Art at the Matador marks 5th year Friday and Saturday

by Linda Watkins-Bennett

Click to see interview

Click to see interview

The 5th Annual Art at the Matador Motel kicks off Friday, May 8th at the Matador Motel on the Esplanade in Chico.

75 artists will convert 14 rooms into imaginative art galleries ... transforming them ... and there will also be more than 20 booths outdoors. Friday you'll find hand mixed margaritas, jazz music and fire dancing from 4 - 9 p.m. and Saturday May 9th the event continues for families from 2-9 p.m. There will be food and all types of entertainment, and arts and crafts for youngsters, souvenir penny stamping, and a cantina.

The featured up and coming artist this year is Josh Funk, a film maker and stop motion animator. His exhibit will include the puppets featured in his films "Wormholes" and "The Spaceman". And he also has a stop motion animation station for people to try their hand at the intricate, time consuming art.

For More information visit the Art at the Matador event facebook page


Artists transform The Matador

Chico Enterprise Record POSTED: 05/02/15, 5:06 PM PDT

    Filmaker Josh Funk will be the occupant of the ChiVVA Scholarship room. Funk will explain his use of stop-motion animation, sculpture, illustration and elaborate miniature sets at the Matador Hotel Friday and Saturday


Filmaker Josh Funk will be the occupant of the ChiVVA Scholarship room. Funk will explain his use of stop-motion animation, sculpture, illustration and elaborate miniature sets at the Matador Hotel Friday and Saturday

On Friday and Saturday, 75 artists will transform rooms and tents at The Matador into imaginative galleries. 

The Chico Visual Arts Alliance has organized this free and family-friendly festival with jazz, souvenir penny stamping, fire dancing, food, a cantina and scavenger hunt.

An array of local painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art and jewelry will be in the festival. Several of the artists, such as Cynthia Sexton, will be doing demonstrations.

Josh Funk is this year’s occupant of the ChiVAA “Scholarship Room.” Funk, a filmmaker and artist, received his B.A. in art from Chico State University in 2007. He’ll explain his use of stop-motion animation, sculpture and elaborate miniature sets in his dark, quirky fantasies.

“Through animation I am able to revisit themes I enjoyed as a child such as monsters, fairy tales, and building spaceships out of cardboard,” Funk said.

Music for Art at The Matador features “Jazz Satie” with singer Susan Schrader, “One Eared Mouse” with former Avenue 9 Guild Member Barbara Morris as a singer, as well as Flying Blind, the Bob Kirkland Trio and the Chico West African Dance & Drum Ensemble. 

Once it gets dark the Lumininjas will light up the night. For more information, visit . The event will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday. The Matador in located at 1934 Esplanade in Chico.

A combined effort


POSTED: 03/27/15, 5:15 PM PDT 

The Museum of Northern California Art (monca) presented Art Connects with Technology, a current Pop-up at 215 Main Street through March 28. The Pop-up includes art from high school students, Idea Fab Lab and local artists who use some form of technology in their work. On March 14, Animator Josh Funk showed two of his animated films and described his art to an audience of over twenty people. Shown here with monca board member Claire Pelley (left), is Josh Funk (center) and visitor Arnie Rodriguez from the Bay Area.

Monster maker

Local musician Josh Funk trades in his guitar for stop-motion creatures

By Rachel Bush 

This article was published on 02.05.15.

Quitting a day job to dedicate more timeto one’s craft seems like nothing more than a dream to many artists, but for Chicoan Josh Funk, it is his new reality. Three months ago, he ditched a job selling cellphones for AT&T to focus on his art … and to play around with puppets.

The puppets are part of Funk’s latest artistic venture, stop-motion animation and filmmaking. For years, music has been Funk’s creative drug of choice. He played with Chico bands Spencer and Farewell Letter and also made a name for himself locally, releasing five CDs as a solo artist. But eventually, in 2012, the pull to create visual works beat out the need to write songs.

