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Inclined inclined to hunt for the funk groove at Blind Pig show

By Jill Hamilton

News Special Writer

When he calls, Miles Tackett, the lead singer and guitarist for Inclined is recuperating at a Days Inn.

“I think it’s near Cambridge,” he said. He and band mates Gene Perry (bass) and Steve Smart (drums) had spent the previous day traveling around visiting record stores out East.

“It was your typical new band schmoozing retail kind of deal,” said Tackett. “They dragged us around to some stores and even a packing warehouse for comics and CDs.”

Is this kind of publicity tour enjoyable? “No, I can’t say that it is,” he said. But Tackett is philosophical about it.

“When one gets on a tour, one has to get used to a few things. Like traveling in a van, like playing an acoustic set for a bunch of people in a warehouse. You have to create a false illusion that you are enjoying it.

“At this point,” he added, “it’s all about us starting out and needing all the support we can get. We’re meeting people who can choose whether or not to put our poster on the wall or play our CD in the store.”

The not so glamorous aspects of being in a band were not a big surprise to Tackett because his father Fred Tackett was also in the business. The senior Tackett played for Little Feat and worked with Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, and Tom Waits.

Miles Tackett (named for Miles Davis) picked up advice on being a musician from his father: “He was pretty straight up with us, saying ‘You’ve gotta have something to fall back on.’ He made sure I learned to play cello so I could play in a symphony if I had to.”

When the guys, or boys, really, graduated from junior high, Fred Tackett took them to the studio and produced their first demo as a graduation present. What was the original incarnation of Inclined called? “I’m forbidden by law to reveal the cheesiness of the name,” Tackett replied.

By the time the members of the band were 15, they were already getting their first gigs at clubs. “It’s just amazing what we went through. We’d get kicked out if we ever left the stage because we were too young to be in the clubs.”

Now still a youthful 23, the members of Inclined have years of experience behind them and it shows. Their record “Brand New Day” is a masterful mix of funk, rock and jazz that manages to sound familiar and new at the same time. In their music and conversation, references to musical influences run rampant. In our short conversation, Tackett praises about 20 different bands including Echo and the Bunnymen, U2, the Police, A Tribe Called Quest and Sly and the Family Stone.

Live, the influences also come through. “When we’re playing together, one of our things is rare groove jazz funk. We'll start improvising and go into a medley of rare groove jams like Isaac Hayes and Kool and the Gang,” said Tackett.

At the end of the conversation, Tackett asked what kind of crowd comes to the Blind Pig. When he heard that college students and some slacker types would be there, he was elated. “Slackers! Great! ‘Dazed and Confused,’ ’’ he said, referring to the forthcoming movie by “Slacker” director Richard Linklater. “We met the dude who wore a Rasta hat and drove the VW bus in ’Slacker.’ We saw him in a bar in Baton Rouge and said, ‘Hey, Slacker.’ He had no idea how much that movie is played.”


Who: Inclined with Dig

When: 9:30 p.m., Thursday.

Where Blind Pig, 208 S. First St.

How Much: $5 in advance; phone (313) 645-6666 for details.