The New York-based Budos Band has been around for more than 10 years, but playing in the group has never been a full-time gig for its members.
"I'm an art teacher at a high school in Staten Island and we all have regular jobs," says drummer Brian Profilio. "Most of the time we go out and play on weekends. I'm only really able to go out when I'm off."
The band plays about 50 shows a year and only schedules to perform on weekends. Members of the band usually fly into the show on a Friday night, perform on Saturday and fly back home on Sunday morning to make it in time to their full-time jobs on Monday. "Even if we go out for a week or 10 days, by the time we get home, we're shot," Profilio says. "So to be on the road for a month or two months, it'd be really tough."
The Budos Band started in the '90s when they were inspired to play Afrobeat music after watching the Brooklyn band Antibalas perform in New York City. It was at these shows where Profilio met saxophonist Jared Tankel.
"I moved to New York right around that time," Tankel says. "I didn't know anybody to play music with and I went to this open mic session with Martin [Perna] from Antibalas and he [said], 'You gotta meet my friends from Staten Island. They're looking for horn players.' And the next thing you knew I was taking the ferry out to Staten Island — and the rest is history."
Jared also has a full-time job aside from being in The Budos Band. He's a music attorney and works with small record labels, publishers and bands, including his own. Even when he's on the road touring with the band, he still is working his other job: "When we go out for more than just a weekend, I'll bring my laptop along and try to review contracts in the back of the van, and that's just like torture."
While their schedules may seem hectic, Profilio says he likes that his full-time job gives him structure: "I need a schedule. I need to wake up at [a certain] time and be part of a larger institution in a sense 'cause I think all of us would have difficulty being full time Budos."
Tankel says they never started the band for the money or fame, it was just something that is meant to be fun: "We love it and we like doing what we're doing. We'll figure out the other parts of our life that need to fit around it in order to make it possible."