Trexist Artist Russle Batiste (Funky Meters)
Formed during an informal jam during the 1989 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Art Neville, George Porter Jr., and Russe1l Batiste Jr., founded what would be the core of the funky METERS. The history of founding members Art Neville and George Porter Jr. dates back to 1967, when keyboardist, Art recruited bass player, George, drummer Joseph (Zigaboo) Modeliste and guitarist Leo Nocentelli to form The Meters. In their 31-year history, The Meters have grooved their way around the globe. They have toured with such talents as The Rolling Stones, and have been a studio band for such diverse artists as Dr. John, Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer, and Patti Labelle. The original Meters disbanded in the late 70’s. Today founding members Art Neville and George Porter Jr., are joined by New Orleans native Brian Stoltz on guitar and Russell Batiste Jr. on drums and are known officially as the funky METERS. funky METERS tap into the roots of The Meters musical heritage while taking the sound well into the future. Their trademark sound blends funk, blues, and dance grooves with a New Orleans vibe.
In 1994, Art and George were joined by guitarist Brian Stoltz and Russell Batiste and officially christened The Funky METERS. This lineup carried the funk torch until the spring of 2007 when Stoltz left to pursue his solo career and Ian Neville, the son of Meters founder Art Neville joined the line up taking over guitar duties. Growing up in the Neville house of music and touring with The Neville Brothers, as well Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Ian was poised to step in to help bring the band into the future. In 2011, Brian Stoltz was invited to play with funky METERS when Ian was committed to his band, Dumpstaphunk, gigs. Once the band was onstage it was if they hadn’t skipped a beat, the band and audience both knew Brian was meant to be there. After four years with Ian in the band, the time came for him to focus on his own band’s success and funky METERS invited Brian to rejoin full time.
The collective resume between the four artists in the band speaks volumes for the level of musicianship and creativity that comes alive when they play together on any stage. After three years of solid touring including dates at Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Jamcruise, The Fillmore Auditorium and countless others the funky METERS are stronger than ever. In fact, the funk is still going as strong today as it was 40 plus years ago.