“I was doing solo album stuff for a while, but started phasing out. Stop-motion was something I always wanted to do. I bought an armature and worked on it every day after work.” Roughly a year and $1,500 later, he finished Wormholes, a surreal three-minute stop-motion short featuring a clay man being chased across colorfully strange dimensions by a Tim Burton-esque worm creature. The short was accepted into a couple of film festivals—in the UK and Austria—as well as Chico’s Shortz! Film Fest and last weekend’s Keep Chico Weird Talent Show. (You can now watch it on his website,

And he’s just finished his second film, The Spaceman, a live-action meets stop-motion short that will premiere at the Pageant Theatre Feb. 21-22. The film features a young man who travels to an alien planet to dispose of a mysterious object, encountering a monster along the way.

Funk graduated from Chico State in 2007with a degree in electronic arts. He also does a lot of 2-D works (freelance illustration projects, graphic design and film editing are his main sources of income right now), and his website features many of his pieces, which range from trippy monster designs to illustrations for a graphic-novel collaboration with local magician Wayne Houchin. While both his electronic and arts experience translated to his film endeavors, he still needed a lot of training and practice. “I used a lot of YouTube tutorials and trial and error to figure stuff out, like special effects and compositing characters.” He also familiarized himself with the necessary design software—Aftereffects, DragonFrame animation, and Final Cut editing—to polish and finish his projects.

Inspired heavily by the works of Jim Henson and Tim Burton, Funk has difficulty pinpointing his signature aesthetic. “I’ve always tried to categorize my style as an artist, because it felt better for my brain, but it’s hard. I’m drawn to dark subject matters but keeping it fairly light and quirky.”

Dark but quirky is the perfect description of his Spaceman puppets, designed by Funk but crafted by UK puppet-maker Richard Whillock, whom Funk found via Etsy. The furry black-and-white-tentacled creatures have huge teeth and are creepy, yet cute. “Picking them up from the post office and finally seeing them was so cool. He knew exactly how I wanted them to look.”

To make The Spaceman, Funk relied heavily on borrowed equipment and support from friends and family, including his younger brother, Jordan, who stars. “I told him, ‘Pretend you’re Bruce Willis, but all the movie could afford was cardboard for sets.’”

Those cardboard sets are more impressive than they sound. Tucked away in Funk’s studio, the collection of props—some miniature and some full-size—are intricately handmade, including the spaceship that once took up the whole room.

The most alluring set is the 8-foot-tall miniature forest used for a puppet battle scene. Crafted from PVC pipes, insulated foam, fake moss and leaves, the lush landscape was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that raised $6,000 to help him finish making the film.

For the live-action portions, Funk and crew found woodsy spots to match the forested replica, including Bidwell Park, Forest Ranch and Fern Canyon outside Arcata.

With The Spaceman done, Funk looks forward to its release, and trying to get it into film festivals. He also admits that the transition to a career in art has been a good one. “What I’ve discovered is that making $100 doing something you love is so much better than making $500 doing something you hate. You just have to have faith that it’ll work out.”

On the set of his new film, The Spaceman, with Josh Funk and his monsters.


Screening of The Spaceman and Wormholes (followed by Q&A with director Josh Funk) Feb. 21, 1 p.m. & Feb. 22, 6 p.m., at the Pageant Theatre.
Cost: $5
Pageant Theatre
351 E. Sixth St.

Alumnus light speeds into space in new stop-motion film

by Ernesto Rivera

The Orion

Josh Funk's next stop motion film, where a man flies into space and battles an alien monster, is currently in production.

Josh Funk with the star of his next stop motion film, an as-of-now unnamed monster. Photo credit: Ernesto Rivera

Josh Funk with the star of his next stop motion film, an as-of-now unnamed monster. Photo credit: Ernesto Rivera

Josh Funk creates monsters.

But Funk doesn’t use nuts, bolts or a high voltage of electricity like Dr. Frankenstein, nor does his creatures come from a black lagoon. His monsters are made from wires, foam latex, clay and plastic. They come from something much darker than a lagoon — his imagination.

