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Was (Not Was)

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Was (Not Was) is the funkiest, yet artiest funk-rock-jazz — or whatever you want to call it — collective of musical miscreants to ever rise up out of the mean streets of Detroit. Was (Not Was) may be primarily a studio concoction. But this is not your typical group of glossy Steely Dan styled session cats — not by a long shot.

Was (Not Was) — helmed by producer/bassist Don Was (Fagenson) and multi-instrumentalist David Was (Weiss) — are more like an ever-evolving community of musicians committed to the singular ideal of maintaining the fun in funk, even as they ever-so-subtly slip in a bit of politically charged commentary in the process.

On such seminal eighties dance singles as “Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin'” (with its politically incendiary Ronald Reagan samples), “Out Come The Freaks,” “Walk The Dinosaur” and “Spy In The House Of Love,” Was (Not Was) combine white-boy funk with a touch of MC5 radicalism, chased down with a shot of New York Dolls attitude. Funky, yes. But neither chic nor pretentious in the least.

Founding member Don Was has long since gone on to become a producer of considerable renown — working with everyone from Dylan on down. You’ll find bloggers talking about Was (Not Was) at sites like World Wide Was.

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About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at The Rockologist, and at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.