Phat Phunktion, a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison music students formed in 1996, have built a loyal following of listeners throughout the United States and around the world. A nine-piece tour de force that combines the polish of top 40 with the smooth feeling of 60’s soul and the raw groove of 70’s funk, Phat Phunktion is today one of the most talked about bands in the Midwest.
Their self-produced CDs have sold in the thousands, and their live shows sell-out virtually everywhere they perform. In their hometown of Madison, WI, they have been known to attract crowds of upwards of 5,000 people. In 2003, Rolling Stone Magazine singled out Phat Phunktion as a “band on the rise.” During the same year, they won a Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award, or WAMI, for “Best R&B Band.”
In 2004, Ben and Leo Sidran’s Nardis/Liquid 8 label picked up the band, and their 3rd, self-produced CD, "You and Me", was released for international distribution. Since then, "You and Me" has received substantial interest at home and abroad. JazzTimes reviewed You and Me, saying: “Phat Phunktion has a horn-driven sound that draws inspiration from ‘70s funk, and on ‘You and Me’, the band’s first release on a national label, producers Tim Whalen and Al Falaschi demonstrate a talent for crafting strong, danceable tracks…. Musically, the album is first rate.”
In 2005, You and Me received the Madison Area Music Award, or MAMA, for “R&B Album of the Year.” During the summer of 2005, Phat Phunktion embarked on their first U.S. National Tour. Following the Nardis release of You and Me, the tour was a turning point for this award-winning band. As keyboardist / co-founder Tim Whalen said at the time, “We are not just a local band anymore.”
Another chapter began when the band toured Japan in February of 2006. This very successful tour had the Japanese press and fans alike hailing Phat Phunktion as the "new Tower of Power." Phat Phunktion has shared the stage with musical legends The Temptations, Tower of Power, WAR, Cameo, Morris Day and the Time, The Original “P” (featuring original members of Parliament), The Average White Band, Chick Corea, Taj Mahal, Rick James, Clyde Stubblefield, The Brothers Johnson, and Kool and the Gang.
Their dynamic stage show and incredible musicianship have initiated thousands of faithful “Phatheads,” who are now spreading the word. Right now in 2011, another chapter is about to unfold. After six years, Phat Phunktion released their fourth album Real Life .:. High Fidelity. It is a blazing collection of 12 brand new original songs, and it showcases a band that has truly found their own sound.