Funk, a Chico State fine arts alumnus, is hard at work developing his next live action, stop-motion film, “The Spaceman.”

“I’ve loved stop motion since I was a kid,” Funk said. “I’ve loved ‘Nightmare Before Christmas,’ and one day I just thought, ‘I wonder how they do that?’”

Funk spent a year making his first stop-motion film, “Wormholes,” a short about “a man being chased by giant worm creatures through different dimensions and locations.”

“It was the most fun I’ve ever had,” he said.

“The Spaceman” is a mix of live action, stop-motion animation, set design and “modern technological wizardry.” A man, played by Funk’s brother, travels into space to dispose of a mysterious object and ends up battling an alien monster.

“I’m doing it like the old Ray Harryhausen films where he would have a puppet in the same shot as an actor and then they interact with each other,” Funk said.

The black and white short film is heavily based on Funk’s imagination and is a testament to his childhood.

“I kind of want to get the feeling of when you’re a kid, and you have cardboard and you make a spaceship, and you’re imagination is going wild,” he said. “It’s kind of like being a kid in a way. Building a fort. Building a spaceship in my garage and playing with toys”

It took Funk about a year to get 5 minutes of his 10 to 15 minute short film done.

“I kept on re-working a few things, but now I’m focused and know exactly what needs to be done,” Funk said. “The second half is more time consuming because most of the animation is in the second half.”

Funk’s monsters don’t elicit a mob with pitchforks and torches banging on his door. Instead his mob comes bearing more than $5,000 through the crowd-funding site Kickstarter.

In less than 30 days his Kickstarter project has reached more than 100 percent of its initial goal.

Now, Funk will use the extra cash to build larger scale sets and get more puppet parts. And if the project hits $6,000, he’ll have a private screening in Chico.

“Anything extra that we get will go toward improving the film and taking it to the next level,” he said.

If someone makes a donation of $1,000, their big prize is naming the monster that stars in the film.

Funk commissioned Richard Whillock, a UK-based puppet maker, for the creation of the monster.

“I designed it and drew a few pictures of it and had him made because I really wanted to up the production value,” Funk said.

Funk’s backers have included his friends and family, but he was blown away by the amount of support he got from strangers all over the world.

“They just believed in the film. That’s just a really cool feeling to think that you’re making something that someone can relate to that much that they want to support it,” he said. “It’s surreal.”

All this unexpected Internet support has given Funk a pressure and obligation to make the film really great, he said.

“I just want to make it 10 times better than I expected,” Funk said. “I really want to out-do myself.”

Ernesto Rivera can be reached at or @ernestorivera on Twitter.


Chico director ventures to space in new stop-motion movie

Josh Funk's "The Spaceman" utilizes miniatures, live action and puppets to illustrate new film

By Leila Rodriguez @leilarrodriguez on Twitter

POSTED:   04/23/2014 10:13:54 AM PDT

Josh Funk, a Chico director and writer, demonstrates how his puppet will be used in creating his live action and stop-motion film, "The Spaceman." (Leila Rodriguez —Enterprise-Record)

Chico >> Behind a Chico home there is a shed concealing a spaceship, an adventurous astronaut, a bugged-eyed monster and a camera to capture the exchange.

All are ingredients dreamed up from director and writer Josh Funk and will be featured in the short film, "The Spaceman."

The Chico State University fine arts alumnus wants viewers to reminisce about their childhood of building forts or spaceships, he said. His film captures a youthful imagination running rampant, much like the experiences he shared with his siblings.

"'The Spaceman' is going to pay respect to the kinds of movies I loved as a kid like 'Star Wars' and 'Nightmare Before Christmas,'" Funk said in his Kickstarter video. "Movies that didn't rely on computer animation, but instead used real props, real sets — things you can actually pick up and touch."

Utilizing miniatures, puppets, cable animatronics and camera tricks, Funk will blend this dreamed-up animated world with live action.

The Spaceman is portrayed by Funk's younger brother, Jordan Funk.

