Party band Living Proof jumpstarts dance floors by playing ’70s funk numbers, though it always steers clear of two cover-band cliches: “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison and “Brick House” by the Commodores.
Those tunes aside, playing cover songs in bars to bankroll original studio recordings (like current album “Feel Good Music”) is a formula for success for the 7-year-old act.
Group founder Leonard Patterson says Living Proof has always had “random great shows,” but now it’s rare to play a room that isn’t packed.
College radio stations stretching from Walla Walla, Wash., to New York City added “Feel Good Music” songs to playlists last fall, and Living Proof will shoot a video for the album’s title track during a Jan. 30 show at the Rathskeller Athenaeum Theatre.
Patterson talked to Metromix about his band, which features Larry Beiswenger on trumpet, Marc Latney on bass, Jeff Libby on keyboards, Gary McCreary on drums, Teddy Patterson (Leonard’s cousin) on saxophone and Jessica Patterson (Leonard’s wife) on vocals.
How busy is the band’s schedule in 2010?
We only have two weekends — one in October and one in November — when we don’t either have a show or vacation. We really appreciate people sharing their time with us, so we want to keep inviting that vibe of, “I’m going to a Living Proof show and have fun.”
How do you define your role within the band?
I’m one of the lead singers, but I’m the signal caller. We don’t typically have set lists. We try to look at ourselves as a band and a DJ. We don’t like dead space, so we’ll try to find beats that go together, regardless if the songs go together.
What was your initial vision for the band?
An original band that’s putting out CDs, making money and keeping busy. Over the years, the dynamics have flipped where we’re known as a “cover” band. But I have a songwriting background. Anybody who’s ever joined that band knows that, at the heart, we’re going to be working toward a CD or we’re going to be in the studio doing something involved with original songs.
Stylistically, what kind of band did you want?
R&B, funk, soul, pop. It’s morphed into a lot of things with our lineup. I’ve always been a Motown guy, Stevie Wonder, Al Green. We say it’s a healthy dose of Earth Wind & Fire with a side of Black Eyed Peas.
Your song “Sway” seems to tell the story of Living Proof.
It’s the stuff we heard over the years: “You guys rap too much. We’re more old-school here.” The next night, “You guys aren’t hard enough.” There’s a list of clubs that pretty much corresponds to lines in the song.
Living Proof will play an all-ages show and shoot a video 9 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Rathskeller Athenaeum Theatre, 401 E. Michigan St., $5, www.livingproofmusic.com, (317) 636-0396.