Q&A with Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr. of The Rumble, a musical vision that blends New Orleans culture from past to future

"That no matter where you are in this world, music can connect people with people, generations with generations, and the more music we create the more connections we can make."

Joseph Boudreaux Jr: A Bridge of Culture 

New Orleans outfit, The Rumble, announced that they will be releasing Live at the Maple Leaf on May 19th. "My People", the first single off of the new album, will be released on April 14th. Featuring six Grammy-nominated musicians, The Rumble is more than just a band—it's an opportunity to be immersed in a wholly unique facet of New Orleans culture. After working together for years in the Grammy-nominated Cha Wa, Second Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr. of the Golden Eagles, trumpeter Aurélien Barnes, trombonist José Maize Jr., bassist TJ Norris, guitarist Ari Teitel, and keyboardist Andriu Yanovski joined forces with drummer Trenton O'Neal to form The Rumble. The group fuses iconic New Orleans funk in the vein of The Meters and The Neville Brothers—but updated, modern, and vibrant —with electrifying brass and the singular visual splendor of the Black Masking carnival tradition.    

(Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr. / Photo by Tiffany Anderson)

The group pays homage to trailblazers like Wild Magnolias and Golden Eagles (both of which featured the vocal stylings of Boudreaux's father, Monk Boudreaux), with each member sharing vocal duties and engaging the audience in the classic Mardi Gras Indian-style call-and-response chanting. But to classify them merely as "a Mardi Gras Indian group" would be a mistake. The Rumble provides listeners and audiences with a joyful, affirming, and nuanced musical experience and the chance to participate in a culture that, while deeply rooted in centuries-old tradition, is thriving and evolving through the active work of this next generation of bold and passionate culture-bearers.

Interview by Michael Limnios

Special Thanks: Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr. & Pati deVries / devious planet

How has the New Orleans and Black Indian Culture and music influenced your views of the world?

The culture has brought me all over the world and allowed me to not only, see the love and appreciation for black masking Indians and all we represent, but also to experience other cultures of the world to which I’m so grateful for.

What characterize the music philosophy of The Rumble? What do you think is key to a music life well lived?

We create music you can feel on a deeper connection than just songs. We stay true to our roots while innovating to bring New Orleans cultural music to the next level. And, the key is the bond and love each band member in the Rumble has for each other.

Why do you think that the NOLA music continues to generate such a devoted following over the years?

I believe it’s the same reason no one can come to the city of New Orleans just once. It captures you from the inside and brings you on a journey, sometimes to the past, sometimes to the future, and for some to a place they’ve never been before.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

That no matter where you are in this world, music can connect people with people, generations with generations, and the more music we create the more connections we can make.          (Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr. & Big Chief Monk Boudreaux / Photo by sun_shine504)

"I want people to feel it and be excited about the music. Those who love New Orleans music to be excited, those who don’t know anything about New Orleans music but just love great music to be excited, and to be that Rumble bridge that connects them." 

What is Monk Boudreaux's best advice gave you? Are there any specific memories that you would like to tell us about?!

Wow I could go on and on… my dad has lived a very full life, so he shares a lot of wisdom with me. But, he always told me to carry our culture on so that it would never die. Reach as many people as you can. But, more importantly he always advised me to be good to people even if they may not seem to deserve it.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I’m a fan of music that tells you a story and takes you to that time and place, so I miss that type of music from the past. But, I’m very hopeful for the future of music because you have bands like The Rumble who push the envelope to what we thought was the only way you can do certain music to different levels.

What is the impact of NOLA music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

I want people to feel it and be excited about the music. Those who love New Orleans music to be excited, those who don’t know anything about New Orleans music but just love great music to be excited, and to be that Rumble bridge that connects them.

John Coltrane said "My music is the spiritual expression of what I am...". How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life?

I totally agree my music is my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings it’s how I would speak if words didn’t exist.  It’s through my creativity that I’ll live forever.

The Rumble ft. Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr. - Home

(The Rumble: Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr., Aurélien Barnes, José Maize Jr., TJ Norris, Ari Teitel, Andriu Yanovski, Trenton O'Neal / Photo by sun_shine504)

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