Jen Durkin
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Jen Durkin

Fairfield, Connecticut, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE | AFTRA

Fairfield, Connecticut, United States | INDIE | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Funk




"Jen Durkin and The Business Hit The West Coast"

“Out of place and out of time stress in your mind,
Sweet peace in the music let me ride,
Can’t stay behind the lines just cause of the skin that covers my bones,
Listen to the music …bear the weight of my soul” – Jen Durkin

The west coast is about to experience a powerful music experience that east coasters are already well versed in. Jen “Pipes” Durkin and the Business prove an exercise in excitement and contagious energy. After years of performing as the lead ginger for Deep Banana Blackout, Durkin now lends her talents to her own Rock/R&B and Soul outfit that brings the funk proper.

There is a tremendous amount of talent on stage but the light of the front woman shines brightest. The first thing you notice about the sweet disposition of lead singer, Jen Durkin, complete with glowing smile and flowing hair with tight curls reminiscent of dreads, is all the boundless energy wrapped up in a talented little package. Like her spiritual doppelgänger, Janis Joplin, the pleasing physical aesthetics ultimately give way to something more powerful and prominent: the “pipes.”

Jen was given the nickname “Pipes” to reflect her strong vocal prowess and the indelible mark it makes and it rings apropos. The Berklee School of Music graduate has won an American Music Award and performed in other bands including Bernie Worrell’s Band, The Conscious Underground, The Bomb Squad and Mickey Hart Band, also plays the cowbell, drum and tambourine while strutting as lead vocalist. Durkin is thankful to her influences which include Parliament, Stevie Wonder and the Grateful Dead for shaping up her sound. No stranger to the west coast, Durkin lived in Arizona to raise a family for the past five years and is excited about recently returning to Connecticut. Durkin, clearly ecstatic about her participation in the band, stated, “we are a transcendental experience where you release the normal and the ordinary to briefly go into chaos and really lose yourself in the moment.”

The funk-laden band consisting of veterans Darian Cunning (guitar), Rich Zurkowski (bass), Jesse Gibbon (keys), Johnny Durkin (drums) and Jen Durkin (vocals), had a brilliant year in 2014 with stops at festivals like Soupstock and Wormtown. Some notable musicians sat in with The Business including The Allman Brother’s Oteil Burbridge on “God Made Me Funky” at Wormtown and keys commander Bernie Worrell on “Stuffs and Things.” Mihali from Twiddle provided a scorching sit-in at Catskill Chill while Eric Krasno and Robert Randolph fueled a lengthy jam at a memorable gig at Garcia’s.

Other exquisite covers that are often performed with flair include “California Dreaming”, “Gimme Shelter” and “Wild Horses”, all delivered with Durkin’s patented confidence and poignant power. Some original fan favorites include “Hold On” - a song about being true to yourself and going after your dreams and “Out of Place” - a song written about that in between place where hard work, diligence and faith get you through the tough times. Other rocking covers include “Me and Baby Brother by War” because it’s relevant to the violent times that we’re living in and the sadness of racial tension and the Bob Marley classic “Soul Shakedown Party” which is a groove that moves, heals and uplifts. They are just hitting stride in time to deliver a professional and powerful performance on the left coast to excited fans ready to experience such exemplary chops for the first time.

Jen Durkin and the Business are slated to impress the west coast at The Viper Room on January 21st where she will open for Eric McFadden’s All-Star jam featuring Doug Wimbish and some of the P-Funk All-Stars and at NAMM on the 22nd at the booth demoing Telefunken Mics. The 23rd will be a Telefunken showcase at the House of Blues in Anaheim, hosted by Beau Sasser’s Escape Plan, which will be have an all-star type sit-in performance. - Glide Magazine January 15,2015


Sunday, May 9, 2010
Reggae Meets Funk

Reggae Meets Funk
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2010. All Rights Reserved.

Stamford, CT -- One part reggae. One part funk. Mix together in a phat joint. Add a generous dash of music lovers. Stir vigorously. Serves many.

These were the ingredients of a hot steaming stew called “Reggae Meets Funk”, a groove-inducing musical buffet spooned out last month at the Route 22 Restaurant and Bar in Stamford, CT by Messrs. Mystic Bowie and Jen Durkin.

Bowie, a veteran professional born Fitzroy Alexander Campbell in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, ladled the reggae. Durkin, with a 15-year career as a lead vocalist in groups like The Bomb Squad and Deep Banana Blackout, brought the funk. It was a badass combo and the two alternated their beats and unique styles, more than satisfying the hunger of the enthusiastic crowd that had come to see them.

