Reading Johnny Temple on Trouble Funk


On a recent trip to Greenpoint’s Permanent Records, I noticed a used copy of Trouble Funk’s Early Singles — released in the late 90s by the Henry Rollins/Rick Rubin reissue label Infinite Zero — in the staff picks section. Given Trouble Funk’s fans — everyone from George Pelecanos to the sorely missed Professor Murder to the panelists at a recent discussion of Hard Art, DC 1979 have sung their praises — I forked over six bucks and walked home with it.

What I found inside was an added bonus: liner notes by Johnny Temple. From his work as a member of Soul Side to his current gig as publisher of Akashic Books, Temple has long been involved in art that’s piqued my interest; here, acting as an unofficial musical historian, he does so in a different capacity. It doesn’t hurt that he’s recalling a musical time and place that I’d have loved to have witnessed:

…when Trouble [Funk] shared the stage with Minor Threat (and Big Boys) for the hard-core band’s final show. Billed as “The D.C. Funk-Punk Spectacular,” two massive youth communities met, sussed each other out and finally got down together at the end of the night when Trouble took the stage.

It’s a terrific dose of history — and one that I hope becomes more widely available once more. And, as Temple’s liner notes indicate, this is infectiously catchy music; I’m reminded that I really need to check out Natalie Hopkinson’s book on go-go before too long.

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