Yasen Marie is an all-female indie pop band from the Twin Cities. They have been playing together since August 2008 all around Minnesota. Their music is original but is inspired by many different musicians and genres. With all the music that they create, their talent and musicianship is obvious. Their harmonies and instrumentals thrive as they draw their influences from artists such as Ani Difranco and Alanis Morissette. Their lyrics are powerful and passion apparent as they express their music through their life’s tribulations and triumphs.
Eliot Lipp didn’t choose to become one of the most looked to artists in contemporary electronic music, but somehow, Lipp’s sound, one that uses vintage gear to create a unique take on Hip Hop and House, has quickly garnered the respect among the industry’s most influential musicians and producers as well as the deep admiration among audiences worldwide.
Since being discovered by Scott Herren (aka Prefuse 73) in the mid 2000’s, and releasing albums on the cutting edge labels Eastern Developments, Mush and Hefty as well as backing the hype with a relentless touring schedule of influential live shows all over the globe, Lipp has quickly become one of the barometers for the revival of electronic music in the States.
Originally hailing from Tacoma, WA, Lipp paid his dues in the underground scenes of almost every primary market in the US, Europe and Asia, including stints in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago before dropping roots in the Brooklyn scene that has continued to produce some of the most recognized artists in contemporary indie and electronic music.
Lipp’s signature sound, a crossbreed of 90’s Hip Hop and House, 70’s Funk fusion as well as classic Electro, has and will continue to breakdown barriers and transpose trendy scenes. Whether programming Hip Hop beats, writing dirty basslines, collaborating with the likes of premier producers, DJs, MCs and musicians, examined by SPIN, URB, Pitchfork and other media or playing popping parties at clubs and festivals worldwide, Eliot Lipp will continue to do his part in revolutionizing electronic music.
A solider in the name of soul, Mark Joseph has worked with countless musicians, producers and collaborators and played over 1,000 shows in the last ten years. Known as one of the hardest working musicians in the Midwest, he pushes the envelope musically searching for the hottest players, grooves and cuts. Focusing on an improv/freestyle approach to his live shows, Mark Joseph never fails to work the crowd into a frenzy!
Regular contributors to the Mark Joseph Project include LA based emcee Deploi and members Roster McCabe, Shoeless Revolution, The New Congress, Down Lo, International Reggae All Stars and Mint Condition. The Mark Joseph Project has also featured legendary players such as Steve Molitz (Phil Lesh/ Particle), Wain McFarlane (Ipso Facto), John Avila (Oingo Boingo/Mutaytor), Yoni Reinharz , Markiss Jamal (Al Green, Muddy Waters) and live painter Norton Wisdom.
Mark Joseph has also collaborated with Bernie Worrell, Banyan w/ Stephen Perkins & Willie Waldman, Papa Mali, members of Umphrey’s
McGee & Vinnie Amico of moe., Melvin Sparks, Ray White, John Molo, Rob Wasserman, The Big Wu and Vince Herman & Great American Taxi, Natty Nation, Robby Kreiger of the Doors,
The Mark Joseph Project has supported acts such as Digable Planets: Doodlebug & Butterfly, Tea Leaf Green, Bill Kreutzmann from the Grateful Dead.
Mark Joseph has been working on his debut album due out in 2011.
MC. Musician. Actor. Painter. Renaissance Man.
Chali 2na has done it all. From his days growing up on the hardscrabble streets of Chicago’s south side, to his subsequent explosion onto Los Angeles’ burgeoning hip-hop scene, to his tenure as MC for seminal hip-hop group Jurassic 5, Chali epitomizes the portrait of a 21st century artist.
To be sure, with his unmistakable, beloved baritone, Chali has firmly established himself as one of the most distinctive, charismatic personalities not just in hip-hop, but music in general.
Only a select few can say they’ve rocked microphones in front of thousands at a sold-out arena in Tokyo with Jurassic 5, spit rhymes at Lollapalooza, painted professional caliber oil color paintings in their California home and lent their distinctive bass-heavy voice, to such mega-brands as Coca Cola and Sega Dreamcast.
