They have toured with such talents as The Rolling Stones, and have been the
rhythm for such diverse artists as Dr. John, Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer and
Considered by many to be the founding fathers of funk, The Meters created a
unique sound that lasted through the sixties and seventies and was reborn in
the late eighties. Their trademark sound blends funk, blues, and dance grooves
with a New Orleans vibe.
The history of this native New Orleans band dates back to 1967, when
keyboardist Art Neville recruited George Porter, Jr., Joseph (Zigaboo)
Modeliste and Leo Nocentelli to form The Meters. When Neville formed the band,
he had already been a prominent member of the New Orleans music community for
15 years. He was still in high school when, leading The Hawkettes, he cut the
1954 hit single "Mardi Gras Mambo", which is still pressed every year at
After working with Allen Toussaint on some Lee Dorsey tracks, The Meters were
told to lay down some tracks of their own. Between 1967 and 1969, they
recorded four consecutive hit singles: "Sophisticated Cissy," "Cissy Strut,"
"Ease Back," and "Look a Py Py," which all reached the Top 10 on the R&B
charts. Neville created a band that would rule the New Orleans music community
for decades to come.
From 1971 to 1978 The Meters recorded five albums on the Warner/Reprise
label. Cyril Neville, Art Neville's brother, joined the band in 1975 as a
percussionist and vocalist for three of those albums, also recording the
critically acclaimed The Wild Tchoupitoulas, which was recorded with Neville's
uncle, Big Chief Jolly, the most celebrated member of the Mardi Gras Indians.
Simultaneously, the band was widely heard playing on albums by Dr. John
,Robert Palmer, King Biscuit Boy ,Lee Dorsey ,Allen Toussaint and a Mardi Gras
single released by Paul McCartney and Wings.
In 1975, the Meters performed at a party for Paul and Linda McCartney aboard
the Queen Mary in California. Shortly thereafter, The Rolling Stones requested
that The Meters join them as an opening act on their (1975) American Tour and
(1976) European tours-over 75 dates were played between both tours.
After twelve years and ten studio albums, The Meters disbanded in 1979 due
to business problems. The Meters have maintained an avid following of fans
and other artists, and their music has been sampled by musicians around the
world, including rap artists Heavy D, LL Cool J and Queen Latifah. The Red
Hot Chili Peppers pay homage to them in one of their hit songs, and bands such
as the Grateful Dead, KVHW, Steve Kimock Band, Widespread Panic, Rebirth Brass
Band, Galactic and String Cheese Incident often played their music.
Musically, the next decade took the band members in different directions.
Art Neville and Cyril Neville pioneered the internationally successful Neville
Brothers , while Zigaboo Modeliste drummed for Keith Richards and Ron Wood on
the New Barbarians Tour. George Porter, Jr. founded his first band, Joy Ride
and in 1990 recorded his first solo CD, Runnin' Pardners, for Rounder Records.
George worked in the studio and toured with David Byrne, recorded with Robbie
Robertson , and played on Harry Connick Jr. 's first funk/soul CD "She" In
addition, George performed on three back-to-back Platinum CD's with Tori Amos.
He has also released four CD's with his own with Runnin' Pardners.
Art Neville, organ; Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste, drums; George Porter Jr., bass; and Leo Nocentelli, guitar.photo courtesy of Michael Smith and www.themetersonline.com