The Meters

From Academic Kids

The Meters was a band that performed and recorded from the late 1960s until 1977. It was based in New Orleans. While the band never enjoyed huge popular success, it was nonetheless greatly admired by cognoscenti and is considered one of progenitors of funk in the 1970s.

Art Neville, the group's frontman, launched a solo career around the New Orleans area in the mid-1950s, while still in high school. The Meters formed in the late '60s, and became the house band for Sansu Enterprises, an Allen Toussaint-owned label. In 1969, the Meters released "Sophisticated Cissy" and "Cissy Strut", both major R&B chart hits. "Look-Ka Py Py" and "Chicken Strut" were also hits the following year. After a label shift in 1972, the Meters had difficulty returning to the charts, though they played on many important records by Dr. John, Paul McCartney, King Biscuit Boy, Labelle and Robert Palmer. They released a critically-acclaimed album, Fire on the Bayou, in 1975. This was followed by a collaboration with George & Amos Landry and the Neville Brothers, The Wild Tchoupitoulas. The band broke up in 1977 after Toussaint claimed the rights to the name and they played as various incarnations of the Neville Brothers and with other bands.

The Meters reformed with the new official name "The Funky Meters" after an informal jam during the 1989 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival replacing Joseph (Zigaboo) Modeliste with David Russell Batiste, Jr. on drums. Russell has recorded with Allan Toussaint, Robbie Robertson, and Harry Connick, Jr. In 1994, the departure of Leo Nocentelli led to them inviting old friend Brian Stoltz into the fold as guitarist. Stoltz had been the guitarist for The Neville Brothers during the '80s and during the '90s had done session work with record with Bob Dylan, Edie Brickell, Dr. John and Linda Ronstadt, to name a few.

The Meters gained new-found notoriety in 2005 when drum-and-guitar breaks from their 1970 version of "Oh, Calcutta!" (originally from the stage musical, and appearing on the "Look-Ka Py Py" album) were sampled by producer Rich Harrison, to provide the main loops of the hit song "1 Thing" by Amerie.

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