MUSIC BOX: Weapons of Mass Funkiness

By on April 25, 2017

Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons sign with a booking agency and prepare to enter the studio for the band’s third release.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Since forming in 2011, local quintet Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons has taken the funk to new levels, and has arguably established the largest local fanbase. Vocalist, songwriter and trumpet player Bobby Griffith sat down to talk about the ins and outs of elevated touring, band chemistry, and entering the studio this spring to record the band’s third release.

PJH: There are currently no other local bands that have booking agency representation. How does this recent move change the touring landscape for SPSW?
Bobby Griffith: We were picked up by Nimbleslick Entertainment this winter, a national organization with offices in Denver and Athens, Georgia, and it’s definitely one of the most exciting things to ever happen to SPSW.

In our eyes, it has kind of legitimized what we’ve been doing. We’ve been booking gigs ourselves the past few years, and now we have someone that represents our best interests. The relationship has already streamlined our whole booking process, which means better venues, new markets and more pairings with bigger national acts. We’re in the middle of booking our summer tour now, and it’s already led to some exciting offers. Just wait until this fall—you might be seeing SPSW in a few new states.

PJH: You guys have been building a solid fanbase locally and in the region, especially over the last couple of years. Does this give you guys more firepower to keep the machine rolling forward? 

Bobby G: I think there are two main things that are lighting the fire underneath us right now—our music is getting better and our fan base is growing. We can’t stress enough how important our local fans have been to our success, always packing the house and making it a party, and now we’re starting to build a buzz around the region as well. As long as people keep coming out and dancing their asses off, we’re gonna keep bringing you fresh progressive tunes to shake it to.

PJH: You guys are about to leave for a nine-show Northwest tour. What have been your best touring markets and what does the road offer you guys that Jackson Hole does not?

Bobby G: Yep, we’re spending two weeks playing our way from Seattle to San Francisco. The West Coast has always been one of our favorite places to play outside of the Hole, places like Bend, Portland, and the Bay Area have been so good to us in the past. Our other strong markets these days are Colorado (we did a seven-show ski tour this winter) and Montana (we’ve got two festival appearances scheduled this summer, including a headlining slot at Harvest Fusion Festival). As much as we love playing in the Hole, it can be hard to know if the music really resonates when we play for our friends all the time. It’s exciting going to these new places, playing for total strangers, and watching them get down too. It’s like, oh, maybe these tunes really are good. I guess our friends aren’t just being nice.

PJH: What is the new recording project looking like for this spring? How is this batch of tunes a progression from your last release, Dojo, and will it represent the live show or more of a studio approach?

Bobby G: As soon as we get back from the road, we’re hunkering down and setting up a studio on the Hoback River with our friend Joe “Goldcone” Rudd. He’s the man and with his help this is certainly going to be our finest album to date. We’ve got 10 songs ready to record, half of which are vocally driven. These songs are our best batch of original material yet and every band member will have at least one songwriting credit, something of which we’re super proud.

In the past, our recordings have always represented what we do on stage, but with this one we want to embrace the magic of the studio a bit more, and mine some of the amazing musical talent that we have in the area. So expect to hear different textures, lush harmonies, and thick, full soundscapes.

PJH: What are the contributing factors to the band’s evolving chemistry?

Bobby G: The Secret Weapons are defined by a few things: a desire to always have fun, a need to constantly push ourselves musically, and an appreciation of original music as an art form.

First off, the crowd is never going to have fun if you’re not, so since the beginning our motto has been to have more fun than everybody else. When it comes to the music, it’s very important for us to always be progressing, improving, and challenging ourselves. It’s the main reason for our tribute set last Halloween when we played Paul Simon’s Graceland in its entirety—to learn a new batch of songs, take on a whole different style of playing, and challenge ourselves as musicians. But when it’s all said and done, the best way to push yourself as an artist is to create your own art, which is why original music has always been the cornerstone of what we do. Now that the tram is done spinning, maybe we can sit down and write some songs again.

PJH: What should fans in the valley expect next from SPSW?

Bobby G: Keep an eye out for our summer calendar, but Jacksonites should expect an early June weekend at the Silver Dollar (which is such a nice room these days), and a late-night rager at the Trap Bar to cap off the funkiest day in the history of Targhee Fest. PJH

Aaron Davis is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, audio engineer at Three Hearted Studio, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

WEDnesday

Vinyl Night (The Rose)

THURsday

Black Irish Texas (Silver Dollar)

FRIday

Pam Drews Phillips Trio (The Granary), The Flannel Attractions (Silver Dollar), Mr. Whipple (The Rose), DJ Era (Town Square Tavern)

SATurday

Cold Hard Cash (Town Square Tavern), Twenty Paces (Silver Dollar)

SUNday

Open Mic (Pinky G’s), Stagecoach Band (Stagecoach)

TUESday

One Ton Pig (Silver Dollar)

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About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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