Funky Biscuit Is Four Years Old
By Skip Sheffield
Funky Biscuit at Royal Palm Place is celebrating its fourth anniversary in a big way, starting with a kick-off party Thursday, July 23 with Heavy Pets, Crazy Fingers and the Dirk Quinn Band.
“We are having three local bands for the kick-off party,” reports Funky Biscuit owner-manager Al Poliak. “Then on Friday we have Jon Cleary and his Absolute Monster Gentlemen. He’s fabulous. He’s been here twice, so I know. Then we have Leon Russell for the first time Saturday and Sunday. He is truly a living legend.”
Leon Russell is indeed a living musical treasure. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native has been a professional musician since 1956. He turned 73 on April 2, but he continues to perform and tour. Russell is proficient on piano, organ and guitar and he sings in a distinctive twangy “Okie” style. As a Los Angeles session player he played with virtually all of the greats of the 1960s and 1970s. He has written many songs that have become standards. These include “This Masquerade,” “Tightrope,” “Superstar” and “A Song for You.”
Opening for Leon Russell is Richie Schmidt, a Funky Biscuit regular. With his wife, Tess Smith, the couple performs at a 5 p.m. Thursday Happy Hour as Twocan Blue. Schmidt is also lead guitarist with the popular rock group The Fabulous Fleetwoods. At 9 p.m. this Friday, July 24, New Orleans-based, British-born pianist Jon Cleary and his Absolute Monster Gentlemen take to the stage. Tickets are $30-$45 ($35 day of show), and this is a show where fans under 21 are permitted with parent or legal guardian for just $10.
The Saturday Leon Russell show is sold-out and tickets for $45-$60 are going fast for the Sunday show. Music continues Monday, July 27 with a Biscuit Jam with Mark Telesca and the Funky Biscuit All-Stars. Al Poliak often joins in on keyboards. Tuesday, July 28 features the Fireside Prophets with Oli & Davy ($5-$7), Wednesday, July 29 is classic rock with Twocan Blue & Friends, Thursday, July 30 is The Naughty Professor and the month wraps up with Bobby Messano and Dark Horse Flyer.
The month of August begins with a Jerry Garcia Birthday Celebration Aug. 1 with Crazy Fingers and Unlimited Devotion.
“We had to start modestly,” Poliak says. “It takes time to become known to booking agents and managers. People in the business know who Funky Biscuit is now. We are at the point where I wish we could add more seating.”
The phone number is 561-395-2929 and the web site is www.funkybiscuit.com.