The Phunk Junkeez are an American rap rock band from Phoenix, Arizona that formed in 1991 and have established a strong underground following. The band has toured the U.S. extensively, even making it as far as Japan.
The band plays music fusing a number of different styles, from hardcore punk to trip-hop. Many of the band's early shows involved breaking into warehouses in the Phoenix area and performing to fans who were all invited by word-of-mouth. Phunk Junkeez concerts often attracted the attention of local police who threatened to throw the band in jail. The band grew large enough to start playing legitimate venues, such as The Electric Ballroom, Club Rio, Mesa Amphitheater, and Compton Terrace, sometimes selling out multiple nights at some of these venues. Eventually, the band was signed to Trauma Records/Interscope Records and have released six albums over the last 17 years. The band has had member changes over its 08 years, especially on guitar, but 3 original members still make up part of the band to this day, Soulman (singer), Jumbo Jim (bass) and DJ Roach (singer and DJ).
The Phunk Junkeez founders, Kirk Reznik (a.k.a. "K-Tel Disco") and Joe Valiente ("Soulman"), "paid a fortune in dues together starting in 1985", when they started performing to prerecorded beats under the name "White Boy Rap", a name Soulman used for solo performances. Later as an opening act for such artists as MC Hammer and Run-D.M.C. That project turned into "BumRap" in 1987, followed by the "Phunk Junkeez" in 1990. The two rappers, Reznik and Valente, joined forces with another band, Freak Squad, in 1991, and later that year recycled DJ Roach Clip from their rap days. The band members included Jumbo Jim (bassist), Mike Kramer (guitarist), and Disco Danny Dynamite (a.k.a. Disco Danny D, Disco Dan, DK Mueller) on drums. The Phunk Junkeez were a massively popular act in the Valley throughout the early '90s, playing huge, illegal warehouse keggers and routinely drawing more than 1,000 fans into clubs. DJs Soulman and Roach Clip are both natives of Alaska and grew up in the same trailer park, although never met in person until both had grown up and moved to Arizona.
In Mesa, Arizona at a September 24, 1993 concert at the Mesa Amphitheater (opening for Dada), Phunk Junkeez had to be pulled from the stage after playing for several minutes past the city curfew, despite the requests of the producer and threats of calling the police. The Phunk Junkeez would not allow the show's producer Brad Laughlin to interrupt the set. This forced the venue to shut off the PA. The band kept playing with only stage amplifiers and soon the lights were cut as well. Once back stage, the band's leader K-Tel Disco tossed tables and chairs and threatened the producers of the event, who left without paying the band. By then a large percentage of the audience left the venue, not wanting to see the mild pop of Dada, despite the popularity of their hit song "Dizz Knee Land". During sound check the obscenities were loud enough that the band was banned from playing at Mesa Amphitheater for many years. They have played the venue at least twice since, the last time being with the Insane Clown Posse and 2 Live Crew in 2003.
The band released their self-titled debut-album in 1992. This album, was one of the most popular local releases from a Phoenix band in 1992 and 1993, and according to Zia Records music retailer it sold almost 30,000 copies in Phoenix alone. The Phunk Junkeez were signed to Trauma Records/Interscope Records releasing their second album,Injected (1995), nationwide. This release was recorded in Atlanta and produced by Angelo Moore of Fishbone and Ross Robinson (Korn, Slipknot, At the Drive-In). Injected produced a successful single, "I Love it Loud," which was played in rotation on alternative stations nationwide accompanied by a video featuring Chris Farley and David Spade, and was featured on the Tommy Boy soundtrack. "I Love it Loud" eventually reached a peak of 38 on the U.S. Billboard Music Charts. Another track from the album B-Boy Hard was featured on the soundtrack to National Lampoon's Senior Trip. Phunk Junkeez toured extensively at this time, playing with No Doubt, Bush, Faith No More, Ramones, KMFDM, and mostly with 311. The Phunk Junkeez were given a shout out in the song "Jackolantern's Weather" from 311's self titled album released in 1995 as well as 311's "Misdirected Hostility" which was written after 311 witnessed the level of disharmony among the Junkeez, specifically a fight between Reznik and then guitarist Jeff O'Rourke, and a second brawl, later that same tour, next to the 311 dressing room between Reznik and Disco Danny D.
After numerous negative incidents between Reznik and the rest of the members over the next year, K-Tel Disco (Reznik) was voted out of the band. After the departure of Reznik, the band immediately toured and brought along a mobile recording studio to write their next album. Those ideas written on tour were the basis of Fear of a Wack Planet, released in 1998, which was recorded in Amsterdam and produced by Lee Popa, a clear side step from the previous releases by the band. At this point, the band began touring much more with such acts as, Incubus, Shootzy Groove, The Urge, Insane Clown Posse, Two Skinny J's, and Clutch. Jeff O'Rourke quit the band after the bulk of this touring to pursue a career in movies.
In 1999 Danny P filled the shoes of Jeff O'Rourke on guitar and the band began writing the next album right away. Danny P was the founding member of the local Phoenix band, Surf Ballistics. He was also known in the music scene to be the best guitarist in town. He himself was a longtime fan of Phunk Junkeez and was very excited for the opportunity to play in one of the most successful bands in that town. The band has said he sparked the creativity for the next batch of records the band put out starting with Sex, Drugs and Rap N' Roll (2001). This was the release that marked the start of the band becoming more independent and underground, and also marked the first of the next three albums bassist Jumbo Jim took over as the bands recording engineer, in their own downtown Phoenix studio. New MC, Milky,(Soulmans little brother)also joined the band at this time to rap alongside Roach and Soulman.
This release was produced and mixed by the late Grammy award-winning producer Jeff Poe (Carlos Santana, Madonna, Guns N' Roses). One of the singles off the album, "What's Next", featured a collaboration with Sen Dog of Cypress Hill.
After 4 albums and 11 years of touring, Drummer "Disko" Dan Mueller left the Phunk Junkeez to pursue other musical endveours. The Phunk Junkeez looked to replace him with the same caliber player. They did so by adding Steve "Dukes" Dueck. During the Sex, Drugs and Rap N' Roll tour they joined up with Suburban Noize Records while supporting Kottonmouth Kings for most of spring and summer of 2002. The band began to tour over 200 days a year on both major and secondary markets in support of this album. The Phunk Junkeez then signed a record deal with Suburban Noize and released their fifth album, Rock It Science, the following year. After tracking drums for this album, Dukes left the band for the time being (he returned in 2007) for family reasons, and was replaced by Money Mike on drums. This album was produced by Jumbo Jim and Soulman, recorded by Jumbo Jim, and mixed by Ken Mary. The songs, "Same Ole Song," and "Fall In Line," from Rock It Science appeared on the soundtrack to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. The band again toured extensively for this release. On August 23, 2007 the Phunk Junkeez released their most recent album entitled Hydro Phonic. This album was also produced by Jumbo Jim and Soulman, engineered by Jumbo Jim, and mixed by Ken Mary. Upon completing another tour of the U.S. and Japan, DJ Soulman struck out alone on a DJ tour of Japan. The Phunk Junkeez continue to play shows, but have thinned out their extensive touring to only play select cities and dates.
The Phunk Junkeez have seen a number of band members come and go since their inception. Below are the current members: