

What’s the best way to get people to sleep with you?
“Fat boom batty blunts. And honesty.”

Metallica or Slayer?
“I can’t say I’m a big fan of either. But Metallica has that one music video for “One” that is all these clips from “Johnny Got His Gun” and it tells this really haunting story.”

In your own words describe the color of the universe?
“A constant turmoil of deep crimson and indigo. Two colors fighting in the lens of your eye that can’t quite make it out. It looks like the inside of your face at sunset, and it stretches beyond infinity.”

You’re a drummer—so what are your 5 favorite guitar albums?

  1. Joe Satriani – Surfing with the Alien
  2. Django Reinhardt – Rythme futur
  3. G3 – Rockin’ the Free World
  4. ZZ Top – Best of
  5. Various – Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters

Would you tattoo our logo on your neck for a lifetime supply of weed?
“Of course! We’ll be in San Fransisco on the June 15th, bring a big bag of sativa and a tattoo gun.

Ever see Five Alarm Funk live? Have ya heard the new album, Sweat? Let us know what you think about ’em in the comments section below, man.

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