About Us

For years writers, philosophers and even everyday idiots have wondered about the existence of the fabled Shangri-La, a paradise somewhere in Asia where one never grows old and every day is an utter joy. Also: there should be lots of nice bars and quaint coffee shops.

Well, some have in fact been lucky enough to find that place - tucked away in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a strange little slice of Paradise Pie. In fact if you slur your words, Chiang Mai can sound a lot like Shangri La. Try it. See? Try again.

Anyway, thousands of expats from around the world settled here over the years, and for a long time thought they had everything they wanted. But some couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing. Was it pizza? No, there were plenty of fine Italian eateries. Was it bowling alleys? No, there were two. Was it an annual waterfight that lasts seven days straight? Hardly.

Then what was it?

It was The Funk.

Yes, there had already been waves of rebel yellers in Chiang Mai town. First it was the longhaired biker stylings of Hendrix cover bands. Then came the freelove Rasta reggae revolution which felt all right indeed.

But there was still no funk.

Even hip hop was ushered in. Jazz started popping up everywhere.

But still there was no funk.

So, from wither did the funk arrive?

Normally when one thinks of Germans, The Funk does not come immediately to mind. However, keyboardist Rudi Junior and his drummer pal Kay Schulz had it in spades. Both had played around town in various bands, desperately trying to inject some funk wherever possible, but it was always a battle. They knew they had to find the right sound (extra funky), the right band (funked up), and the right hair style (none).

As if by magic, along came Albert Audsley - A thin, grizzled Englishman of Irish extraction, a potato chip on his shoulder, and more funk than you could shake a stick at. His poppity slappedy slippery bass lines made even old dried squid sellers sit up and take notice.

Next one in the band was Los Angeles-born Oliver Benjamin, an exuberant, easygoing sociopath who regularly contributed outlandish rants to all the local papers, magazines, and local toilet stalls. Luckily, he could rant equally outrageously on the guitar, making people not only say "Wow," but "What?"

A singer was needed tout suite, and fortunately the Lone Star State's own Lauren Brown fit the bill like a black pleather glove. Yoga teacher by day, fiery songstress by night, her split personality gave the band a double dose of diva. She also provided the band a spiritual lyrical genius and conviced the band to pen songs about things other than getting loaded and driving fast cars.

Finally, the only guy in town who could actually read music, Franco-American Mark De la Fleur joined up and offered the most ludicrously lavish horn ever heard in these parts of the world. With Mark in the fold, the band was now an official orchestra of the "o" face.

That was it. The funk had officially arrived.

And Chiang Mai heard it. And it was good. People came from miles around to hear The Funkin Donuts get funkalicious. This is what they learned: If you want to funk, you've got to go to The Funk.

Now they had somewhere to go.

Paradise was officially funked-up and people could rest easy, knowing that there was nothing else they could ever want again ever.

Oh, except for a Funkin Donuts album, which you can find here.

May the Funk be With You!

Crash Winfield, June 2006