“Something about funk — it’s about love and fun and partying and being good to each other,” Badolato said.
Funk can also be defined as whatever the band Parliament Funkadelic was playing in the 1970s, although Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket acknowledges a host of other influences.
“Parliament Funkadelic, they’re the kings of funk,” Badolato said. “But when I think about the music we play and the sound we inhabit, I think it’s closer to Sly and the Family Stone, Tower of Power, Ohio Players, the Funky Meters.
“We scope the range a bit,” he said. “The funk grew around us, more than we gravitated to funk.”
Starting with keyboards, drums, guitar and bass, the band eventually developed its current lineup of 11, which includes a trombone, a trumpet, two saxophones, another percussionist, a rapper and a vocalist, Sarah Seminski.
Seminski’s nickname in the band is “Li’l Shrimp,” in part because her voice is anything but small.
“She can really wail on some of the harder-hitting, epic ‘build’ songs,” Badolato said. “She’s got a range of solo that is unparalleled.”
Seminski, who got her start locally singing at weekly blues jams at In a Pig’s Eye in Salem, didn’t think she was right for the band at first.
She was accustomed to working as a solo act, or collaborating with another musician to write songs, while Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket was all about collective effort.
But after her audition, she watched the band perform, and it was then that Seminski knew she wanted to join.
“The energy, enthusiasm and magic when they play together — I thought, ‘I want to be part of this,’” she said.
Seminski has come to appreciate her role in the band as one part of a larger whole.
“I like not being the center of attention,” she said. “I don’t need to be the showcase feature. In our stage show, we have so much variety, if the audience loves powerhouse female, or saucy male vocals, or hip-hop, we have all that.”