The Workshy
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The Workshy

Band R&B Funk


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"CD Review: The Workshy - "Live at Vaudeville Mews""

It may be relatively unusual for a band to go with a “Live at” album as their debut effort, but this was clearly a wise decision for The Workshy. They thrive as the kind of jamband that should first be appreciated live. It’s a familiar format: Live at Fillmore East, the Whiskey, Max’s Kansas City…But who needs those overblown, clichéd venues? In Des Moines we have the Vaudeville Mews, and The Workshy uses that to their advantage.

Ok, maybe overstating just a bit, but going back to the Fillmore East - or West for that matter - nearly every band that made those venues famous can be heard in The Workshy's "Live at Vaudeville Mews," and in fact are listed as influences on the band’s Myspace page. As should be expected of any good jam band, The Dead are alive and well, definitely some Phish, The Band, etc. But there are also some unexpected influences thrown in. This more than likely stems from the fact that each member of the group has their own distinct musical tastes, ranging from blues and bluegrass to Zappa, and each brings that to the table, er, stage.

Everything about this album - if it weren’t so well produced that is - seems like it could be an obscure bootleg from an equally obscure, early-70's funk/blues/rock band. Beginning with the laughingly sarcastic introduction (“You’re all gonna be on a CD. Yeah.”) delivered in the recognizable "Dazed and Confused" stoner voice, through each of the eight funked-up tracks, don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling unwittingly. It just sounds fun. Can’t wait to listen to this when it’s 85 degrees outside (it will be 85 again someday, right?). I’ll throw it in a playlist with the aforementioned greats and listen to people try to guess where they’ve heard it before: “Didn’t these guys open for Jimi in’70?” Nope. “Nah, they were on Festival Express with Janis and The Band.” Wrong again. It’s The Workshy, and they were “Live at Vaudeville Mews.”
- Mary Buck -

"Little BIG Fest Perview: The Workshy"

When Ames-based band The Workshy brings their rollicking, high-energy jams to Little Big Fest, the crowd better be ready to rock out.

Having gained a following across the Midwest in the two years they’ve been playing together, The Workshy is known for their energetic, raucous live performances. Beginning in high school and reuniting as students at ISU, each of the band’s five members brings an array of individual musical tastes and inspirations to bear on the band’s overall sound. Separately, they like jazz, bluegrass, blues and funk, and cite artists ranging from Zappa to Miles Davis to Phish as influences. Their drummer is a member of the ISU drumline. Such an eclectic conglomeration of inspiration results in an equally funky and infectious sound, so it comes as no surprise that they’ve been asked to open for bands such as Radio Moscow and Mooseknuckle.

Get a taste of The Workshy on their myspace page or check out their first live CD, "The Workshy: Live at Vaudeville Mews" on CD Baby. Better yet, see their notorious live show in person this Saturday, November 21, at the DMMC’s fourth annual Little Big Fest. The Workhy will shake the Mainstage at 8:15 pm. - Mary Buck -

"Concert to block street for Campustown event"

The Ames community will be hitting the streets Friday to celebrate the second annual One Community Event.
The One Community Initiative is a coalition of ISU students living on campus, students living in Campustown, permanent residents living in Campustown and the City of Ames.
The initiative is designed to bring all of these separate groups together and form a more cohesive community, said Lauren Suerth, president of the Campustown Student Association and senior in community and regional planning.
"We want to create a fun atmosphere in Campustown for everyone," Suerth said. "We want to bring all of the Ames community together."
The event will run from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. alongside the Campustown fire station, blocking off Chamberlain Street between Welch Avenue and Stanton Avenue, said Lauren Suerth.
There will be a live band, free pizza supplied by Pizza Pit, free mugs to be filled with Ames city water, door prizes donated by local businesses and yard games such as bags and ladder ball. The event is free and open to the public.
The band playing the event, The Workshy, will have a stage set up in the middle of Chamberlain Street where vocalist and bassist Jiho Han said they will play for the majority of the time.
"Welch and Chamberlain is a huge intersection, so were really just hoping we can draw a big crowd from random people walking by that dig the sound," Han, sophomore in pre-business, said.
The event is coinciding with the construction of the Campustown Court Project, a $68,000 stage on the corner of Welch Avenue and Chamberlain Street to which Iowa State, the Government of the Student Body, and The City of Ames have all contributed.
"We just want to bring attention to the upcoming stage, bring some more people and life into Campustown, and further the One Community initiative," Suerth said.
When completed, the Campustown Court stage will be open to musicians wanting to play or perform during the day, while also being booked for larger community events, said Nate Logsdon, senior in English and co-editor-in-chief of the Ames Progressive, 118 Hayward Ave., Suite 3, Logsdon said the construction on the stage is expected to be completed in early May.
"The Workshy is kind of a funky jam band with a really strong groove. They switch rhythms up in the middle of songs and they've got a set list with lots of originals and a bunch of great covers," Logsdon said.
Logsdon helped The Workshy with its first open mic night at the Ames Progressive.
"I've been to a lot of their shows and they really have a way of getting people moving."