Now, buoyed by the wide spectrum of socio-cultural and geographical influences that have shaped him—hip-hop’s Renaissance man is poised to release his first solo album Fish Outta Water on Decon Records in the spring of 2009.
Indeed, this deeply personal body of work reveals a side of the long time Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli front man that his fans have never seen, a story from start to finish of his life, loves, triumphs and let downs, weaving in a powerful selection of beats from the likes of Scott Storch and Jake 1 and memorable appearances from Damian “Jr. Gong” and Stephen Marley, Anthony Hamilton, Beanie Man and others.
“I wanted this album to expose who I am as an artist. The majority of people know me from Jurassic 5 and Ozo, but I felt like nobody knew me as an artist,” Chali says. “I want to show you all facets of who I am. Man. Husband. Brother. Father. Son. Painter.”
Indeed, Chali’s diverse tastes—from the blues he was raised on to the political gangsta’ rap he loved to the graffiti art he sprayed as a teenager—flow from this album, like the oil colors Chali uses for his paintings.
There’s the Fury-produced, “Righteous Way,” an interpolation of Curtis Mayfield’s ”Nigga,” where Chali tells the story of his life through the eyes of his father, his 17 yearold son and himself.
Or the Scott Storch driven “Love Is Gonna Get You,” where Chali offers up his own take on the fabled KRS-One song that inspired this 21st century version. ”KRS was talking about how love was going to engulf his brother. This song talks about how love makes you do the strangest things, how it infects your heart and changes you forever,” he said.
Of course, no body of work involving Chali 2na would be complete without his trademark, articulate, spitfire rhymes, the sort of fearsome battle raps which first caught the ear of so many back when he honed his skills in Los Angeles’ storied underground hip-hop scene of the early nineties.
On “Don’t Stop,” featuring the ever soulful Anthony Hamilton, Chali beckons everyone– from revolutionaries to thugs to dime pieces–to leave their troubles at home over a melodic, flute-infused hook.
“Getting sick of the bickering from my peers and such. Bringing lyrics to keep your ears in touch,” he rhymes, daring anyone to test his mettle while playfully requesting that you too take your body to the dance floor in the same breath.
Indeed, Chali’s debut features a seemingly endless litany of groundbreaking tracks, which touch on topics the veteran musician has never bared to his listeners before. Whether it’s the trauma he experienced from the shooting death of a childhood friend to the twists and turns of his own family lineage, to the resistance to injustice that has always been imbued in Chali’s music, Fish Outta Water, is quite simply, a life’s worth of songs in the making.
Says Chali: “I want to free people’s asses and let their minds follow. To not be preachy, but to make them aware of what I’m about. I want to enlighten, but I ain’t trying to be a bumper sticker either.”
No doubt, there’s still plenty of fire in Chali’s lyrical arsenal. His days of training at the legendary Los Angeles hotspot, the Good Life Café, have taught him well. Only now, he’s fused the bass-heavy bravado with his own life’s story, and in doing so, creates an album of work that’s not only superb, it’s important.
More Than Lights is Zach Combs, Unicus, Natalie Fine, Reuben Rodriguez, Matiu Unga, Corey Hess, and Joshua Jellyfish. Together, they make all sorts of fresh music. It brings together hippies, hip-hop heads, hipsters, hamsters, and everyone else under the sun.
In 2009, the band released their debut album “The Electric Prescription For All Your Funky Illz” to wide acclaim. In addition to seeing radio play across North America, two of its songs were featured on the season finale of The Real World: New Orleans on MTV.
After spending most of 2010 touring and recording, More Than Lights completed their sophomore effort; an EP entitled “Fun’s On Our Team” in January 2011. Their release party at The Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis was to a sold out crowd.
Their new EP displays the high-energy and playful style the band brings to all of their live shows, and its songs reflect the inclusive, familial attitude that they’ve become known for among fans. When you listen to “Fun’s On Our Team”, you can imagine yourself seeing it live, at the end of an already great day, with all your closest friends singing along with you from the very front row.
