The “Funk Junkies”, is a band that specializes in laying down the funk.

Upcoming shows

Bass/Lead Vocals (Founding Member)

RICH FRACASSE

Rich Fracasse; founding member of the Funk Junkies, grew up in Newburgh NY-a city just north of NYC. At the time, Newburgh had some of the highest violent crime rates in the country because of its depressed urban environment and lack of opportunity. During his adolescence, Rich gravitated toward music- avoiding of the many potential pitfalls that existed for young adults in his community. He was also fortunate enough to have played with many local inner city musicians during that time. Many of these musicians were involved with the church and played Gospel music.

“Having the opportunity to play with these talented guys growing up gave me the ability to really know syncopation and the groove… I learned and felt things playing with those guys that no music theory teacher could ever teach you. That feeling is embedded in me forever now.” At 12 years old Rich was listening to bands like Chicago and three dog night but quickly gravitated towards real funk and soul like James Brown, EW & F, The Ohio Players, AWB, Al Green etc… While all of my friends were listening to Led Zeppelin and the hard rock stuff I was mesmerized by guys like Larry Graham, Bootsey Collins and Stanley Clark.”

For the past 8 years Rich has been the Funk Junkies lead and founding member. “Since starting this band about 8 years ago I’ve again had the great opportunity to perform with, befriend and be befriended by some of the best musicians in the Tri-State area. When this band performs the good time we’re having on stage is obvious and I think our audience picks up on that, making them want to be a part of it. We welcome them in and feed off of their energy also. It’s like a ping pong match and the groove is the ball. I’d like to thank all of the Funk Junkies fans and members past and present for making this band so enjoyable for me and I hope the band creates the same enjoyment for all of you!”

Vocals (Also of Living Colour)

Corey Glover

Lead singer of Living Colour, the multi-talented Corey Glover has albums as a solo artist and acted in movies & television. Glover met guitarist Vernon Reid in the early ’80s. The duo went on to form Living Colour (along with drummer Will Calhoun and bassist Muzz Skillings), but just as the group was creating a buzz in the N.Y.C. underground, Glover had to briefly leave the group when he landed a part in Oliver Stone’s classic Vietnam movie, Platoon. Shortly after he returned, Living Colour was signed to Epic (thanks in part to a Mick Jagger-produced demo tape), and scored a big hit with their debut recording, 1989’s Vivid, and smash single/video “Cult of Personality.” Glover later launched a career as a solo artist, issuing Hymns in 1998, also finding time to appear as a VJ on VH1 and acting in the 1996 movie Loose Women including co-headlining a national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar as Judas, opposite Ted Neeley. Glover reunited with his Living Colour chums in 2001 and have released THE CHAIR IN THE DOORWAY in 2009. When not touring w/ Living Colour, Glover can also be seen w/ Galactic OR touring w/ his solo acoustic group.

Drums

Jim Verdi

Drums- As well as being a drummer Jim has his hand in many aspects of the music industry. Songwriting, engineering, and producing are some of the talents he brings to the table. A few of his accomplishments are listed below with the “Jon-Wite Group” recording an album that produced two worldwide dance hits and a six-month European tour with Michael McCartney co-wrote the original Arena football theme song for television. Engineered and co-produced the backing blues tracks that “Imus in The Morning” uses for his impromptu commercials. This music was performed by Little Sammy Davis and Midnight Slim. Currently on the cover of “Great Jersey Musicians” by Richard Hoynes available at Amazon.com. Presently also drumming for “The Funk Junkies”…..The legendary “Blackberry Blues Band” of Asbury Park…..”30 Year Rookie”…..”Counterfeit Cash”…..”Mark Preston and the Traveling Men”. recording a 12-track album with “One Came Down.” The Mojo Gypsies” and “DVR”. The “Hillbilly Drags” trailer on youtube has “DVR” performing throughout.

Guitar, Bass & Vocals

Tommy Rausch

Born and raised in a small town 90 minutes from NYC, to a mother who sang live on the radio in the 40’s and father that made sure Tom and his 8 siblings knew that family, faith and music were the way of life. From playing behind curtains in bars that Tom was too young to be in or being a part of the impromptu 20th anniversary of Woodstock for an experience he’d never forget. Tom grew up playing the music he loves with his brothers in a band called the Rausch Brothers Band, with a strong local following for the next 40 plus years. All while raising his 4 kids and traveling from job to job doing what he loves. Tom enjoys listening and learning from some well-known bass players such as Lee Sklar, Marcus Miller and Jaco, along with many others and is humbled to have been able to have shared the stage with so many talented musicians he has been fortunate enough to have met in the business. Tom plans on keeping it going as along as his wife and the good lord allows him to.

Trombone/Horns

Jason Miller

Jason Miller appears throughout the Hudson Valley and NYC performing with artists including Jason Casterlin, the Funk Junkies, the Dan Brother Band, and the Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra. He is an active composer & arranger for middle school, high school and college jazz ensembles and is currently the Director of ‘Stomp’ at the Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood, NJ, where he has also served as Assistant Director of Bands. A recipient of the Performers Certificate from Indiana University, Jason completed a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies in May 2007 and served as an Associate Instructor for Dr. David Baker and the Jazz Department from 2005 to 2006. He joined the nationally acclaimed Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra in 2005 and remained a regular member for three years until moving to New York. Jason played trombone on three albums released on Owl Records with the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra including “Mezzanine”, “An Old Soul”, and “Carol of the Bells” while contributing one arrangement to the album “Where or When”.

