Though they’re from Omaha, Nebraska, Satchel Grande sounds like they’ve lived the majority of their lives on Mars, or The Mighty Boosh’s Old Gregg’s lair. Yes, Satchel Grande has an electronic sound that’s more Breakbot than Daft Punk. They could be the perfect gateway band for those listeners looking to traverse the realm of ’70 disco-inspired dance music to taste generously reined-in funk. Consider them the toe you dip hesitantly into the hot tub of dance-funk.
Beginning as a one-man show and developing over the years into a full-fledged, nine-person funk/soul/pop band, these groove aficionados can now call themselves a musician collective. The combination of guitars, sax, and some frisky keys, allows the music to play with a gleeful ebb and flow that echoes the mood of a damn good George Clinton/Chromeo remix. Tracks from their album Dial ‘M’ for Moustache’, like “Workin’ Title”, have the potential to be a pre-game anthem. Easily danceable and singable, Satchel Grande are straight-up the most fun(k) you’ll have shakin’ your tail feathers to. (Blair Stiles)
Provide Opening Music for Major League Soccer Podcast
Played A Showcase At SXSW 2011
Played The Red Sky Music Festival
Played The Maha Music Festival
*Best Progressive/Experimental/Funk - Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards (2011)
*Best R&B/Funk/Soul - Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards (2010)
*Best R&B/Funk/Soul - Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards (2009)
*Best New Artist & Best R&B/Funk/Soul - Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards (2007)
Chris Klemmensen - Writer/Creator/Front Man
Bob Rasgorshek III - Bass
Andy Kammerer - Vocals, keyboards, Percussion
Action Johnsen - Guitar, keyboards, Percussion
Matt McLarney - Vocals, Trumpet, Percussion
Willie Karpf - Saxophone
Shawn Cox - Guitar
Carlos Figueroa - Drums
Zak Pischnotte - Saxophone
James Cuato - Saxophone
Plus One - 2006
Dial 'M' For Moustache - 2010
DanceFloor Protest Music - 2012
SXSW, 03.16.11: Random Band at a Random Bar award
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We often times get invites to crappy clubs to see crappy bands play crappy songs. It’s the crappy cr...We often times get invites to crappy clubs to see crappy bands play crappy songs. It’s the crappy crap that supplements all awesome crap we get to check out and call “work.”
Omaha, Neb.-based nine-piece ensemble Satchel Grande (c’mon … that’s clearly supposed to mean “big sack”) was not crappy crap. It was awesome crap. Surprisingly catchy, insanely tight, “we’ll crush your weak-ass band in a play-off” confident crap.
At first, Grande looked like it would be a joke band: Dwight Schrute-looking office wear, BluBlocker sunglasses (they have a sponsorship…), state-trooper facial hair. But the sound the giant group produced was on the opposite end of whatever spectrum you’d find “tacky.” Think super bold, poppy R&B/funk, sometimes two-stepping into Earth, Wind & Fire territory (one song felt a lot like EW&F’s “September”) with two keyboard players, three vocalists, and two guitars (in addition to drums, bass and hand percussion by a vocalist with Hulk Hogan facial hair). The song “Working Title (Part 1)” (if you scoot over to the band’s Facebook page), with its soft keys and driving, deep-in-the-pocket backbeat, leaves us on the fence between dancing and growing a handlebar ’stache and starting pick-up lines with the phrase, “Ooh, girl…” They may not have been one of SXSW’s “must hear” acts, but they’re definitely one of ours now.
Hear This, Nebraska
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Satchel Grande’s showcase at Karma Lounge, an off-the-beaten-path venue, had a sparse crowd as the b...Satchel Grande’s showcase at Karma Lounge, an off-the-beaten-path venue, had a sparse crowd as the big Omaha soul-funk-pop band started its set. Wearing orange and brown business casual attire (obviously inspired by this website’s color palette) and their Blueblockers-sponsored shades, they look the part of a serious band. And though this was their first non-Nebraska show, the nine-piece left no questions about their substance. As they played their catchy tunes — every single one of which you feel like you know on first listen, which is a good thing — more and more people moved from the back of the room to the front. There were only about 30 or 40 people there, but they were fixed on these white guys who brought soul from Nebraska. Our state should be proud to have been represented by them.
They killed it.
After the set, I overheard a guy telling his buddy, “This was definitely worth $10.” Satchel made some fans in Texas. Let’s hope they got the road bug and continue to spread the word.
