Koot's house band comes to Juneau

Custom Deluxe plays outside of Anchorage for the first time

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2003

Dean Richards and longtime guitarist J.Z. were fed up with the kind of music they were hearing at Chilkoot Charlie's, or Koot's, in Anchorage on off-nights.

So they decided to form their own band - Custom Deluxe - with keyboard player Randy Stevens and bass player Monte Pulu.

"We kind of came into this thinking that we weren't going to play the typical cover stuff that you hear at Koot's, the angry, young Limp Bizkit-type stuff," said Richards, the drummer and an employee at Koot's.

Instead, the four-piece plays funk, rap and a little bit of 1980s retro - anything from The Commodores to Nelly to Crowded House. Since forming six months ago, Custom Deluxe has become the house band at Koot's on Sunday and Monday nights. The band plays at Marlintini's Lounge at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19 and 20, for their first shows outside of Anchorage.

"It's taken off pretty quickly," Richards said. "(Koot's) offered us more work, and we've gotten a little bigger around town."

Custom Deluxe hasn't had time to write any songs. All four of the members are in other bands. That's not to say they aren't original.

"It's one of the more creative bands I've been in," Richards said. "A lot of the guys like rap and samples, and a lot of the times we're playing with different instrumentation. We want to sound like Custom Deluxe. We figure you could stay at home and listen to the CD if you want the same thing."

Guitarist J.Z. has toured the country several times with various blues musicians.

"He used to play in a whole bunch of bands in the early '90s, so we knew he was good," Richards said. "He moved back to Anchorage, and we thought, 'OK here's our chance to put something together that's respectable on Sundays and Mondays.' And that's essentially what we formed it from."

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