OffBeat Magazine is celebrating 30 years and reached that milestone with our November 2017 issue. To mark the anniversary, over the next 12 months OffBeat will re-publish excerpts from features and interviews from the past 30 years. In our sixth installment, from our December 2000 issue, Bunny Mathews interviews Anthony Lacen also known as Tuba Fats. From the defunct Gibson Brass Band to Doc Paulin’s brass band to the Fairview, the Olympia, the Onward, the Eureka and the Chosen Few, Tuba Fats has provided the bottom notes for virtually every performing brass band ensemble in New Orleans.
“New Orleans musicians have a certain feeling in their music that peoples like. It’s that beat—we’ve got that beat. No matter where we go, we’re always recognized. I just went on a little small tour to Austria and peoples enjoyed it. I went back to Munich, the week after, with James Andrews, and people still enjoyed it. There’s something about New Orleans music that just moves peoples around and it’s gonna always be there. It’s not ever gonna leave us.
It’s just like gumbo. You can do a gumbo and if you don’t put that filé to it, it’s not a gumbo. It’s the same way with New Orleans music, it’s got that filé in it. That’s what it’s all about.
Tourists get all different types of ideas about the music here in New Orleans. Some peoples tell ’em bad things about it, some peoples tell ’em good things about it. I play in Jackson Square and I do it because peoples love music and I love to see peoples enjoy music. There’s some musicians that don’t talk to me or think bad about me because I play out on the street and all but I care less about that because when I die, I’m gonna die by myself. And they’ll be the ones standing over me, saying, “Oh, he was a good man!”