Jordan Funk's character crafts a cardboard spaceship with hand drawn details of gears, gadgets and buttons and ventures to another planet to dispose of a mysterious object. While exploring, he encounters an alien and they battle.

"I'll kind of leave it up to viewer if he really does go (to space) or not," Funk said. "There's more going on in the story but I don't want to reveal that because it will give away the ending."

It's borderline campy, but the spaceman takes his responsibilities seriously, he said.

Funk's alien monster — blanked in a thick black fur coat equipped with long black and white striped tentacles — is a stop-motion puppet created by European puppeteer Richard Whillock.

Stop-motion is a puppet is slightly moved and the director will snap a photo of each movement to be later sequenced like a flip book and the gestures are fluid.

It takes 24 photos for every second of the movie, he said. A tedious process he enjoys. Think of Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas" and the 1964 TV special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

"It's a really weird thing but it's so fun," Funk said. "It's kind of like magic. Something that is oblivious like a toy and you see it come to life — it's really weird."

A lot of techniques involving green screens will materialize the size difference of Funk's brother who is 6 feet tall and the tiny puppet.

"You have to make it convincing that the actor is fighting a monster who has to appear to be twice the size of the actor," Funk said.

"The Spaceman" will be Funk's second stop-motion film.

His first, "Wormholes," debuted last year. The three-minute movie took him about a year to complete.

Funk and his crew of 10 are currently in the middle of filming "The Spaceman."

There are a few action scenes yet to be filmed and a large scenic forest to animate the monster is Funk's next tasking enterprise.

He anticipates his second feature to be about 15 minutes long and take him two years to accomplish.

The director resorted to crowd sourcing website, to help raise funds to complete his movie.

Within four days of going live, Funk has already surpassed his goal of $2,500.

Any extra funds raised during the month-long campaign will help make the film that much better, he said.

The money earned will go toward extra set materials, props and entering the movie into film festivals.

As part of the Kickstarter gifts, Funk will allow the first person who fronts $1,000 to name the monster. Also if $6,000 is raised by May 17, Funk will host a private screening for those who donate $35 or more.

To donate to "The Spaceman" project visit


Josh Funk Releases “Everything In Temporary”— New Concept Album About the Dreams of a Man in a Coma –PR WEB

Chico, Calif. (PRWEB) September 14, 2010

Josh Funk, an independent and self-produced artist, today announced the release of his fourth original album, “Everything In Temporary”, a concept album that deals with the feelings of lost love through the perspective of a comatose man lying in his deathbed. This newest release is a stark contrast to Funk’s earlier emo-pop albums as he parts ways with his former works and explores the depths of his darker self, showing a truly integral side of him fans have yet to see before.

“Everything In Temporary” is an entire album dedicated to portraying the last thoughts of a man trapped in his body, slowly creeping towards the brink of his own death. In the song Breathe, he imagines that he discovers his lover shot, dying on the floor, and then runs after her killer only to be slain as he seeks vengeance. The Stars describes a dreaming man’s search for the woman he loves as the world reaches its own demise and comes crashing down all around him. Funk sings about standing at the edge of the ocean in The Sea, imagining what it is going to be like as he walks through the cold waters to his death, letting the waves upon waves take him under. Finally, in Whispers In Ears, he can hear the prayers of his family and friends as they wish for God to take him home.

“I realized one day that no matter how important you are, and no matter what you do, you will one day be forgotten and that everything is in a temporary status. I instantly started crafting this story and writing these songs after that," said Funk. "I wasn’t even sure if I would release this album because it was so different from previous culminations, but these songs convey my own integrity and represent me more sincerely than anything I’ve done before."

