The Grape Jam
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The Grape Jam

Band Rock Funk

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Jody Nicholson was well into his second year working at McDonald's when he was approached by the new kid on the fryer, Mitch Burns.


"He took his break while I was still working," Nicholson remembers. "I really was like, 'I hope this DB kid doesn't fucking talk to me.' He did. Long story short, he ended up at my house that night and we jammed. It was so fun."


The two jammed a couple more times - Nicholson on drums and Burns on guitar - and then invited bassist Bruce Sipes to join in. Singer Phil Sloan eventually joined the three, forming the current lineup of The Grape Jam, a Brownsburg garage band that puts a slightly harder spin on the funk rock of Red Hot Chili Peppers.


Bolstered by the cheerleading of tattoo impresario Bill Levin, the band will play the Emerson Theater April 3 for an all-ages component of Levin's Body Arts Celebration Week.


The band remained a trio in the early months, until Sloan saw them at a battle of the bands. He felt his vocals could add something to a sound he thought was already impressive.


"Their music was just sweet, but it was missing something: me!" he remembers.


While The Grape Jam have a garage band aesthetic, band members didn't meet behind the bleachers or in a parent's basement, and the band includes both a 16-year-old (Sloan) and a 23-year-old college graduate (Nicholson). Nicholson, who graduated from Marian College in 2008, has moved on from McDonald's to work for his alma mater's EcoLab wetland restoration facility as an outreach ecologist.


"Oddly enough we haven't had too many conflicts with school or work, but it's almost unbelievable to have a full-time job in the field that I studied and be able to play music with these dudes," Nicholson said.


The band's Chili Pepper-esque style has much to do with the direct influence that comes with repeated listening (Sipes referred to the Chili Peppers' Live at Slane Castle as The Bible on DVD). But Burns believes that Chili Pepper guitarist John Frusciante predicted the band's formation through some prophetic words.


"I read an interview when I was a sophomore in high school with John Frusciante, right after Blood Sugar Sex Magick, maybe during the time he was recording Niandra Lades [Frusciante's debut solo project] and such," Burns explains. "In the interview he said that spirits told him that his music was going to influence two people who were children at the time of the interview and that his music was nothing compared to theirs. The interview was around '94. In '94, I was 5; Bruce was 4. We are the chosen ones."


Frusciante said something similar, though slightly more opaque, in an interview with the website While You Were Sleeping (www.wyws.com) in 2004: "I was told five years ago by a spirit that my music needed to be here so two other people could hear it. [Those two] were just little kids when I was being told the information, but they were eventually going to be something great."

- Nuvo.net


Discography

This May Not Work EP (instrumental) - 2008
OTNOT, Demo (instrumental) - 2008
Osama bin Demo - 2009 (on iTunes)

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Bio

The Grape Jam started out with two kids, Mitch and Jody, jamming after work at McDonalds. They soon added Bruce Sipes to the mix and began writing some new material that no one ever heard of. Using influeneces like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Led Zepplin, Frank Zappa, The Mars Volta, and The Clash, the bands sound began to sound like something totally different than theyd ever heard. In October 2008, the band add their singer, Phil Sloan to the mix and the band now has a fantastic front man. Ever since, The grape jam has recorded their demo, Osama bin Demo, and has been working on a 20 track album due out in late august.