Come Back Alice is a soulfully southern gypsy funk band whose lively concert performances feature unforgettable remnants of rhythmic funk fused with elements of gypsy jazz. Come Back Alice’s non-conforming musical style paired with their energetic live performances have made them one of the most popular and sought-after bands in the area. With a musical style that’s truly their own, highlighting an exceptional mix of soulful vocals, melodic guitars, gypsy violin and funky bass & drums, the band’s known for their ability to stand out.
Entertwine: Could you tell us a bit about each of the involved members?
Tony Tyler (lead vocals, lead guitar, B3 organ) – Tony was born in Dublin, Georgia. Growing up in a musical family, Tony got his start early, touring with his father in a band called the Tony Tyler Trance with Dad on drums and Tony taking the lead. A few influences of his are The Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks, The Beatles, and Motown.
Dani Jaye (harmony vocals, lead guitar, violin) – Dani was born in Bradenton, Florida. Her Aunt gave her a violin at the age of 13, fueling her enveloping love for music. Starting with a foundation in classical music, she started performing live at the age of 15, ranging her styles in gypsy jazz and funk music.
Big Bad John Werner (bass)- John was born in Sarasota. He spent quite some time as a snowboard instructor in Colorado and has an engineering degree, but his passion is playing bass. His styles range from melodic to technical bass, and his influences include James Jameson, Les Claypool, Aston Barrett, Paul McCartney, Jaco Pastorius, Oscar Stagnaro, and Berry Oakley.
Yral Morris (drums) – Yral grew up in the mean streets of Miami Florida. While his roots may be in Gospal music, he considers himself a jazz/funk enthusiast. Ginger Baker and Tony Williams Max Roach are among his major influences.
How did the members of the band meet and begin writing and performing together?
Tony: After I traveled down to central Florida through touring with another group, I met Dani Jaye in Bradenton 5 years ago at a venue she was performing at. We fell in love, and felt a strong calling to make music together. We started writing together, and formed Come Back Alice shortly after in 2012. We spent some time searching for a good solid rhythm section, and we knew we found it when we met John and Yral. When we came together, we thought it best to allow everyone in the band express their own individual style(s) within the group. It creates an eclectic sound, which is what we were going for. We really try to balance structured songs with the improvisational (jam) element, so the audience never hears the same show twice. We are currently starting to tour the Southeast to support our single and music video (Coraline) and the upcoming national release of our new album.
What is the significance of the band’s name?
Dani: Tony and I own a 1971 VW bus together named Alice. Needless to say, she is in need of constant love and repair. “Come back, Alice!” was said far too often, prompting the inspiration for the band name. It felt really fitting, as Alice is an old-school whimsical name, and we are kind of an old-school, whimsical band. The idea of letting music take you back to that place of childlike wonderment and bliss is what CBA is all about.
What is it like living in and performing around Southeast Florida? What is the music scene of your hometown (Sarasota) like?
Tony: Sarasota is a beautiful city. We feel very at home and welcomed here, and upon starting had a chance to play our own music and build a solid foundation. There are plenty of great bands in Sarasota. Many can thrive just playing the local scene, which can’t be said about many places. We really have a passion for traveling, and love getting the opportunity to spread the joy of music in and outside of our home zone. It is so interesting to note how similar vibes exist in different places all over the country, and it’s always a pleasure meeting like minded people in other places. You can definitely say the southeast still has that southern soul.
How would you describe your musical sound to someone who has never heard your music?
Dani: We spent a lot of time contemplating that question! We call it southern Gypsy Funk. It’s a mix of primarily rock n roll, soul, gypsy jazz, and funk. Imagine the Allman Brothers and Danny Elfman had a musical brainchild. Although we are eclectic, our main focus is definitely on lyrical melody. We want to make sure the key parts to our songs are recognizable and easy to sing along to.
What life experiences and events have inspired the music that Come Back Alice’s writes?
Tony: After Dani and I met, we started writing music almost immediately. Coraline was actually the first song Dani and I wrote together, so it holds a lot of sentimental value for us. You can become inspired by anything if you are in an open state of mind. A lot of our songs are story songs, where we try to convey an idea through the personification of a character. Some are very straightforward. The trials and tribulations in life can stir up the creative pot, and sometimes the yearning to really get a message across can be a driving creative factor.
What is the writing and recording process like for Come Back Alice?
Dani: With the exception a couple songs, Tony and I are the main writers for the band. Sometimes we have songs such as Coraline that are written side by side, but other times inspiration hits and songs come to us in chunks or all at once in entirety. Most of the time, when we have the main content of a song; we bring it to John and Yral, and they give it back better than we imagined it to begin with. The recording process is very similar. Our new album is a blend of musical ideas cultivated together through live performances and parts written on the spot during the recording process.
What was it like filming the music video for your new single ‘Coraline’ in Tampa, Florida with Lightwave Media?
Tony: Making the music video was a lot of fun. Our director, Christian Cashmere, really did a great job taking our ideas and bringing them to life on screen. We wanted something whimsical and imaginative, and when we had our first meeting with him and saw some of his personal work, we knew we had come to the right place. Coraline in set inside of a dream, where anything goes. In the video, she is being led out of her bed in dreamtime by her “shadow”, who attempts to steal her beauty. The team at Lightwave media really captured the setting and the vibe, and we can’t wait to work with them again in the future.
What does 2015 hold in store for Come Back Alice? Do you have plans to release a new album in the near future?
Dani: We are currently touring to support our single Coraline and promote the national release of our new self-titled Album, recorded at Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta, GA. It features 11 songs, all original with the exception of one cover “I Walk on Gilded Splinters” by Dr. John. Our plan is to expand our reach from the Southeast outwards, playing festivals and different live music venues as often as possible. We are all working musicians, and pride ourselves in being primarily a live band. We played over 150 shows last year and plan to top it this year!