A music video for Breathe, the first single from “Everything In Temporary”, can be viewed at:

To hear samples or purchase “Everything In Temporary” from iTunes, please visit:

About Josh Funk
Josh Funk is a multi-talented, self-taught, and independent musical artist hailing from the city of Chico in the depths of Northern California. Funk’s musical credits include four albums—The Outlet Disadvantage (2000), A Jukebox Envy (2004) , The Face You Show Your Enemies (2007) , and Everything In Temporary (2010) —as well as awards from Unisong International Songwriting Contest. Funk has also been featured on the Swinghouse Records compilation of up and coming artists, and the soundtracks for illusionist Wayne Houchin’s DVD releases Stigmata, Indecent, and Control. For more information on Josh Funk, please visit:


By Brendan McNerney
Synthesis – Feb 19th, 2007

“I have this name that people assume I made up, and it is my real name. Josh Funk is my real name…believe me, I would have picked something much cooler.”

Besides having a name that is just begging to be on stage, and a good sense of humor, Josh Funk is backing up his presense in music with creative, pop-driven songs that can easily be related to and enjoyed by the masses. Born and raised in Chico, Funk has pursued a lifelong love of music, being involved in multiple bands throughout the years, although he has found a calming and more personal escape in creating his own solo music. Now with a third album of his own and a CD release party at Has Beans on February 24th, Josh Funk is jumping headfirst into making a name for himself as a singer/songwriter. Synthesis met up with Funk during his busy schedule to discuss his new album, The Face You Show Your Enemies, as well as his music career in general. 

{What made you get away from your previous band-based music and pursue your own endeavor solely as Josh Funk?}

I was doing both of them at the same time, and I was entering songwriting competitions on my own. I used to kind of split them up in my head; the more upbeat, thicker, rock stuff was my band stuff, my softer ballad stuff was my own and I didn’t see them as the same. So I entered them in the competition under my own name and started to see that they were more popular and people were responding to it more and I was getting better feedback from it. I fought it for a long time… but it was just for me. 

{Now I know that you have a new nine-song album coming out (The Face You Show Your Enemies), where was recording done on the album?}

I have a partial setup at my house, so I started out most of the tracks where I was set up with a grid and did acoustic guitar, vocals and some electric guitar and then the majority was recorded down in Hollywood and L.A. I was kind of doing a long distance thing, so I was working with a couple of producers, and then a good friend, Ryan Sanders, who actually plays bass for me [and] works at Roland, he recorded and tracked a lot of the album at Roland, the drums and the bass… I did play bass on one song, because I recorded that song at a studio called Swing House in Hollywood and I played everything but drums on it. I put a lot of weird stuff on the album. I actually played a fishing pole at one part; I recorded the reel, because I was trying to get this little cranking at the beginning. So I played a fishing pole, handclaps, shakers, and I made a recorder and played that too. 

{So would you say that you are getting into a different genre or exploring different areas of music?}

It’s a little further away from the emo/pop/rock stuff I was doing. Some really big influences are Weezer, and they definetly shine through. A little more quirky and experimental, but I’m still keeping the songs catchy. 

{Living in Chico, do you ever have a difficult time getting your music to the masses?}

I’m trying to be as creative as I can about getting my stuff out there. I’m trying to do less of the grunt work, less playing shows for five people, and more of trying to just expose it in the time I do have. So there’s a couple of ways I’m promoting it. Myspace is huge; it’s really helped me out. Also I have songs on a few DVD’s.

{Yeah, I know that you did a compilation a while back.}

Yeah, I was also on a compilation for Swing House Records and I’ve had some people all over the country write me about that. In fact, that’s how I learned I was on it. Some girl from Arizona wrote me and told me, “I really like your song on the Swing House compilation,” and I had to make some phone calls and had forgotten that I had agreed to that like two years before. But I’m going to be recording a live concert DVD with a friend of mine…and release it worldwide soon.

GOTTA HAVE THAT FUNK –Chico News & Review

Local singer-songwriter makes his next big move with a new record

By Barbara Manning

Josh Funk has an affinity for creative self-promotion. Last year, while working at the local Kmart, Funk managed to talk his boss into letting him play in the store's jewelry and watch department. He maintains his professional Web site himself, and his MySpace page has received thousands of hits. He's played in front of thousands of people at Beale Air Force base for a Boy Scouts event and played at his high school graduation celebration, which Funk described as "surreal." Now, almost 25, the singer-songwriter is ready to celebrate the release of his third full-length solo record, The Face You Show Your Enemies, Feb. 24.