“Mystic is always open to influences… pop, rock, funk,” Bowie’s new manager Maxine Stowe noted when asked how this sumptuous meal of music had been inspired. “And Jen has a huge base in CT. With the region’s rich music scene, this was the perfect setting for this mix.” Route 22’s music booker, Jason Jones, was also instrumental in bringing the act here. He contacted Bowie and Bowie brought in Durkin, with whom he had tag-teamed in the past.

Bowie and Durkin, standing center stage amongst their six-piece band, certainly seemed to complement each other. Bowie bopped and bounced in his tight yellow tee, braids and camo pants cinched at the waist while Jen effected a Janis Joplin-esque cool vibe in black shades, flowing cotton top and white pants, but also held a Jamaican-inspired percussion instrument. “This place is amazing. We can get some serious acrobatics going!” Durkin gushed.

The space was indeed made to accommodate their music – a little funky, a lot laid back. An industrial ceiling of sheet metal to reflect their beats. Air ducts like dutchie pipes. Brick walls with old gas station signs, license plates and even a working traffic light. Staff in black Route 22 t-shirts. Even a disco ball center ceiling shooting out little pinpoints all over the room.

Billed as “America’s Favorite Pit Stop”, Route 22 boasts two locations: the Stamford locale and Armonk, NY. The latter is the original location and began life as a gas station built back in the late 20s. Founder Lance Root, a restaurant/club veteran who ran Hard Rock Cafes and opened the Harley Davidson Café among other credits, developed the vision playing off the gas station theme and his surname. He credits his booker Jones with helping bring the concept to life with hot acts like Bowie and Durkin.

“We’re mixing it up, doing some old, some new,” Bowie informed the full house about the duo’s song set, as he and Durkin alternated between jams like “Nevah Kiss & Tell” and “Rasta Man Call” from Bowie’s latest CD “Nevah Kiss and Tell” (dedicated to his “mama” Beryl Smith Jones), rifts like “Take Me Back” and “Higher”, and classics such as “I Can See Clearly Now” and “The Tide is High”.

The crowd – black, white, male, female, baseball caps, beanies, even a cowboy hat in the pack – ate it all up, weaving, bending and swaying, bathed in gel lights. When Bowie started chanting, “Music is my drug of choice!”, a line from his new song “Drug of Choice”, the gathering exploded, singing along with him and fist pumping in the air. Bowie was their reggae god and they were his disciples, if only for the evening.

“Lord have mercy!” Durkin had to call out, marveling at the frenzy the duo had created, a frothy brew and “the best of both worlds” as she aptly put it describing the reggae/funk collaboration.

The most diminutive member of the congregation was a Bowie relation. “My biggest fan is here, my nephew Little Benny, “ the singer announced, bringing the lad up on stage and handing him a cowbell and drumstick to knock out an accompanying beat. The room devoured this and when he’d completed his gig, Benny received uproarious applause and Bowie’s praise, “More cowbell! You’re hired!”

Benny was not the only family member of Bowie’s in the house. Thirteen-year-old son Jason, from Bowie’s first marriage, was seated with Stowe at a dedicated booth adjacent to the dance floor. Jason mentioned a brother and sister, who live in Florida. Second wife Shannon was also on hand, busily conducting sales of Bowie’s CD, organizing literature and speaking with press.

Stowe, who actually co-manages Bowie along with Jay Stollman, hopes to take Bowie’s career “vertical”. A niece of Clement Dodd who founded Studio One (Jamaica Recording), one of Jamaica’s leading record labels, Stowe spoke of Bowie’s philanthropic efforts. These centered around the Mystic Bowie Cultural Center, a 5-acre facility established in Jamaica to offer free music, sports and drama lessons – educational resources in effect to help underprivileged youth. Bowie is constantly raising funds and shipping school supplie - Mike Lauterborn

"Rhythm Devils (Grateful Dead side project) has released DVD"

Certainly one of the more intriguing Grateful Dead offshoot projects is the Rhythm Devils. Led by long-time Dead drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, the duo enlisted Phish bassist Mike Gordon into their ranks in 2006 (rounding out the line-up are also guitarist Steve Kimock, percussionist Sikiru Adepoju and former Deep Banana Blackout vocalist Jen Durkin), and recently issued their first-ever DVD, 'Concert Experience.'