SXSW: Satchel Grande does us proud
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The funkiest band in Omaha is the funkiest one currently in Austin, Texas. At least, they are as far...The funkiest band in Omaha is the funkiest one currently in Austin, Texas. At least, they are as far as I'm concerned.
The nine-piece played to only about 30 or so folks at the Karma Lounge, but were approached by every person in the joint afterward. While I said hello to frontman Chris Klemmensen, a British man couldn't stop telling him how wonderful Satchel Grande is.
I'm proud to have this band representing Omaha (and the rest of Nebraska) this week. If only they had a bigger stage to perform on...
Anyway, they played a set of old and new favorites. Klemmensen looked to be having the time of his life and, as he was playing and singing his heart out, he was moving so much I couldn't take a photo of him that wasn't blurry.
I really wish the band was playing more this weekend, but I'm happy to know I'll probably see them again soon.
Still, tonight proves that Omaha bands need to keep playing outside of our own little town. Stop being a well-kept secret. Get out here and show yourself off. Satchel Grande did it tonight.
Marq Manner Show Review
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This past Saturday I headed out to Bar Fly to check out local buzz band Satchel Grande. I don't kno...This past Saturday I headed out to Bar Fly to check out local buzz band Satchel Grande. I don't know if the band brought out the large crowd on hand or if they were partially just coming in like they usually would on a Saturday night. What I do know is that the nine-piece funk pop band got the dance floor going unlike any local original band I have seen in many years. This is not my first time seeing the band, but the vibe in the club that night really showed that they have a crossover appeal and that whether playing a powerful extended funk jam or a laid back breezy pop tune they can get pretty much any group of people going. These guys are some of the most stunning musicians in town yet they have a knack for melody and just having a good time with it. Easily one of the best current bands playing around town right now. I don't see any shows listed for them on the horizon, but keep an eye on Myspace.com/satchelgrande for upcoming gigs.
Flood of funk from Satchel Grande
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When Satchel Grande first performed, it wasn’t even a band. It was one guy. During a show at the 4...When Satchel Grande first performed, it wasn’t even a band. It was one guy. During a show at the 49’r, Chris Klemmensen performed with an acoustic guitar, a few drums and a “Bobby Brown” microphone headset, as he called it. It wasn’t until a weekly poker game formed that Klemmensen was able to poach some players from other groups to form an official band. Five years later, Satchel Grande has become the funkiest band in town. Klemmensen is the band leader, writing most of the group’s music and lyrics. “It’s really Chris’ vision and his commitment,” said keyboardist Andy Kammerer. Klemmensen and Kammerer shared the band’s story recently over a few beers at Jake’s in Benson.
The group recently released “Dial M For Moustache,” a collection of mostly new songs. The group will be performing Saturday at the Groundhog Prom.
Klemmensen, now 30, got into funk when he was a teenager. At the time, he was a huge grunge fan, listening to Nirvana and Pearl Jam along with everyone else in the ’90s. But a friend handed him Parliament’s “Mothership Connection” and he never looked back. Later, his parents traded an old couch to pay for piano lessons for Klemmensen. Then he bought a collection of old soul and funk records from Grampy’s Curious Goods in Benson. “From that point on, I stopped buying baseball cards and started buying records,” Klemmensen said. He was in a variety of bands, as were Grande’s other members. Klemmensen stopped playing in Microphone Jones to record Grande’s debut album, “Plus One.” Klemmensen also played with a local band called Maxine, whose membership included Kammerer, Matt McClarney, Bob Rasgorshek and Action Johnsen (all also current members of Satchel Grande). The fivesome still plays together as Old Money.
For Satchel Grande’s funky grooves, Klemmensen writes most of the parts and lets the other eight members of the band put their own shine on them. He says he knows he has a good song idea when it sticks in his head for more than a day. “They just fall from the sky. They’re all out there. You just have to have the right baseball glove to catch it,” he said.
Listening to the band and then seeing it can be jarring. It’s universally agreed that the band’s live performances blow its recorded albums out of the water. Second, all that funky music comes from nine white men in ties, vests and aviator sunglasses. “The music, it’s earnest. We do believe in it,” Klemmensen said. “We don’t think we’re reinventing the wheel. We’re just putting a pretty hubcap and some tire shine on it.”
Sharing a drink with Satchel Grande in Benson
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What do you get when you take nine white dudes, dress them in office attire circa “The Bob Newhart S...What do you get when you take nine white dudes, dress them in office attire circa “The Bob Newhart Show” meets “Foxy Brown” and kick out a straight 4/4 beat? The best funk band in Omaha, that’s what.
