It starts with a bluesy guitar lick. The pre-chorus builds with shouts that sound like a punk rock call-to-action. All the while, a reggae groove defines the song. These sounds unite in Florida band Morning Fatty’s song “Street Pharmacist.”
The band’s sound and members have both changed, as the band evolved from a 12-piece ska-punk band to the reggae-funk quartet they are today.
Morning Fatty’s journey began with one high schooler. Bassist John Pop started the band in 2004. Most of those Pop recruited for Morning Fatty were already in his high school’s marching band, which lent itself to playing together.
Andrew White, lead vocalist, moved to Pop’s high school in 2006 and took over singing duties.
Around the same time, band members began graduating and moving away. In 2007, Pop would himself move to Gainesville, Florida.
The band broke up the following year but began anew in 2010. That same year, Miller Joyner, the current guitarist, joined. Morning Fatty was then essentially a new band, only sharing a name with the old version of the band.
Morning Fatty was well on its way to becoming the medley of music that it is today. That metamorphosis would not be complete, though, without drummer Tim Mulberry, who joined the band in June of 2015.
Previous to joining Morning Fatty, Mulberry travelled with the Black Eyed Peas as the drummer for their world tour.
“It was exciting to get the opportunity to travel the world with them. It was definitely a learning experience and taught me the true meaning of excellence in music,” Mulberry said.
According to White, the drummer added a new dynamic to Morning Fatty’s existing sound with his background and experience, along with raising the bar on the band’s standard of excellence.
Once Mulberry joined Morning Fatty, the band began to tweak its signature sound, which Pop described as F.R.E.D. (Funk Rock Electro Dub). Each of the band members contribute their own elements to Morning Fatty’s sound.
Members like Pop and Joyner draw influence from artists including 311, Phish and Skrillex. White and Mulberry, on the other hand, are influenced by musicians including The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and various Motown artists.
After Morning Fatty’s rebirth in 2010, the band set out for its first East Coast tour in 2013. The inaugural adventure allowed the band to cross “band tour” off their bucket lists.
“We had a beat up 1993 Econoline van with no AC and no heat. We also endured the hell that is New Jersey summer with no AC in the van. It built character, made us humble and gave us an infinite amount of drive to keep progressing,” Pop said.
Fast-forward to now. Morning Fatty has finished eight national tours in 40 states as well as a tour in the Virgin Islands.
“We tour in a 32-foot RV with three AC units. We will never forget our roots,” Pop said.
Another perk of touring is exploring new cultures and micro-cultures. The way people act in California is very different than Iowa and Georgia, according to Joyner.
“We’ve had people thank us before shows letting us know that our music gets them through their day. That’s what matters most,” Joyner said.
The Morning Fatty members have similar sentiments about the creative process and sharing their music.
“Everyone brings something to the table and we create new songs as if one person was writing it. There’s no better feeling than showing up to a city thousands of miles from home and seeing someone sing along to one of your songs,” Mulberry said.
The band is currently working on their next full album, which is scheduled to release in January 2017. Two songs, “Odysseus” and “Islander” are being mixed now and will be released later this month.
Pop said, “I played my first show when I was 15 and fell in love with the stage. I was always serious about music but had no idea it would form into the power quartet we are today.”
Morning Fatty will play in Statesboro for the first time tonight at Dingus Magee’s at 9:30 p.m. There is a $5 cover charge.