Directed by Jeff Glixman and Jim Gentile, 'Concert Experience' is a two-DVD set (and 24 page hardcover book) - disc one features concert footage from Chicago, Illinois, and Sayerville, New Jersey recorded in October 2006, featuring all original compositions with lyrics by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.

Each song is represented visually with graphics, images, and effects that complement the music - a collection of 'video vignettes,' if you will. Disc two features behind the scenes interviews, soundcheck footage, and excerpts from various live concerts.

Starting in the mid-to-late 1970s, and continuing until the Grateful Dead's last concert in 1995, most Grateful Dead concerts featured an extended segment during the second set of improvisational drumming and percussion by Hart and Kreutzmann who took over the stage as a duo (with occasional guests). This segment was variously known to fans as "Rhythm Devils," "Drums," or conversationally as "The Drums." It was usually followed in post-1979 concerts by another extended improvisation by the rest of the band, usually without the drummers, which was known as "Space."

The "Rhythm Devils" segment of a Grateful Dead concert almost always segued out of a full-band song, and the "Space" segment almost invariably would segue into the beginnings of another full-band song as the drummers resumed their thrones with the rest of the band.

This first run of 'Concert Experience' DVDs comes with a free download card for one credit, and the audio is available on Via this link you can stream full audio, and download the track you want. The rest of the album is available for download, as well.

Describing the concert experience as a "72 minute magic carpet ride through time and space," Glixman mixed the performance in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound at the StarCity Recording Studios in Bethlehem, PA. Now fans will be able to soak up the full 'Concert Experience' of the Rhythm Devils, in the comfort of their own homes.

"It is an experience," says Hart about 'Concert Experience.' "Hopefully it will take you to some kind of a place that will create some kind of good, and you will do some good things with the energy that you would get from being part of that experience. When I look at it, I smile; it makes me feel good and it is uplifting. That is what I would hope you take from it."

Track listing*
"Comes the Dawn"*
"Fountains of Wood"*
"The Center"*
"7 Seconds"*
"Your House"*
"Arabian Wind"*
"See You Again"*
"Next Dimension"


- Mickie's Zoo Blog Spot 5/1/09

"New Unions and Reunions: Equinox and Deep Banana Blackout @ The Paradise 3/22/09"

The juxtaposition was obvious: one band playing their first show ever, the other band a gang of veterans playing their fourth rare reunion show in a row. The commonality was equally evident: one band fronted by the inimitable vocalist Jen Durkin, the other band fronted by the inimitable vocalist Jen Durkin. Equinox and Deep Banana Blackout provided a unique and appealing look at how one singer can carry two different bands in one night.

Equinox is Durkin’s newest project, featuring a pared-down band compared to DBB and a more melodious approach to her style. The instrumentation relative to DBB provided immediate insight into the sonic differences: upright bass instead of electric, one horn instead of a section, jazz kit instead of rock kit. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Equinox mellow, though. The upbeat rhythms and positive melodies brought more bounce energy rather than lounge energy to the room, and even gave Durkin a few opportunities to work her hips. The lyrics to the songs were insightful and reflective, certainly more the stuff of someone who has led a full life of adventure and has two children as opposed to DBB’s in-your-face-with-the-funk lyrics. Durkin spoke of her children at a couple of points when explaining songs’ origins.

If you really want a cliche musical genre bundle to describe their sound, let’s go with “hippie balladeers sniffing neo-soul with a side order of indie rock.” I would love to see Equinox on a gorgeous day at a festival around sunset. That’s the part of your festival day where you’re relaxed and taking in some good bands, conserving energy before you rage all night. Equinox fits the role perfectly, and that is a total compliment.

Next up was Deep Banana Blackout, and I have to admit, DBB was a fantastic nostalgia show for me. My crew used to rock with them all the time in the late 90s, but I probably hadn’t seen or listened to them since 2001. I half expected to see Andy Stahl running around with Gamelan Productions flyers promoting Berkfest featuring Jiggle the Handle and Percy Hill. (Mad props if you’re down with any aspect of the previous sentence.) I think every band that ever broke up should try to play a few shows a year just for kicks, assuming none of the members have died.

