In these modern times, the laws that want to protect us from danger all too often squelch all the fun. In that irony lies the genesis of The Fun Police, a genre-defying, Tacoma-based, music collective that loves to poke fun at the quirks of contemporary life.
An ever-growing squad, The Fun Police musical arsenal is packed with viola, accordion, several vocalists, guitars, bass, drums, djembe, trombone, sax, flute, clarinet, glockenspiel, and other secret instrumental weapons. Their self-composed songs range from reggae to punk, country to experimental, all with roots in an upbeat, dance-able, folk style. The Fun Police don’t work really well with The Genre Police. As a whole The Fun Police are a tasty mix for consumption, an all-day cooked stew, or a delicious homemade pico de gallo for dipping. Subjects as diverse as wandering the world, bad vacation behavior, zany personal relationships all find their way into The Fun Police live sets. They consider it a crime to take themselves too seriously, and are seldom seen arresting each other.
The Fun Police have several album releases to date:
- the 2008 self-titled EP, ‘The Fun Police’
- 1st full length album, ‘You Better Run’ (2009)
- 2nd full length album, ‘Clown Control’ (2011)
- the 2013 EP, ‘Noogies, Titty-Twisters, & Wet Willies’
- 3rd full length album, ‘Tales from the Great Boozo’ (2015)
- 4th full length LP album, ‘Innocent until Groovin Filthy’ (2017)
All albums are available as either a download or physical CD on CDBaby.com, Bandcamp, Nimbits, Reverbnation, Amazon.com, iTunes, or at live shows.
• sold over 3000 self-published albums of all releases
• 2 successful tours: along the West Coast & through the Rocky Mountains
• regular booking requests from businesses around the Northwest region. Shows are performed several times a month locally.
• over 1600 Facebook page fans and growing with an actively engaged audience
PRESS KIT REVIEWS
“Tacoma’s Fun Police have channeled quite a bit of chaos in their first seven years as a band. There’s their matching cop outfits, penchant for handing out goofy ‘fun citations’ and the way members would show up randomly, busking on local sidewalks while out “on patrol.” There’s their genre-confounding sound, a mash-up of punk, country, folk and Latin music, sometimes in the same song; the based-on-a-true-story lyrics that singer Kevin Schulz (a.k.a. Ranger Ruffhousen) writes about train hopping and plundering trash bins for discarded treasures.”
Ernest Jasmin – Tacoma Weekly
“The Bullies in Blue, as they’re also called, are among South Sound’s most offbeat and wildly inventive bands, with a creative vision that encompasses genre-blurring anthems, quirky PSA videos and even food. Fun Police associate Fryin’ Ryan Hatcher served up gourmet grits during the band’s performance at Tacoma’s Grit City Fest in June, with more culinary collaborations in the works. “You can’t beat grits on a stage. Nobody does that,” said local rapper and promoter Quincy “Q-Dot” Henry, who booked the band for Grit City Fest. “Expect the unexpected with them. That’s it. And they’ve got good tunes. They’ve got good stage presence, that’s for sure.”
Ernest Jasmin – Tacoma News Tribune
“The Fun Police have built a track record of zaniness in just over a year on the Tacoma scene… Those who already know The Fun Police already know this band is a hoot!”
Matt Driscoll – Weekly Volcano
“The band is unlike anything else playing in the South Sound, and this fact, along with their on and off-stage antics, might attest to the fact that they have a solid fan base repeatedly coming out to see their shows.” “Never taking themselves seriously, they are the quintessential band to see and enjoy with friends who share a similar sense of humor and appreciation for music that is meant to entertain above all else.”
Dawn Quinn – Tacoma Weekly
“When ‘Gringo Meringue’ is the first song on your album, and it’s literally a joking-yet-talented meringue played by a bunch of white dudes, you know you’re in for something a little bit south of normal. Most times the fun police are the guys stopping everyone from having fun; the band The Fun Police is here to stop people from having bad moods. You have to have fun, or you’re going to jail.”
