The Sweet Pea persona is a work in progress. Part musician, part comedian, 100% rock and roll. It’s a good thing. But just who is this character?
Sweet Pea Felty is Jeff Feltenberger. Most folks know him as guitarist/vocalist/songwriter/co-producer and founder of The Badlees. The distinct vocal harmonies that he created with lead singer, Pete Palladino, will always be a trademark of that group’s earlier recordings. The band toured nationally, recorded in studios from New York to Los Angeles, and charted a couple top 5 rock tracks. But as of March 2004, Jeff is no longer involved with The Badlees and is now able to focus on the Sweet Pea Felty band. Jeff is also dedicated to his students (he gives guitar and vocal lessons) and has several production projects in the works.
From Harrisburg, PA, Sweet Pea Felty is on a mission to bring back the fun and excitement in music. Let the kids have their fluff. This band plays real rock music for grown-ups. Straight ahead, hard driving, rootsy, bluesy, rock and roll.
To complete that mission, you need talented musicians. Sweet Pea Felty has them.
Mr. Sweet Pea himself, aka Jeff Feltenberger, is a skilled musician and performer who has spent a great deal of time recording and touring nationwide. Much of his experience was gained as guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and co-producer with The Badlees, a band that at the height of their popularity scored two top 5 national rock radio tracks. Jeff’s association with The Badlees ended in March 2004. This has given him the freedom to pursue more productive and creatively satisfying projects such as the Sweet Pea Felty band. His talents truly shine as leader and front man for this gifted group.
Keyboardist Chris Novak adds that extra something that completes the sound of Sweet Pea Felty. Early on, it was obvious to Chris’ high school teachers that his talent was extraordinary. Chris was allowed to spend most of his senior year studying music in college. After graduating, he moved to Atlanta to begin his real life musical education. He joined an R&B/funk band that toured extensively, playing some of the largest clubs and festivals in the Southeast, highlighted by a performance at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Chris has developed into a soulful, technically proficient, highly sought after player. In addition, he really enjoys working in the studio as a recording engineer and producer. He and Jeff sometimes collaborate on productions. And they perform shows together as the Sweet Pea & Chris duo.
Craig Cady holds down the lead guitar position and does it quite well. He played in various bands several years ago until he got tired of the whole scene. So, he dropped out of the business for a while. Then Jeff approached him about the Sweet Pea project. Craig jumped at the chance to be involved, knowing that this would be a career-oriented band. Craig is a well-rounded musician who locks in perfectly.
Percussionist Kevin Thomas is a schooled musician who’s phone is always ringing with offers to perform with different artists. His playing has a feel and rock-solid groove reminiscent of Kenny Aronoff and the legendary John Bonham. In 1998 he joined the State College-area band, FoXXy, and quickly took over as musical director. He also became the group’s manager, agent, publicist and web master. Taking that band as far as they could go, Kevin last year decided to leave and pursue something bigger. He found what he was looking for with Sweet Pea Felty. Now the Yoga-practicing, bare-footed drummer is right where he wants to be.
The Chick Peas....well, what can you say? Their bios are currently being written but "in a nutshell" they bring a whole different energy to the band. Their backing vocals are smooth and help round out the full sound that this band brings.
All of the band members also enjoy teaching. Students seek them out because of their abilities and experience as musicians. The three were in the band Echotown, as well. That group released one record in 2001. It is no longer available in stores, but will be sold at Sweet Pea Felty shows.
The band is heavily influenced by Webb Wilder, “last of the full-grown men.” Webb’s brand of hard-hitting, punchy roots-rock along with his humor and delivery are irresistible. Sweet Pea, while not copying Webb, are determined to give people the same kind of experience.
The music business is not in great shape right now. Record companies have laid off hundreds of people and commercial radio stations’ playlists are tighter than ever. However, there is hope. Triple A radio is still small, but their audience is extremely loyal and active. Satellite radio is growing beyond anyone’s expectations. This proves that when people know that there’s great music out there, they will go out of their way to get it.
Jeff "Sweet Pea" Feltenberger - lead vocals & guitar
Craig Cady - lead guitar & vocals
Chris Novak - keyboards & vocals
"mystery" - bass
Kevin Thomas - drums & vocals
Elizabeth Benion - "Chick Pea", backing vocals
Charity Hutnick - "Chick Pea", backing vocals
Becky Reeder - "Chick Pea", backing vocals
The Soul Patch Sessions Disc One compilation cd
From The Badlees to Sweet Pea Felty
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March 25, 2004 By KATIE STRZESZEWSKI For Dispatch/Sunday News People come and go. That's simpl...March 25, 2004
By KATIE STRZESZEWSKI For Dispatch/Sunday News
People come and go. That's simply a part of life. But nowhere is that phrase more true than in the entertainment industry -- and the music business, in particular -- where people come and go every day.