Currently based out of South Minneapolis, “Mikel Wright & The Wrongs” is an ever-evolving group of talented musicians. Mikel broke fast onto the Minneapolis music scene in the summer of 2007 and has since earned a respected reputation for cultivating ridiculous bands and unforgettable jams. Over the last few years he has been weaving his ambition and vision into reality. Most recently, Mikel has tag teamed shows and built lasting bonds with other acts such as: Shoeless Revolution, Jon Wayne & The Pain, Roster McCabe, BigTree Bonsai, Mark Joseph Project, SOAP, and P.B. & The Jam. Mikel is constantly innovating his progressive beach-funk sound by adding fresh players and creating new renditions of his originals and covers alike. Their catalog is vast whether they are performing their own music or the music of their idols. From The Doors to James Taylor, or Bob Marley to Sublime, this band is sure to get all audiences singing and dancing along. Mikel Wright & The Wrongs have performed at the hottest clubs in minneapolis to festivals ranging from the biggest in the world, Summerfest in Milwaukee, to Minnesota’s own Big Wu Family Reunion, Bella, and 10,000 Lakes Festivals.
Please take a minute to check out all of the great videos taken by dedicated fans of the band!
Alternative Soul-Folk that speaks to the heart & soul of Mankind.
Nicholas Mrozinski is a vibrant, dynamic and multi-talented singer/songwriter from Saint Paul, MN. Nicholas is making music that is connecting with people, all around the world, on a deeply human level. Nicholas’ music is fully integrated, incorporating many schools of music and thought. His truly unique sound, typically described as “Alternative Soul-Folk” or “Conscious Global Pop” is passionate, intelligent, and captivating. His powerful voice, enriching lyrics, and liquid piano playing truly set him apart and are the reason Skope Magazine calls him “an authentic artist of this millennium.”
Nicholas’ latest project, the hugely successful charity album, The Minnesota Beatle Project, has him in heavy rotation on 89.3, The Current. His rendition of The Beatles classic “Across the Universe” has been receiving multiple daily spins since December of 2009. The album was also the #1 seller for many weeks at Electric Fetus. To date, over $50,000 has been raised to help keep music programs alive in Minnesota Public Schools.
Recently Nicholas has been the voice of Artic Cat and the YMCA, doing voice-over work for national Television and Radio ad campaigns. Nicholas also has a talent for drawing. He offers a free print with every CD purchased at his live shows. Nicholas is also working on a book.
Nicholas’ first three albums came with critical acclaim, but—with some big time help, and a ton of steam—it is his latest album, “Together We’re Stronger”, that delivers some truly great songs. In 2008 we watched Nicholas lose over 100+ pounds and perform over 150+ shows. This newfound energy, passion, and momentum brought All-Star Minnesota musicians out of the woodwork to be a part of his new album. “Together We’re Stronger” is not only a representation of the times we all currently face together, but also a validation of the thriving local Twin Cities music scene. The players contributing to the album span over 40+ local bands, unofficially dubbed “The Feelin Orchestra” after Mrozinski’s nickname “The Feelin”.
The way everybody came together to contribute like this really makes the album name ring HOME. It also says a lot about Nicholas’ individual talents. Ask any of the contributing musicians and they’ll tell you that Nicholas’ music is special. Referring to his “global and magnetizing voice,” Rift Magazine believes he is “a chosen one”. Budgeteer News discovered that his’ “music draws you in, and keeps you fixated from the first note. It’s like falling in love with music all over again.” Summing it up is The Duluth News Tribune who proclaims, “This man is capable of producing such a warm sound, you’d swear you were sitting in front of an open flame.”
Nicholas and his own Label, Wake the World, are among an emerging trend of Conscious-Capitalists and Eco-Entrepreneurs. Giving back, connecting and sharing are as big a part of their business model as turning a profit. As they build and strive to maintain a position where they can help others, they put the world’s interests equal to their own. All of their CD packaging and mailings feature “green” design, using only recycled materials and FSC certified products. Nicholas and his label are actively seeking to connect with other like-minded organizations, Charities, and individuals – and are openly seeking volunteer opportunities.
