How’d This New York State Trio Become TV’s Hot New House Band?
One of the coolest things you can have in live TV is a house band, and some huge names in music have always been ready to sign up for the gig. Questlove and The Roots back up Jimmy Fallon, Paul Shaffer and the World's Most Dangerous Band were legendary on Letterman, Max Weinberg from the E-Street Band teamed up with Conan O'Brien.
Now, some hosts are choosing talented relative-unknowns and catapulting them into superstardom: look at Jon Batiste. After seven seasons leading the band for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert he won the Grammy for album of the year. Now an Upstate New York band is getting their shot at being the next great house band thanks to a celeb encounter years ago.
Funk n' Fieri
Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives has been a Food Network staple for more than 15 years. Guy has sampled great eats from coast to coast and met lots of chefs, but after one trip to Upstate he made some friends that have stayed with him since.
He brought his frosted tips to Syracuse's Funk n' Waffles, which boasts wild waffle combos like a Chicken Parm Waffle and the Thanksgiving-esque Jive Turkey with a waffle made from homemade stuffing. Fieri wasn't just hooked by the food, he also loved the musical stylings of Funk n' Waffle's founding father, keyboardist Adam Gold.
Gold's band, Sophistafunk, describes themselves as "the unstoppable Funk Hip Hop dance party." The genre blenders have toured all over the United States and Europe, and the Mayor of Flavortown was immediately a huge fan.
Guy Fieri has flown Sophistafunk's Gold, drummer Emanuel Washington, and frontman Jack Brown around the country to perform at parties, private events, the Super Bowl, and even had the trio be the guest band for a few episodes of Guy's Grocery Games. He even did a virtual Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Gold during COVID lockdown.
When Fieri was starting Guy's Ultimate Game Night, a star-studded, late-night game show featuring celebrities competing in crazy food-based games for charity, he only wanted one band backing him. Now Sophistafunk can be seen bringing the energy to "the Flavortown Lounge" every Wednesday at 9p on Food Network and every Thursday at 10p on TBS.