These pentatonicly-inclined nine, led by vocalist/keyboardist/percussionist Chris Klemmenson, collectively go by Satchel Grande. Klemmensen is no stranger to funk music; the man, 28, has been churning out grooves for well over a decade, lending his talents to bands like the Jive Monkeys, Groove Champion and Microphone Jones. After he left MJ, he recorded Satchel’s debut full-length almost entirely on his own (2006’s “Plus One”). Around the same time he started playing with another groove-oriented band, Maxine. The two bands kind of formed into a collective whole with two separate names (Maxine now goes by Old Money).
I met up with Chris and his band mates Andy Krammerer (vocals/percussion/keys) and Bob Rasgorshek (bass) before a Satchel Grande gig at a crowded Waiting Room. With nine members, it was impossible to sit them all down at once (or even gather them). I managed to grab Chris, Andy and Bob and drag them over to an also-crowded Jake’s next door. Over a drink, they told me how they came to brew the funkiest rhythms in the city. In short, I found out they’re smart – they draw from the greats: George Clinton and P-Funk, James Brown, etc.
As the night progressed, the rest of the band started appearing out of the woodwork, out of the crowd, out of the night – until there were eight. Finally, Chris’ cousin and longtime band mate, guitarist John Klemmensen, appeared 20 minutes or so before the group was ready to set up. Apparently he had just skipped across town from another gig at the Slowdown. That’s dedication.
Right now, Satchel Grande is riding high. A recent winner of an Omaha Entertainment Award for best Funk, Soul and R&B artist, the group manages to always start a party whenever they play.
That was the case this Friday night: They set up and when they started to play, the people danced. Satchel Grande once again delivered.
I remember the first Satchel Grande show I saw was opening for Microphone Jones at the 49’r. It was just you (Chris) and like a kick drum and a guitar or something.
Chris: (laughs) That happened for like a month.
But then I also remember that some of the current Satchel Grande songs, like “Oh Child,” Microphone Jones was playing at that time…
Chris: Yeah, it’s hard to shake that song. People want to hear it.
What’s the history of the band - how’d you guys form and all that?
Chris: Initially, we started playing cards together before we were in a band with each other. After I got out of Microphone Jones I started playing percussion and stuff with Maxine. I guess during that time, after I was out of Microphone Jones I was still writing a bunch – I had a 16-track in my basement. You know, recorded pretty much an album’s worth of stuff and then kind of went (and) cherry picked a bunch of my good musician friends to come play with us.
What do you guys do outside of music?
Chris: Everybody kind of has wives and families. Everybody has day jobs. We try and keep our shows on the weekends.
What are your day jobs?
Chris: I’m a pharmacy tech for Alegent Health. I’m 28 now, (between) family and sh*t, it’s really a delicate balance trying to walk the fine line between keeping everybody in the family and in the band happy.
Andy: I actually work at United Way, I’m a fundraiser. I go out and solicit money from the good folks in Omaha.
Bob: I’m a software engineer.
How often do you guys practice?
Chris: Once a week. Monday nights. Pretty much I bring ideas and stuff and kind of build off of them. I dunno, what do you guys think?
Andy: He pretty much writes them; he writes the hooks. We figure out the hooks. We embellish off of his basic ideas. He’s running the ship. Don’t let him fool you. It’s good, though. You need that strong, creative presence.
Chris: Playing in Old Money, it’s like the same aspect where, I lead in Satchel Grande, I take a total backseat in that band you know? It’s all Adam and Matt. I’m a backup singer.
What was the first band you were in?
Chris: I was in a band with Matt Hall, John Klemmensen and Braymond Adams called the Jive Monkeys. Then Braymond left and we were Groove Champion after that. And that kind of broke up – I used to drum in all those bands. And then I started playing keys in Microphone Jones, singing.
I noticed you guys have a ’70s aesthetic with your album art and the flyers you make. Is your music trying to take people back to those times?
Chris: I’m definitely in touch with the ‘70s style and all that. I mean I have mutton chops and a mustache. (Laughs) I can’t deny that. I guess it’s not something we push, you know, that we’re a retro-sounding band.
Andy: I think we’re kind of bringing back just people letting loose and having a good time and getting people on the dance floor again.
