The Spoon Benders
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July 2006
Excerpts from "Band Spotlight" Article

By Marc Lit

The Spoon Benders are one of South Florida's biggest local bands. They have opened for national acts such as Steve Miller, Sum 41, Pat Benatar, Foreigner and many more. The Benders were voted "Best Live Band" in New Times' Best of 2006 Readers' Choice poll. The Benders cut a self-titled album in 2005 and recently recorded a follow-up live CD which captures their spontaneity, humor, and predilection to get into some absolutely searing instrumental jams. - In the Biz Magazine


Bending the Rules: Spoon Benders play the Gypsy on Nov. 28th
- Wilmington, NC -

Published Nov. 2006

By Emily Rea

It's the perfect time of year to start drawing in from the elements and indulge in the world of live indoor music. There's just something about the acoustics of a great venue that make it an atmosphere nearly addicting. It's even better when you've got such a talent as the Spoon Benders on the bill to keep the ol' blood flowing.

On Tuesday night, November 28th, this intriguing trio of musicians are scheduled to play one of their signature anomalous performances at the Juggling Gypsy. Coming all the way from South Florida, working their way up the coast to Washington DC and back, you'd better catch them while you can.

One thing that appears to be quite true about the bandmates is that they take their music very seriously. "It is such a spiritual thing," says frontman Matt Winfree. But as for themselves? Not so much.

"Polygamy Blues" and "Another Good Hook" title two of their songs. All in good humor, Winfree has even gone as far as to state, "Try to imagine Albert Collins, the Funky Meters, Paul Simon, Jeff Buckley, Jimi Hendrix, the Police, U2 and the Black Crowes all peeing into the same bucket. Our pee would smell something like that."

Okay, that's gross. But you get the idea.

Personally, I think it would suffice to say that if you take some blues, funk, folk and soul, infuse it into classic rock 'n' roll, add passion, persistence and plenty of personality, you might come close to distilling something like the Spoon Benders. Hard as they are to pin-point, you might not know quite what to think at first, but you better believe you will be entertained.

They are an energetic blend of talent and a bizarre sense of humor, melded together to form one truly unique style of music. And they've come a long way to get to where they are now. Their credibility extends to having won New Times' Readers Choice Award for "Best Live Band" in the Palm Beach, Florida, area. They are even respected enough in the music world to have shared the stage with Steve Miller, Pat Benetar, Sean Costello and Sum 41.

"I have been booking gigs since 1990," says licensed talent agent Judy Blem, "and have heard over one thousand bands. I have chosen to manage one and only one: The Spoon Benders."

From the outside looking in, it's almost easy to see how their success has happened for them. With such drive and energy, how could it not? It is the American way, after all. From the inside, their online band bio gives a bit more insight into the mindset of their strive for perfection: "The Spoon Benders have been working since 2002 to be so entertaining, so practiced, so energetic, so creative and so passionate about their music and their live show to make you ask a question as you're [leaving] the concert hall at the end of the evening: 'Other bands? What other bands?'"

They are unwavering in work ethic but never seem to place themselves on a pedastool—their shows have become increasingly notorious for being unpredictable, yet the band delivers. "[Music] deserves to be treated with integrity, respect and absolutely unflinching and devoted passion," Winfree affirms. "We play for the rare and exceptional person who understands what that means." Since late 2004, the band has performed four to seven times per week, in tireless pursuit of perfecting their craft.

To me, Winfree's voice sounds vaguely familiar—perhaps Sting, Bono or Jeff Buckley—but with enough originality, and pure ability, to engage and impress. Also impressive are Brian Bennett's skills on the drums and Yves Giraud's bass guitar playing and harmonizing vocals. Collectively, they are solid and powerful, embodying soulful, hard-hitting blues rock with a twist. Their covers range from the Beatles to Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffet to John Mayer, and their originals fit right into the mix. The songs have enough catchy hooks for airwave play, enough raw proficiency to capture the attention of even the most critical music fan and, according to Blem, "some stinging extended jams."