Although Funk is currently studying studio and electronic art at Chico State and working full time, he still manages to maintain a musical career that continues to expand. Regularly selling his songs via downloads on iTunes, gaining fans worldwide and organizing the packaging and distribution of his albums, he manages to do it all from the tidy little apartment he shares with his fiancée, Jenny. The new album features some “really excellent musicians that are living in L.A. now.” Working at home on his Pro Tools setup, recording basic tracks to a click track, and sending the music to Los Angeles for drums and bass has been a convenient way to record for Funk. “It is so nice collaborating with other people,” Funk says. “I got a lot of feedback over the two years while working on this album. This album is a mix of rock anthems and quirky, mellow songs.”

Funk’s music is a direct reflection of his own experiences, or how he imagines they could be. His lyrics focus on relationships, breakups and friendships, although he admits that his current stable relationship poses a challenge to his songwriting. The song “Silhouettes,” off the new album, takes a bit of a different approach, exploring what life after death might be like. “It’s about floating to heaven as if you were a paper cutout,” Funk explains. “Once you get there you’re waiting in line, surrounded by all these people--rabbis and priests and everyone--talking about what it’s going to be like, just waiting in line like you do in Disneyland. I don’t describe all of that in my song, but when I sing it, that’s what I picture.”

The only musical exposure Funk had as a child was listening to oldies stations in the car during family road trips. His mother would point out songs and tell him stories they reminded her of. “Every time a certain song would come on she would say, ‘I remember the first time I heard this! It was at a dance … ’ ” Funk recalls. “ She would associate them with memories and I learned songs from picturing her memories.” Funk fell into playing music in seventh grade after not making the cut for his school’s basketball team. “I wanted to be a sports guy so bad. I just didn’t have it. I think I cried.” Buying a guitar off of a neighbor for 10 bucks and taking six months of lessons, Funk realized he could figure out how to play songs he heard from records by ear. He quit the lessons and started playing Green Day songs with some friends. They practiced in a garage, preparing to play their first gig at a junior high assembly. But it was still undecided who was going to sing.

Each member took a turn at the microphone, trying to sound like Billy Joe Armstrong. Funk won out. And at 12, he was the lead singer of his first band, the Porcelain Tutus. “This was probably the most pivotal moment for me in my life,” Funk admits. “Had I not tried to sing then I would not be doing what I am right now.”

From there Funk played in several bands as members came and went. Just as he was starting college he joined Farewell Letter. Throughout his involvement with bands Funk continued a solo career, soon developing a devoted audience and eventually drawing standing-room-only crowds to his regular nights at the now-defunct Chico café The Daily Grind. After he sent his 2004 release, A Jukebox Envy, to an L.A. recording studio for mastering, the engineer, so impressed by what he had heard, told Funk that he wanted to share the finished CD with managers of acts like Melissa Etheridge and Maroon 5. It was after that when Funk was invited to record at Hollywood’s Swing House studio for four days on a track featured on their in-house compilation, which included the Goo Goo Dolls and Concrete Blond. But Funk’s big break came from a friendship he forged with a Chico magician, Wayne Houchin.

Funk and Houchin tied for first place in a talent contest in high school--Pleasant Valley--and now Houchin’s instructional and highly entertaining “illusion” DVDs sell by the thousands. Houchin requested that his friend’s music accompany two of his recent DVDs, which sold so many that servers crashed in the first hour. Now a whole lot more people have been exposed to Funk’s sound. But he doesn’t mind if his music is described as commercial. “I can tell you what my goal is as a songwriter: I want to sound commercial on the surface so that you can listen to it once and think it’s good. But I want there to be something not quite right about it,” Funk continues. “The listener should think ‘something is different here,’ whether it be in the lyrics or the way I sing them.”




Coffee House Rock! –Chico News & Review

Local singer and songwriter Josh Funk jokes that he wants to train monkeys after graduating from Chico State. But for now, Funk just entertains people with his music, and, perhaps inadvertantly, with his sense of humor.

