Gig Seeker Pro


Charlotte, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2003

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Established on Jan, 2003
Band Rock Reggae




"Keeping it Simplified"

Ever heard that old saying, "K.I.S.S. — Keep it simple, stupid"? Not that any of the four members of Simplified are stupid by any means, but they've been keeping it simple, and it works. The band has created a solid fan base in Charlotte — a CD-release party earlier this year at the Visulite sold out — and is slowly growing in popularity in other Southeastern markets.

Instead of spreading itself thin, the band has played regular gigs around the city, including a weekly spot at Mac's Speed Shop on South Boulevard. Thanks to grassroots word-of-mouth advertising and performances at a variety of local venues, the band's fanbase has increased enough where it can play four or five shows a week and no member needs a "regular" day job. Instead, days are spent handling management duties -- marketing, merchandise, hotel booking, etc. -- or songwriting.

"We did a run over the summer that was 13 shows in a row," guitarist Chris Sheridan says. "Our major concentration has been in the Southeast and we're trying to now stay on the road as much as possible now -- within a four-hour radius because of gas prices."

The band of 30-somethings -- Sheridan, Clee Laster (vocals/guitar), Chris Lynch (bass) and Tim Lail (drums) -- formed nearly five years ago as the quartet they are today. Originally, Laster and Sheridan were performing acoustically when they met Lynch. They then found Lail as the percussionist. "Clee and I were doing an open mic and secretly auditioning people," Sheridan says. "People also responded to an ad we posted on bandtastic online."

Sheridan recalls Lail saying the band's music "needed some ass to it," and Laster agrees that the early recordings were slow and sleepy. The duo was looking for musicians with personality and similar goals who could help create their own sound -- and that's what they got. "We'd get to jam with people who played bass and drums, but we wanted to do that all the time," Laster says.

Trying to describe Simplified's music is no easy task. It's got hints of Sublime, Dave Matthews and Jack Johnson, but there's also rock, blues, reggae and funk. "There are so many styles that we incorporate," Sheridan says. "I think you said it best (in a Music Menu item in Creative Loafing) that it's more of a mood than a genre."

The band has always had originals in its setlist, but would throw in occasional covers -- done in the band's style -- to help get gigs. As repeat performances grew at a venue, they would slowly weed out the cover songs. "A lot of places don't want us to do originals, but usually when they hear them, they like them and we get invited back," Sheridan says. Laster says they abandoned working on new covers roughly three years ago.

They also tailor the set to the venue they're playing. For Mac's, it's more relaxed, and Laster says, "It's like playing on a back porch for a bunch of our friends." On the other hand, they look at the Visulite as a stand-up full-energy show to get everyone moving.

These days, it may seem like the band is popping up all over the local music scene as something new and fresh, but they haven't forgotten that it's been a long road, five years in the making, to this point. There have been plenty of gigs with small crowds and rough moments where someone has quit -- each member has "quit" the band at least once. No one has quit in the last two years though, Laster notes with a laugh.

As for Simplified's name, it was suggested by a fan. "It's one word, it's memorable and it was perfect," Sheridan says. The band has released four albums so far, including an EP, a live album recorded at the Visulite and its debut studio effort, 2006's Smile. Its latest CD, Elephant Sky, was released in April of this year. There is talk of the band's next album, possibly acoustic and being recorded with Jamie Hoover, being released next year. Though they say there's enough material for two albums -- one acoustic and one regular.

Sheridan says when they play, it now feels like a party and he's sure some people only show up to simply be there -- and probably check out the women who make up 75 percent of their fans. "We want people to feel like they're going to an event," Lail says. Lynch agrees -- "We want people to feel like they are as much a part of our show as we are. They all sing and dance and it feeds our energy to put on a better show."

As for how they've changed in that time, the quartet agrees that songwriting is now more of a collaborative process, and they've also got a better understanding of the business side. "We're much better songwriters now and better listeners," Sheridan says. "We never made a conscious effort with our sound, but it's more mature now. We're self-managed now and have an agent and publicist."

