Satchel Grande
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Satchel Grande

Omaha, Nebraska, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Omaha, Nebraska, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Pop Funk

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

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Chris Klemmensen fears losing relevance as a writer.

“It happens to everyone I love,” he said.

That's why he has banked about 70 songs for Satchel Grande to record at some time in the future.

That's above and beyond the 12 tunes on the Omaha band's new album, “What She Wants.”

For 18 months, the Satchel Grande bandleader dropped his work schedule to four days a week. On the fifth day, he'd get up early to write, get his kids ready for the day, and come back and write all day long.

He now has full demos for all 70 of those tunes — enough to fill six albums for the next dozen years.

“I don't think there's another band in town that hits the alarm clock,” said keyboardist Andy Kammerer.

“What She Wants” is full of summer jams. When I hear the horn melody on “Creeper,” I envision driving a ragtop Mustang — top down, of course — on an amber-tinted afternoon.

“New Kicks” is a similarly sunny take on a funky dance song.

“It's upbeat stuff, and that's all you need for a summer jam,” Klemmensen said. “There's an appreciation for bands that do dance music with an edge.”

The album is a bit of a family affair for Klemmensen. It was his wife, Janice, who encouraged him to go to a four-day work schedule to work on his music. She's also standing behind him on the cover, and his two young daughters both sing on the album.

As we sat at Jake's Cigars & Spirits, Klemmensen and Kammerer also told me about how the work ethic of Satchel Grande — a 10-member band typically designated as funk but that's really more '80s synth pop — has helped it turn into one of the biggest-drawing original bands in town.

“It never gets old how supportive people are,” Kammerer said. “It's refreshing to them.

“It's weird that we're as successful as we are in this town,” Klemmensen added, acknowledging the Omaha music scene's love for folk and indie rock.

After four albums and plenty of success packing in local rock clubs, both separately mentioned they've gotten everything out of this band they had expected.

An old adage about house money comes to mind.

“If nothing else happens from this band, there's still us friends playing music together,” Klemmensen said. “I'm in for that.” - Omaha World Herald (Kevin Coffey)


Blue-Blockers. Dress shirts and neckties. Artfully groomed facial hair.

Few local bands have been as successful at creating and maintaining a well-recognized aesthetic as Omaha funk-pop band Satchel Grande. Between the attire, gaudy album covers, and even the band's name, one might be inclined to label it all a gimmick.

That word typically connotes a crooked car salesman or a crafty magician. A free toaster with your purchase of any washer and drier. An iPad with your new vehicle, but there is some hidden catch. It implies the presence of a trick, a sleight of hand that draws in the target, artificially setting the hook.

And yet, something about Satchel Grande is devoid of dishonesty or cheapness. Maybe it’s the stage presence. Band members routinely display their enjoyment, bursting into mile-wide smiles or bouncing along with the music. Frontman Chris Klemmensen banters about being shit on by a bird while enjoying a pre-concert cigarette. Keyboardist Andy Kammerer emphatically fist-bumps a person in the front row. Couple this with the fact that they back it all up with their complex, multi-layered grooves, and the whole experience of seeing Satchel Grande in person feels far from a gimmick. On Saturday night at Lincoln's Vega, the second night of their CD release party for their fourth full-length What She Wants, the only caveat for the audience was that they dance.

The 10-piece Satchel Grande entered stage-left as though they were piling out of a clown car, and from start to finish there wasn’t a still patron in the house. The outfit possesses the uncanny ability to appeal to all ages and sensibilities, a fact obvious at first glance through the venue. Though movement for the band was restricted, between their baseball roster of a lineup and the near-inadequate space on stage, they did not fail to move the crowd. Frontman Chris Klemmensen sported his trademark handlebar mustache, sunglasses and a brown leather vest, while the rest of the band looked as though they may have just clocked out of their 9-to-5 office jobs. Klemmensen broke the ice with the tale of his rather crappy encounter with the bird, just the kind of honesty that can strengthen the connection between band and audience.

