James Funk

Born in suburban New Jersey near New York City, and raised a similar distance outside Chicago, Jim discovered he could sing one frozen high school night at the age of 15 when a large group of new (and drunken) friends began singing some Beatle songs at an impromptu outdoor party. Though at first a large group of singers, eventually the rest of the group got quiet, and for the final song, became an audience, and when it was over Jim had inadvertently done his first solo performance (“Yesterday”), and gotten kissed as a bonus. Owing to this discovery (and result), he taught himself some guitar & piano, and just before leaving Chicago for California, played his first professional gig, and made his first attempts at songwriting.

Moving to the San Francisco area, he began his life as a professional musician in earnest, forming his first original group, The Street of Thieves, with already veteran Bay Area guitarist Rick Lilley (who showed Jim many musical ropes - thanks Rick), and drummer Jon Archambault, as a trio patterned somewhat after The Police, taking up the bass guitar as part of that (and still playing most frequently when playing in full bands). Being a fan of the Beatles, as well as being, like Beatle Paul, a left-handed guitarist, and with the Police-type line-up (and looking, then, a bit like Sting), the bass seemed a natural position for Jim (though mainly a singer, Jim also plays guitar and some keyboards).

It was with The Street of Thieves that he did his first recordings, and in the mid-1980's Jim went to London to record with English producer Colin Thurston, best known for producing the first two albums by the English pop group, Duran Duran, as well as another Anglo group, Kajagoogoo, and as an engineer for David Bowie prior to that. He then began his life as a local working musician around the SF area, most notably in an incarnation of the popular East Bay cover band The Buzztones, and with The Danny James Trio (actually a duo) with longtime Buzztone, Dan DeShara, and who showed the young Jim a bunch of other professional ropes – thanks, Dan), and assembled his own home recording studio where the songs on his album, “A Busman's Holiday”, were recorded.

It was on the strength of those that Jim was able to gain the interest of the Virgin/EMI music publishing company (now defunct), where he spent a few years under songwriting contract, as well as Industrial Artist Management in S.F., where Jim joined a stable of artists which included among others, then San Francisco area pop group, Jellyfish, and his now very long time associate, Tom Fleming, then with his own original group, The Magpies, and the second great guitar player Jim was to know, and who then joined Jim's post Buzztone cover group, The Blackbirds, to begin what is now over 25 years of performing together (Jim has since written, recorded or performed with other guitar aces Lyle Workman, Stef Burns and Jeff Tamelier, and without intending to, once co-wrote a song with Joe Satriani).

Jim's live performances have included opening shows for Glenn Tilbrook & Chris Difford of the English pop group Squeeze, Tori Amos, The Blasters, JellyFish, and for comedians Rob Schneider (formerly of Saturday Night Live, and who did a mean Elvis impersonation), Lily Tomlin & Paul Reiser, and from 2013 to 2016, Jim was 'the Paul guy' in the SF area Beatles' tribute band, The Sun Kings, and still works occasionally with SKs founder and 'John guy', Drew Harrison, in their Lennon & McCartney singing tribute, Two of Us.

Jim can be seen and heard these days with The Dawdlers, a long standing British Pop inspired (Jim's most formative influence) SF area cover group (including Tom Fleming on the guitar).

James Funk

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