Lettuce is undoubtedly one of the most righteously acclaimed funk bands on the scene today. They combine deep funk bass from Erick “Jesus” Coomes, with tight horn licks from Eric “Benny” Bloom and Ryan Zoidis, with slick pickin from Adam “Schmeans” Smirnoff, with groovalicious keys and vox from Nigel Hall, and all held down by some of funkiest syncopation from Adam Deitch on the drums. They have outRAGE!ous original material and are always a highlight of any festival they play.
But did you know they have a deep and abiding ancestral tie to the legendary funk-soul horn band Tower of Power? That’s right – old school fans like myself, will often hear riffs of ToP in Lettuce’s live shows pretty often. It’s been pretty well documented that Bobby Deitch, Adam’s father, who is a drummer himself, played a lot of ToP for him as Adam was coming up. Adam started gigging with Average White Band and got to meet Tower of Power along the way and their influence is always clear in his playing style.
Here’s an example of how Lettuce pays homage to ToP that you can experience yourself. In this version of The Last Suppit from the Brooklyn Bowl, you’ll hear riffs from Squib Cakes (Back to Oakland, 1974) throughout this version until the very end when the horns will go straight up to a fully unmistakable Squib Cakes cover –
For those unaware or uninitiated, you can listen to Squib Cakes original here and you’ll immediately hear the Lettuce connection in the opening drum and horn groove. It’s widely considered one of the funkiest instrumentals ever by Tower of Power (or anyone else). You can catch Lettuce as they heading the Candler Park Music Festival in Atlanta on June 1. For me, I’d love to catch up with the fellas and get some deeper insight as to the ToP connection beyond what we already know about Deitch. Is there more than meets the ear? Stay tuned.