Connie Price and the Keystones are a musical group from Los Angeles, California who throw in elements of funk, ’60’s and ’70’s film scores, Jamaican production aesthetics, African and Brazilian overtones, psychedelia and a whole bunch of soul. Though the name connotes a female lead, Connie (Constantine to be exact) Price and The Keystones is in fact a project helmed by 6’4″ guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Dan Constantine Ubick (formerly guitarist for Breakestra and De La Soul/Rhythm Roots All Stars) who plays drums under the name Connie Price.
After many years with Breakestra (The Live Mix Pt.2 on Stones Throw, The Word Of Mouth tour all along the West Coast with Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples and The Beat Junkies and tours of Japan, Europe and the US) Dan was ready to try his hand at producing music of his own. So, in 2003 he bought himself an 8 track and some cheap mics and recorded some instrumental raw funk tunes (playing drums, bass and guitar himself) that ended up being some of the first 7″ vinyl releases on Eothen “Egon” Alapatt’s Now-Again imprint and the first recordings by what became Connie Price & The Keystones; “The Badger“/”Sweet Soul Music“, “Highland Park“/”Time To Kill” and, as The Sand Dollars, “Get Thy Bearings” (feat. Chris “Peanut Butter Wolf” Manak).
In 2004 Dan linked with former Breakestra cohort and ace horn arranger Todd M. Simon (The Dap Kings, El Michels Affair, Macy Gray) and The Keystones followed up with more releases on Now-Again – the more funky soundtrack inspired EP Blood’s Haul with UK drummer Malcolm Catto and their first full length LP Wildflowers featuring members of Funk Inc., Poets Of Rhythm and L.A. Carnival. Another EP with live gems, an unreleased track and a dub version, Sticks & Stones, hit shelves in 2005. Digging the band Egon also recruited The Keystones to be the live backing band for the artists on the Cold Heat and L.A. Carnival LP’s (Now-Again) for the release parties.
All of the Now-Again Connie Price & The Keystones vinyl titles are long out of print but in 2015 Now-Again released the anthology Wildflowers (Expanded Edition) which includes all the previous releases plus rarities from the vaults at Lion’s Den Studios. (See “Connect” page)
2008 found Connie Price & The Keystones switching labels and issued the more hip-hop influenced Tell Me Something on Ubiquity Records, which featured guest appearances from emcee’s Percee P, Ohmega Watts, Wildchild, Soup/Daakir from Jurassic 5, Aloe Blacc, Blood Of Abraham and Freestyle Fellowship’s Myka Nyne among others. During this time Dan and Todd were also commissioned to do CP & The K remixes/re-do’s for ESL (Blue States‘ “Golden Touch“) and for DJ Format‘s If You Can’t Join’ ‘Em, Beat ‘Em EP (“Turning Point“). (See “Connect” and “Videos” pages)
From 2007 to 2009 Connie Price & the Keystones became one of two main bands (along side L.A. fam Rhythm Roots All Stars) to back hip-hop legends like Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, Slick Rick, The Beatnuts, Redman, M.O.P., Brand Nubian, De La Soul and Too $hort live on Scion’s coast to coast Live Metro series. The Keystones struck a bond with Big Daddy Kane, recorded a 12″ for Scion’s A/V label called “Give A Demonstration Pt.2” with “International Hustler” feat. Percee P on the B-side and became Kane’s full time backing band from 2008-2012 including epic shows at Brooklyn Bowl in Prospect Park, B.B. King’s in NYC (Cold Chillin 20 Year Anniversary with Biz Markie), The Root Down, House Of Blues with Heavy D (R.I.P.), Nokia Theater and Sunset Junction in LA right before Fishbone and Bad Brains and two shows at Billboard Live in Tokyo with Kurtis Blow. (See “Videos” page)
In 2019, after many years in the making, Connie Price and the Keystones released their third full length entitled Lucas High, a tribute to session man Doug Lucas, featuring his son Zach. As well as original samples of S.S.O. Orchestra, Plus, and J.J. Band Lucas High is mixed with original Keystones music to create ten brand new tracks featuring the vocal talents of Brand Nubian with Macy Gray, Percee P & Guilty Simpson with Novena Carmel, The Pharcyde’s Imani and Bootie Brown, Ta’raach & Black Shakespeare (Llgl Tndr), Big Daddy Kane, Rapsody & Lady Of Rage, Talib Kweli, Brother J from X Clan & Wildchild, M.O.P. with Jovi Rockwell and many more heavy hitters. (See quotes below).
Connie Price & the Keystones is proud to emerge from Los Angeles’ bustling music scene and is proud to have included a revolving cast of players including members of Orgone, Breakestra, Beck, DJ Z-Trip, Rhythm Roots All Stars, Mayer Hawthorne, David Holmes, Macy Gray, The Rebirth, The Lions, Greyboy Allstars, etc.
Connie Price and The Keystones’ music has appeared in games like DJ Hero and NBA Street 4, the film London with Jessica Biel, television shows Friday Night Lights, MTV, and Showtime’s Street Time, promo for Vans andApple iPhones as well as been sampled by the likes of Slum Village, Oh No, Guilty Simpson, Alex Goose and Lily Allen.
“Connie Price and the Keystones are to be praised for their originality and brilliance.”- Lalo Schifrin (Grammy Award Winning, Oscar Nominated Composer — Mission: Impossible, Dirty Harry, Cool Hand Luke, Bullitt, Enter the Dragon, THX 1138)
“Perfect marriage of 70’s Curtis, Isaac, and Barry meets 80’s Dust Brothers meets 90’s Kane, J5, and MOP in a way that only the master of the craft Dan Ubick could pull off in 2019.” – Chris “Peanut Butter Wolf” Manak (Stones Throw Records)
“Texturized grit and rusty passages are always a signature with Connie Price & The Keystones. Get em!!” – DJ Numark (Jurassic 5, Zodiac Tracks, Drop The Mic)
“It’s dope…refreshing to hear real music again without auto tune….real music, real singers, and real mc’s…..well done.” – Colin Wolfe (Dr. Dre, House Of Vibe All Stars)
“A REALLY strong album from start to finish” – Matt “DJ Format” Ford (UK)
“The man does it again — wait is finally over and damn was it ever worth it. Not too many heads in the industry that can pull together this kind of ensemble for a funk & hip-hop album and do it so damn well. Heavy grooves abound with some of the best talent in the game laying down impeccable vocals. Will be in heavy rotation for a long time.” – DJ Platurn (Oakland Faders, Future Primitive, De La Heaven)
“Connie Price has the ‘Key’ to success and a sound that’s solid as ‘Stone'”- Big Daddy Kane
“An incredibly talented and open minded bunch of guys with an extensive knowledge and respect for all kinds of music, and you hear it when they play'”- Juju of The Beatnuts
“Connie Price and the Keystones are the missing link between Lalo Schifrin and Dr. Dre – cinematic music in Technicolor.”- Egon (Stones Throw)
“Yo…incredible!” – Billy Danze & ‘Lil Fame (M.O.P.)
“West Coast hip-hop has ventured into the urban and the suburban communities, taking with it a flavor that is undeniably its own. Connie Price & The Keystones have reached this level of authenticity…offering a unique mixture of live instrumentation, hip-hop heads can appreciate the relationship between MCs and the beats that inspire them…”- Vapors
“Connie Price and the Keystones live sounded just like our records”- Lord Jamar (Brand Nubian)