Guitar

Gennaro Esposito

Based in New York City, Italian born Gennaro Esposito, was introduced to the guitar during his adolescence and regularly played gospel and soul rhythms on the electric guitar for his church starting at the ripe age of 10. Like many young males of his time who were influenced by the likes of Van Halen and Bon Jovi, playing rock music on the electric guitar was of great appeal. Jazz music however, was likewise a part of his upbringing due to his interaction with American musicians during his youth, from whom the world of Jazz was introduced and cultivated. It follows that these areas of music played a major role in his tireless days and nights of practicing the guitar during his formative years and beyond. He was further influenced by Master classes taught by Mike Stern, Frank Gambale and Jim Hall, coursework taken while pursuing his degree in Jazz at the Conservatorio di Musica S. Pietro a Majella, and from his travels to Spain, where he studied Flamenco with Gypsy, Antonio Santiago. Today when you listen to guitarist Gennaro Esposito, you can’t help but notice the caliber and range of the music he is able to play. From Rock to Pop, Flamenco to Jazz, Funk to Soul or otherwise, his skills when playing the electric, acoustic, or classical guitar, in combination with his unique musical expression infused by his Mediterranean roots imparts an immediate and distinct reflection on Gennaro’s diverse playing environments.

Tenor Sax

Mike Antonelli

Saxophonist Dr. Michael Antonelli has been performing throughout the Hudson Valley since 1978. He started his musical journey during high school as an original member of the Wethead band. While earning his bachelors degree at Berklee college of music in Boston he studied with jazz greats Joe Viola, Andy Maghee, Jimmy Mosher, and the legendary Woody Herman band saxophonist Frank Tiberi. In 1982 he returned to the Hudson Valley and continued to perform with several local artists over the years. He joined the wedding band Silk & Sounds where he honed his performing, arranging, and composing skills until the band’s retirement in 2005. During this time he also earned his masters degree in music education and began a twenty year journey as a music educator at Valley Central Schools. In 2008, his original jazz song “Golden Opportunity” from his CD “Woody and Me” was voted runner up for jazz song of the year by the Independent Music Awards panel. In 2015 he finished his doctoral dissertation at Boston University titled “Joe Lovano and Us Five: A Study on the Development of a Unique Improvisational Voice from Within the Jazz Tradition” He continues to enjoy a long mentorship and friendship with acclaimed saxophonist Joe Lovano.

Alto Sax

Derrick James

Blues and Jazz music in his early years. At the age of 8, he began his first experiment on the alto saxophone. He discovered his predilection for Jazz and Blues soon and at age 17, he became a student at the famous Berklee College of Music.

Also during the time when Derrick was a GI in the U.S. Army, he had the possibilities to prove his experiences, which he collected at Berklee. This, of course also helped his professional career as a saxophonist.

„Think Positive“ is the debut album from the 26 year old New Yorker and at this young age, his music career so far is extraordinary. He has performed with Chaka Khan, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Klaus Doldinger, Billy Cobham, Bireli Lagrene, Being born as the son of a gospel singer, Derrick James was already confronted with Soul, Gospel, Gino Vannelli and Acoustic Alchemy.

His roots lie deeply in Jazz, Blues and Gospel. This album was produced by his friend, the piano player and keyboarder Christoph Spendel, who discovered Derrick in New York.

Derrick James belongs to one of the most wanted studio musicians and sideman of the European Jazz, Funk and Pop Scene.

„Think Positive“ is a personal attitude of the artist regarding his career; this is also reflected in his songs. Derrick’s light, jazzy feeling is in many compositions the carrying element of this technically brilliant production.

Percussion

Paul (Pito) Castillo

Idefonso Castillo was born on June 26, 1957, in East Harlem (El Barrio) New York City. He is known in the Latin Music Industry as Pito Castillo. He began playing drums at the age of fourteen (14). He attended Boys Harbor Music School for approximately four (4) years, where he learned how to play the drums and congas. Pito developed his style of playing conga by listening to and studying Latin Artist Congueros such as Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria and Papo Pepin. At the age of seventeen (17) he began doing salsa gigs with local bands in El Barrio. Since 1980, Pito Castillo has performed and done studio work with top salsa recording artists. He has recorded with such artists such as Charlie Palmieri, Joe Quijano y su Orquesta, Angelo and Conjunto Modelo, and Martin Arroyo, among many others. He has performed with Salsa Bands such as Adalberto Santiago, Jose Alberto “El Canario”, Bobby Rodriguez y La Compania, Tito Allen, Hector Casanova, Ernie Agosto y la Conspiracion, and Santiago Ceron among numerous others. Pito has also performed with Jazz Great Valerie Capers.

vocals

Michael Corey dandridge

Born the eldest son of a pastor, Corey’s musical roots began early while singing and playing gospel music with his siblings. He soon became the Music Director of his father’s church[Faith Temple COGIC]. He went on to sing and play drums for various groups throughout New York State. Several years later, he played drums on tour with the Harlem Gossi Singers in the southern region of Italy.
Recently, Corey was asked to host a Gospel residency at The Falcon in Marlboro. Singing and playing to a packed house each night helped to garner the praise of the venue’s owner, Tony Falco, as one of the most successful residencies in the Falcon’s 5yr history. It was this platform which helped to form Corey’s new group, SALT. He believes that it his calling to season the Earth with the message of God’s love displayed through the death/burial/resurrection of his Son, Jesus, through song.
Corey’s hope is that all will encounter God in an authentic way, resulting in changed lives forever.