Mrozinski and Wake the World, plan on releasing ten albums over the next five years. Mrozinski has already amassed hundreds of original songs, making his ambitious plan a very achievable goal.
KSCR – Los Angeles, CA
WRBB – Boston, MA
WRAS – Atlanta, GA
WRDP – Chicago, IL
WXAV – Chicago, IL
WIIT – Chicago, IL
WVIA – Pittston, PA
WPTS – Pittsburg, PA
WODU – Norfolk, VA
KAOS – Olympia, WA
WXCU – Columbus, OH
WTJU – Charlottesville, NC
WWUH – West Harford, CT
KANM – College Station, TX
KCMP – Minneapolis, MN
KFAI – Minneapolis, MN
WMUC – College Park, MD
WSBU – St. Bonaventure, NY
WERU – East Orland, ME
WUAG – Greensboro, NC
KAMP – Tucson, AZ
KBSU – Boise, ID
KGLT – Bozeman, MT
WMHD – Terre Haute, ID
WAWL – Chattanooga, TN
KWVR – St. Louis, MO
KNDS – Fargo, ND
WIDR – Kalamazoo, MI
“You will be diggin’ Nicholas Mrozinski’s distinct musical qualities as an authentic artist of this millennium.” – Skope Magazine
“This music draws you in, and keeps you fixated from the first note. It’s like falling in love with music all over again.” – Budgeteer News
“Mrozinski’s voice channels the sincerity of Ray LaMontagne and mixes it with the playfulness of Jason Mraz.” – Lunch of Champions
“A Chosen One…Mrozinski lets the listener know that he cares and does so with a special enamor…all told through his Magnetizing and Global Voice.” – Rift Magazine
“Simply brilliant. Beautiful, powerful energy” – Brian Johnson of PhilosophersNotes
•Nicholas Mrozinski – “Together We’re Stronger” (2009)
•Nicholas Mrozinski – “Oak Chase Way” (2008)
•Nicholas Mrozinski & the Feelin Band – “The Sacred Play of Life” (2008)
•Nicholas Mrozinski – “Four Legged Light” (2004)
-Minnesota Beatle Project – Vol. I (2009) Nicholas contributed his rendition of The Beatles classic, “Across the Universe”
-Teague Alexy w/ The Feelin Band – “The New Folklore” (2007) (A Collaborative Effort)
-Nicholas was a part of 3 White Iron Band Albums when he was with the band.
-Nicholas played on a Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank album among others.
Check out this video!
The Sans Souci Quartet has jumped into the Twin Cities music scene with a unique blend of bluegrass, folk rock and innovation. The instruments are traditional, the voices authentic, the words sometimes plaintive, but the arrangements are unique and refreshing. Sans Souci Quartet has had success playing numerous festivals including Harvest Fest, 10,000 Lakes Festival, Bella Family Music Festivals, Log Jam, and Boats & Bluegrass. The band has shared the stage with many bands including Hot Buttered Rum, Charlie Parr, Cornmeal, Oakhurst, Packway Handle Bad, Head for the Hills, Pert Near Sandstone, and Wookiefoot.
Each member brings his own musical influences to the quartet: Eric Larson, the frontman on mandolin, has decade of stage performance experience and a background that spans folk revival to modern pop. Zach Gusa, initially a guitar and harmonica troubador, now also channels the phrasings of Doc Watson and Tony Rice as the vocal harmonist of the group. Eric Roberts, inspired by the energy of the local folk music scene, has a banjo picking style all his own. Adam Lutz, in the back with the bass, has the most diverse background of the group, recently transitioning without compromise from electronic funk to acoustic folk. Coming together, these boys have found common inspiration from late 70′s bluegrass bands such as Old and in the Way, and current bands like the Old Crow Medicine Show.
In 2009, they released their first full-length album, “Knock Yourself Out,” with nine original tunes. Though their name is playful, it’s clear these boys care a great deal about their craft, and we look forward to more to come.
