“The music I play is rock and roll,” says Sal Filipelli. “Since we live in a world with so many subcategories of that genre, I will say it encompasses elements of funk, R&B, soul, jazz, and rap. It’s a new sound that is heavily influenced by old music. I believe the music one writes is a reflection of the music one listens to, and I enjoy all kinds, from Beethoven to Tupac. I try to make music that is familiar but different than anything you have ever heard before.”
Beginning as a piano player at age 12, the 2002 graduate of the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Paradise Hills also picked up guitar, ukulele, and bass along the way to releasing projects such as Not British Productions Presents 23rd Century, the Sal Filipelli Band EP, and The Last Generation of Tape, with notable local collaborators Charles and Danny Weller and Harley Magsino.
Also on the collaboration front, Filipelli released a new single last June written and recorded with ’70s funk star Sly Stone, “One More Hit,” planned for an upcoming Filipelli album called This Day in Music History. Another Stone-centered single, “Role Model,” dropped in September. The following month, he wrapped up an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign for the release, which features guests that include Munyungo Jackson, Adrian Terrazas-Gonzalez, and Raw Syl. “All recording is done,” he says. “[I’m] raising money for post-production.”
Now part of Stone’s extended musical Family, Filipelli will be in Oakland on January 24, appearing as a guest speaker at the first-ever Family Stone convention, alongside other Stone associates such as Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini.
“A car-repair shop, where I did all kinds of miscellaneous work on cars, from brakes to batteries and oil changes. I balanced tires, changed radiators and alternators, and so on. Knowing how to work on cars has been a useful skill, but don’t ask me to work on your car. I don’t currently have the right tools.”
“The first Crossroads Guitar Festival. Our tickets were for the pit area, and we got there early enough that we were able to stand right at stagefront for all the action. That wound up being the first time Jeff Beck played out in 15 years, or something like that. At one point, we looked up at the stage and there was a jam session going on featuring John Mayer, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Vaughan, B.B. King, and Eric Clapton.”
IN WHAT FICTIONAL UNIVERSE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE?
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?
“I believe in illusions.”
USELESS BUT FASCINATING TRIVIA?
“The moon has a massive amount of helium-3 just chillin’ out on its surface.”
WHO HURT YOU?
“When I was living in London, my roommate got caught cheating on his girlfriend. He was upset and drunk, and I was the unlucky one that happened to be around. He attacked me, and I got my ring finger on my left hand broken. It still causes me pain when I play guitar. I’ve had to adapt my guitar playing so that I don’t use that finger as much, if ever.”
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THE YOUNGER YOU?
“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.”
SOMETHING YOU NEVER RUN OUT OF?
YOUR WILDEST DREAM?
“I’m going to wrestle an alligator while skydiving into a giant swimming pool. It’s going to be extravagant. When I get there, I’ll realize that I’m at my own birthday party, I’ll snap the alligator’s neck, and come out of the pool to find Rosario Dawson handing me a warm towel. Then Muhammad Ali is going to walk up to me and say, ‘You’re the greatest of all time!’ right before I take the stage with Stevie Wonder and we rock the house so hard that it falls down. After-party in outer space.”
WHO DO PEOPLE SAY YOU LOOK LIKE?
“Zachary Quinto or Tony Danza.”
FEARS OR PHOBIAS?
“I’m a little bit scared of Don King. And killer bees.”
FAVORITE MOVIE BASED ON A BOOK?
“The only movie I have watched and read its book by the same title was Braveheart, and that was for a sixth-grade project. I think the book actually had Mel Gibson on the cover, so that tells you the nature of that gripping novel.”
SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
“When I was a teenager, I competed as a boxer and was one of the last, if not the last, kid to be trained by boxing legend Archie Moore before his passing in 1998. I have stayed in touch with the Moore family to this day.”