Interview with Russell Batiste

Yesterday we sat down with Mr. Russell Batiste to conduct what might be our final interview for the Papa Grows Funkumentary.

The final question we asked Russ was "what does success mean to you, to New Orleans musicians?" 

His answer: “Let me be able to see my family, call my mom and dad everyday, see my friends, hang out, and play my music and make somebody dance, make somebody happy and if i can do that, I’m alright.”


Interview - Stephen Klein, Manager

The month of June is our last complete month of production before both Sam and I get out of town in July for the summer. Dang it's hot! That being the case, we are pushing forward at full speed filming all the interviews we need to begin editing once July hits. Since the start of this project, we've had a master list with all the people we've wanted to interview, and at this point, we've checked off about 75% of the names. One important person we'd been waiting to interview was Stephen Klein, the band's current manager. Yesterday, we met Stephen at his office in the CBD and spoke for nearly an hour and a half. 

Caught Stephen blinking!

Caught Stephen blinking!

Stephen has a unique perspective because he's only been with the band for the last two-and-a-half years. His background is in advertising, but he's managed bands for the last 20 years. He approached John about managing the band three years ago after the band knocked him off his feet at a Jazz Fest show. In his words, he just had to reach out to John. Once part of the team, his biggest goal was for the band to produce a killer album, and thus Needle In The Groove was created. It was Stephen's influence that brought on Allen Toussaint and Tom Drummond as producers on the album. 

Over the course of the interview, we spoke in depth about Needle In The Groove, about the band's residency at The Maple Leaf, about touring nationally, and about the hiatus. Stephen, more as a fan than as the band's manager, insists that this is no breakup, but a true hiatus. He says the band needs and deserves a break, but they'll be back together. We hope so too!

Today we interview Jeffrey "Jellybean" Alexander. Can't wait!

- Josh, ABIS Productions