But let’s give credit where it is due. Deep Banana Blackout still brings the funk hard and will put the boot down on anyone who thinks otherwise. This is not the Blues Brothers getting the band back together just to pay some bills. Jen can still belt, guitarist Fuzz can still thrash, and everyone else answers the bell when called upon to show off for a moment or two. The opening song, “Getchy’all In the Mood,” left no question as to when the party was starting. I also immensely enjoyed a large and in charge rendition of “Take the Time” as well as an instrumental cover of Dizzy Gillespie’s classic “Caravan.” Throw in a dancing banana in the front row and you’ve got yourself a 100% legit DBB show, doesn’t matter what year it is.

Overall, Durkin’s voice is worth the price of admission regardless of who is backing her up. She really is one of the few musicians I would trust to open for themselves and deliver two great products in one night. A fluid and funk-filled night of Durkin workin’ will always present the possibility that maybe we’ll groove all night. - Seth Wolfman ~

"Jen Durkin to Join the Rhythm Devils"

The Rhythm Devils have just confirmed that Jen Durkin will join the group on their upcoming trek in October. Jen aka Pipes will lead the group through new originals such as 'Fountains of Wood' and 'The Center' as well as the Grateful Dead songbook. The Rhythm Devils which consist of Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Mike Gordon, and Steve Kimock have also launched a new website - - where fans can find mp3's of the new songs and a version of "The Other One" from the August run with Mike Gordon on vocals.

Their fall run kicks off in Harrisburg on October 17.

See for more details and tour info

- Glide Magazine Sept 29, 2006

"Keep On Moving"

By Brita Belli February 23, 2006

"There are not many female singers who come with equal parts charisma, style and chill-inducing vocals" - Fairfield County Weekly

"Keep On Moving"

By Brita Belli February 23, 2006

"There are not many female singers who come with equal parts charisma, style and chill-inducing vocals" - Fairfield County Weekly

"American Music Award Winner"

BOMB SQUAD: Unsigned Band Brings Their Party To The World
By Steve Ciabattoni

With their self-styled "Sophistafunk," The Bomb Squad ignites crowds on their way to claiming the third annual "The American Music Awards(R) Presents The Coca-Cola New Music Award."

Talk about your big moments. As if it weren't enough that The Bomb Squad performed live in front of the biggest names in the business (not to mention millions of television viewers worldwide) on the 31st Annual American Music Awards on Nov. 16th, but the funky New York band got an extra thrill based on how the acts were scheduled to perform that night. In effect, Metallica became their opening act. Even AMA host Jimmy Kimmel joked that it'd be a tall order for an unsigned band to follow one of the biggest acts on the planet, but nothing seemed to faze The Bomb Squad as they pumped out their soulful song "Ready To Ride." Put The Bomb Squad in front of any crowd, big or small, and they'll find a way to please it.

- CMJ Steve Ciabattoni

"Jen Durkin Equinox"

Jen Durkin is the quintessential singer and performer… captivating a packed room at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston with the release of her new cd entitled “Equinox” which she co wrote with keyboardist Matthew Detroy. Boston Girl Guide had the pleasure of covering this show. When you see Jen Durkin step onto the stage you become spellbound… as she approaches the microphone you can anticipate that something musically great is about to happen.

She hits her first notes and the ride begins… all power … she blasts the audience off with her knockout singing and stage performance. Durkin takes it home with the funk; she lays it down like a holy roller… she leaves you crawlin like a senseless fool intoxicated by her muse. She does no wrong on the stage except give the devil his due.

“Equinox” has Jen Durkin emerging from her chrysalis into new territory mixing it up with her classic funk sound and taking it one step further, blending in sophisticated tones of jazz and soul… Jen is no ordinary butterfly … when she sings you feel ‘found’ as in every ‘amazing grace’ her music delivers and leaves you feeling much higher on your descent than when you first arrived. “Equinox” is not only a must listen… it’s a must have…. Members of ‘Deep Banana Blackout’ contribute their musical genius on this new release as well.
- Veronica Rey ~ Boston Girl Guide

"Droppin' Bombs of Joy: The Bomb Squad Reflects on Its Rise to Prominence"

by Bill Clifford

So you say you want to be a rock and roll star? This may be a tired cliché to be sure, but it's a fitting introduction for an American Music Award-winning funk band. The nine-piece ensemble called The Bomb Squad came together on stage at New York's Irving Plaza in 2001. Guitarist Ian McHugh (AKA Q of the band EMCQ) asked singer Jen Durkin, who had previously held down vocal duties for fellow funk powerhouse Deep Banana Blackout, to fill in for Javier Colon, who was on the road singing with the Derek Trucks band at the time. The rest, as they say, is history.

