Friday at the Rose: Grammy-nominated Lettuce celebrate 30 years of funk

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Many teenage bands are nothing but youthful larks. Others have staying power like Lettuce, performing at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, Aug. 12. The funk band from Boston, celebrating its 30th anniversary with a co-headlining tour with Tower of Power, continues to evolve on stage and in the studio.

“We all met and started hanging out in 1992,” said drummer Adam Deitch. “We had our jam session and realized there was a special chemistry, at least (firstly) as friends. It’s wild, man, because we’re in our upper 40s now and still going strong. We still have that kid-like attitude toward the band, meaning we want it to go big. We want to work harder at it and bring more people into it. We want to write better songs and be truer to our vision. It’s still growing, and no one is jaded so it’s still a beautiful thing. We’re really excited about it.”

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

In the bubble

A sense of excitement is palpable on the band’s eighth studio album, “Unify,” which was released by Round Hill Records in June.

“The studio is where we excel and really get into our thing,” Deitch said. “We really enjoy creating in that environment, so we really enjoyed making that record. We had the whole pandemic to think about it. ‘Will we ever tour again?’ ‘Will people be able to hear this music live?’ All of those things went into it, and we said, ‘Well, we’ve got all this time to write so let’s make the best studio record we can make.’ We got about a week in the studio in a beautiful place in Colorado with a great engineer. No one was allowed in. It was a total bubble vibe, like the NBA was during the pandemic. There was no one to bother us or distract us so we could just go in there and be focused. We didn’t know if we’d be able to tour this thing so we just made the best record we could.”

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Touring with heroes

While the members of Lettuce are certified veterans with three decades of performing and recording under their collective belts, their current tourmates began its funky journey in 1968.

“Getting to do this with Tower of Power is amazing,” Deitch said. “It’s just a beautiful situation with our heroes. I’m a Tower of Power kid. You know, Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power and Stevie Wonder, those are my musical icons. To get to play with them is major.”

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

In fact, Deitch had a brush with a Tower of Power member when he was a tween.

“I took a drum lesson with Dave Garibaldi, one of the most revered drummers in the world,” he said. “I was 12 years old, and my dad brought me in to have an hour lesson. I recorded it on a tape recorder. I was a fan before that and that really brought me into his world of drumming and how he does it.”

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Performance mode

Lettuce, whose 2019 project “Elevate” was Grammy-nominated for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, may excel in the studio, but on stage they ramp up the energy level and include extended musical improvisation, which has kept the band an in-demand live act for three decades.

“I’m looking forward to developing these new tunes in front of people,” Deitch said. “We’re coming up with new parts that just kind of happen. We’re just getting into the real creative part. First, you’ve got the album and then you take the album, you stretch it, morph it and move it. Doing those things is the fun part of what we’re doing right now. (In) rehearsals backstage, (we’ll) bring a little drum set and a couple of amps into the dressing room. We love that because we jam, work out stuff, come up with something new, and play it that night. We’re always looking forward to developing and getting better.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

Who: Lettuce and Tower of Power

Where: Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Cost: $23.50-$48.50

More info: 513-232-6220 or www.rosemusiccenter.com

Artist info: www.lettucefunk.com

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