Don't let the wisecracks fool you (making fun of his extremely thin physique, Funk refers to himself as "a human stick-figure playing love songs"), his often heartfelt songs portray life's ups, downs and the ironies in between. The 23-year-old Chico native sings, plays the guitar and writes catchy lyrics in manner he describes as reminiscent of Weezer and Elliot Smith. Most of all, it seems he's just having fun making music. "If it's not fun, it's not worth it," Funk says.

Funk grew up listening to the Beach Boys, but he's more recently influenced by the likes of emo-superstars The Get Up Kids--in addition to the aforementioned Smith and Weezer--and with his own emotionally delivered vocal stylings and love song themes you would definitely put him in that same slippery emo category.

"Even when I never have to/ can I still sing for you?" Funk sings to an anonymous crush on "I'm So Glad You Could Make It," one of the tunes he's working on for a new recording. As on his previous release--2004's A Jukebox Envy--the emo sound Funk puts on record is a full electric version. For the last couple of years at least (his previous local bands include The Farewell Letter and brief stint in Isabell), Funk's pattern is to produce a polished recording of his high-energy love songs, then take to local cafes and perform solo. The new stuff isn't on disc yet, but you can hear it at upcoming Has Beans and Teaz Me shows. The six-song A Jukebox Envy is available on his Web site ( for $8. Or you can stop by a local cafe and snag it for $5.

Duo Puts Its Own Magic into Has Beans –CSUC ORION

Maritza Rodrigez
Staff Writer
August 31, 2005

It soon became standing room only as people entered Has Beans on Friday for a night filled with music and magic. Well, maybe not magic but definitely illusion.

Two local performers partnered up for a wonderful performance. Musician Josh Funk and street magician Wayne Houchin paired up to put on a very different type of show.

"It's different to see magic and music together. Two magicians would be weird and two musicians would be a little too much and it would get boring," Funk said.

The night started with Funk, 23, a Butte College student performing all of his old and new material. His friend, fellow guitar player, and back up singer Jay Darten accompanied Funk on stage. Through out their performance Funk and Darten kept the audiences attention by teasing each other. At one point Funk made a confession about a song he was about to perform, "I always forget the second verse, so if I stop you guys know I forgot the words," Funk said.

Funk added to his acoustic performance with the accompaniment of vocalist and long time friend Amanda Wort. Funk and Wort attended high school together and have performed together many times.

"Josh is really good. We have been doing this since 1999 when we got to sing one night a week at the Daily Grind," said Wort as she sat in the audience singing along to all of Funk's songs.

Funk's music was soothing, mellow, and meaningful until an audience member made a request towards the end of the show. "Play the Bob Saget song," an audience member shouted from the back.

Most of you can recall Bob Saget played the famous TV father Danny Tanner on "Full House."

"For those of you who don't know. I used to be obsessed with Bob Saget and I wrote a song about him a really long time ago," said a slightly embarrassed but willing to perform Funk as he looked up from his guitar.

The crowd laughed and cheered as Funk sang about Bob Saget. The show ended with Funk doing the only cover of the night, "Stray Cat Strut" by the Stray Cats. Funk ended his performance to applause.


Synthesis - August, 2004

Josh Funk has been slipping through the cracks of Chico's music scene for the past nine years and considering all of this, his list of accomplishments is amazing. He has performed in such bands as Farewell Letter, Spencer and Isabell, won numerous songwriting and talent contests, and at this point has had his voice heard on most regional and college radio stations.

In late December of 2003 and on a shoestring budget, Funk set out to record a new EP entitled A Jukebox Envy on which he produced and played all of the instruments minus drum tracks provided by friends. Influences like Weezer and Elliot Smith seeped through the music, and Josh opened his soul through lyrics of both skepticism and heartache.

"My Songs are about relationships and dreams, falling in love and falling apart. On my upcoming album the song 'Implode' is about awkward silences between two people, 'Every Five Minutes' is about the girl I was in love with and how when I finally got her, we weren't what we thought we'd be. As for the rest, they deal with everything between bliss and life as I've known it so far."