With so much to offer, everyone can enjoy the spunk of the Spoon Benders. So buck up and stop in on Tuesday night at 8pm. - Encore Magazine


Published Monday, August 27, 2007

By LESLIE GRAY STREETER
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

LAKE WORTH — Farewell tours usually become a musical buffet of emotion - a scoop of sadness, a dash of memories, a cup of fun and, in the case of soon-to-be-no-more South Florida stalwarts The Spoon Benders, a gravy boat of regret for not having seen them more while they were around.

The funk/blues/pop/rock trio gave a sweaty, enthusiastic performance at Bamboo Room on Saturday night, part of a series of goodbye dates before lead singer Matt Winfree relocates to Nashville next month and drummer Brian Bennett and bass player Yves Giraud go on to other projects around here.

Alternating sets with the groovy-weird Funkabilly Playboys, they displayed a delicious tightness as a band, wrapping themselves inside intricate solos, inspired covers and a buoyant raft of goodwill from the crowd. It was a little frustrating during their first set that nobody, save a trio of lady fans wearing Spoon Benders T-shirts, surrendered to the groove, shunned their seats and danced, because how can you not be moved to dance to, say, Winfree's devil-child shriek wailing over Giraud's nasty groove (to paraphrase Janet Jackson) on Voodoo in My Pocket?

How can you not want to sway to the nostalgic breeze of Saturday Afternoon or the bittersweet gentleness of Take Me Home? Didn't they want to stomp to their cover of John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom or shake their inner 1980s Norwegian pop star moneymakers on their funky take on 1980s Norwegian pop stars a-ha's Take on Me?

Maybe the audience was just being courteous to the rest of the crowd by not dancing. But the Funkabilly Playboys refused to tolerate any lack of enthusiasm - "What's this? The bus from Century Village?" guitarist and singer Mike Vullo chided when the audience's response to the call-and-response on Ray Charles' What'd I Say was not up to par, and kept at them until they got it right.

"Thank God the folks from Boca didn't suck all of the soul out of the room," Vullo said approvingly.

If you've never seen the Funkabilly Playboys - and you really ought to - imagine if the Geek Squad formed a band with the X-Ray Specs guy, except they all opened their mouths and sounded like Stevie Ray Vaughn. Their uniform consists of white shirts, slacks, skinny ties and horn-rimmed glasses, the joke being that their soul belies their nerdiness. If they weren't so freaking good, that joke might wear thin. But they are good, astonishingly so, and part of the fun is watching bassist Chuck Farthing, for instance, getting his groove dressed like he was there to install the Bamboo Room's DSL line.

Among the highlights - a deft, exciting take on Stevie Wonder's I Wish, a song the band admitted they didn't really rehearse, that would have only been improved by a horn section (you can't go wrong having horns on a funk song); a funky breeze through Elvis Presley's Little Sister and Jimi Hendrix's Come On (Let the Good Times Roll) and the hilariously funky What'd I Say.

- Palm Beach Post


LIVE WIRE
Sept 2006

By Jason Budjinski, Music Editor

For a band that spends so much of its time on-stage — playing at least twice a week, sometimes twice a night — the Spoon Benders aren't what you'd call a studio band. So it's only fitting that the funky rock trio is recording its next album far outside studio walls, at a place where the Benders will sound right at home — the Bamboo Room.

They've got as many gigs lined up as the average touring group, but they're mostly happening around town. It was only a month ago that the Spoon Benders opened for Chris Isaak (in Boca Raton) before heading off to Hollywood to play their own late-night show. Yes, the Benders are biz-ay... but not too busy to keep crankin' out the funky, soul-filled tunage.

- New Times


Oct. 5, 2007
Eartaste
"Favorful bits of ear candy worth seeking out"

CD REVIEW: "Resurrecting the Giants"

“Come on and feel!” It’s Friday night. No moon to speak of. It’s dark, lots of stars and a meandering guitar floats through the backyard around the picnic table, through the compost pile piled between two trees, beautifully sending sparkles of fireflies into streams of lightshows only dreamed about by stage designers. As I’m enjoying the scene a soulful feeling throbs the blood throughout my senses while a voice pours into the drama, “Electricity is pulsing through my brain at 400,000 miles an hour.” Whew! You probably had to be there, but these guys really know how to start an album! “There are angels in the air tonight. I can see their shining black wings swoop and glide.” The production quality on this CD is top-notch. Every guitar lick is clear, the vocals are clean and understandable, and the bass player and drummer are in perfect synch with a totally live feel. “This magic that makes me remember how good it feels just to be alive!” The shoutouts tonight go to the bluesy I Fell Out Of The Van This Morning and the mellow story about Saturday Afternoon. This album shows these guys can handle any emotion in music, from joy to blues, to nostalgic. Very cool. - Eartaste