All the hard work seems to be paying off. Aside from the loyal fanbase in Charlotte, the band is increasing its viewership in the region. The band's next-largest markets are Wilmington, N.C., and Columbia and Charleston, S.C., while Augusta, Ga., is quickly growing.

Simplified recently opened for O.A.R. in front of an Alabama crowd of 8,000 -- the band's biggest show to date -- and a continuing opening slot for a tour next year is being discussed. "Opening for them was a great taste of what we want to do," Laster says. "It was intimidating, but it was a great time. We just want to get to play in new places -- even if we don't make any money. As long as we're playing in front of new faces, we're happy." - Jeff Hahne

"An Interview With The Band Simplified"

Simplified's new album, "Brighter Days," dropped April 2011. This is the band's fourth studio album without a label backing. Chris Sheridan stopped by to talk about the band, the album and what it is like being an unsigned band.
Real quick, why the name Simplified?

When Clee and I were thinking of names for a band we got "Simplified" as a suggestion from a fan. We felt it was a memorable name and it described our sound well at the time.

How would you describe the band's music for those who have yet to discover you?

Acoustic driven rock with reggae, funk, and roots undertones.

Your new album, "Brighter Days," was released last April 2011 without a label behind it. This is your fourth studio album without a label backing. What are the advantages and disadvantages of not being signed to a record label?

The advantages to being signed to a major label are the amount of money they can put into marketing and promotion, the connections they have, and the tours they can get you on. The advantages to being independent are you have more creative freedom, you aren't locked into a nasty deal, and you keep a larger percentage of your sales.

I had a chance to listen to the new album. It's like classic rock with a twist of 3 Doors Down. When the band writes and records music is there a certain process you follow?

Usually one of us will have an idea: A lick, a riff, or a melody with some chords. Then we will explore it and if we think it is worth putting time into we will pursue it.

How has the internet helped or hurt Simplified as a band in terms of marketing and getting your name out there?

The internet has been a great advantage for us. Being an independent band we rely in "word of mouth" advertising. As far as spreading the music and building awareness platforms like Pandora Radio are really helping get us out there. And best of all social media is free (somewhat) and Facebook/Myspace/Twitter are all excellent ways to promote and get the word out for artists.

How does this album differ from the previous ones?

This album is more mature in the songwriting and production. We made some good decisions and brought Jerry DePizzo (O.A.R.) in to produce the record. His experience and work ethic really drove us to work hard on making the songs the best they could be. We trashed the tunes that weren't working and went with the strongest material we have.

Will there be a corresponding tour with the album? If so, when?

Our management and agency is working hard on getting us on a tour. It's really hard these days without a major deal because everyone sends support acts out with the touring acts that are on their roster. We are really fighting hard to make our way. For now we are still performing a lot of local and some regional shows. But the only way we will really get the word out about Simplified and "Brighter Days" is if we can take it out on the road and really market it. Tough business.

Thank you for taking the time. Is there anything you wanted to add?

We appreciate you taking a listen to the record and your interest in us! - Jason Tanamor

"Band blends varied, but complementary musical styles"

Simplified's album, "Elephant Sky," may sound like your typical rock band of the new millennium, but there's color and insight in their creativity. The band's blend of acoustic, reggae and rock music is effortless, and far from simple.

Hailing from Charlotte, Simplified's Clee Lester stands at 6-foot-7; one of the tallest front men in the history of rock music. Lester wrote most of the songs when the band first progressed, although now everyone in the group collaborates and contributes to the lyrics.

If you go

Who: Simplified.
When: 9 p.m. today.
Where: The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Hwy.
Cost: $10 at
Hear the Band's Music:
Info: 571-4343,
"The usual writing rehearsal starts with a couple of acoustic guitars and perhaps an idea one of us came up with," said guitarist Chris Sheridan. "Sometimes we will jam on an idea at a sound check and it will inspire us to pursue it further down the road."

Their stage shows are very energized, and they don't limit themselves to a single style of music. Most bands hate being compared to another band, but Simplified doesn't mind being compared to Sublime, Dave Matthews or Jack Johnson.