Along with seven other full-time members, McHugh and Durkin lead one of the most original, soulful, and deeply funky bands to have come out of the Northeast's improvisational music community. In 2003, after releasing just one CD, The Bomb Squad was chosen by a combination of online voters and industry veterans to receive the third annual Coca-Cola New Music Award. Musictoday journalist Bill Clifford caught up with Ian and Jen before a sold-out homecoming gig in New Haven, Connecticut.

Musictoday: It seems odd that a band so deeply rooted in such a non-traditional genre would even be interested in an award such as the AMA. Which member of your band submitted your music in the first place?

Jen Durkin: We didn't. Our fan and friend Lencia Payne had been working for CMJ as a volunteer for several years, and she sent in a two-song demo and the press kit that we had. She was a gigantic impetus for us to go and get involved with the contest.

Ian McHugh: We didn't officially make the top three when we went out to LA. We didn't come in the top three. We flew home the next day defeated, thinking, "Well, okay, at least we went out there, we had a good time, met some people." And we had a call about two weeks later saying that there was a little complication with the way the contest went down, and that we were actually in the top three.

Mt: What "complication" filtered you into the top three of the award after initially not making the cut?

IM: We were actually never told what happened. About two weeks after losing in the final ten in LA, we got a call from Dick Clark's office saying that one of the other acts had been forced to withdraw from the contest. They wouldn't say why, they only told us that we were going to be able to compete in the final three in New York City a couple weeks later. It began to feel like we were destined to win it all, because it was like we were playing the championship game with home field advantage.

Mt: Once you were chosen as the winner, what was the prize you took home? Did you get instruments, studio time, money? And what have you done with the prize?

IM: They flew us out [to LA], put us up in a hotel across from the Whiskey A-Go-Go, and led us down the red carpet. Besides that, we won a whole hell of a lot of Bomb Squad exposure. They said like 40 million people tuned in to the AMA's in the U.S. Our performance aired internationally, as well. And we knew that because, in the weeks following, we were selling hundreds of CDs each day from online sells. The orders were coming in from across the board — Australia, France, Germany, Korea, England, Denmark, and all over the United States. So many people asked us in the days following the awards: "did you get signed yet?" or "did anything happen yet?" It's like, you're missing the point here. Of course something happened: we performed in front of millions of people in one sitting. Not to mention the fact that we interviewed on almost every major market radio station that was broadcasting live out of the Shrine Auditorium for the AMA's. Before then, we didn't have a manager; we were totally self-made. In the months following, we spoke with almost every label, management company, and crooked attorney the music industry has to offer, and we were offered some deals, but we chose to stay independent until the right deal came along. Sometimes, the industry tries to push you into being something that you're not. What we do, and how we do it, is everything to who we are. We aren't going to change our whole vibe just for a few bucks or some record deal that would probably never pan out. We were patient and waited for the right situations to present themselves. Now, we have a manager that worked closely with Paul McCartney, a lawyer that also represents Megadeth and Billy Joel, and a producer that has worked with everyone from Madonna to the Rolling Stones and Britney Spears, but we only choose to work with these people because they liked where we were coming from. Instead of trying to mold us in to some pop-punk-emo-rock flavor-of-the-day whatever band, they were more interested in taking what we were and diving deeper into those roots. In summary, I think worldwide exposure to new fans and the opportunity to build an increasingly strong management family is what we got out of the New Music Award.

JD: Especially the radio. The day in between o - Music Today


Jen Durkin

Deep Banana Blackout
Live In The Thousand Islands
Rowdy Duty

The Bomb Squad
Bomb Squad ll

Rip It Up July 4th 2004 Rocks Off NYC The Bomb Squad
Rhythm Devils Concert Experience October 2006 Tour



Jen Durkin & The Business

Jen Durkin got her name "Pipes" as vocalist touring with Deep Banana Blackout a band known for blending jam rock with funk. Jen went on to sharing the stage with such legendary artists as Funkadelic Bernie Worrell, The Rhythm Devils, Mickey Hart Band, Steve Kimock and George Porter Jr. Jen has also performed with The Bomb Squad live on the American Music Awards Broadcast as winners of the 2003 New Music Award. Now back on the East Coast, Jen has formed a new band all her own with brother Johnny and a few more heavy hitters. Jen Durkin and the Business should not be missed.

Keep the Funk alive!

Band Members