• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 31s

Alaska group plays for the love of music

By Emily Carlson 7:16 AM January 27, 2014

Alaska Thunder Funk dreams of making it big without sacrificing their roots.

ANCHORAGE – If you watched the Grammy’s, you saw some of the best musicians in the industry.

But there’s plenty of up-and-coming talent ready to break into the big time, including some groups from the Last Frontier.

They don’t have the fanciest practice space, but Alaska Thunder Funk doesn’t need glamour to jam out. The Anchorage group is made up of Alaskans who sing about the state and play for other Alaskans.

“People embrace us because we represent Alaska. As far as the market goes once we hit that 500 or 600 people, then we’re looking for other people,” said Ginsu, a member of the group.

ATF is well known in the 49th state. They’ve toured with Snoop Dog and opened for Sublime. They have two records and a solid fan group and are consistently named the best band in town by the Anchorage Press. However, staying in Alaska has its drawbacks.

“There’s a thriving music scene,” said member JT Carter. ”There is a lot of musicians that want to play — that are willing to play — there’s just not a lot of good music venues to play.”

Right now, the group doesn’t have a gig on the books. They’re in between drummers, and practice time is hard to come by.

“It’s hard for me to get off and play with these guys, cause these guys are off at 4 or 5 or 6, ‘You ready?’” Ginsu said. “No – I might be off at 7. Might be off at 8. I’m off at 9. Nope, it’s 10!”

The reality is that it’s not easy to make a living as an artist in Alaska. JT is a server.

Ginsu is a cook, and Scotty — a third member of the group — is a teacher. Their day jobs support them, but their night job keeps them going.

“Now that we’ve been doing it for so long, we get decent paying gigs,” JT said. “All the money we get from the gigs goes back into the band.”

Last year, the band used their earnings to go on tour in the Lower 48, but they have no plans to leave Alaska.

“We’re still here because when you do that, you make the pressure harder for yourself and you spread yourself thin,” Ginsu said.

Their dream, of course, is to make it big. But the group refuses to sacrifice their roots or their love for music to make that happen.

“Of course that’s the eventual goal,” TJ said. “We just don’t want to get jaded by, you know, having that be…we want it to be fun.”

If their lyrics never leave their basement practice space again, they’d be ok because at the end of the song, it’s the laughter and friendship that keeps the music flowing.

Alaska Thunder Funk relies on Twitter and Facebook to reach their fans in the Lower 48.

They also sell their music — a combination of rap, hip-hop, rock and funk – on sites like iTunes.

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    Alaska lawmakers hint budget deal is close

    by Dave Leval on May 23, 20:54

    The Alaska House reconvened in Anchorage Saturday for the third day of its second special session. It turned out to be a light lineup; the House session wrapped up after about 25 minutes. The big issue facing Alaska lawmakers is still passing a fully funded budget. They have until June 1 to reach a deal; otherwise, […]

  • News

    Alaska firefighters get extra help from Lower 48

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 23, 20:17

    Due to high fire danger around the state, extra firefighting resources from the Lower 48 are now joining the forces in Alaska. Sixteen smoke jumpers from Boise, Idaho are now going through orientation before being assigned to a suppression effort. Jet-propelled tankers — which can carry 3,000 gallons of retardant — arrived Friday to bolster […]

  • Weather

    Weekend weather forecast, May 23

    by Brett Shepard on May 23, 18:21

    Southcentral Mostly cloudy skies tonight and tomorrow with scattered rain showers. Southeast Mostly to partly cloudy skies tonight and tomorrow. Interior Sunny skies Sunday — but not quite as warm. North Slope Mostly to partly sunny skies Sunday. Western Alaska Showers along the coast with dry conditions further inland. Southwest Alaska Mostly cloudy skies with […]

  • News

    17-year-old severely injured after falling 70 feet into Port Valdez

    by Associated Press on May 23, 17:41

    Valdez police are reporting that a 17-year old girl has fallen 70 feet off a cliff into Port Valdez. Police were called to the scene just after 6:30 on Friday night. The teenager had fallen off a cliff near Dock Point Trail and suffered life threatening injuries. Police say the young woman’s friends had rescued […]

  • News

    Memorial day campers head out early to claim space at local campgrounds

    by Dave Leval on May 22, 22:46

    As Memorial Day weekend kicks off, some campers headed out early Friday to stake their claim on the best sites. Phil Fields found himself in trouble as he relaxed with his daughter at the Bird Creek Campground — he was losing to her in a game of Battleship. They arrived at 9:30 a.m. to start their […]

  • News

    FOUND: Anchorage police seeking missing 84 year old woman

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 22, 22:16

    Updated 10:54 p.m., May 22 Anchorage police say Joyce Scott has been found safe and returned home to her family. Earlier Anchorage police are asking for the public’s help in finding a missing woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Joyce Scott, 84, was last seen at 8 p.m. Friday in the DeArmoun Road and New Seward Highway […]

  • News

    Wasilla man rescues drowning moose calf

    by Shannon Ballard on May 22, 21:52

    Logan Snyder’s latest selfies are getting a lot of attention — they show him saving a baby moose. This is not something you see every day, even in Alaska. “It’s a pretty cool story,” Snyder explained. Snyder was out for a boat ride near his home in Wasilla. He thought he saw a beaver in […]

  • News

    Alaska Red Cross volunteer heads to Nepal

    by Heather Hintze on May 22, 20:29

    Ellie Rubenstein has six weeks of gear crammed into just two large bags. She’s the first American Red Cross volunteer from Alaska to go to Nepal. “I’m excited, humbled, energized. It’s going to be chaotic, hectic, very fulfilling,” Rubenstein said. She found out on her 27th birthday, just one week ago, that she would be […]