Not Quite Hollywood Music Spotlight - Josh Funk

I was listening to 106.7 Zrock's fifteen minutes of fame (Weeknights from 9:00pm to 9:15pm) as usual on my way home from work. Up next was a new song by local Artist/Songwriter Josh Funk. The song was called "My Supermodel". Having the uncanny ability to recognize true talent when I hear it, I decided to contact Josh and schedule an interview. The interview went well and I left knowing a lot more about what makes the guy tick. Here's a little of what I learned:

Josh Funk now twenty-one years of age after many years of playing with other groups has decided to go solo. Josh has been making music since he was in the eighth grade. He received his first guitar from a neighbor for ten bucks and he began teaching himself songs off of the radio. Josh has been in quite a few talent competitions. At age fifteen he won second place in a Chico songwriters competition beating out some people who had been writing songs their entire life. His prize was two hours in a recording studio. The complete interview follows:

Did your parents encourage your skills? 

They were very encouraging but I honestly think they viewed it as a hobby for a long time. Now it is at the point where they want me to do the normal thing like college but if I made music my main goal they would definitely support my decision.

You've been in several groups . . . Why go solo?

Though I had been playing in bands since I was twelve, I have always found more comfort in expressing myself through songs I wrote by myself and for myself. They are better in the sense that I wasn't trying to please anybody and be anybody. It was just something that I couldn't escape. Im just doing what is natural for myself. It just seems the natural path for me to take at this point in my life. And to be honest I do not have any intention on turning back.

What was the best location you've every played? Why?

I have played many shows over the years so that is hard to pinpoint. I have had some amazing shows that were only for five people, and some horrible shows that I played in front of a thousand. I just feel blessed to have the memories I do. I've played at a Boy Scout jamboree, a Hawaiian themed birthday party above Star Bucks, and many backyard shows. As ridiculous as they sound, they were a lot of fun.

What was the worst location? Why?

I don't have any one bad show that makes me ill to think about. There are just certain types of places I loath playing. Bars and Keggers are usually a waste of time. I've played a lot of Keggers where they just want to hear cover songs and they want to play your instruments. It's no fun playing till 2 in the morning unless the people are actually there to hear the music and have a good time. 

Do your music abilities help you get chicks? Especially now that you've gone solo?

In theory yes, but I have been single for a long time now, so apparently it isn't a proven one. I think that Lawyers and Doctors are the ones who really get the ladies. I'm not very good with lying or using a scalpel though.

I noticed there is a slight change in style from the music you played while with The Farewell Letter and what you do now. What triggered this change?

On the surface it seems like there was a big change. What I do now is what I have always done. When you make it a collaborative effort the music becomes something entirely it's own. Had I written all of our songs on my own, they would have sounded along the lines of what I am doing right now.

Your music is very clean, from what I've heard. Have you ever felt the need to throw in an explicit lyric or two?

I have never found the need to. The song "My Super Model" that is on my new CD uses the word "SHIT" in it. I may sound a bit prude for saying this, but it was very hard for me to put it in. unfortunately I couldn't resist. It was just the funniest way to say what I needed to say. 

On your up and coming CD "A Jukebox Envy" you played all of the instruments except the drums. How was that experience? Would you do it again?

I loved it. It was so fulfilling and if I were a better drummer I would do all the instruments. I spent about 5 months on 6 songs. Some days I would go into the studio unprepared with no written parts and come up with something that I loved. Other days I would be very prepared. In the end, these songs are my favorite to listen back to. They entirely represent me.

I did some research on Elliot Smith after reading The Story on your web site. After comparing some of his songs with yours I realized his influence is truly strong with you. How would you personally compare your music with his?

He was an amazing songwriter and influence on me. I wish I were half the poet he was. He used amazing metaphors and told stories in such a way that you can say, "I know what he was feeling when he wrote that." The way I write is much more blunt. You can tell that I am a fan though, maybe not on the surf