Independent Clauses – Independent Clauses
IN OTHER NEWS
The Fun Police CD Review – Newspaper –Tacoma Weekly
Tacoma-based septet The Fun Police refuses to remain silent. With a signature sound coined that combines elements of rock, folk, reggae, ska, punk and more that utilizes guitar, drums, bass, viola, djembe and accordion, the outfit does not jive well with having their music classified into one singular sound. The band, which consists of Special Agent Sam, Ranger Ruffhausen, Sergeant Snake, Brigadier B.Ski, Deputy D, Major Mullet and Officer Cox all take on their unique personas not only in the songwriting process, but also on the stage, donning police uniforms, shades and accessories. The Fun Police have been playing together for a year now, and released their debut, nine-track album “You Better Run” earlier this month. The band is unlike anything else playing in the South Sound, and this fact, along with their on and off-stage antics, might attest to the fact that they have a solid fan base repeatedly coming out to see their shows. The second track off the album, “Ebay,” is based on a real experience of a band member’s Dad. “I spent my life on Ebay/ with everything that they sell/ just trying to add to my collection of memorabilia,” details how easy it is to become addicted to shopping when so many unique items are available at your fingertips. The song has a fun, fastpaced tempo, but at times it is hard to distinguish the vocals.
“Barfly” takes on a Latin, folky sound and describes a core group of friends that likes to get together at their local haunt to get silly. “She was a model, didn’t you know/ she used to sit on the beach drinking beers/ but then she washed up here,” describes how some of the frequenters to this particular watering hole may have ended up there. Lots of drums, and maybe the djembe are used in this track, along with viola to give the song a Celtic flair. Many individuals can find something to relate to among the ridiculous wishes and dreams revealed in the fifth track,“Wish I Was Rich.” Accordion and viola are highlights, along with a ska-laced take on the not so privileged life. “I wanna win the lottery/ I want a hundred grand/ want to find out I’m the heir of some rich old man,” and “Perhaps I’ll rob a bank or start an email scam…” hint at the depths of one’s misfortunes and how desperate times reveal the crazy thoughts that go through minds when something is financially out of reach. Never taking themselves seriously, the Fun Police are the quintessential band to see and enjoy with friends who share a similar sense of humor and appreciation for music that is meant to entertain above all else. The Fun Police play on Black Friday, Nov. 27, at the New Frontier Lounge at 9 p.m. with Ghostwriter and the Brotherhood of the Black Squirrel. For more information, visit their Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/thefunpolicestation or check videos of the band on their YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/thefunpoliceband.
On Patrol: The Fun Police crack down –Weekly Volcano
It’s a strange thing, asking a band (or a person, for that matter) what they think of themselves. My interviewing style is still mighty amateurish and I still ask hackneyed questions like, “How would you describe your sound to people who’ve never heard you before?”
The Fun Police couldn’t possibly answer that question, and they really shouldn’t. One member gets as far as, “It’s hard to classify our sound … maybe Celtic-country-blues-pop-rock…” before the other members interrupt him with a residing “Nahh!”
What they forgot was reggae, seemingly a major influence on their “sound,” though I now feel weird using that word. It’s one of many pleasant contradictions that define The Fun Police ??” one of the ways that they play with the concept of The Band.
Onstage, they dress as cops, complete with stage names reflecting their personas Major Mullet, Ranger Ruffhousen, and so on. When not performing in clubs, they busk in uniform, though they express concerns that one day they’ll get nabbed for impersonating police officers. One almost gets a sense that nothing would make them happier than to be stuffed in the back of a squad car for rock ‘n’ roll.
“When we’re not performing, we’re working on something,” they say.
Part of what they’re working on is a series of PSAs that they post on YouTube. They’re nothing if not vigorous self-promoters. The rest of the band’s time is spent in the recording studio, readying their album under the supervision of Conrad Uno, a producer who’s helmed works by the likes of the Presidents of the United States of America, among others.
It seems to be where they’ve been headed from the beginning. It’s always the ones who crack down on fun who end up on top.
[The New Frontier Lounge, with Big Wheel Stunt Squad, Down and Out, Thursday, Aug. 27, 9 p.m., 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma, 253.572.4020]
The Fun Police Bust Music Genres –Tacoma News Tribune
A few days into their inaugural tour and the Fun Police had already busked the streets of Portland, done a little bridge diving into the Sacramento River and lost track of the freaky break-dancer guy they picked up at their gig in Redding, Calif.