The Workshy is a five piece band from Ames, Iowa that is getting known for their incredibly energetic live shows, and lively musicianship. Their variety of influences, ranging from jazz, funk, bluegrass and blues as well as many others, combines to create an infectious blend of sounds, making for one of the most captivating and exciting shows around. Their music incorporates such an array of sounds that they have been asked to share the stage with bands such as Great American Taxi, Radio Moscow, Euforquestra, Family Groove Company, and Jambang. They have played at several major music festivals including Wakarusa, Bella Vida, Bella Tempo, Camp Euforia, and 80/35. Starting to play around Ames in 2008, they have been growing ever since, and have started to form a following around the Iowa music scene. Be sure not to miss The Workshy!
With over 80 years’ experience collectively Simon Posford and Raja Ram are more than qualified for the exploration into the unclassifiable music frontiers they have ventured into; ‘SHPONGLE’ is a new world of traditional sounds, acoustic guitars, Moroccan drums, Turkish operatic singing, cello, double bass, backing vocals and silver flute blended together with the computer wizardry of Simon Posford’s studio production.
Simon Posford (aka Hallucinogen) has long had a reputation as the, ‘Hallucinogenius’ a imitable pioneer in sound experimentation, from his seminal first album, ‘Twisted’ which reached No.28 in the French charts selling over 50,000 copies worldwide, up to his recent Millennium hit, ‘Mi-Loony-Um’ with its up-to-the minute modem melodies. His international fan base has flowered from country-wide to world-wide in the last ten years, since his humble beginnings at Youth’s Butterfly Studios in Brixton, this year alone he has played over 16 sell out gigs around the world, each with a capacity of over 1500 people, in Australia, Israel, New York, Pittursburg, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Moscow, Geneva, Montreal, Tokyo to name just a few. In Tokyo he has received a lot of TV and press coverage for their ambient project, ‘Shpongle’ which has intrigued the Japanese audience with its international blend of traditional world music and modern musical mastery.
Raja Ram, is the innovative sonic co-pilot producing alongside Simon and providing inspirational artwork for the album covers and the website as well as his unmistakable flute solo’s in C Major. A founding member of the band Quintessence in the sixties Raja has many years of band experience in the music industry. Not only a band member but also the creator of TIP Records along with their infamous party sound and energy, he is not only a brilliant flautist but the inspirational man behind the ‘Shpongle’ concept.
Shpongle has been a working project since the release of the first album in 1998 filtered out into the underground in which Twisted Records is so renowned for its dance music, having sold 30,000 copies without any noticeable press coverage Simon and Raja are now ready to hit the world with their unique sound and have been on a mission to express themselves since finishing the album over the winter, Raja has been playing a series of 16 parties in Brazil as well as tours in Japan and Simon playing all across the globe including his recent appearance in Tokyo. Now finally the UK has a chance to catch up on this worldwide phenomena with the forthcoming release of their second album, ‘Tales of the Inexpressible’ with its further explorations into diverse sound production they are ready to unleash the multiversity that is ‘SHPONGLE’.
Midwest reggae rockers Jon Wayne and The Pain have been carving a sizable niche in the reggae-rock genre. Their 2010 sophomore release “Follow Through” builds upon the success of the group’s self-titled 2008 debut album, once again showcasing their unique mix of reggae, rock, and dub that fans can’t get enough of. Reliably packing dance floors, the perpetually touring act has really evolved in the past year on the road. Their sound continues to morph with their live Dub-Step experimentation and high energy renditions of their original and catchy recorded tracks.
Like the band name, Soap’s music is undoubtedly fresh. With influences ranging from jazz, blues and funk to progressive, psychedelic and electronic, Soap skillfully fuses all of these genres into one – dance infused rock. Set out to make every show inspiring, every note overflowing with energy and every person in the room move without remorse.
Imagine going to a double matinee showing of Led Zeppelin & P-Funk at Dream Theater and then heading to an Amsterdam discotheque to dance until the sun came up. That’s about as close as can be described without seeing Soap for yourself.