- Iowa State Daily

"Event promotes unity among Ames citizens"

"Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart - you just gotta poke around," rang through Campustown when The Workshy, an Ames band, played Friday at the One Community event on Chamberlain Avenue.
The event drew a larger crowd than expected with dreadlocked youths dancing barefoot on the streets, ISU students breakdancing and shooting hoops and a large number of of Ames' permanent residents enjoying the warm weather and good community vibes, said Nate Logsdon, co-director of the Ames Progressive and senior in English.
Justin Richardson, junior in pre-business, stopped by after going to FAC- Friday After Class- at the bars on Welch Ave.
"It's really cool how they closed the street off and set up an event so this band could just jam out, and people are just loving it," Richardson said. "I feel like more events like this would really draw a a lot more people out to the area."
Logsdon praised The Workshy, saying the concert side of the event was a huge hit.
"They're going all out, bringing all their showmanship and musicianship. They've got people dancing in the streets of Ames; it's just beautiful."
The One Community event was put together by the Campustown Student's Association with the assistance from Iowa State, the Government of the Student Body and the city of Ames. The event was intended to draw together all of the different segments of Campustown's population, from students to businesses to permanent residents.
"Our goal is to really build a community between the students and the permanent residents of Campustown," said Chandra Peterson, junior in political science and treasurer of Campistown Student's Association. Peterson is also vice president of GSB.
The event this year had free pizza, free mugs supplied by the City of Ames to fill with free water, door prizes from local business and the free concert.
Peterson said the and was perfectly suited for the event: "I've never heard them before, but they were great.
"They were the perfect balance between rock and funk and hip, and it was the perfect line for adults being able to enjoy it and students being able to as well, which is exactly what we were looking for."
The concert was also meant to draw attention to the stage that will be opening on the corner of Chamberlain and Welch, Logsdon said.
"We just hope it'll be known that playing music outside in Campustown is a totally viable option for bands," Logsdon said. "Ames has a great music scene and we should really bring it to the outside." - Iowa State Daily

"Musical collage: Ames jam band The Workshy arrives on festival scene"

Summer has arrived. For some people, summertime will mean trips to the pool, fishing at the lake or taking a trip to see family. But for one up-and-coming Ames band, summertime holds the promise of making sweaty fans dance.

“We’re hoping to make a good name for ourselves this summer. This is what we’ve been striving for: playing festivals in the summer,” said bass player Jiho Han.

The Workshy is playing a number of well-respected (and well-attended) regional festivals around Iowa and Wisconsin this season. The Workshy is a five-piece jam band from Ames that can play in a number of genres ranging from funk to rock to blues to jazz. Indeed, they are capable of switching up their sound in the course of a single song, as they do in the songs they refer to as “collages.”

The summer festival circuit is the heart of the national jam band scene. Jam and bluegrass oriented festivals of all sizes occur across the country and draw enormous crowds of live music fans. The birth of the jam band genre is usually traced to the music of the Grateful Dead, who combined the instrumentation of a rock band with the improvisational focus of a jazz band. Bluegrass music, which also often involves improvisation, is a close cousin of the jam band genre. Most festivals that feature jam bands also include bluegrass bands.

The Workshy is made up of guitarists Brant Williams and Danny Kratzer, bassist Han, drummer Evan Cokeley, and keyboard player Pete Neel. They began playing music together at Valley High School in West Des Moines. But it wasn’t until some of the members moved to Ames for college that a band began to develop.

“We started freshman year of college, jamming in the dorms,” Kratzer said.

“We started in the winter, January or something; I remember all the snow,” Cokeley said. “And then Brant would come up every Sunday.”

“We didn’t start playing gigs until almost a year after we started jamming,” Kratzer said. “I think that helped, that we had a whole nine months to get familiar with everyone’s style and get stuff down. It was no pressure, we’d meet up and jam for a few hours; we weren’t even a band yet.”

“And when we did that,” Han said, “we did it purely out of interest. We didn’t know we’d be playing gigs or anything that would lead to where it has led to. We were just doing it for fun; we were just trying to play music together to get it out of our system.”

Like many bands, they began by learning to play covers of songs by bands they loved, like Pink Floyd and Phish.

Their first original song was called “100th Green Butterfly” and it exemplified the sound they had been developing.

“That was a conglomeration of a few jams that we did throughout freshman year that we stuck together and made our first song, and that’s what got us started on songwriting,” Kratzer said.

They referred to some of their first original songs as “collages” because they pasted together multiple distinct rhythms and styles into a unified whole. From the beginning, their speciality has been to make a song suddenly and dramatically change directions without ever missing a beat. The tightness of these changes is a distinguishing feature of The Workshy and it has endeared them to their dance-loving fans.

“We all have pretty short attention spans,” Han said. “We like to change it up; we like to keep it fresh, for our own sake. Because no one likes to play the same thing over and over for a long time.”