A good example of such coming and going -- or perhaps going and coming -- is Jeff Feltenberger, founder and now former vocalist/rhythm guitarist of The Badlees.
Feltenberger left The Badlees at the beginning of the month to further a producing and engineering career at New Cumberland's Scott Wray Studios. Additionally, he is in the process of launching a new band, Sweet Pea Felty.
"It just kinda seemed like the time," Feltenberger says about leaving The Badlees.
He says he felt he did not have "as much of a creative outlet there anymore."
With The Badlees behind him and only Sweet Pea Felty to worry about, Feltenberger now has the chance to think more about teaching and producing.
He teaches guitar and voice at Scott Wray Piano Gallery in New Cumberland and does production work in Wray's accompanying studio. "I'm doing a lot of work with different local bands and doing some producing on a Latin artist named Angie," Feltenberger says of his projects at Scott Wray Studios.
Quick move: As for Sweet Pea Felty, the band came together pretty quickly. "Two of the guys from Sweet Pea Felty played in another side project I did a few years ago called 'Echo Town,'" explains Feltenberger about guitarist Mike Morrison and keyboardist Chris Novak. Bass player Craig Cady came into the band soon after; he and Feltenberger were longtime friends.
Drummer Kevin Thomas was the only member of Sweet Pea Felty who actually had to audition for a spot. Since nobody in Sweet Pea Felty really knew Thomas, "it was more important that we find a kindred spirit who's also a good player," Feltenberger says.
"The Badlees lasted so long because it wasn't that we were the best players or singers or songwriters. It was because we had five guys that worked well together."
Still going: And Feltenberger's statement is not to say that The Badlees are finished; they're not.
The Badlees will continue to play and record as a four-piece band. Remaining members Pete Palladino, Bret Alexander, Ron Simasek and Paul Smith are currently recording their ninth album at Saturation Acres in Danville and hope to release the album by the end of the year. At the moment, they have no plans to replace Feltenberger, but do intend to continue touring.
"We all wish Jeff the very best in pursuing his dreams and hope that all of our fans will do the same," they collectively stated in a news release from their management company, Chris Fetchko Management.
The Badlees declined further comment.
Sweet Pea's first steps: Right now, Sweet Pea Felty just wants to get material out to the public. Two songs, "Been So Long" and a cover of "Ode to Billy Joe," are available to download at Sweet Pea Felty's website, http://www.sweetpeafelty.com
Most of the band's first album is not even written yet; they hope to do their recording in June or July and have the album out in the fall or early winter. "We might even hold out until spring," Feltenberger speculates. "It depends on people's schedules."
For now, people can get a taste of Sweet Pea Felty's sound by seeing the band in concert; they will open for The Clarks tomorrow night at Gullifty's Underground in Camp Hill.
At a glance
Check out Sweet Pea Felty "sneak-peak appearance" at 10 p.m. tomorrow when the band opens for The Clarks at Gullifty's Underground, 1104 Carlisle Road in Camp Hill.
Cover: $10. (21+)
Doors open at 8 p.m.
For more information, call Gullifty's at 761-6692 or visit www.sweetpeafelty.com.
Badlees now 4
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By ALAN K. STOUT MUSIC ON THE MENU The Badlees' first appearance at The Waterfront in Plains Tow...By ALAN K. STOUT
MUSIC ON THE MENU
The Badlees' first appearance at The Waterfront in Plains Township on Saturday also will mark their first official performance as a quartet.
Longtime rhythm guitarist and vocalist Jeff Feltenberger has left the group to pursue a career as a record producer/engineer with Scott Wray Studios, near Harrisburg, and to launch his new band, Sweet Pea Felty.
Despite a few stormy years from 1999-2002 that saw the band's members branch out with side projects, The Badlees' lineup of Feltenberger, lead vocalist Pete Palladino, guitarist and vocalist Bret Alexander, bassist and vocalist Paul Smith and drummer Ron Simasek had remained intact since the release of their first full-length CD, 1992's "Diamonds in the Coal."
The Badlees, now a four-piece unit, will perform at The Waterfront on Saturday.
"Diamonds In The Coal" and the band's biggest album, "River Songs," both honored the band's Northeastern Pennsylvania roots with their titles, and the latter showcased the Susquehanna River on its cover.
A new Badlees' CD and Alexander's first solo album, "Gentleman East," will be released on S.A.M. Records this year.
Regarding Feltenberger, the group issued this statement:
"We wish Jeff the very best in pursuing his dreams and hope that all of our fans will do the same. Rock on."
Jared Campbell and Katsu also will perform at The Waterfront on Saturday. Call 270-5862 for more information.
Mostly cool originals with some very interesting covers
There are no upcoming dates at this time.