Ask any member of the Funk Freaks how they feel about rare vinyl and a chance to rock a set of turntables, and they’ll all admit to spending way more time and money than they should in the name of love. The passion that grew out of this OC record collective and DJ crew is now a world wide syndicate of vinyl heads with hearts in their eyes when it comes to the funk. But on the week of Valentine’s Day, the only love they wanna talk about is the kind that gets asses on the dance floor. Everything else–flowers, chocolates and candlelight dinners–is all bullshit.
“There’s this song by Psycho Realm called ‘Love From the Sick Side’ and there’s a famous line on there, the first thing [Big] Duke says is ‘Fuck love! I can’t get enough of yo freaky ass, baby!’ sings Funk Freaks co-founder Ivan Marquez aka Debo, leaning back in his chair behind a desk in the back room of the Funk Freaks Record shop in Santa Ana. “It’s a dope track I grew up listening to and I came up with that mentality–fuck love, at the end of the day you’re just playing games with each other and shit.”
Since 2009, the joy of shitting on Hallmark’s sappiest holiday continues to inspire the Funk Freaks’ annual Fuck Love Anti-Love Funk Party at Original Mike’s. As always, the electronic slap and zap of ‘80s boogie funk will be the soundtrack to hours of two stepping, grinding and probably some subsequent baby making.
“It’s almost like a bird calling to all single people,” Debo says. “Everyone’s out trying to get laid, not that they necessarily will, but our mentality was come party with us whether you’re single or taken.”
The party at Original Mike’s usually starts well before the DJs even load their equipment onto the stage. Lovers looking to make a night of it crowd into the restaurant booths or at the bar early in the evening to get fed and boozed up before the party begins. Some just show up to see the legendary performers that the DJ collective have excavated out of retirement.
For one of their first Fuck Love shows, Funk Freaks brought Niteflyte legend Howard Johnson out of retirement for his first show in over a decade. Previous Fuck Love headliners also include Prince Charles and the City Beat Band and Carol Shinnette. This year they’ll be bringing it back to where it all began for Fuck Love by featuring Sick Jacken from Psycho Realm, part of the group wrote the lyrics that inspired Debo to get the party started.
“He’s also a big vinyl collector, he collects a lot of soul, everything from doo-wop to funk and all that,” Debo says, noting that he and Jacken have worked together on a DJ party of their own called The Originators, paying homage to renowned vinyl collectors who come to the party to guest DJ for the young cats they’ve unwittingly influenced in the DJ game.
Though the DJs playing records at Fuck Love aren’t exactly romantics, they have a bond that can’t be broken when it comes to the funk. Currently the Funk Freaks’ 10 original members spread out between OC, Riverside and Bakersfield are all still active, some more than others, but always reliable to drop in and show support. Once in a while a representative from one of their many chapters in Europe will come through and spin.
No matter who comes through, Debo says part of DJing for the love means letting their comrades freedom play what they want as long as it gets the crowd bumping and grinding.
“We never give people a set playlist for our guest DJs,” Debo says. “We give them an open forum to play what they want but we don’t really get all lovey-dovey.”
Funk Freaks Fuck Love Anti-Love Funk Party with Sick Jacken, 8 p.m., $10, 21+, Original Mike’s, 100 S. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 550-7764, www.originalmikes.com.