by Chad Campbell, senior producer
A few hours before their performance on April 23rd, we visited banjo player Bela Fleck and the Original Flecktones backstage at The Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Virginia. We sat down around a large kitchen table with Fleck, bassist Victor Wooten, percussionist Futureman (whose given name is Roy Wooten, also known as Victor’s older brother) and with Howard Levy who is back on keyboards and harmonica. Levy helped co-found the band back in 1988 but left after five years and the Flecktones’ first three albums. They decided to get back together for a big tour and for a CD of their familiarly unfamiliar mix of music influenced by several continents and multiple musical genres. Before we could start the interview, we had to make the room quiet enough. The Flecktones turned off the air conditioner, silenced a washing machine and then Levy noticed the B-flat hum of the refrigerator. Fleck took care of that by temporarily turning off the fridge. The interview that followed was wonderful as the band members seemed to learn things about their music and about each other as the conversation went along. Then it was great fun later for me to mix in the tracks from the CD. The latest album by the original Flecktones is called Rocket Science.
Here’s an entertaining and informative behind the scenes look at the band.