“He was a really good break-dancer. He was a nice enough guy,” said Kevin Schulz – aka singer-guitarist Ranger Ruffhousen, reporting by cell phone from a 7-Eleven near Venice Beach, Calif., last week.
“But he was maybe schizophrenic or something,” he said. “We were just at a beach an hour ago and we were eatin’, and he just took off walkin’ down the beach and never came back. He was a weird dude.”
Weird being the norm with the Fun Police. The Bullies in Blue, as they’re also called, are among South Sound’s most offbeat and wildly inventive bands, with a creative vision that encompasses genre-blurring anthems, quirky PSA videos and even food. Fun Police associate “Fryin’” Ryan Hatcher served up gourmet grits during the band’s performance at Tacoma’s Grit City Fest in June, with more culinary collaborations in the works.
“You can’t beat grits on a stage. Nobody does that,” said local rapper and promoter Quincy “Q-Dot” Henry, who booked the band for Grit City Fest. “Expect the unexpected with them. That’s it. And they’ve got good tunes. They’ve got good stage presence, that’s for sure.”
But the first thing anyone notices is the look. As the name implies, all seven band members will wear crisp cop outfits tonight at O’Malley’s Irish Pub in Tacoma. Fittingly, their homecoming gig is headlining the Outlaw Music Festival, a bill put together by hard-drinkin’, country-rock tour mates Ten Miles of Bad Road.
The Fun Police first donned their uniforms and went on patrol in 2008 (patrols consisting of mostly showing up and rockin’ random local sidewalks.)
“We all had different side projects and different things going on,” recalls accordion player “Special Agent” Sam Potts, sitting at headquarters, the band’s Court C practice space, with his band mates.
Potts and Schulz played in folk-punk bands Cheeky White Devils and Helter Skipper & the Manson Gilligans. Guitarist Danny “Deputy D” Tallariti, drummer Brian “Brigadier B-Ski” Skitch and bassist Jake “Sgt. Snake” Hayes spent time in South Hill/Federal Way alt-rock outfit Philo Gant.
United with a new project, they drew from wildly disparate influences. As captured on nine-track debut album “You Better Run” (available on iTunes), their sound is a party hearty patchwork of punk, funk, Celtic music, reggae, meringue and country. Nothing is off limits as long as they can “Fun Policify it,” as Schulz puts it.
“They’re basically a genreless band, except that they deconstruct everything down to punk at some point,” said Cat Jeter, a former manager turned “honorary band grandma” and biggest fan. (You’ll often see her up front dancing at shows.)
“I adore anyone who dares to reconcieve music,” she said, “and I just love how they’re constantly scrambling genres. It really appeals to my sense of what is fun in music nowadays.”
“It comes a lot from just the incarnations of the different bands we’ve all been in over the years,” Tallariti said. “Everybody we try and incorporate in the band we try and learn from them to broaden our horizons and keep going.”
“It’s a whole mishmash,” Schulz said. “Everyone’s coming from different angles and throwing it all together. We just all keep wanting to add newer, weird stuff without any limitations; not trying to sound like anything in particular, but just doing what the (heck) we want.”
Quirky subject matter – barflies, being broke, Dumpster diving – add to the fun, with many lyrics culled straight from life. The song “Dumpster Diving” provides a clue as to how the band found a lot of the kitschy adorning their practice space – velvet Elvis, stuffed animals and clown art.
And bilingual fan favorite “Spanish Mullet” actually has nothing to do with unfortunate Latin hairstyles; it’s actually about Schulz and vocalist Holley “Veteran V-Dub” Van Wagoner are “hobby hobos.”
“I want to lie with you beneath the southern stars/ on the top of a moving train and listen to the cars/ as it moves down the tracks and it kicks through the bends/ silently hoping the journey never ends.”
“We just got back from freight hopping,” Schulz said. “He’s not into it,” he added, thumbing towards Hayes next to him. (The bassist could only respond in hoarse whispers, having recently had his tonsils taken out.)
