Mad-Sweet Pangs
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Mad-Sweet Pangs

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"Summer Spotlight - Mad-Sweet Pangs"

Mad-Sweet Pangs

Genre: Funky folk rock

Hometown: Newark

Who's who: Dustin Frohlich, bass and vocals; Ross Gary, percussion; Justin Greenbert, rhythm guitar, mandolin; Chris Hazewski, lead guitar; Jordan Leitner, keyboard, vocals, guitar; Asher Ross, trombone.

Behind the name: "It's a feeling you get in your belly when music makes you feel all good."

Web site:

My Space:

Favorite venue: "The Trocadero in Philly. It's a beautiful place, the acoustics are really nice and many, many great artists and musicians have played there."

What's next: "We just released a CD, which is called 'Stumbling Through Blydepoort Canyon.' We're just trying to get that out to as many places as possible. We're trying to get more into the festival scene. We like playing bars, but we're not trying to be a bar band forever. We want to break out of the local scene, play more colleges and spread our music to a much wider audience, and try to take it as far as it will take us."

What to expect: Tight musicianship, great vocal harmony, focused songwriting. Plan on dancing, plan on having a really pleasurable listening experience. Definitely plan on dancing. It's high energy. It's eclectic.
- Spark Magazine

"Mad Sweet Pangs play OC, Rehoboth"

REHOBOTH BEACH -- To jam or not to jam? That is the question.

For the members of the Newark-based rock group Mad Sweet Pangs, which will return to Castaway's in Ocean City on Friday and Arena's Bar & Deli in Rehoboth Beach on Saturday, the answer is easy: jam away.

The group prefers to stretch its wings, with lengthy instrumental interludes which sometimes elongate its songs toward the 10-minute mark.

"I'd be bored to tears if I had to play three-minute 'singy' songs all night long," said lead guitarist Chris Hazewski. "Jamming to me is a great opportunity for musical conversation and a way to express yourself."

Hazewski's bandmates are singer-songwriter Jordan Leitner, who plays keyboards and guitar; drummer Ross Gary; bassist-vocalist Dustin Frohlich; rhythm guitarist/mandolin player Justin Greenbert; and trombone player Asher Ross.

Leitner has described the group's name as a term for "a feeling you get in your belly when music makes you feel all good."

The group's debut CD features 12 songs and is called "Stumbling Through Blydepoort Canyon." The title is a reference to a South African excursion made by Leitner, who is a grad student. "Jordan did a study-abroad program through the University of Delaware," Hazewski said.

The band schedules its Rehoboth appearances around its shows at Castaway's, and with good reason -- Castaways provides overnight lodging.

"That's the great thing about Castaways -- they have a condo where they house the bands," Hazewski said. "You can relax between sets and you can have late-night acoustic jam sessions. They're very supportive of bands which play original music."

During the summer months, Mad Sweet Pangs would share both the stage and the condo with various other acts Castaways had booked. "We played with a band from Canada called Circuit, who are a contemporary hard-rock band. We also played with an indie-pop band called Luzer," Hazewski said. "It was cool being exposed to bands we wouldn't ordinarily get to see or hang out with."

The band enjoys both its Rehoboth and Ocean City appearances for different reasons.

"Castaways is a large room and attracts a lot of tourists," Hazewski said. "Arena's is a little more intimate, and it's very much a local bar where the regulars hang.

"Neither of them are as crowded during the winter, but we like to come down and keep our name out there."

Mad Sweet Pangs hopes to step up to the next level and become a part of the summer jam band circuit. While it doesn't want to be pigeonholed, it is inevitable that it would be compared to the jam scene's godfathers -- the Grateful Dead and Phish.

"It's hard to be in a band that plays improvisational rock or whatever you want to call it without being compared to other bands in that genre," said Hazewski. "But I'm not ashamed at all to say that Phish is my favorite band."

E-mail Roger Hillis at

Originally published Friday, December 1, 2006

- "55 Hours", "Delaware Coast Press", "Beachcomber"


Album Releases:

Witness & Wait (2008)

Stumbling Through Blydepoort Canyon (2006)

Songs from both albums receive regular aiplay on SIRIUS satellite radio ("Jam On" station), as well as terrestrial and internet radio.



*Named "New Groove of the Month" by - January 2009

*Back-to-back recipient of the Delaware Music Award for "Best Jam Band"
2007, 2008*

*Winners of WSTW 93.7's 2007 Homie Awards:
"Best New Delaware Band"
"Best Jam Band"
"Best Instrumental Song" (Stinkynuts)

Mad-Sweet Pangs, Delaware’s own self-dubbed “Organic Rock” band has become, in the past five years, a driving force on the jam band scene. The much-anticipated new album, "Witness & Wait," hit the streets in June 2008, following their highly touted 2006 debut "Stumbling Through Blydepoort Canyon."

"Witness & Wait" was primarily recorded at CNJ Music in Ewing, NJ over the course of one inspired week. It features thirteen road-tested tracks, all written and arranged by Mad-Sweet Pangs. The sessions were co-produced by Mad-Sweet Pangs and engineers Peter Gary and Greg Allen. Peter has live engineering credits on countless albums, including John Mayer Trio's "Try" and the official concert recordings of Eric Clapton’s "Crossroads Guitar Festival," while Greg Allen’s resume includes the official "Live 8" concert recordings. Additional sessions were produced at Target Studios in Wilmington, Delaware's Grand Opera House by engineer Marc Moss, who's credits include David Bromberg’s recent Grammy-nominated album "Try Me One More Time."

Mad Sweet Pangs are played on SIRIUS satellite radio station JAM ON and were featured on ABC-TV’s “Tuned In” music series.

“One listen to any song and you know exactly why this band is catapulting through the jam-scene at an incredible rate. Their inspiring lyrics ironically flow mostly from just observations of daily events and feelings. This explains why audiences are so readily able to connect with their songs. These daily observations coupled with the member’s love for reading and their close examination of the relationships in their lives, lead to very refined lyric crafting which can be rare amongst jambands.”

“As good as their [debut] album is, Mad-Sweet Pangs is one of those bands that you NEED to see live… I can really see these guys becoming a nationally touring band.”
- Mark Rogers WSTW has noted "Mad-Sweet Pangs’ sound, while influenced by the stylistic diversity of Tom Waits, Phish and The Band among many others, has found its own unique musical perspective. Drawing from folk, soul, blues, modern rock, bluegrass, jazz, and funk roots and melding them into a heart-felt, sweet and sassy sonic gumbo is what makes Mad-Sweet Pangs one of the most promising young bands on the horizon connecting with audiences everywhere they go."