by Lauren Rosier
The eclectic five-piece band from the Bay Area in California are bringing something incredible to music. Made up of members Lech Wierzynski (lead vocals, trumpet, guitar), Ben Malament (drums, washboard, percussion), Johnny Bones (tenor saxophone, clarinet), Lorenzo Loera (keys, melodica), and Beau Bradbury (bass, percussion), these five guys bring mix of genres including R&B, Delta blues, funk, Southern soul, and more into their sound to create something all their own.
Wierzynski and Malament met in college and played in several bands together throughout those years, but the rest of the band was formed through happenstance. The two of them played in party bands, reggae bands, and various other genres.
“My musical preference after the 8th grade shifted towards jazz and blues, although I became more interested in old blues, gospel, traditional jazz,” Wierzynski explains. “When I moved to the Bay Area, I really started digging into rhythm and blues and more soul music. Rhythm and blues and soul music kind of came into the equation later.”
He adds, “Music is all related. Over time, I think we’ve found a way to reinterpret all that music that we love, and put it into one thing.”
The band’s latest record, A River’s Invitation, was just released in September. Wierzynski says it’s probably the band’s most comfortable album they’ve made to date.
“It was totally different in the way that we did it all in my house, all in my living room, and we recorded most of it live in a really small room where we rehearse,” he says.
But don’t take the album and replace it with their live show. Their live show is what sets them apart from other bands that are playing music in any genre.
“The live experience is definitely something that sets us apart,” Wierzynski begins. “The shows go for longer and the people party harder and we always party with them. It’s more of a collective experience. We get the audience involved. We try to talk to the crowd and try to create the energy of the room more a part of the show. Get people to sing and get people to dance. A lot of what we do is part of breaking people’s inhibitions and fully engage. We also like to get down off the stage and play among the crowd. Sometimes we’ll march people out into the street and play for an hour after the show.”
The closest show the band had to the city of Philadelphia was Thursday evening in Brooklyn, New York to a sold out crowd at the Knitting Factory.
“Brooklyn was a really big highlight. We got to play and reunite with a bunch of friends. New York is home to some of the greatest musicians in the world. It was a crazy party. It’s nice to be able to bring something different to an area. It’s part of our mission to bring that good vibe to the East Coast,” Wierzynski says.
DC area fans can check out the California Honeydrops tomorrow night at Gypsy Sally’s with the Judy Chops.