The Sheaks
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The Sheaks

Band Rock Alternative


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The Sheaks @ New World Brewery

Tampa, Florida, USA

Tampa, Florida, USA

The Sheaks @ Beach Bar

Clearwater, Florida, USA

Clearwater, Florida, USA

The Sheaks @ Market on 7th

Tampa, Florida, USA

Tampa, Florida, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



Nothing gets me out of the doldrums like a new and exciting Tampa Bay band. It’s like the print-and-paper aroma of a new CD as you open it (or, for you snobby purists out there, taking your fingernail along the opening of a vinyl album).

Hearing the Sheaks’ new songs, recorded in the past few months and up on their Myspace, were like opiates for me during a crappy time, and I want to thank Hunter Oswald and Eric Napier for inviting me into their practice space/studio at Hunter’s house. It was a pleasantly cozy respite from a hellaciously rainy night.

Hunter asked me as many questions as I asked them, even challenging me to come up with my favorite Police song, which I still can’t determine (Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic? Can’t Stand Losing You? When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around? Aggh!)

Based in St. Pete, the guys play loud, tight, prettily (sometimes) and get you by the collar with snappy hooks — and their special style of rock doesn’t smack of a million cliches.

From what I could tell – and I hope I’m not being overly optimistic again – these musicians have the modesty, meticulous hard work and lively, fun musicianship that make up a truly great band.

Fans of British Invasion rock, Guided by Voices, Pavement and a million other things will dig ‘em.

And, Sheaks, I hope people book you crazy busy in the coming months and don’t prove me wrong! - Julie Garisto's (music editor, TBT) Blog


No official record releases yet.
Performed twice on 88.5 WMNF for the shows "Surface Noise" and "All Souls"



“Guided By Voices meets the Band”…”The Who meets Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”…”Wilco meets the Brian Jonestown Massacre”… These are just some of the labels congregated around the Sheaks and their music, which one writer has characterized as “a song craft-based, almost classic rock approach to the fragmented, ‘in crowd’ aesthetics of the post-indie rock boom.” The four-piece band, hailing from St. Petersburg, Florida, formed in mid-2008 and has since been busy cultivating a successful word-of-mouth reputation in the Tampa Bay area on the strength of their songs and critically well-received live shows. With four singers, four songwriters, and a sometimes volatile convergence of four very different and dominant personalities, the Sheaks seem, at times, as if they shouldn’t even exist. But they do…and have no intention of doing otherwise.

While the band did not technically crystallize as the Sheaks until June of ’08, its foundations go back to mid-2007 when St. Pete native, Hunter Oswald (drums, vocals), a veteran of national acts like Down By Law and the Gotohells, met up with recent West Texas transplant, Matt Sheaks (guitar/vocals), through an ad Oswald placed, looking to put together something smart, soulful and dangerous. Though Oswald and Sheaks had seemingly little in common – one had played before audiences in the thousands; the other had once nearly been a recluse, having had no actual stage experience – the two found that they shared a passionate vision and became fast friends. Over the next year, the duo labored through a series of fruitless auditions and line-up changes that threatened to submerge their hopes altogether, and it wasn’t until the summer of 2008, when ex-Eleven Ounces guitarist, Eric Napier (guitar, vocals), and Chicago area native, Joe Montanaro (bass, keyboards, vocals), came aboard, that everything suddenly fell into place, and the band finally settled on its name.

Unconcerned with current trends, the Sheaks have instead picked up the sword from early, genre-bending alt-rock influences like the Replacements and Yo La Tengo, letting the strength of the material speak for itself. “We’ve just noticed a lot of people out there who are like us,” says bassist/vocalist Montanaro, “with all different kinds of music on their mp3 players and in their cars. So it really doesn’t seem that crazy to mix and match styles beyond the norm in our own songs…or for us to say that My Bloody Valentine can exist next to the Meters…that the Ramones can exist next to Elliott Smith. Because the only thing that ultimately matters is the song…the quality of the song itself. That’s the only thing that lasts.” With this approach and their raucous live performances bolstered by a keen sense of melody, the Sheaks seem surely poised for success, but being realists, they will all tell you, they’ve smartly tempered their ambitions to really only wanting one thing: Everything, all at once, right now…forever.
As it happened, guitarist/vocalist Matt Sheaks was doing some searching of his own. A once-promising resident of the West Texas music scene in his teenage years, Sheaks had fallen into a hole of depression that chewed up the better part of a decade and spit him back out on the other side, having very nearly quit music altogether at one point in an attempt to instead go “behind the scenes” and start a failed indie label. However, he never stopped writing or playing behind closed doors, and by some strange twist of fate, he found himself stranded in St. Pete in mid-2007, after having sold everything to move there and make one last attempt to start a band. The very first ad he answered was posted by a drummer named Hunter Oswald, and despite having backgrounds as different as night is to day – one has toured the world in bands and played for thousands; the other had never even set foot on a real stage – the two found, in each other, kindred spirits and were soon co-conspiring to give their ideas a sound.

Finding the other elements of the band, however, would soon prove to be far more difficult. The duo went through several guitarists, several bassists, and a nightmarish six-month process of auditioning before Tampa Bay native and ex-Eleven Ounces guitarist/vocalist Eric Napier walked through the door in Spring of ’08, and the Sheaks finally began to take shape. Soon after, Chicago native and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Joe Montanaro came aboard-initially just to sing and play keyboards, but he soon found himself thrust into the role as fill-in bassist and later, full-time bassist. After Napier left the band in August, Montanaro moved over to guitar. The band brought in local songwriter/recording engineer Wes Weinman to handle bass duties. Having a group full of songwriters and pulling from influences as disparate as The Band and My Bloody Valentine, the Sheaks have carved out a sound best described as "a songcraft-based, classic rock approach to indie rock" and recently started playing so

Band Members