"Most of the time, listeners have to have a way to describe your music so they compare it to what is most similar," said Sheridan. "Our biggest compliment is our sound, and since Clee plays an acoustic and has a soulful touch in his voice, we get these comparisons."

Simplified is living any aspiring musician's dream: touring from city to city, playing the music they've written together and greeting and meeting new fans every night.

Playing up to 250 shows a year, keeping up with fan e-mails and distributing and creating their own merchandise, Simplified finds it difficult to have any free time.

"To be successful in the music career, every minute counts," said Sheridan.

Some may wonder what may be going through their heads as they carry out these ambitions that are being accomplished daily.

"Every performance offers a chance to cultivate new fans," said Sheridan. "We just want to put on the best show possible every night. We view the band as a business just as much as we love performing music. It is a healthy balance of business and creativity but being able to perform in front of a receptive audience is the absolute reward!"

Simplified has been back and forth to the Charleston area for the past three years. They will be playing the Pour House tonight.

"Charleston is a great town with a laid-back attitude," said Sheridan. "And our music fits in well!" - Chris Dodson

"Simplified @ Metro PCS Great Atlantic Fest"

Simplified’s songwriter and lead vocalist, Chris Sheridan is blessed with a gritty, Springsteen-like voice. His songs are hooky and memorable–ultimately making Simplified bookable in any situation, which in today’s world, is a distinct advantage. For the members of Simplified, their flexibility and willingness to play a few covers during their gigs endears them to eclectic audiences and endless playing possibilities.

The collective creative unit that is Simplified consists of seasoned professional musicians who include Chris Sheridan on lead vocals and amplified acoustic guitar, Chris Lynch on bass and Clee Laster on vocals and lead guitar. Hot drummer, Donnie Marple just joined the band. He beat out 6,000 other drummers in a national contest called the Great Drum Off.

“Our sound is described as layers of “rock, reggae, funk and roots … and some bits of Southern Rock.” said Chris Sheridan from his home base in Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s a laid-back dude, so we chatted for thirty minutes about today’s harsh reality of staying booked and making enough money to keep the band together.

The guys are currently on a two month road tour taking them to some of the hottest venues from New Orleans to Key West and then back home to the Carolinas to work on a new album.

“We are mostly an original band and we released our third studio album in 2011. We tour around the Southeast and occasionally travel to other parts of the country. We’ve been around for eight years. NASCAR uses one of our songs in their promotions. Everything we do opens doors to something else. Coming up, we are going on the Rock Cruise ship with other rock bands to entertain the passengers,” Chris said

“So how did your band evolve?” I asked Chris

“Well, I was playing solo and duo presenting my originals and gradually the other members joined in until we had a bookable band. Of course, Charlotte is our biggest market. But we play gigs in Florida. We do well in Key West. So, we’re willing to go anywhere to play live gigs. In fact, we’ll be in Jax Beach at the Metro PCS Great Atlantic Fest on March 24,” he said.

The members of Simplified are making the right moves to get ahead in a viciously competitive business that eats its own. Clearly, these dudes are it for the long term. It’s what they do. -

"With Its Complicated Mix of Styles, Simplified Is a Hometown Legend"

One look at Simplifieds play list and its clear the Charlotte- based band is not attached to any one scene.
The quartet Chris Sheridan (acoustic and electric guitar), Clee Laster (acoustic guitar/vocals), Chris Lynch (bass) and Tim Lail (percussion) covers songs by artists ranging from Stevie Ray Vaughan (Pride and Joy) to Sublime (Badfish) to Jack Johnson (Flake) to Stealers Wheel (Stuck in the Middle With You).
See the full content of this document - The Virginia Pilot - Ledger Star

"Indie Music Bus - Road Trip"

In this edition of Road Trip, we interview the multi-award winning and very tour experienced, Simplified. With independently produced and other projects ranging the years 2004-2012 and touring and gigging in venues from clubs and festivals like SunFest to NASCAR Rev’d Up in 2009. In fact, in just eight years since the band's inception, Simplified has not only performed more than 2,500 shows, but they have also earned the respect of such renown artists as O.A.R., whose saxophone player Jerry Depizzo produced their latest album. But don't be fooled. Simplified's journey hasn't always been an easy one. The band has done everything – from the writing, recording and even the distribution of their four albums - completely on their own.
And now on to our interview with Chris Sheridan of Simplified conducted by Ced of Independent Music and Media.

Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You guys have a good vibe as artists and as friends. When was the band formed and how did you all come together?

Thank you Walt. Clee and I got together in 2002 and began playing acoustic shows around Charlotte. We started an open mic to meet other players because we wanted to form a band. We ended up performing with a few people in various groups and then we came across Chris Lynch. Through Lynch we met Tim Lail (former drummer) and we basically formed Simplified in 2003.

Enjoy music by Simplified

Were you each in other bands prior to Simplified and what did you learn from being in previous bands, that made this experience a better one?

Everybody had former projects before Simplified. I learned from being in previous bands that (light bulb)-You have to rehearse! Just kidding. If I’m speaking on behalf of everyone in the band I would say our fans make this band a great experience.

What was it like to do your first live performance together as a band?

Our first real live performance as the “official” Simplified was at The Visulite Theatre in Charlotte. I think we were all really stoked for the show because it’s such a great venue. I used to see a lot of artists there and I always wanted to play there. We were the first of 3 acts and I think we played in front of maybe 20 people. A few years later we sold The Visulite out when we did our cd release for “Elephant Sky”.

There has got to be the band mate that keeps you all in stitches. Which one of you is the class-clown of the group?

That’s a great question. I think we all have the tendency to take on that title depending on our moods. And maybe our level of intoxication.

Who are some of your musical influences?

Everyone in the band comes from a different background. We all listen to a wide variety of music and I think we are all influenced by many different artists. That’s what gives Simplified it’s “sound”.

Your sound can truly be considered eclectic and can not be placed in a box. How are you pulling so many elements into your songwriting, yet still keeping it uncluttered?

We never really sat down and discussed trying to go for a certain sound. I think we just do what we love and make the best decisions we can during the writing process. We come up with a lot of ideas and some of them turn into songs and some are shelved.

Photoshoot with Chris Austin and team 04/21/12

You guys are making music that makes people happy, want to dance, and sing along with your catchy lyrics. Keep up the great work and thanks again for chatting with us. Is there anything else that you would like to say to add?

Thank you for the kind words and for taking the time for the interview! - Indie Music Bus

"Diverse music styles to fill CarolinaFest lineup"


Possibly Charlotte’s busiest independent band with 25 dates scheduled between now and mid-October, Simplified makes sunny acoustic-roots rock for fans of arena-fillers like Dave Matthews Band. Members call Charlotte home, but their reggae riffs and Sublime-like hooks indicate the group is most at home beachside with a lawn chair and a beer.

Simplified will spend its afternoon jamming for the CarolinaFest crowd before heading to NoDa’s Neighborhood Theatre for a private DNC gathering, but two shows a day is nothing new for this hard working group.

Read more here: - Courtney Devores

"Awol Charlotte Changes The Game"

The first act that I had the chance to see perform on the AWOL stage were Simplified. The blues infused rock band put on an entertaining show. As the lead singer sang the tunes with a distinct bluesy grunt, the electronic guitarist with the white party rocker shades and kool-aid red pants demanded attention as he plucked cords with such ease. The bassist exuded such energy with every turn of his lip and flip of his hair while the drummer and percussions exchanged smiles with folks in the crowd. - Kia Moore


““Every song weaves memorable vocal hooks with bold musicianship, creating a radio-friendly experience that will have you humming their tunes long after the last note fades.” - Unknown, Mountain Times

"Creative Loafing: Simplified"

“It's not too easy to describe Simplified's music ­ maybe that's why they chose the name? It's simplified only in its mood ­ the kind of music to sit back on a front porch and have a drink with some friends. Laid-back, but not without talent...” - Jeff Hahne

"Simplified’s Newest Album Brighter Days Album Review"

