The musicians who make up Smackdab will have their hands full in the coming months. The band is working on a five- or six-song EP and has several fall tour dates booked.
A few months before heading down the East Coast, Smackdab will play locally Friday night at the Good Time Saloon on Fairmount Avenue in Jamestown.
The band has played at the Good Time before. However, Smackdab has been best known for its shows at Mojo's, where guitarist Matt Baxter books shows.
Smackdab is, from left, Matt Clark, Jon-Marc Anderson, Matt Baxter, Ryan Ecklund and Mark Cooper.
"We really have a lack of venues to play at in this area it seems lately," said bassist Ryan Ecklund. "It's just not like it used to be. The Good Time is nice; there's a good atmosphere. The people who come out seem to enjoy the live music. It's a nice change of pace for us."
Smackdab, which has been around for roughly a decade, is in a bit of a regrouping stage, according to Ecklund. He, Baxter and fellow Smackdab bandmate Mark Cooper focused on local band Thee Audience for a few years, before spending more time on Smackdab with Jon-Marc Johnson and Matt Clark.
"We put Smackdab on the back burner for a couple of years," Ecklund said. "Now, we're starting to get back into it. We've got some new ideas. We've got some new material. We're kind of headed in a slightly different direction, but we're still keeping that funk-soul vibe."
The Smackdab musicians have been putting some thought into adding a small horn section to the band, which would add yet another element to its sound. All the way around, Smackdab is far different from Thee Audience.
"Thee Audience, for one, was more of a straight forward rock band - two guitarists, bass, drums," Ecklund said. "Smackdab has slightly different instrumentation in that we incorporate an organ and have one guitar. They're totally different styles of music. I think the whole reason why Thee Audience really even started was to try to do something different. You get kind of stuck doing the same stuff for so long; it's nice to experiment with different styles. We all come from a pretty strong rock background. With Smackdab, we could do our funk, soul and R&B stuff, but we could also just straight out rock with Thee Audience. We got to do a little bit of everything that we loved."
With their musical focus currently on one band, the Smackdab musicians will embark on what Ecklund calls "their first real tour" in late September or early October. The tour will last two weeks. The band will travel to Florida and back, getting its first taste of performing outside of the region.
Ultimately, the band members would like to become career musicians.
"Everybody loves playing music, and everybody would love to be able to play music full time," Ecklund said. "Right now, everybody has got a full-time job, and music is just kind of the hobby that we do on the side. We'd all love to play music and make a comfortable living doing so. That's the goal: tour here and there, record some albums, and play some music."
As for Friday night's show, Ecklund said attendees can expect to hear many of the band's original songs along with one or two covers. The 21-and-over show will run from 9:30-1:30. Admission will be free. Call 664-0718 for more information.
"Backstage Pass'' is a feature of The Post-Journal showcasing local artists, their music and their accomplishments. Send recommendations for future "Backstage Pass'' subjects to Scott Shelters at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 487-1111, ext. 253.