Askimbo returns after long hiatus with their fun-loving jazz and funkAskimbo has come out of an indefinite hiatus to bring back their rollicking combination of jazz and funk to Colorado stages and airwaves. This month, the fun loving team of musicians debuted a brand spankin’ new album called, A Stranger in the Alps, which is a funky collection of danceable tunes that will keep your toes tapping.
Members Anthony "Medicine Man" Aleman (Harmonica/Vocals), Zach West (Drums), Dave Simpkins (Bass) and John Simpkins (Trumpet) recently regrouped to put the album together. A Stranger in the Alps has been a year in the making, and according to the band, the album consists of new tunes, as well as tunes they never got to record in the past. It’s the third release from the band’s current lineup of musicians.
AXS caught up with the band after noticing a fairly consistent campaign which offered download codes to fans for their new release on their Facebook page. Though the band might not be as visible on Colorado stages as they have been in the past (with more than 100 shows per year), Askimbo’s new campaign seems pretty serious and it’s drumming up attention from old and new fans alike. You can keep track of show dates and upcoming releases on Facebook.
It looks like you’ve been drumming up some attention lately after being quiet for quite some time. Let’s talk about this end to what seems to have been a significant hiatus for the band.
Askimbo: It was a sort of a reproductive hiatus! Dave Simpkins (bass) and John Simpkins (trumpet) decided to have kids and play less shows. Zach West (drummer) had offspring as well, but decided to play and teach drums for a living. Anthony “Medicine” Aleman’s kids are all grown up!
Now, we get together when we want to do a project or we are asked to play for an event. It’s mostly for fun, and people still seem to enjoy us, as well!
When and how did Askimbo first start out? What reformations has the band gone through along the way?
Askimbo has a long and treacherous history with many characters. Dave and Zach formed something called Askimbo in high school to ignite a funk exploration of sorts. John came on fairly early on, and Medicine joined in 2000, which awakened the core group (Anthony, Dave, John, and Zach). This fundamental group has been together since 2000 A.D.
What is the relation between the Grown-A$$ Man Band and Askimbo? How is the music different? Are the players different?
Grown-A$$ Man Band (GAMB) is like a child that was spawned by Askimbo in order to further the aforementioned funk adventure. A monthly Appaloosa gig was an additional motivator to keep things going.
The music is similar… some of the songs overlap. Anthony, and Zach are the remaining members of Askimbo in GAMB. They hired Matt Skellenger and Adam Bartczack to fill the horn and bass spots.
Do you have some gigs set up?
No [but there was an album release show for Saint Patty’s weekend, March 13] -- but GAMB has A LOT!
When did your new album officially release?
We released it at Appaloosa for St. Patrick’s Day weekend; it’s called A Stranger in the Alps (we like to keep it mysterious). An Askimbo alumni, Geoff Orwiler, recorded it. He is a Denver music staple.
How are the tracks that you are putting out with your Facebook campaign being received?
We decided to go with download cards, and tracks are available on CD Baby and iTunes. The campaign has been received better than we expected, but honestly people really show the most fervor by supporting our live shows!
Any plans to tour?
No, we never really toured because the money was never very good. We did play in Nebraska a lot, for some reason….
What's the ultimate vision for the band?
We like putting together projects and people keep asking us to play! We all work hard on a lot of projects.
Our next collaboration, that we are VERY excited about will be Vitaphilia. It’s a Zombie Opera that was written by Dave and John Simpkins. They also have a group called Muchly Suchwise with a guitar player named Jim Disner.
For more information about Askimbo check them out at Reverbnation and on Facebook. Album downloads are available at CD Baby and iTunes.

*originally published at AXS.