Up Close and Personal: The Funtastics Duo

The Funtastics DuoThe Funtastics Duo is the father and son team of Craig and Zane Stripling. Dad Craig is the keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter, producer, engineer and musical director. Son Zane plays the guitar and does vocals as well.  Their new CD “Life at the ODP” features their top hit, The H Lee Shuffle, a tribute to H Lee Brown, the owner of the O D Pavilion. Written, engineered, and produced by Craig Stripling, the CD also features three other original charting songs, “The ODP, (it’s where I want to Be), “ I Just Want to Dance With You”, and finally several classic beach and shag tunes. .

The duo live in North Augusta, SC and also have a condo in Surfside Beach.  We wanted to know more about them and spoke with Dad Craig.

“I originally played guitar in a top 40 band; frequently performing at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Stage, and the Magic Attic. One afternoon I was introduced to the trombone player, the late Jeppy White from the Catalina’s, a local Beach and Shag band and was invited to come hear them perform at the Land Mark Hotels Coquina Room.  After that visit, “I was hooked.”

After seeing these guys perform their floor show, and seeing other bands such as Craig Woolard and the Embers, Craig immediately went to work assembling the best local Augusta, GA musicians to form the original Funtastics Band: a play off fantastic music and having fun performing. Starting as a 6 piece band, “entertainment life was wonderful” says Craig but “trying to keep that many in a band happy, with different personalities is difficult at best,” he added.

Funtastics DuoGSH: “Who are the Fantastics Duo?”

CS: “Over the years we have evolved slowly from a stage full of musicians down to a duo. We purchased the best synthesizer and keyboard equipment on the market and by using a MIDI sequencer, we can emulate a full 8-10 piece band while playing 100% live. We can reduce the cost for entertainment while providing excellent on stage live entertainment. Many of the mainstream beach bands are now using this technology in their live performances.

CS: “Adding to the performance is Zane, my 18 year old son, who opens the shows with a tribute to the Las Vegas Rat Pack and during intermissions, a tribute to Frankie Valli and other artists from the 60’s era.

ZS:  “I wanted to combine music from the Rat Pack era, but with a shag tempo. (A solo artist in his own right, Zane has managed to produce a Beach and Shag charting song himself, Frank Sinatra’s “the Way You Look Tonight”). Since the song was actually on the charts at age 17, I am the youngest artist to actually have a song moving up the Beach Music charts.”

GSH: “How long have you been together?”

CS: “I have been performing for over 45 years in various bands but Zane and I have been sharing the stage for about 3 years now.”

Funtastics DuoGSH: “What brought you two together, other than the obvious?”

CS: “Well Zane has been performing in talent shows since he was seven or eight and and we knew right away he had a special talent for singing and playing stringed instruments as well.  When the opening came up for a replacement for a former member, Zane was the obvious choice.”

 

GSH: “How does it feel working with family?”

CS: “Well, let’s just say that I’m glad Zane came along after the wilder days of club performing.  I still tell him many stories of road trips and band happenings but deny I had anything to do with the more crazy stories. On a serious note, working with Zane is awesome; he brings energy to the stage and gives me a much needed break during the night’s performance. But when you mention family,  his Mom isn’t far away to keep things in check!”

GSH: “Did you ever think that the band would be successful?”

CS: “That’s a tricky question; every musician dreams of having a hit song, or multiple hit songs.”

CS: “From my early years listening to the Monkees and Beatles, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I’m just glad my parents were supportive.”

ZS: “It’s very cool to be riding in my car, or in a store, and hear a song that you have built from the ground up, start playing on the radio.”

GSH: “Can you share one of your favorite stories from being on the road?”

CS: “All the stories are memorable but one instance stands out. We were performing a New Year’s Eve party in Spartanburg with the larger band. Our drummer, who was driving the equipment van, took a wrong exit and was separated from the rest of the band who were riding in a separate passenger van. Thirty minutes before show time, our drummer pulls up after being lost for two hours. We had the State Patrol looking for him, a promoter screaming at us, and a crowd of 1500 party goers giving us dirty looks as we just sat on the bare stage. As luck would have it, he didn’t have a cell phone with him.  I have never been so happy and upset to see someone in my life.

GSH: “What is the bands’ favorite thing to do in your time off?”

CS: “Family, Family is very important to us. We also spend time in the studio working on a project or writing and recording new songs. Aside from music, sailing, classic car collecting, cycling, and travel are among our hobbies.”

ZS:“My Dad is the car collector and I am the sailor. I love spending time on the water”

Funtastics DuoGSH “Do you hang together?”

CS: “Of course, as much as a son and dad with 39 years separating them can. Zane of course is a teenager and does teenager things like hanging out with his girl friend Anna and other friends but when it’s showtime, he is all grown up.”

GSH: “What can we expect from a Funtastics Duo performance today?

CS: “ FUN FUN FUN. Aside from our own original songs, we also perform R&B and hits from the 60’s and well as classic beach and shag songs from our friends in other bands. Every song we perform is a dance song. We strive to keep the dance floor packed all night long.”

GSH: “Where is your favorite place to perform on the

Grand Strand?”

CS: “Hands down, the Ocean Drive area of North Myrtle Beach, the Shag Capital of the world. We have so many friends there, and the club owners, such as H Lee Brown of the Ocean Drive Pavilion are very generous when booking entertainment.”

GSH: “What is your favorite thing to do on the Grand Strand?”

ZS:  “I like the Blvd cruising and doing the fun things at the beach with my friends. Dad and Mom like the beach and shopping. I’d rather spend my time on the water or golf course.”

GSH: “What advice do you have for budding musicians?”

CS: “If you want to be a performing band, perform music that your audience wants to hear and dance to, not what you want to hear.”

ZS: “Find your click and stay with it. I have heard my Dad say this over and over, “if you play what you want to hear, your equipment with sit in the garage forever”. This has proven to be true over and over again. Go to any music store and ask a customer hanging out what music he/she plays.”

GSH: “What do you want the readers to know about the group?”

CS: “We guarantee you a FUN evening of dancing and entertainment. With our song repertoire, there will be songs for everyone to enjoy! I’m not getting any younger, and while I hope I have many years of performing ahead of me, I am in the beginning stages of setting up a full band for Zane.  Although Zane plans to attend Law School when he graduates from college at USC,  everyone likes to have an escape from the real world and what better way than to perform for people who are looking for the same escape?  To quote my good friend Chuck Negron of the band Three Dog Night about memories, I keep mine in a memory bouquet and I want the same for my son”.

When not performing with his Dad, Zane can be found singing at country clubs and private events throughout the region. Having their own recording studio and rehearsal hall has been an asset to the success of the Funtastics as this allows them to work at their own pace without worry of booking expensive studio time elsewhere. With Craig’s recording experience, they can compete with any of the larger well know studios. Zane has been learning all the ropes in the studio so this really lightens the load and allows Craig to concentrate more on song writing,

You can hear the Funtastics on most Beach/Oldies radio stations including 94.9 the surf locally. If you are looking for fun things to do in Myrtle Beach, check out where they are playing. Their music and booking info can be found at www.funtasticsband.com or like them on Facebook, “Craig Stripling Music” and Zane can also be found on Facebook, simply Zane Stripling. Both the Funtastics Duo and Zane Stripling as a solo artist, are managed by Judie Walters of Judies Patio Party.

 

 

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2016-08-20T07:00:33+00:00