In 2012, Michelle Pietrafitta wanted to be apart of FoCoMx, a two day festival in Fort Collins featuring music from across Northern Colorado. But she was new to the area and didn’t have a band.
She quickly called up a few friends, shared her vision with them and that night they recorded a song to send in as their application.
They essentially pretended to be a band. And it worked.
Three years later, and Punch Drunk Munky Funk is taking the Fort Collins music scene by storm, having played basically every venue in town — Hodi’s Half Note, Avogadro’s, and headlining the Aggie at the New West Fest, just to name a few.
“We’re still together with the original line up three years later and we’ve come such a long way, having played Wakarusa, on the main stage at Arise Music and Arts Festival and sharing the stage with the likes of Victor Wooten, Keller Williams, the Motet and many other amazing artists,” said Pietrafitta, who plays the drums and is the only woman in the band.
Punch Drunk Munky Funk, which specializes in funk music with a heavy jazz influence, is comprised of five members, including Pietrafitta, who, in addition to drumming, is being in charge of booking venues and marketing the band. She is joined by Alex Boivin on guitar; Julian Rosse on the bass; Mike Givens on the keyboard; and Eli Hennessey on percussion.
The band’s name Punch Drunk Munky Funk comes from a Mister Ed episode, a comedy show from the 1960s.
“In the episode, the guy was having a bad dream, and he was like ‘the mummy is drunk and he loves the funk!’” Pietrafitta said. “And somehow ‘Punch Drunk Munky Funk’ just clicked.”
Now, the band is honing their music in on Boulder, the Denver area and lots of mountain towns. This summer, they plan on participating in lots of music festivals.
“I would love to see Punch Drunk Munky Funk travel across the country hitting cities, festivals, touring with other bands, and being able to show the world our stuff,” said Eli Hennessey.
And Mike Givens agrees. He said he’d love to see the band get invested in festivals around the U.S. this summer.
“I think that’ll bring us a lot of opportunity and exposure outside of Colorado, and broaden [the band],” he said.
As for the future of Punch Drunk Munky Funk, they are looking to tour up north and throughout the Midwest, and continue recording live music.
“We’re just getting started,” Pietrafitta said. “We’ve got big plans for the next few years.”
Collegian A&C reporter Zara DeGroot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @zar_degroot.