Chris: When we play, all of us up there are having a lot of fun. It runs smooth and we smile on stage, which is occasionally rare. I think the best part of it, too, is that we got really solid guitar players playing tambourine and f**kin’ triangle on a few songs.
Andy: Just putting their egos aside and being role players whenever they need to be.
Chris: It’s total “get in where you fit in” mentality. The thing that Parliament did … it was all about just like a groove and everybody getting down into it. And there’s time for everybody to shine and do a solo, whatever, but it’s all about delivering a hook. It’s James Brown-ish, not necessarily in the songwriting, but in the sense that every instrument that everybody is playing is percussive.
Why so many people in the band?
Andy: There’s nine of us. So if every person brings five people to a show, it’s packed! That’s the hook, man. (Laughs)
Satchel Grande Review
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With enough members for a baseball team, almost enough for two basketball teams and just the right n...With enough members for a baseball team, almost enough for two basketball teams and just the right number for the best funk band in Omaha, Satchel Grande points for the fences and hits that sweet soul spot every time. Courtesy of mastermind/frontman Chris Klemmensen and his squad of perhaps, visually unlikely funk-soul brothers, comes an aural extravaganza that effortlessly mixes covers and originals coming producing a winning final score. While there is a comic element at their shows, initiated by Klemmensen’s quick wit from the stage, the group is no joke as it’s a hodgepodge of some of Omaha’s best, with saxman James Cuato (formerly of the Jazzwholes), John Klemmensen (Landing on the Moon), Matt McLarney (Old Money / Truman Sparks), listen I told you there were nine of them … you can research this yourself at the show. –
- Sarah Wengert
The Impending Funk
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“The last time funk maestros Satchel Grande took the stage at the Goofy Foot Lodge, the air was elec...“The last time funk maestros Satchel Grande took the stage at the Goofy Foot Lodge, the air was electric. The eight-piece outfit has developed a notable following and several concertgoers I spoke with knew the band's repertoire intimately and promised a memorable performance. No one was disappointed. The band jammed in and out of easy-listening grooves with an efficiency and ease rarely heard... ...Chris Klemmensen, who also plays percussion in Maxine, recorded the Satchel Grande debut disc over a six month period in late 2004 and early 2005. Working with a 16 track recorder and a plethora of musical instruments, Klemmensen handled the instrumentation and vocals himself, laying down everything from bass and drums to guitar and keyboards. Maxine axeman, Adam Johnsen, donated a couple of shorter guitar runs. Entitled, "Plus One", the disc is extremely enjoyable and also original in its scope and direction. Light funk grooves mix effortlessly with heavier ones and the vocals fit perfectly... ...One of the album's stand out cuts, the old-time-soul "Ooh Child" shows glimpses of what the band is capable of live. The progressions aren't overly complicated by any means, but the involuntary toe-tapping and head bobbing it fosters is infectious. The song does a decent job of setting up shop in the back of your cranium. You'll be singing about "drinking Old Style in the rain" for weeks to come... ...One listen to "Plus One" and it becomes more obvious that Klemmensen and crew are headed for bigger things. The grooves are just too damn homey and good for these guys not to take this thing somewhere... ...Satchel Grande just may be the live entertainment option you've been searching for. Strap on your dancing shoes.”
-Jesse D. Stanek
"Plus One" Review
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Satchel Grande doesn’t sound like an Omaha band. The group is independent-minded, no doubt, but not ...Satchel Grande doesn’t sound like an Omaha band. The group is independent-minded, no doubt, but not in the en vogue indie sense. Indie like George Clinton used to be (and still is at times). And on the band’s latest self-released set, “Plus One,” P-Funk and several other ’70s/’80s-flavored influences come pouring out.
From piano-fueled pop-rock songs in the vein of Joe Jackson or Ben Folds to party grooves nodding to the Commodores and Kool & the Gang, Satchel Grande’s influences can be heard throughout “Plus One.”
Funk can be a hypnotic form of music, and Satchel Grande definitely dabbles in seductive funk, and the musicianship of the band – from ideally placed synthesizers and able harmonies to heavy thumbed bass lines and horns – carries the original songs.
Featuring Chris Klemmensen, Adam Johnsen, Ian O’Donnell, Bob Rasgorshek, Andy Kammerer, John Klemmensen, Ben Zinn, Matt McLarney and Adam Betts, Satchel Grande’s non-intimidating sound is worth checking out. The tight arrangements are largely impressive, and the sounds and affects they get from their instruments, which carry a vintage trait, are noteworthy
There are no upcoming dates at this time.