Satchel Grande proceeded to connect with their music as well, skillfully blending driving funk rhythms with fluffy keys and a tight brass section. On What She Wants, Satchel Grande brings a groovy, horn-laden pop sound similar to their previous records while pushing the tempo and bringing to the forefront some of their more distorted, low-end elements. Klemmensen recycles familiar lyrical subjects, from love and lust to the grind of the work week. The more-than-two-hour show played out in two parts, beginning with the entirety of their new album in order and finishing with old favorites from Dancefloor Protest Music and Dial 'M' For Mustache.
The deliberate pace of their new tracks was readily apparent live, especially when played alongside older material. From the opening number “Creeper,” right through the first half of the set, the band played with incredible consistency. Highlights included an ode to the man who “knocked out Muhammad Ali before you all were born” with “Leon!” and a searing solo from guitarist Shawn Cox on “New Kicks.” All songs carried the undercurrent of smooth bass grooves, brass parts that mirrored and beefed up vocal lines, and the ever-present tock-tock of cowbell.

Satchel Grande carefully integrated and orchestrated these vibrant musical moments to convey a specific emotion, to elicit a specific reaction. When the band held aloft their hands to clap, so did the audience. When the bass line implored them to move their hips, they swayed. Gasps and cheers filled the air with each guitar, keyboard, and trumpet solo. All with the aim not to manipulate their audience with a projection, but to include them in the experience.

As high-flying as Satchel Grande had been through the new material, Klemmensen announced the start of their “old shit” portion of the evening, and it was as if a switch had been flipped. Whatever lingering weight they carried fell away as they eased into “Supermoon,” all grinning from ear to ear. Crowd favorite “Shake It Like It's Overload” again featured Cox’s spider-like fingers flying up the neck of his guitar, soloing over floating keys during the high point of the night. “Say Hey” followed, heavy-handedly dedicated to the bar staff that was “working on a Saturday night.” The band closed the main set stringing together parts one and two of the slow jam “Working Title,” before reprising part three from earlier, exiting to high fives from the front row patrons and thunderous applause.

The encore presented ample opportunity for the band to kick out a few more theatrics. Drummer Carlos Figueroa reentered first to throw down a pounding, Bonham-esque drum solo, taking care to occasionally splash a cymbal. He was then joined by Klemmensen's right-handed cowbell, left hand extended in the air. On came the rest of the band to finish with gusto on “The World...” and “Put Up a Fuss.”
As they were about to exit the stage at around 12:30 am, a tall bearded fellow in the front row put in a special request in honor of the holiday, which had just started at midnight. The band convened for a brief moment, returned to their instruments, and struck up a fine, if unrehearsed, rendition of Rick James' “Mary Jane.”

Their impromptu cover underscored the reality that what Satchel Grande brought on this night was no deception or parlour trick. Their overall success is owed in large part to their carefully constructed image and the fact that they can straight up play, but none of that is as important as how they use their tools to connect with the audience. It felt as though they had worked all week to get to play funk for you. When that kind of joy gushes from the stage, when the attitude of a band is observably authentic, the audience has no choice but to feel involved with something great. Then, the dancing part comes naturally. - Hear Nebraska (Andrew Stellmon)


Discography

Plus One - 2006
Dial 'M' For Moustache - 2010
DanceFloor Protest Music - 2012
What She Wants - 2014

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Bio

Though they're from Omaha, Nebraska, Satchel Grande sounds like theyve lived the majority of their lives on Mars, or The Mighty Booshs Old Gregg's lair. Yes, Satchel Grande has an electronic sound thats 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) youll have shakin your tail feathers to. (Blair Stiles)

Provides The Opening Music for Major League Soccer Podcast
Played A Showcase At SXSW 2011 & 2013
Played The Red Sky Music Festival
Played The 1st Annual Maha Music Festival

*Best Progressive/Experimental/Funk - Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards (2013)
*Best Progressive/Experimental/Funk - Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards (2012)
*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)

Visit the Satchel Grande YouTube Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRbDjEwINspjMBOmq7Vz-HA

Band Members