“He doesn’t like to smell like urine,” Schulz continued. “We didn’t smell like urine, though. We were clean hobos – hobby hobos.”
“We bathed in the Columbia River,” Van Wagoner chimed in, flashing a big grin.
“We slept on haystacks,” Schulz said. “We just do fun stuff like that: Dumpster diving, urban spelunking, trespassing and all that stuff. And float the river. We’re all big river floaters. During the summer we’re on the river all the time.”
Then there are the online public service advisories, short satirical videos that the band posts online to skewer the real fun police – pious lawmakers and enforcers of political correctness.
In one video, Brigadier B-Ski and Major Mullet (departed band member Adam Dunlap) confront a pair of grade-school-age trick-or-treaters with why Halloween is “illegal” in Puyallup. (It’s actually just not celebrated by the school district.) The message is about not offending wiccans. But when one shows up – wearing a black dress and pointy witch hat, of course – Mullet vaporizes her. “Silence, witch!” At some point, he and B-Ski turn into zombies and start gnawing on the squealing kids.
In another PSA spot, the Fun Police mace and pummel a bar patron who makes the mistake of smoking 24 feet away from the New Frontier Lounge’s front door (a foot less than what’s mandated by law). You can see most of the PSAs at www.youtube.com/thefunpoliceband.
“The moral of the story is there is no need for morals when you have all the laws to dictate everything, right?” Tallariti said.
“There’s so many … stupid laws and stupid people and stupid rules,” Schulz said, “and we like to make fun of ’em and have a good time with it. I’ve got plenty more where those came from.”
Also on the way: More food, multi-media collaborations for live shows, and a possible Fun Police comic book.
“We’ll just come up with some goofy idea and we’ll continue on,” Schulz said. “I like getting all these cool people that have all this talent and just getting them together. That’s the most fun for me. I’m not the greatest musician or anything like that. I just like getting all the talent together in a pool and seeing what people can do … and having a good time with it.”
Ernest Jasmin: 253-274-7389
What: Outlawfest, featuring the Fun Police, Ten Miles of Bad Road and more
When: 5-10 p.m. today
Where: O’Malley’s Irish Pub, 2403 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
On the web: www.youtube.com/thefunpoliceband
The Fun Police CD review – Utah music blog –www.musicgeek.org
“The Fun Police are, well, fun”
The Fun Police are… well… fun! A quick listen of their most recent EP, Spring Break EP, had me dancing in my seat. Released for free at their website, www.thefunpolicemusic.com, the EP is three songs long with “Gringo Merengue,” “We Don’t Want No More,” and “Rather Be Dead.” The Fun Police are a refreshing reggae/ska band from Tacoma, Wash., with an impressive range of musical talent. With hints of blues, jazz, and frequent tongue-in-cheek lyrics, the band guides listeners through layers upon layers of funky, fun music. Definitely worth the listen, even (if not especially) for those not familiar with the genre.
The Fun Police released their first full length album in November, 2009, titled You Better Run, available at CD Baby here: cdbaby.com/cd/FunPolice. They are frequently playing shows in the Puget Sound area and “a sidewalk near you” in Seattle/Portland. The list of upcoming shows, as well as any other news from the band, may be found on their Myspace page: myspace.com/thefunpolicestation.
The Fun Police CD Review – NYC music blog –Sweettunez.com
Hailing from Tacoma, Washington, The Fun Police are a band that, well, strays from the “norms” of modern music. However, you can immediately tell this after reading their Influences on their facebook page, “Tipsy salamanders tap dancing on flames to a chorus of pigs, turtles, and daddy long legs. And a little like Inglebert Humperdink.” Their debut album, titled You Better Run, tends to stick to this basic concept.
The first track, ‘Gringo Meringue’, is a perfect representation of the general theme of the album. It’s about, as their name suggests, fun. This band isn’t trying to change the world with their songs, they just want to make music and have fun; and it shows. Now, to some, this ‘fun’ way of going about music may be somewhat of an acquired taste, but if you can get yourself into it, you won’t be disappointed.