Soap has become a fan favorite on the Midwest festival circuit, this will be their fourth Bella Music Festival, others include 10,000 Lakes Festival (2), Big Wu Family Reunion (2), Prairie Grass Music Festival (2), Whippersnap Music Festival (2), Shoe Fest, Project Earth and this year’s first annual Shangri-La (formerly Wookiefoot’s Harvestfest). They have also shared the stage with notable acts and performers, such as Tea Leaf Green, Zach Deputy, Hot Buttered Rum, Kinetix, Heatbox, Jon Wayne & the Pain, Roster McCabe, Steve Molitz, Bernie Worrell and many more.
Soap, it’s not just for cleaning anymore. Come to rock. Come to dance.
The One Man Entertainment System, otherwise known as Heatbox, has been emerging in the Minneapolis music scene (“the 612”) for the better part of a decade. From rocking crowds in his humble beginnings with the Root City Band to selling out shows across the country, Heatbox’s unparalleled crossover between Motown, A cappalla, R&B, Hip Hop, Soul and Funk has gained National attention from both fans and the media alike.
Creating beats and building songs from the ground up, Heatbox uses a Boss LoopStation RC-50 and a DigiTech Vocal 300 to create his songs. Recording each part as he goes, Heatbox’s music is live and in the moment. Using no tracks, samples, or pre-recorded music, each song and performance is distinctly unique.
Heatbox’s discography includes two full-length studio albums, Entertainment (2006) and System (2009). Included on System is a video game, Ninja Strike, designed and programmed entirely by Heatbox. Following the System release in 2009, he co-produced two original music videos, “Pizza Funk” and “Jack & Coke” alongside acclaimed Boston video producer Spookie Daly.
Promoting his latest Album, Heatbox is currently touring the US and Canada. In recent months, he toured with fellow solo act That 1 Guy and supported artists such as Buckethead, Medeski Martin & Wood, Bassnectar, Umphrey’s McGee and Chali 2na. Additionally, he played notable music festivals including South by Southwest, 10,000 Lakes, Bella Music Fest, Summer Camp, Harvest Fest, Big Wu Family Reunion and Camp Euphoria.
Showing no signs of slowing down, Heatbox plans on spreading his music and positive message to the rest of the world. Ultimately, his passion is to entertain people, and that’s exactly what he does. He truly is a one-man entertainment system!
Absolute Grüv is a Minneapolis based band composed of guitars, drums, horns, bass and Hammond b3 organ. The band’s six members – long time friends linked by a passion for creating fresh and interesting music – have been performing together for upwards of 8 years.
Influenced by a variety of sources from Cash to Coltrane, and Hank to Hendrix; their jam band style and the Grüv’s roots in jazz, blues, soul and R&B music make their growing repertoire of original compositions truly unique.
According to frontman Sam Hankey, Absolute Grüv’s mission is to “innovatively recreate some of the greatest sounds of the last century – the music that our parents played in the house while we were growing up – but in a modern manner, in a way that is applicable to our generation”
“Absolute Grüv is a band of great dynamic. Starting out with a nasty lead guitarist, and backed by a steady, well-transitioning drummer. This band doesn’t just play great jams; the secret weapon, lead singer, has the much needed soul with a whiskey drinking voice. The bassist keeps
the needed beat, as well as, throws a funk transition at perfect times. This band is a breath of fresh air in today’s […] music. Their new album “Just Past North” is a disc that didn’t leave my CD player half the summer. Perfect band for cruisin’ country roads by yourself and a nice air guitar.”
The last 8 years have truly been a spectacle for Absolute Grüv. Gigs at hometown bars and restaurants quickly turned into regional, national and international invitations. They have been able to pull together an impressive lineup of successful shows both in and outside of the twin cities, along with being able to participate in multiple summer festivals such as Milwaukee’s Summerfest, The 10,000 Lakes Festival in Detroit Lakes, The Bella Music Festivals at Harmony Park, the White Iron Band’s Log Jam, Wookiefoot’s Harvest Festival, Fat Maw Rooney’s Fat Fest, and The Big Wu’s Family Reunion. Absolute Grüv’s solid base of loyal fans is creating a buzz across the nation that is hard to avoid. They are looking forward to another year of good crowds and great music in 2012.