Brighter Days, the third studio album from North Carolina southern rockers Simplified can be summed up in one word: diverse. Their latest release delves into elements of funk and hard rock, with each song standing out from the next. Although each song can be categorized in the same genre, the listener hears variation within each track.
Formed seven years ago, Simplified’s journey can be described as anything but simple. Since the beginning, Simplified has been doing everything on their own without the backing of a major label. However, one would never be able to tell that from the production quality of their latest record, which was produced by O.A.R saxophone player Jerry Depizzo.
The opening track, “Shall We Begin,” provides a steady and strong introduction to the band, especially the Dave Matthew’s band vocal style. “Brighter Days,” the second song that the album is named after, can be hailed as one of the record’s stand out tracks. While most of the album is guitar driven, this song focuses more on piano. Lyrics such as “I walk the crowded streets for you,” stick with the listener.
Four tracks into the album, the audience begins to hear traces of funk with “Sitting on a Mountain.” The guitarist uses a broken strumming pattern similar to what one would hear in a Sublime song, and vocalist Clee Laster ditches his Dave Matthews guise for a few minutes.
The middle of the album delivers a solid and consistent sound, keeping with the alternative southern rock genre, but showing diversity in the guitar technique. It’s near the end of “Brighter Days” that the sound begins to pick up. The record leaps into the bluesy rock and roll category with “Clee Walks” and the closer “Getting’ Home.”
“Clee Walks” may be the strongest song on the album. The track takes no time to build up; the listener is thrown right into a funk and blues phenomena. The track oozes with attitude right from the beginning. There is a triumphant vibe apparent in this song, complete with raunchy guitars scratching at your ear.
Brighter Days is a collection of good old-fashioned southern rock-and roll, with a modern twist. It’s clear that the members of Simplified have had their musical training, and know how to use it well. For fans of Pearl Jam, the Dave Matthews Band, and the rock and country genres, this band is a must. - Lisa Eadicicco


This is what is all about, discovering and supporting new talented bands like in this case with Simplified. Although, they´re a new band to me, this North Carolina based band has been around since 2004 where they started as an acoustic duo. Simplified has released 3 studio records, 1 live album and 1 EP where "Brighter days" is their latest album. The band call their new album as honest and organic rock and I won´t disagree, this is non compromising rock that will appeal to fans of different genres. They´re mainly a jam band in the same vein as Dave Matthews Band and Phish but you can also find traces of roots rock a la Jackson Browne as well as the New Jersey rock of Bruce Springsteen in their sound. The melodies from vocalist Clee Laster bring thoughts to Blue October and let me tell you, he´s a great singer. But the band is groovy too, I bet they´re a great live act. Highly recommendable! -

"Simplified: BeatCrave Fav of the Month"

Your votes have been counted: Simplified is your BeatCrave Fav for the Month of July!

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based band has a lot up their sleeves, not only in the way of genre but along the lines of heart, drive, and staying power. It’s these qualities that caught our attention and earned them a place in our BeatCrave Fav series, as well as our readers and their fans. Truth be told, what’s not to like: their down-to-earth persona and penchant for playing live goes well with their appreciation for their fans and vice versa. And these days, sometimes it really doesn’t matter how good you sound (although that helps); it’s the quality of music for the sake of making music, for the sake of one’s audience that sticks just as much. Naturally, Simplified is made of such good stock.

Although having drawn audible comparisons to the rich vocals and instrumentals as well as subdued but heartfelt messages a la their contemporaries – Matchbox 20, Dave Matthews Band, and Jack Johnson in particular – it’s a discernible edge all Simplified’s own that also appeals to our ears. Lead vocalist Clee Laster and guitarist Chris Sheridan originally founded the band in 2001, and together they have gone through various changes with the band from its formation to its current form. Today, bassist Chris Lynch and drummer Donnie Marple round out the foursome, making for a cohesive sound that goes beyond typical rock, branching into a soulful quality that can be sensed by listeners, new and long-time fans alike. In fact, Simplified’s fans – a huge portion of them having discovered them on college radio – have rallied up on numerous occasions in support, most recently to feature them on late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, as well as various charities during the holiday season.