Most of the tracks on the album are strongly hook driven, which fits well with the style of the songs, especially tracks like ‘Wish I Was Rich’ and ‘Rather Be Dead’. However, when discussing the genre of the album, things start to get tricky. Throughout the album, the band never really sticks to any one genre, but rather blends many into a ‘stew’ of sorts. The tracks strongly vary from Punk, to Folk, to Reggae, even stretching to Country, and back again to an Experimental feel.
Overall, The Fun Police obviously don’t take themselves (or their music) too seriously, and neither should you. Most bands these days are bland, boring, and predictable; so if you’re looking for something fresh and new, start here. I strongly suggest that you give these guys a listen, because if you can dive into the album with an open mind and a want to have fun; that’s just what you’ll find here.
The Fun Police CD Review – Seattle music blog –www.nwmusicblog.com
Serving up the everyman experience from differing perspectives, The Fun Police have at last delivered the locally anticipated, full length CD. Tacoma’s bullies in blue draw on their travel, bar band, and life experiences and observations, to serve up tasty slice of life treats from north and south of the border. The septet’s competence with both solid American roots and spicy world rhythms will have listeners seamlessly rocking between catchy deliveries of both genres.
You Better Run is a solid freshman effort and shows significant growth in both group cohesion and production efforts over their self-titled EP. The experienced musicians continue to grow into their Fun Police personas and dynamic, and Seattle producer Conrad Uno (Mudhoney & The Presidents of the United States of America) guided the disc’s studio sessions in his Egg Studios.
The contradiction between the band name and the band reality stands out in sharp relief, as these officers are clearly out to have a good time and take the listener along with them. Gringo Meringue sets the tone for You Better Run with an infectious, south of the border riff and tongue in cheek observations on bad, Mexican vacation behavior. Don’t even try to sit still during Ranger Ruffhousen’s break neck delivery of this gem; at the very least have a shot of tequila and sit back for an enjoyable ride.
From the meringue, The Fun Police deftly segue to a proficiently crafted, variety pack of roots, blues and cool woven through snapshots of the American experience. Ebay, a story of a collector’s marital discord, is a solid introduction to The Fun Police’s brand of Americana, featuring Special Agent Sam’s accordion and Major Mullet’s violin, unexpected voices in the solid bass, guitar, and drums line up.
If Billy Joel’s Piano Man is the Hope Diamond of bar life, Barfly is its uncut twin; an unpretentious illustration of the current return to roots movement . They invite listeners to the neighborhood bar for a party and make introductions all around with the regulars. In a crowd pleasing and “easy to learn when drunk” chorus , Captain Cox and Ruffhousen explore various get rich schemes in a call and response style in an everyman’s dream, I Wish I was Rich.
Throughout Rather be Dead, Cox leads a growing chorus of remorseful prisoners over a funky chain gang melody driven by Sgt Snake’s distorted bass and Mullet’s mournful and memorable violin counterpoint melody. Brigadier B.Ski’s masterful touch at the drum kit is clearly evident, if unobtrusive by design, and invokes the rhythmic shovel percussion of a work crew.
Night Beat is a cool customer, weaving Cox’s menacing, beat cop threats though a chill flute and bass driven treat. Not to be missed is Sam’s gently understated but shining solo on the backside of the tune. The vignette’s shady ambiance saturates listeners and generates a slight squirm under the intense bad cop scrutiny.
Ruffhousen leads listeners back to the southern latitudes in a delightfully playful, booty-wagging classic reggae protest that distills the growing dissatisfaction in the country with “We don’t want no more what you makin’ us do…We don’t want no more what you puttin’ us thru…” refrain. Deputy D offers up a funky reggae guitar lead and, in the welcoming reggae tradition, the violin and accordion are natural additions.
The Fun Police as an ensemble stand out on Spanish Mullet, in particular. Sounding as though it were written over two quad ventis at Starbucks, it’s a playfully over the top, played hard and fast, corrido of aimless wanderlust. Always a driving engine for the band, B.Ski powers TFP along with a brilliantly punctuated, pounding beat; whipping the ensemble into a driving frenzy.
Completing the disc, Temporary Lapse of Sanity alternates effortlessly between its soulful instrumental beginnings and a yakkity scatting and frenetic strumfest as though it were an introduction to the opening number on the next disc. We can only wait, and hope, and support local music.