Absolute Grüv is:
Ian Wilson – Guitars, Lead Vocals
Ian has been capturing audiences for years with undeniable skills on the electric guitar. The range of emotion coming through Ian’s fingers is intense, spanning from moments of sheer shredding to interludes of gentle singing. Ian’s playing encapsulates references to Duane Allman, Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana and Stevie Ray Vaughan, amongst many other influences; but his vocal ability should not be overshadowed by his guitar. His ability to belt the high harmonies and take the occasional lead is major attribute to the Grüv.
Sam Hankey – Hammond b3, Keyboards, Lead Vocals
Absolute Grüv.s lively front man tears apart shows wailing on the Hammond b3 organ and belting his soulful blues voice on top of it. Only 23 years old, Sam has picked up more talent than most do in a lifetime, learning from local legends like Bill Brown and Tom Pletcher, and touring musicians such as Joey Kantor and Al Oikari. As well as being one of the major contributing song writers of the group, Sam Hankey is a passionate performer who generates a lot of energy in the audience of Grüv shows as well as on stage.
Brandon James – Bass, Vocals
Amalgamating with Absolute Grüv only three years ago, Brandon has picked up a whole book of Grüv originals in a very short time, adding his opinion where needed and in some cases, completely rewriting songs. His first encounter with Sam, while jamming at a local bar, seemed like fate. The Grüv had recently lost their previous bassist and soon after Brandon was asked to join the Grüv on the road. Brandon is one of the true ‘all natural’ musicians in the Twin Cities, learning almost completely by ear and performing at major events for years before even learning how to read music. His ability to learn quickly and react on stage, combined with his acute improvisational skills is exactly what the Grüv was missing. Brandon is constantly laying down funky bass lines and keeping things interesting.
Clay Whitney – Drum set, Percussion
Clay’s percussion obsession begins with a complete technical mastery of the drum set. Having played in bands and jammed alongside Ian since the age of 12, Clay has devoted a lot of time to learning everything he can about rhythm. Clay is now a percussion performance major at the University of Minnesota learning more about the world of percussion from mentors such as Latin/classical music giant, Fernando Meza and jazz master and Minneapolis legend, Phil Hey. Clay.s unique grooves keep audiences on their feet night after night.
Matt Potter – Saxophones, Auxiliary Percussion, Vocals
Developing his musical skills on the piano as a small child, Matt picked up the saxophone soon after during his middle school years in the Madison, WI area. Since then he has religiously continued to study classical and jazz saxophone with an impressive lineup of professors and
mentors like Ruben Haugen (University of St. Thomas), while occupying positions with many musical groups from the twin cities including the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Potter’s aptitude on the saxophone as well has his ability to add auxiliary percussion sections and nail the high vocal harmonies has become a requisite asset to the Grüv’s stage and studio performance.
David Feily – Trumpet, Flugle Horn, Guitars, Vocals
David Feily’s composition skills are emphasized by his amazing instrumental capacity on the trumpet and the guitar. Originally from the D.C. area of Maryland, David developed an interest in jazz and rock & roll at a young age before moving to St. Paul, MN to study music performance with some of the best talent Minnesota has to offer, like Stephan Morgan, Chris Kachian and Chris Volpe at the University of St. Thomas. Feily’s on stage performance is potent. At the start of the set you may see him providing backing horns lines on the trumpet while in the middle of the set he might be shredding guitar solos and offering backup vocal harmonies. When Feily joined Absolute Grüv in 2011, he brought with him a songwriting talent that, in less than a year, has manifested into many new Grüv originals.
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Primus are a band who need no introduction. For the past 27 years the group have followed in the footsteps of boundary-pushing artists like Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd to create some of the most original and inventive music in existence—and they’ve collaborated with everyone from Tom Waits to Tom Morello over the years in the process. However nothing could properly prepare listeners for Green Naugahyde, which is the band’s first album in eleven years featuring the line-up of bassist/singer Les Claypool, guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Jay Lane.
