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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Funk band keeps positive sound

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By William Aranda / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Kevin “Kookie” Jones discusses his funk group Aladocious outside the UNM Student Union Building on Sunday afternoon. Aladocious formed in 2006 and have played countless shows across Albuquerque.

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Kevin “Kookie” Jones said he wakes up every morning to music playing in his head — after he finishes his morning prayers. He said being a member of a church has been a substitute for the gang violence and other troubles his family was surrounded by while living in Houston.

“To me (praying is) like drinking water or just living and breathing,” he said.

Jones, lead vocalist and guitar player for Aladocious, formed the band in 2006 with the final line-up consisting of Doug Bellen on keyboard, Bryan Abel on bass, Sarah Rebello on lead and backing vocals, Farris Senter on drums and Jesse Ehrenberg as sound engineer.

Rebello, a three-year member of Aladocious, said she has loved singing and music throughout her whole life, thanks to her father.

“My dad is a jazz musician so I’ve always been around music,” she said, “and that’s just what I took to.”

While they are labeled as a funk group, Jones said that other genres of music like improvisational jazz find their way into the band’s music.

“When we play live, I like to bring it where we can jam a little bit,” he said, “Where we take the songs and let the songs play us.”

Rebello said diversity helps the group branch out beyond funk music, and elements from hip-hop, R&B, soul and rock can be heard in their music.

“We have people from different backgrounds in the group so it mixes a little bit and changes the sound so it’s not just a funk band,” Rebello said.

In the eight years that Aladocious have been together, Jones and Rebello said that they have performed at the New Mexico State Fair, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and appeared on “The After After Party with Steven Michael Quezada,” hosted by Quezada, an actor from “Breaking Bad,” in January 2012.

Jones said while he is the main songwriter for Aladocious, he wants other members of the band to contribute to the music as well.

“I usually bring in the ideas, the structure of the lyrics, how I want it to go,” he said. “And everyone brings what they bring to the table. If I don’t like it, I might suggest changing it; but I usually like people to bring their voice to the music.”

Along with Aladocious, Jones and Rebello have other music projects such as the horn-driven Moonhat and the gospel group 1Acchord. Jones said he wants to have two bands like George Clinton, but would love to see where Aladocious will take him.

Jones said when he first started playing music he wanted to emulate his heroes like Rick James and Prince, but couldn’t sound like them. It wasn’t until his mother told him to be himself and write what he felt, when his faith really started to come out. he said. “I put my faith in my music, not so much as preaching, but you would know me if you were to listen to my music, you would see what kind of man I am.”

Jones said he doesn’t want to force his beliefs on other people, but wants people to know that he believes in something. Rebello said that although Jones doesn’t speak about God directly in his lyrics, a religious person would be able recognize the positive message of love in his music.

“He wants to spread that positivity and that’s a big part of what his music is about,” Rebello said.