Exciting times are in the works for Simplified this upcoming Labor Day weekend. Among them, ESPN and its sister networks will be starting the college football season right with the single, “Shall We Begin?”, from their latest album release, Brighter Days, which will be featured in video representations and montages from September 1-5. Simplified’s music captures and expresses an undeniable human spirit – an awesome quality recognized in being our BeatCrave Fav for the month of July. Check them out in our exclusive interview below.

BeatCrave: Who or what would you say inspires or influences your style of music?

Clee Laster: Lot’s of things. Life. Love.

Chris Sheridan: As far as musical inspiration it’s all across the board really.

Clee Laster: Yeah, I grew up listening to Van Morrison and Otis Redding. They are both a huge impact on what I do now.

Chris Sheridan: I think we all grew up listening to a lot of different things and Simplified is a combination of all of that thrown into a pot. And we get really inspired by the ocean too. That’s probably where the beach & reggae feel come from.

BC: We love the complexity of your layered alternative sound. You’ve got blues and roots fused together with rock, among other things – how do you ‘settle’ on a style when you’ve got a little bit of everything to latch onto, genre-wise?

CL: Thank you. We don’t really settle on a style. We came into the project with an open mind and we write what we feel.

CS: Yeah we never discussed or said we want to be like (fill in the blank)…Our sound is a comprised of everything we all like as individuals and as a band. If one of us brings something to the table like a riff, lick, or melody we will play with it as an idea. Sometimes it’ll become something (a song) and sometimes it’ll end up in the trash can or be put on the back burner. We communicate well when we do writing sessions and everyone has input. At the end of the day though it sounds like Simplified.

BC: What would you say are your favorite songs to have come together on your latest album, Brighter Days? Yes, “all of them” does count as an answer, but were there a few that stuck out to you individually or as a band the most?

CS: My personal favorites are “Screaming at the Ceiling” and “She Don’t Care”. They are both very fun live songs.

CL: My favorite song to record was “Brighter Days”. I felt like I put the most emotion into the song. “Screaming at the Ceiling” is my favorite one to play live though too.

CS: Yeah just today we were driving to pick our guitars up at the shop and “Screaming at the Ceiling” came on the radio, on WSGE 91.7. We were thrilled to hear it. Especially since we haven’t run a radio campaign for the record yet. I think Clee wanted to do a kart wheel (laughs).

BC: Later this month it looks like you’re playing a few shows in your home state. What’s next for you?

CS: Right now we have a lot going on. For upcoming shows we have some festivals and university shows coming up. We have the Black Water Music Festival in Live Oaks, FL coming up at the end of September. We are also in first place for the Samsung Summer Krush Contest to perform in Seattle. And if we do that they will air our performance live on Jimmy Kimmel. So that’s pretty cool. If we win.

CL: We also just signed a deal with ESPN and licensed one of our songs to them. Our first single off “Brighter Days” is “Shall We Begin” and they liked it.

CS: Yeah we are stoked for that. The song is going to be used for ESPN’s “Kick Off to College Game Day” from September 1st through the 5th. So that is going to give us a lot of national exposure. It’s a pretty exciting deal. They used Kenny Chesney last year so we were excited and humbled that we got the call from them.

BC: We understand each comes with its own brand of energy, but we’ve got to know – which do you enjoy more: playing live shows or in the studio? Or, what do you personally gain from either, or both?

CL & CS: Live!

CS: Playing live and recording in the studio are really two different beasts. We’ve only recorded 3 studio albums but we’ve performed something like over 2500 shows. I don’t even really know how many. So naturally we are more comfortable in the live setting. But we really wanted to capture the essence of our live show on “Brighter Days”.

CL: And I think we accomplished that working with producer Jerry DePizzo (O.A.R.). We like our past studio records but we always felt they were missing the “live” feel.

CS: Yeah, Jerry has heard us several times when we played shows with O.A.R. So I think he knew what we were going after. It was great working with him. I don’t think he slept for 3 weeks. He was very committed to capturing what we all wanted.

