For 37-year-old multi-instrumentalist/composer/looper John Whoolilurie—aka one-man funk/Latin/jazz band, Whoolilicious—music holds a hefty weight in his life. More than a metaphor for his passion, that weight manifests itself in the form of his “looptility belt-pack”—“I took some looping pedals and put them on a belt, [for] easier, portable performance,” explains Whoolilurie—and his 9-month-old son, whom he carries while rehearsing.
“When he gets up at 6 or 5:30 [a.m.], I hang out with him, and when he gets tired, I go and rehearse my set until he falls asleep,” he says. “He’s probably heard it like 60 or 70 times.” Whoolilurie’s surname, which sounds like a Dr. Seuss creation, is a combination of his last name, Whooley, and his wife’s maiden name, Lurie. Before he moved to Santa Barbara to raise a family, Whoolilurie was a music major at UC Santa Cruz. “I was a general music major where they want you to go after classical music, but I wasn’t a classical player, so I hung out on the fringes,” he says. With his unparalleled love for looping, saxophone, keyboard, guitar, singing and clarinet, Whoolilurie played with multiple local jazz/funk bands between 1997 and 2003, including 3Radicals and Euphonious Skunk. This Saturday, he will make his fifth appearance at the International Live Looping Festival at Pearl Alley Studios in Santa Cruz. Joining him onstage will be drummer Mike Shannon of 3Radicals. “I record the bass, keyboards, and the guitar, and [Shannon] plays along with that—and I improvise with the voice and the sax,” he explains. His entire 30-minute set from last year is on YouTube, but it’s live that he truly shines. “Live looping is a very particular thing,” he says. “The people who like it, really love it, [and] spend years developing techniques. … You can glean so much information from all of the people who perform.”
INFO: 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. Pearl Alley Studios, 120 Pearl Alley, Santa Cruz. $15. For more info, visit y2kloopfest.com.