Is what sounds familiar also fun? It is when it is delivered by a ska band that combines vivacious vocals and a horn-driven music. This combination is the essence of Bodega Band, an 8-piece, horn-driven band from San Francisco, playing their own ska-ified versions of popular songs from contemporary music.

As part of Spotlight Chronicles Stories in Music blog, I interviewed Andrew, the drummer, and Katie, who plays keyboards and trumpet for Bodega Band. I was excited to interview them and attend their show, as I love the sound of horns in popular music (and wish more bands featured them).

Bodega Band was playing at the Milk Bar in the Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, which was a perfect place for their sound. Patrons were clearly there to dance and have a good time and Bodega Band did not disappoint in enabling the revelry. Only the die-hard non-dancers could resist swaying to the beat.

Below is my interview with Andrew and Katie. They explain where the name Bodega Band came from and talk about the challenges of living in the bay area as a musician, and how to make a living.

Hopefully I’ll get the chance to watch them live again. They play at venues around the bay and also at private parties.

Bodega Band website.

SC=Spotlight Chronicles

BB=Bodega Band

SC: Where did the name Bodega Band come from?

BB: It’s a funny story. Chicken John owned a warehouse in the Mission where he held art events, parties, and community gatherings. It was also where the pop-up restaurant Lazy Bear started.  I [Andrew] bought it in 2018. I have tried to continue the tradition of advancing the local artists and musician communities by having pop up shows and exhibits. The name Bodega means warehouse in Spanish, so when my uncle from Mexico asked “como esta Andrew y su Bodega”, the name stuck. After inviting various musicians to participate in the first few events, a house band – the bodega band – was formed. 

SC: What is your role in the band?

JE: I’m the songwriter, I also play guitar and banjo. I do most of the social media management as well.

We’ve now solidified the 8 core members of that band, which runs the full spectrum of musicians with various backgrounds – most have 9 to 5 jobs and play music on the side. Katie is a full time musician, currently working as one of the keyboard players with Hamilton, which is in SF for a year or so. Other members play in a few different bands, but still have full time jobs outside of music.

SC: What genre of music do you most identify with?

BB: Horn-driven ska and rock.

SC: Describe your style of music.

BB: We are a cover band, and we cover 90’s ska, punk, rock, and soul. We love when those genres crossover – bands like No Doubt, Sublime, and Save Ferris

SC: What’s your role in the band?

Andrew: I am the drummer and also the host of rehearsals.

Katie: I play keyboards, trumpet, and sing backup vocals. Many of our members are multi-instrumentalists and we like to switch it up. Amie is our lead singer, but you’re likely to hear Brian (guitar and sax), Matt (bass), or Cameron (lead trumpet) sing lead for a song or two during a show. We are less concerned about polish, and more about being fun and being inclusive. We like when the audience is moving, dancing, and singing along. People listen with their eyes and when the band is having fun, the audience has more fun.

SC: If you had to identify with a famous musician or band, who would it be?

JE: We don’t really identify with one band or musician. We identify more with a time period in music. The 50’s and 60’s music played by artists such as Patsy Cline, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Muddy Waters.

SC: How long has the band been together, what brought you together?

Katie has been making music with some of these people for a long time: Brian in junior high, Andrew in high school, and Cameron and Jeremy from college. Andrew has history performing with Matt, Brian, Chris and Amie. The playing started together as fun, as a one- or two- time thing, but then it caught on.

Andrew: Finding a good rehearsal place is hard to do, especially as a drummer. The bodega is large and people can spread out and we can use it as a performance space.

SC: Where are you based out of, where do you play and in what type of venues?

BB: We are mostly based in SF. We play in bars and small venues in the Mission. We also play private events, some birthday parties. Cross over between bars and private events.

SC: If you had to identify with a famous musician or band, who would it be?

BB: No Doubt, Save Ferris, and Sublime.

SC: What inspires you as a band?

BB: New Orleans jazz and Louis Armstrong, Earth Wind and Fire.

SC: Is the SF bay area a good place for you to promote your unique sound?

BB: People that live here like to go see live music, but there are very few professional musicians living in the bay area anymore. Economically, bands can’t make enough money to play professionally so they do it for fun, so the music community here is mostly made up of hobby musicians. Most of the audience is our friends and friends of friends. We’re targeting friends of friends of friends next 🙂

SC: When people leave your show, what is it that you hope they will say about you?

BB: That we were a fun band and they had fun. That we brought energy and fun and they [the audience] loved and recognized every song.

Thank you Katie, Andrew for the interview and to the rest of the Bodega Band for the show. I really enjoyed your set, your sound, it was a lot of fun!

Spotlight Chronicles is a blog publication of zipgig.io, a music booking platform for independent venues and performers to book gigs instantly.

If you like this content, please like us on Facebook and follow on Instagram.

Published by Andrea Harding

Live music lover, Founder @Zipgig

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial
Instagram