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The Meters

The Meters were progenitors of funk in the 1970s. Art Neville, the group's frontman, had earned a solo career around the New Orleans area in the early 1960s. The Meters formed in the late '60s, and became the house band for Sansu Enterprises, an Allen Toussaint-owned label. In 1969, the Meters released "Sophisticated Cissy" and "Cissy Strut", both major R&B chart hits. "Look-Ka Py Py" and "Chicken Strut" were also hits the following year. After a label shift in 1972, the Meters had difficulty returning to the charts, though they played on many important records by Dr. John, Paul McCartney, King Biscuit Boy, Labelle and Robert Palmer. They released a critically-acclaimed album, Fire on the Bayou, in 1975. This was followed by a collaboration with George & Amos Landry and the Neville Brothers, The Wild Tchoupitoulas. The band broke up in 1977 after Toussaint claimed the rights to the name and they played as various incarnations of the Neville Brothers and with other bands.

The Meters reformed with the new official name "The Funky Meters" after an informal jam during the 1989 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival replacing Joseph (Zigaboo) Modeliste with David Russell Batiste, Jr. on drums. Russell has recorded with Allan Toussaint, Robbie Robertson, and Harry Connick, Jr. In 1994, the departure of Leo Nocentelli led to them inviting old friend Brian Stoltz into the fold as guitarist. Stoltz had been the guitarist for The Neville Brothers during the '80s and during the '90s had done session work with record with Bob Dylan, Edie Brickell, Dr. John and Linda Ronstadt, to name a few.