May 11, 2006

"Best of 2006" Special Edition of New Times Broward/Palm Beach

2006 Readers' Choice Award for Best Live Band Winner: The Spoon Benders - New Times


February 2006

By Shauna Sweeney, Staff Writer

“Whatever their secret, it seems to be working. The Spoon Benders’ on-stage chemistry is almost tangible, and the synergy between these three musicians is remarkable. The front man Matt Winfree offers impressive guitar chops and a jaw-dropping, silk-and-gravel voice. The trio has formed a super group whose raw, unmistakable talent has earned it spots opening for Pat Benetar and The Steve Miller Band. Bennett’s dynamic beats convey his ability to switch between subtle background grooves on the soulful cuts and all-out, sharply arranged rock jams.” - 9ine Magazine


May 19, 2006

By Nightlife Writer Liza Hearon

The Spoon Benders have been rocking for four years, playing exhaustively at any and every venue possible in South Florida, also taking their rootsy rock on tour throughout the South.

Matt Winfree (guitars and vocals), Yves Giraud (bass and vocals) and Brian Bennett (drums) are influenced by classic rock like Jimi Hendrix and the Police, and singer/songwriters like Jeff Buckley. However, their tunes are prone to extended, impromptu jam sessions, exploring the blues and funk styles that they also love.

They've shared the stage with high-profile acts, including Sum 41, Pat Benetar and Foreigner. With one album out in 2005 and Live at Alligator Alley, capturing a show at the Oakland Park bar, due out soon, the Spoon Benders are certainly one of the hardest working acts around.

Copyright © 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
- Sun-Suntinel


Published Jan. 31, 2007

by Joanie Cox

Sweat-drenched, shoeless and karate-kicking onstage at the Hurricane Bar and Lounge in Delray Beach, Matt Winfree turns on the crowd, belting out a faster, punkier version of Sublime's "What I Got." Even the apathetic group of pierced, tattooed goth girls in the corner is suddenly moved to dance. After wailing on his Fender and demonstrating a strong vocal range, the frontman for The Spoon Benders (Thespoonbenders.net) segues into a mellow version of Salt 'N' Pepa's "Shoop."

"We do covers, but we like to put our own twist on them," the 29-year-old explains. "Sometimes, people make up these crazy dances to our shows to go along with the words."

Winfree formed his "white-boy-soul" band in August 2002. "I moved here from Gainesville to play music," Winfree says. "The other guys in my band at the time went on to do other things. My mother always wanted me to have a responsible career like my pre-med friends. I just wanted to entertain people." His current drummer, Brian Bennett, and bass player, Yves Giraud, joined the band a few years later.

The Spoon Benders have played more than 500 shows in the past three years. While they've gained a loyal following for their quirky covers, they have released two CDs of blues-infused rock originals and hope one day to play their own tunes full-time. "The problem with playing the cover-band scene is you're playing to a small percentage of people who appreciate you," Winfree notes. "There's really no support for original music here."

A year from now, The Spoon Benders would like to be touring the country. "We've gotten to open for Steve Miller, Chris Isaak, Pat Benatar, Foreigner and we did a show in a Mississippi shack that was one of the best we've done because all 50 people were into it," Winfree recalls. "But I feel like none of us are going anywhere until we get out of here or win the lottery. Unless you're gifted with money or connections, there's no formula for success in music."


