Fort Collins Phunklord Jason Heller

Photo By: Jason Heller

Jason Heller has been bringing the uplifting soul of Funk music through his unconventional DJing at Funk Club, now taking place every month at the Downtown Artery, 254 Linden St. It begins at 9pm and is only $5, making it easy for all ages to come and experience the wide range of diversity on the dance floor coming together under 70’s and 80’s classic Funk.

Heller first fell in love with the genre as a kid growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida listening to Funk and Disco radio stations nonstop until as a teen, he discovered the James Brown CD box set Star Time. It was life changing for Heller and triggered a deeper pursuit of Funk. “Funk, to me, is a celebration of life in all its forms, the good and the bad, the sweet and the filthy, the cerebral and the sexual. It’s simple yet totally complicated and intricate,” says Heller, who is a Colorado DJ, author, and writer. He finds listening to funk music important because it “is the basis of so much popular music today, but sometimes people, through no fault of their own, never realize what those roots are.” According to Heller, this is why he is “here to bring people closure to the “universal language, and everything it says or shows about joy, anger, sex, expression, and life in general is as relevant today as it ever was.”

Not only is the event recognized for it’s celebration of Funk music, but it also brings the experience of the Funk Age back to life. Heller exclusively DJ’s using vinyl 45 records, which is the format by which old school funk was originally consumed by the average kid in the 70’s and early 80’s. “I’m honoring the tradition of regular people playing their personal records in their homes at parties for their friends, rather than me trying to be some kind of larger-than-life club DJ spinning esoteric remixes,” Heller says. People attending the event also dress in varying styles from the 70’s and 80’s, looking vibrant and bold, giving off the aura of real Funk Clubs that took place during the era.

Heller is starting a new 80’s dance party at Hodi’s on May 25 called “Whip It!” including the classics of Madonna, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, New Order, Prince, The Cure, as well as lots of lesser known artists and one-hit wonders like A-Ha, Soft Cell, and the ever popular Devo. He plays guitar for Weathered Statues, a dark-post punk band similar to Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees. They are releasing their first album “Borderlands,” through Svart Records, at the Downtown Artery May 4th, for the Artery’s First Friday Festivities. Heller writes for Rolling Stone, NPR, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Pitchfork, but he is recently most proud of being an author of his book “Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decades Sci-Fi Exploded.” The book is about science fiction’s influence on the music of the 70’s, and is being published on June 5th, with a book release party at Tattered Cover on Colfax in Denver on June 8th. Come be a part of Jason’s many talents whether it be indulging in a groovy night of Funk, listening to his bands new album, or reading his written works. Jason is inviting all of Northern Colorado to celebrate his passions for music and literature with him.

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