Glass City Groove

. June 4, 2019.
Jason Ramm in back, Vijay Natarajan, Alex Wolfert and Justin Tullius in middle, and Stephanie Clegg in front. Photo Credit: Snowfox Photography.
Jason Ramm in back, Vijay Natarajan, Alex Wolfert and Justin Tullius in middle, and Stephanie Clegg in front. Photo Credit: Snowfox Photography.

Funk Factory brings the flavor to Toledo

Like George Clinton before him, guitarist Jason Ramm has tested positive for the funk. And as a member of Toledo’s own Funk Factory, he’s determined to spread those musical microbes to the people.

“As a band, our influences are all over the place,” said Ramm. “Although we are the ‘Funk’ Factory we don’t limit ourselves to just funk. We like to add some funk to everything we do, though!”

True funk soldiers

Comprised of members Alex Wolfert on keyboards, Ramm on Guitar, Justin Tullius on drums, Stephanie Clegg on lead vocals, and Vijay Natarajan on bass, The Funk Factory is a band that can transform a Toledo barroom stage into a swinging, groovy nightclub circa 1975. With Natarajan’s bone-vibrating bass licks, Clegg’s soaring Grace Slick-esque vocals, and Wolfert’s deep space keyboards teleporting audience members to Parliament’s mothership, The Funk Factory is the real deal – a solid sextet of true funk soldiers.

With the release of their first single “Free Alice” and a live EP now playing on streaming services such as Spotify, Toledoans can get a taste of what’s to come for the band—and it’s delicious.

“Growing up, I wasn’t really into funk music,” said Ramm. “My personal influences are Phish, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, ekoostik hookah, The Meters, Boogie Matrix, and tons more. I am also big on reggae, which is a cool part of our sound, in my opinion.”

According to Ramm, The Funk Factory began in the summer of 2017, rising from the ashes of the band Groove Protocol. Ramm, Tullius, and Wolfert all played together and Clegg used to regularly perform with the group, despite not being an official member at the time. Realizing they had a unique chemistry, Groove Protocol evolved into Funk Factory, the band takes its name from a poster that had referred to them as “Toledo’s funk factory.” The band’s current lineup solidified in 2018.

Varied influences

Though Funk Factory’s sound comes steeped in the tradition of classic funk acts like Chic and the Ohio Players, elements of other genres are present as well, which gives the band its unique identity. According to Ramm, that’s due to the other band members coming from such diverse musical backgrounds.

“Justin is our resident rocker and is big on Prog Rock, especially Dream Theater, and 80’s jams like Prince,” said Ramm. “Vijay really digs stuff like Creed and Godsmack. Al is heavily influenced by the Grateful Dead, classic folk music, and more. Steph’s influences are vast and range from Erykah Badu to Carole King and much more.”

With “Free Alice” now racking up the streams, The Funk Factory is preparing to drop their full-length, self-titled debut album sometime in June. In the meantime, the group is regularly performing at the Ottawa Tavern in Uptown and other Midwest cities like Ypsilanti.
And Ramm has just one question for Toledo: “Who wants to get funked up?”

Upcoming shows:

Saturday, 6.8
A Celebration of Women in the Toledo Music Scene.
$5 suggested donation. 7pm. The Ottawa Tavern (1815 Adams St.)

Friday, 6.14
The Funk Factory with Oregon Space Trail Of Doom
$7, $10 for under age 21 without a ticket. 8pm. The Ottawa Tavern (1815 Adams St.)

Thursday, 6.20
The Funk Factory’s Summer Send-Off
8pm. The Bronze Boar (20 S. Huron St.). Free