CL: Yeah it was a great experience recording “Brighter Days”. We all had a lot of fun and learned a lot. So playing live and recording in the studio both has their differences and you gain a lot from both.

CS: Agreed.

BC: Your band formation didn’t start off in the “complete” standard band formation that it is today, but you wrote new material and played acoustic shows despite that fact. What words of encouragement or advice would you give to bands that are still looking for the right players to round out their respective bands?

CL: Keep on going and don’t give up. There are people out there that share your dreams and goals.

CS: It can be very difficult for bands to keep it together which is why the average band doesn’t last for more than a year. Personal differences and creative differences contribute to the demise of a lot of projects. For advice to bands who are looking for the “right” players I would say this: Don’t look for the “best” players. Look for the “best” players for the job/project. Finding someone who wears a lot of hats is the key. With the way the music biz is now, especially for independent artists, it’s good to have people that can handle things outside of the music like bookings, managerial duties, and creative duties.

CL: It’s a good idea to be sure everyone can handle being in close quarters for a long, long time. An 11 hour ride in a 15 passenger van can cause some anxiety.

CS: (laughs) Yeah, I suggest you get everyone in the vehicle and just take a nonstop trip across the country and back and see how things work. If everyone is still alive with no injuries you probably have the right guys.

BC: What would be your dream venue in which to perform?

CL: Madison Square Garden.

CS: Red Rocks.

BC: And now for a few bonus questions: what was the last book you read?

CS: “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. My sister put the book in my hands. I usually take her advice when it comes to music, movies, and books. So I read the whole thing. It’s basically about success stories and factors that contribute to high levels of success. A great read.

CL: Damn, I don’t even remember… something by Stephen King, maybe. The iPhone has taken over. (laughs)

BC: What is your guilty pleasure?

CL: Jagermeister.

CS: Tequila.

CL: Being lazy and relaxing. Staying in bed watching movies all day. Sometimes you just need it because we are out all the time doing shows.

CS: It’s nice to have a day or two to do nothing. But there is always something to be done when you are in this business so sometimes your thoughts take over and you start thinking of things to do when you should be relaxing.

BC: If you could visit anywhere in the world for a week starting tomorrow, where would you go?

CL: Hawaii
CS: I want to go to Hawaii so Clee won’t be able to go. We spend enough time around each other. (laughs).

(Clee)-No you can go to Fiji.


10. And last but not least: cake or ice cream?

(Sheridan and Clee)-Ice Cream Cake! - Lindsey Darden

"New Music for Old People: Charlie Musselwhite, Band of Heathens, The Greencards, Crack the Sky and More"

"Sitting on a Mountain" — Simplified (2:37)

This is from their 2011 self-financed album Brighter Days and shows off what this band can do pretty amazingly in two and a half minutes. They have struggled since their formation in 2002 in North Carolina. Original members Clee Laster (good last name, considering) and Chris Sheridan have now recruited Justin Powell on bass and Pat Gerasia on drums. They add two more players for touring and are now opening for Train on their latest tour. If you like this, try and catch them on this tour. - Al Kooper

"Riding That Train - The Awesome Array of Artists That Made the Sail Across the Sun Cruise an Awesome Adventure"

"Simplified: I must admit, I had never heard of this band before, but even a quick encounter in the ship’s atrium confirmed the fact that they put on a rocking good show. A combination jam band, party band, ska band, and, of course, a rock ‘n roll band, they were, above all the buzz band that everyone was talking about. Think Red Hot Chili Peppers with a dash of horns, complete with a bass player who knows how to totally tear it up. " - Lee Zimmerman



- Released May 17, 2013

2. Brighter Days - 2011
- The album is licensed with ESPN, NASCAR, The Discovery Network and more.
- Shall We Begin was featured on ESPNs Kick Off to College Game Day campaign from September 1st to September 5th in 2011.
- 'Shall We Begin' was featured in the 2012 NASCAR Preview.
- 'Gettin Home' was featured in NASCAR The Game 2012.
- Screaming at the Ceiling' video was produced by NASCAR Productions.
- Song Shall We Begin was selected for the iHeartradio Discover and Uncover Program. It stayed in the top 10 Adult charts for the month of August 2011 and for several weeks after.

