Please list all of your band members and their roles in the group.
Mike "The Rad" Readinger - Keys/Vocals, Alex Gallina - Bass, Robby Deitz - Drums, Slice - Guitar, Randy Smith - Trumpet, Ray Maguire - Trumpet, Gerard Johnston - Sax, Mikey Vitale - Sax, Kevin Miller - Bari Sax
For starters, were you a part of any other bands before becoming LDF? How long have you performed as LDF?
There is a lot of chemistry in the group that stretches pretty far back. Mike and Alex have been playing in various groups together since middle school. More importantly, several band members played together in their high school jazz ensemble which was largely responsible for promoting a love of improvisation and the desire to explore music further. LDF has been performing as a band since 2012 after a series of informal jam sessions at Robby's place between college semesters with him, Alex, Mike, and Kevin. At the time we were just glad to be all having fun playing funk, and no idea what the project would turn into.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the name before?
LDF stands for Ladies Drink Free, but recently we've been going by LDF avoid confusion when promoting shows. The name Ladies Drink Free is a tongue in cheek nod to the carefree party atmosphere that our music evokes. However, the name also serves as a satire of the "ladies drink free" ploy. After everything, gimmicks aside, we are serious musicians at heart who always put the most into our live performance.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Alex, Mike and Kevin are the core songwriting team of the group, though there are times when the band writes collectively in rehearsal. Lyrically, the topics of our songs touch on both the positive and negative aspects of personal relationships ranging from passion and romance to heartbreak and loss. Other songs are definitely more lighthearted; a snapshot of the party that LDF brings. Our themes are constantly evolving, mirroring the experiences and emotions we live through. We also feature several instrumentals. We feel that some songs simply don't need lyrics and we like to leave the interpretation to the listener.
What groups are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
We are constantly looking to artists past and present for inspiration. Legends such as James Brown, Michael Jackson, Tower of Power, Earth, Wind & Fire, Rick James, and Prince have played a huge role in the development in the cultivation of our sound. More modern pop influences include Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake who, in our opinion, have been instrumental in bringing funk back into the mainstream. We also can't deny the overwhelming influence from more modern groups dominating the funk and jam scene such as Lettuce, Snarky Puppy, The Motet, Turkuaz and Vulfpeck, who are constantly reinventing the genre.
Was there a particular artist or concert that inspired you early on?
When we first started playing in bands, like a lot of middle schoolers, we were heavily inspired by classic rock artists such as Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Aerosmith. The outrageous stage antics of Kiss' liveshow in the summer of 2004 showed us that performing live was not only about the music, but could be a full on entertainment spectacle. Seeing Red Hot Chili Peppers in concert had a big part in pushing us into the funk /jam realm of music.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc.
The setup/sound check process for a 9 piece band can sometimes be a stressful affair. The pre-show shirt (a la The Situation) is an absolute must in order to avoid looking looking like a sweaty mess before stepping on stage. At venues where we're lucky enough to have a green room, it's always fun to bust out the N64 for a few rounds Super Smash Bros. We usually just try to relax, grab a drink and mingle with the crowd before we perform.
What has been your favorite highlight of LDF career so far?
This summer's release of the music video for our single "Freaksonic" has definitely been a highlight for us. The production of both the single and the video required a lot of hard work from everyone in the band, but it was incredibly rewarding to see our ideas come to life. We enjoyed the chance to work with professionals like Chris Laybourne of Coop Studios and videographer Dan "The Man" Melamid both of whom are very passionate about their craft. The support and feedback from our fans throughout the process was unparalleled and we're very proud having a finished product which truly captures the essence of the band.
If you could tour with any artist, past or present, who would they be and why?
Touring with Parliament Funkadellic back in the day would have been an amazing experience. Looking back on old concert footage, their live show was nothing short of incredible. Also, in a band with 15 people in it, you know the party would never run dry.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We just would like to take the chance to thank our fans, friends and family for their continued support in our musical journey. It's incredibly important to support live music, especially local artists who put their heart and soul into their work. We also want to stress the importance of supporting arts education in our schools so that the next generation can experience the joys of artistic expression like we have