- City Link Magazine


Published January 31, 2007

by Dan Sweeney, Associate Editor

The Spoon Benders vs. The Pandas: Live at Bamboo Room by The Spoon Benders (Thespoonbenders.net). The Spoon Benders () are precisely the sort of band that should put out a live CD; the group's free-flowing jams, bizarre sense of humor and rollicking, high-energy tunes work better onstage than in the studio. This album records a night when, according to the liner notes, a group of vicious pandas entered Lake Worth's Bamboo Room and massacred most of the concertgoers. Despite the panda-wrought genocide, the band holds up admirably through the set. The finale, fan favorite "Voodoo in My Pocket," bursts with energy, with guitarist Matt Winfree summoning the ghost of Hendrix and bassist Yves Giraud and drummer Brian Bennett ripping along on the ride. A kick-ass version of A-ha's "Take on Me" adds to the fun.
- City Link Magazine


Discography

The Spoon Benders: The Spoon Benders
Full-length 2005 debut CD
Available at www.CDBaby.com/TheSpoonBenders, iTunes, Project Playlist

The Spoon Benders vs. The Pandas
Live at Bamboo Room
Release Date: Nov. 2006
Available at myspace.com/SpoonBenders

Resurrecting the Giants
Produced by Duane Lundy, Shangri-La Studios
Release date: Sept. 2007
Available at myspace.com/SpoonBenders, itunes, rhapsody

Photos

Bio

With hundreds of thousands of aspiring bands trying to grind out a name for themselves in their hometown, their region, their nation, and their world at large, it becomes absolutely crucial that a band find some way to set itself apart—to transcend the notion of being just a garage band, being amateur, being a copycat, or being another face in the crowd of wannabes. The Spoon Benders have been working since 2002 to be so entertaining, so practiced, so energetic, so creative, and so passionate about their music and their live show to make you ask a question as you're walking out of the concert hall at the end of the evening:

“Other bands? What other bands?”

Matt Winfree (guitar, vocals), Brian Bennett(drums), and Brian Bennett(bass, vocals) are a power trio in the classic sense of the word. Filtering rock and roll with blues, funk, folk, and soul music, these three obsessive and somewhat loony characters strive to hit you in the gut, the heart, the head, and the feet all at once so that you don't know whether to dance, sing, laugh, cry, or just listen. At their increasingly wild and unpredictable shows, you can usually find somebody out in the crowd doing all five at once.

They've shared the stage with the Steve Miller Band, Sum 41, Brett Dennen, Pat Benatar, Foreigner, Chris Isaak, Doobie Brothers, Dr. John, Michael McDonald, Lynryd Skynryd, Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad), Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple), Lucky Peterson, Papa Grows Funk, Sean Costello, John Lee Hooker, Jr., Calton Coffie (Inner Circle), Taylor Hicks, and Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians and have held their own with all of these first-rate performers.

They've been marketing their self-titled debut CD since March 2005 and their live recording "The Spoon Benders vs. The Pandas" since November 2006, which captured their spontaneity, their humor, and their predilection to get into some absolutely searing instrumental jams. In September 2007, they released their second studio album, "Resurrecting the Giants," produced by Duane Lundy and featuring the band's most impressive work to date. They've won over the hearts of the generally disinterested and anti-culture crowd of south Floridians, and are supporting the newest release with extensive radio promotion and a sweeping national tour.

“Stylistically, I guess we're a hodge-podge of classic rock and American roots music; Try to imagine Albert Collins, the Funky Meters, Paul Simon, Jeff Buckley, Jimi Hendrix, the Police, U2 and the Black Crowes all peeing into the same bucket. Our pee would smell something like that,” says frontman Matt Winfree.

Sporting a collectively bizarre sense of humor, Winfree, Bennett, and Giraud refuse to take themselves too seriously. “But we take music very seriously,” reminds Winfree. “It is such a spiritual thing, and it's like the Force—it can be manipulated for good or for evil. We've gotten a real taste of the dark side down here in south Florida—bands who play for the sake of image, or just to get laid, or just to be like whoever’s on the good old Clear Channel playlist. Not that we don't want to get laid. But music deserves to be treated with integrity, respect, and absolutely unflinching and devoted passion. We play for the rare and exceptional person who understands what that means.”

With a solid lineup, the most loyal following, and having honed their live act by performing 3 to 6 times a week since late 2004, the band is ready for the next level. They crave the chance to shine in front of audiences unfamiliar with their unique show.

Spoil yourself and give them a listen.