Like Primus’ early output before they were international superstars, there was no earth-shattering catalyst behind Green Naugahyde other than the fact that all three of these musicians—and life-long collaborators who have worked together in various contexts—were getting the itch to experiment again. “There wasn’t a lot of pre-thought to this as much as, ‘Oh here we are, we should make a record,’” explains Claypool. “I’ve been playing with Jay quite a lot over the past ten years and we have an intuitive bond so for me he was a natural choice to be back in the mix,” Claypool continues when asked how Lane came about rejoining the band after nearly two decades apart.
Claypool and LaLonde also concur that Lane injected the band with a new energy that’s evident in every note of Green Naugahyde. “We recorded this album in the same way we always do but having Jay there made this a whole different experience,“ explains LaLonde. “It definitely made it more collaborative and it made us excited about the album as we went along because we had so much fun in the process.” Produced and engineered by Claypool in his personal studio, Rancho Relaxo, in Northern California that’s crammed full of vintage gear, the album’s warm sound and unique tones are pure Primus and could never be obtained via a set of Internet plug-ins. “I come from a long line of auto mechanics so I’m always buying these old jalopies and trying to fix them up and I approach my recording gear the same way,” Claypool adds with a laugh.
Sonically Green Naugahyde expands on the Primus’ incomparable sound and also sees them bringing it into the next millennium. “If I were to look at all of our records it seems like this is reminiscent of the early stuff. Obviously with Jay there’s a newness to it, but because he left the band right before we recorded our first record, his approach has an eerie harkening to the old Frizzle Fry days.” Correspondingly from the futuristic groove of “Tragedy’s A’Comin’” to the atmospheric experimentation of “Jilly’s On Smack” and demented swing of “Last Salmon Man,” Green Naugahyde is a cerebral and complex album that, like all of the band’s output, is teeming with the band’s signature blend of whimsy and underlying darkness.
“It’s funny because when you look at Primus lyrics throughout our entire career there are extremely dark stories in there but it’s told from the viewpoint of a race car driver or a fisherman—and then you throw in a song like “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver,” which is just a silly song that just happened to become huge; the perception from the outside has been lighter than it actually is, especially if you don’t scratch the surface,” Claypool explains, citing the Coen brothers of an example of how his film counterparts deal with destructive issues through similarly colorful characters. Admittedly it’s hard to worry about the apocalypse or cancer when you’re grooving along to “Tragedy’s A’Comin’” but ultimately that duality is what has kept Primus relevant. Simply put, Primus confronts the issues we don’t want to think about in a creative way that makes the unbearable bearable.
Green Naugahyde also sees Claypool—who has spent the last decade working with the supergroup Oysterhead (alongside the Police’s Stewart Copeland and Phish’s Trey Anastasio) as well as Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade and various other experimental musical projects—stretching out in the lyrical department. “Over the past ten years of working on my own stuff and working with other musicians—especially non traditional rock musicians like sitar players, vibraphonists, cellists and saxophonists—I’ve really expanded my notion of what is appropriate for Primus,” Claypool explains. “On this album I decided I wasn’t going to hold back and I was going to do everything I wanted to try vocally instead of having one vocal line narrating the story.” This is evident in songs like “Eternal Consumption Engine” and “Extinction Burst” which feature layered vocal tracks that showcase Claypool’s range and see his voice acting as an additional instrument.
Above all Green Naugahyde is a Primus record with all of the magic and mystery that phrase entails—and while no one can say for sure what the future will hold in store for the band, the most important thing is that the album exists and will inevitably hold its own in the band’s impressive cannon of music. “Even back in the old days people would always ask me, ‘How long is Primus going to go on’ and I would always say ‘It’s going to go until it’s not fun anymore’ and at the end of the day it just wasn’t fun anymore so we stopped,” Claypool explains. “I think giving it this much time to sit and ferment or whatever the hell you want to call it has made it fun again,” he summarizes with a laugh.
“We’re still doing our own thing and we’ve got to own it.”