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Playing Around: Phunk Junkeez 

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With rap-metal hybrid bands monopolizing MTV and new rock radio these days and with accusations flying right and left about who is real and who is posing, one name remains absent from the entire debate -- the Phunk Junkeez.

Before Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach or Crazytown came along, before white guys blending rap into rock was acceptable to the mainstream culture industry, the Junkeez were blazing their own trail.

Now, 10 years and four CDs later, these five crazy guys from Phoenix are true pioneers in their field, having nurtured and crafted their art every step of the way. But typical rap metal they are not. The Phunk Junkeez blend hip-hop and funk with a turbo-charged backbone of guitar, bass and drums -- what they like to call "rap 'n' roll" -- a unique recipe that has also made them one of the hottest underground, independent acts around.

The band has embodied the raw and independent spirit of their music. Recently, they built -- literally -- their own recording studio, then formed their own label and produced an album, aptly titled Sex, Drugs and Rap 'N Roll.

Meanwhile, the Junkeez also have turned up on a few other projects over the year. Their song "Mole People" was chosen for USA Network's extreme sports program, Core Culture, and a cut called "Party People" turned up on the soundtrack of the film, Sugar and Spice. They are also featured on the upcoming Kiss tribute compilation disc.

Still, the Junkeez say, forget the money, forget the flashy tour bus and the many perks that come with rock star territory. They're in this for the long haul and the love of their fans.

You can love them back at the Colorado Music Hall this Thursday at 9 p.m. Tickets are $14 and can be had by calling 800/965-4827 or by stopping by any TicketWeb location (Independent Records).

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