3. Black & Blue: The Official Music of the Carolina Panthers
- #3 Panther's Tailgate
- Played at every Carolina Panthers home game.

4. Elephant Sky - 2008
- Song Low from Elephant Sky was featured on the 2009 Relix Magazine Band on the Rise Compilation

5. Smile - 2006
- Smile won Rock Album of the Year: Charlotte Music Awards (2007)
- 'Wake N Bake' is our all-time top selling single.
- Song Wake N Bake is featured on Sunstroke Entertainment's California Dreaming Endless Summer Sampler II - 2012
- To date, 'Wake n Bake' is played between 1.6M-2.0M times on Pandora per quarter.
- Over 100K views of 'Wake n Bake' on YouTube.
- Videos for 'Home' and 'Sugartree' were produced by NASCAR Productions.

6. Live at the Visulite - 2006

7. Act 1 - 2004

Albums: #WAKENBAKENATION, Brighter Days, Elephant Sky and Smile are all available for streaming and some radio airplay.



When the laid back vibe of Myrtle Beach, SC meets acoustic rock of Lake Michigan, Simplified, the island rock band arrives with a loud and welcoming splash.  In 2002, Clee Laster of SC and Chris Sheridan a MI native, started out as an acoustic duo.  Early on, both musicians displayed innate musical capabilities, which were passed down from family members, and inspired by a diverse collection of original influences. They both grew up on the water, in different parts of the country, but the beach life-blood continues to surge within their suntanned souls, flowing forth in passionate, fun, and energetic jams.

They began playing acoustic shows, revving up and charming the Charlotte, NC crowds, while writing original songs.  In 2003, the full band took shape as Simplified. Acclaimed as a dedicated touring machine, they gained new fans, one by one.  Simplified's sound caught on, with a devoted fan base in the Southeastern US.  With their incessant touring, an enthusiastic buzz was growing, and in turn they began booking shows nationwide, playing for increasingly larger audiences.

With a never-ending tour schedule, including over 3,000 powerhouse, popular performances, Simplified members, with both electric and acoustic acts, are enthusiastic as ever.  From Key West, FL to New York City and throughout the Midwest, their hard work, perseverance and commitment have always been key to their hard earned success. Sequentially, in 2011, their song Shall We Begin was featured on ESPNs Kick off to College GameDay.  Currently their hit Gettin Home, is featured in the video game, NASCAR The Game 2013 and they have been praised as one of Pandora Radios top played indie rock bands.

Still writing and riding the sometimes choppy, always exciting musical shores, Clee and Sheridan reinvented the band in 2013 with their newest material, while getting back to their island rock roots. This year, they are releasing tracks from their crowd-pleasing, May 10th, 2013 show at Hideaway Cafe in St. Petersburg, FL. Sheridan states, "Our fans have been requesting a live album so we are focusing on getting as much live content out as possible." 

Sheridan and Clee have effectively reformulated the band by adding key ingredients: new players with positive energy, multi-instrumentalists, and a camaraderie that stimulates their passion for writing new material.  Now abandoning what others suggested, returning to their roots of a feel good vibe, Clee explains, We are writing new songs for ourselves and our fans, not for a producer or critic.  We are getting right back to where we started, with what we know and lovemusic that makes you smile.

Their signature sound is a contagious fusion of rock and reggae, attracting a diverse audience and embracing every kind of fan.  Sheridan emphasizes, "We're a rock band with elements of reggae, funk, and acoustic roots.  We don't limit ourselves musically and it shows in the songs we write." Conjuring up the island rock roots, Clee expresses, "Our live shows are all about having fun. Each performance will bring you to the beach and right back home.

A decade later, Simplified continues to evolve and attract new audiences through their crowd-pleasing, relatable songs and ongoing support from their loyal fans.  Starting out as two musicians with a dream, to one of the industrys top emerging rock bands, makes Simplified a true tour de force. Theres nothing simple about that.

Band Members