- Vice Magazine Vol. 7, No. 2
- May 07, 2003
El Captain Funkaho is Really a Schizoid Librarian
By day, ------ is a soft spoken library clerk from San Francisco. But as soon as lending hours are over, he slings on a dark cape and calls himself El Captain Funkaho. He makes records where he talks about video games, space sluts and evil goats over heavy metal guitars and funky breaks. His first 7", released on Peanut Butter Wolf's imprint, sounds like the work of a crackhead from outer space, but it sold thousands of units worldwide. Over the course of our interview, ------ tried to keep Funkaho's true identity undercover and drank half a bottle a wine and a pint of coffee.
VICE: ------, who is El Captain Funkaho?
El Captain Funkaho: I really have a problem with being called Funkaho. The whole idea with me being called Funkaho is that it's not me and so I'm not going to say "Yeah it's me" cuz that sort of demystifies it.
OK, then how did Funkaho come about?
Funkaho was created mostly from bad living experiences. As far as the person who created him, that was me. It's sort of an extension of the Peanut Butter Wolf band and of various characters that have come along and made their mark and then disappeared into the world. During a period of living in a laundromat and other shit like that, Funkaho just seemed like something that just came out of nowhere. El Captain Funkaho is not really defined as being a specific character, but you know, he hangs out with these goats and everything. We know that he's into the funk and we know that he's a bad guy and that he's sort of like a super villain.
You lived in a laundromat?
Yeah, I lived there with these dudes. We just happened to find this laundromat that had a living space that was kind of empty. We were all homeless at the time so the owner let us live there just as long as we ran it. Which led to a year-long episode of chaos. Living in a concrete box and having to manage machines all day is not really a natural habitat for people.
It was the worst laundromat that I've ever seen in my life. I mean, this place didn't have a change machine cuz it got stolen in the 80s and we'd have washing machines that would burst open in flames and stuff. Kids would come in and tag the place and steal our clothes. I got all my clothes stolen. This was like in '98 so I still get chills up my spine every time I see a laundromat. I was just in one today.
Tell me a little more about the Peanut Butter Wolf punk band.
Peanut Butter Wolf was the band name back then and Peanut Butter Wolf the DJ was one of the members of the band. We also had this eleven year-old kid named Johnny who was our singer and we had this other guy known only as Skeeter who was 45.
Did you play shows?
Shows were pretty scattered. We played on a street one time and one time we played inside a car driving to Mexico and we played in a mall. None of the music was written; we'd just yell out what the song was going to be about to Johnny and we'd start playing and Johnny would start singing. The only catch was that Johnny only sang because he wanted to be in Guns 'n Roses so we had to do Guns 'n Roses covers once in a while. Imagine a kid with a high voice that hasn't deepened yet trying to sing "Welcome to the Jungle, baby... you gonna bleed!".
Getting back to your current musical ventures, what's El Captain Funkaho's message?
Wear tight pants.
And what's this thing about evil goats?
Sometimes Funkaho runs out of medication. You can never tell if the evil goats are Funkaho's friends or if they're something that he can't escape from. Sometimes they're attacking on his side, sometimes they're attacking him. The evil goats are definitely part of the Funkaho daily routine. It's not like he has them under control, they're all partners in crime.
Partners in crime?
I know that Funkaho went to jail a couple of times this year. One time he was just riding a bike without a light on it in Fremont which is like the biggest suburb in the Bay Area and you can get arrested there for riding a bike without a light bulb. The other time he got arrested he was just trying to steal some cheese.
He doesn't listen to any Tupac or Master P?
I don't know if he's even heard of Tupac. And I've never even heard of Master P. I know that he makes a lot of money. But Funkaho's not trying to get rich, he's perpetually poor.
But you told me he was stealing money.
Oh, cheese as in cheese.
Yeah, goat cheese. There's some really good cheeses out there.
So what does Funkaho look like anyway?
He's usually characterized by really flashy attire. He changes color, he's been purple, grey and black and white. I think he was grey on thesingle. Someone said that he dresses like Fat Elvis, someone said that he dresses like Darth Vader. He wears these kind of goggles, but not like Yoko Ono's glasses or anything. Most people seem to notice that he's got an anti-hawk. That's like the opposite of a mohawk, you know, when you got like the strip of head right down the middle.
No, no mullet. Hey, have you noticed that mullets have come back, like, among the British people? There's some dude in Oasis that has a mullet, they think it's some hot shit.
Interview by DAVE 1
Funkaho would like us to print that Dave Madson from the Fremont police department should get a facelift. Peep Captain Funkaho's uncredited guitar work on Dr. Doom's "Leave Me Alone" remix. A full-length album, tentatively titled Earth, Wind & Funkaho is scheduled to drop on Stones Throw.
Newsfeed May 4, 2015
+ In the dungeon: Knxwledge (video)
+ Stones Throw Podcast 92: Mndsgn
+ Trance Farmers - Garbage Night vinyl, cassette, download from Leaving Records
+ Video: Tuxedo live in Los Angeles
+ Knxwledge makes his Stones Throw debut with HUD DREEMS
+ Mndsgn Europe Tour, May 2015
+ Watch Mayer Hawthorne & Jake One in the record library at Radio France
+ Homeboy Sandman Tour Dates: Europe, May-Jun 2015
+ Smurphy on Leaving Records, May 2015
+ James Pants – Savage
+ Dam-Funk – When I'm with U I Think of Her – video by Rua Acorn
+ Ras G - Mental Field Trips
+ Ahnnu – Perception second album available now on Leaving Records
+ James Pants - Artificial Lover
+ Duppy Gun's Visual Version Excursion feature-length documentary and "visual dub"
+ High Wolf - Growing Wild - coming in June on Leaving records
+ Tuxedo - So Good - Music Video
+ Mystic Ballads from Mira Billotte's White Magic (Leaving Records)
+ Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton: Now Available On Netflix
+ In the dungeon: The Lions perform "When It Rains"