Within a single song they may jump from a bass-driven funk jam into a tight Latin number at a moment’s notice. The abruptness is thrilling for the audience. But how do they do it?

“When it comes from a jam,” Cokeley said, “we kind of read each other in a weird way. Half the time we have our eyes closed, so it’s not like we’re looking at each other. We kind of hear it; we kind of know what the other people are gonna do by how they’re playing, and then we just kind of go for it.”

“More and more it seems like we’re doing that without cues,” Williams said.

The band’s live show has earned them a solid local following. They see a lot of familiar faces at shows, and they always want to give their friends and fans a reason to keep coming.

“When you play lots of shows like we do, you get a lot of the same people coming to different shows,” Han said. “We try to incorporate a lot of new stuff to keep it interesting for them and for us.”

“I like to have shows that are different from show to show,” Williams said.

The growth of their fan base and the constant expansion of their musical repertoire make them a natural fit for festivals. This summer, they will return to the Briar Patch festival in Indianola, a music and camping extravanganza on private property that occurs on multiple weekends every summer.

They are also making their debut at Camp Euforia, an annual gathering in Lone Tree hosted by the band Euforquestra, who are based in Fort Collins, Colo. The Workshy were invited to this festival after playing a show with Euforquestra at People’s Court in Des Moines earlier this year. The Workshy’s ability to make a good impression musically and personally helped further their goals.

“If you meet a band that you dig, make friends with them,” Kratzer said. “That can go a long way, those little connections: staying a part of the music community and making friends and keeping strong connections.”

One of their biggest shows of the summer will be at the 80/35 Music Festival in Des Moines. They will be playing on the Main Stage at noon on July 4. It will be the largest stage they’ve ever played, and it may be one of the largest crowds, too. They will arrive in a patriotic mood.

“We’re planning a little something for the Fourth, just because it is the Fourth,” Williams said.

It’s only been a few years since The Workshy began playing as a band, but they are confident that as they enter the summer festival scene, their professionalism will leave a bigger impression than their age.

“There have been a few shows where we’ve heard people in the crowd ask us if we’re still in high school,” Kratzer said. “Really, we want to get the crowd worried about our music rather than how old we are.”

“We are all over 21 now,” Cokeley said.

“Yeah, we can have a band beer together now,” Kratzer said.
- Ames Tribune

"Rain or Shine, It's 80/35"

Despite the ominous threat of torrential rain, The Workshy branded their 80/35 performance as a success and left with optimism and experience they hoped would help them break into opportunities in the future.
“I felt really great after the set. Everything went really well and we pulled it off without a hitch.” says said guitarist Danny Kratzer, junior in communication studies.
The band was happy with their performance and couldn’t complain of any major technical difficulties. The guys were surprised at how comfortable they felt onstage and how easy it was to adjust to the new venue. Of course, they were playing on the biggest stage at the festival and had never been on anything like that in their lives.
They said that for the most part, they had a good time and learned a lot from the experience. Many members of their fans followed them to the festival and it also gave them the opportunity to reach out to a broader, more diverse fan base.
“We learned a little bit about how much production goes because it was the first time we had to deal with stagehands. We’d dealt with sound guys and stuff, but we’d never really been a part of something like that before.” said bassist Jiho Han, senior in liberal arts and sciences.
Overall, 80/35 offered many smaller bands the opportunity to participate in a major venue and get the exposure they work hard for. Other featured local bands with Ames roots were Omega Dog and Christopher and the Conquered.
Music went on practically nonstop during the festival. At least one of the three stages was in performance the entire weekend, even if the other stages were in-between sets. The Mediacom and Kum and Go stages were accessible to the general public and were included in the free area of the festival. The price of the ticked covered admission into the Wellmark stage, where the headlining bands were to perform.
Within the gates of the Wellmark stage, among the littered blankets across the broad green space, there were many more food vendors, a lengthy fountain canal to dip one’s feet, and an electronic billboard that would display text messages that had been sent to a designated number. (assuming they had been deemed appropriate)
The Des Moines Music Coalition put fourth effort to be green this summer. There were free 80/35 branded water bottles and refill stations that provided free, reusable hydration for attendees and even also provided a complimentary bike valet service.
Among the other attractions were a few nonprofit organizations like Avoid the Stork (who made an appearance on the main stage), local churches, and of course, merch stands. Many of the other jewels of downtown Des Moines were available if one was in need of a break; the even was in the newly developed west side of downtown near the Des Moines Public Library, some coffee shops, and just a block away from the sculpture garden.
08/35 also offered other experiences for attendees that ranged from a plethora of foods, DIY crafts, and other booths that included lots of giveaways and even a Japanese Acupressure specialist. Aside from the food, there was also a “do it yourself” alley that featured local artists and their handicrafts.
A downpour of rain graced the festival on Sunday afternoon and although it may have but a damper on attendance, it provided an experience unique to this festival. Just as the forecast had promised Sunday concertgoers were greeted with a slight drizzle that began in the early afternoon and culminated during the performance by the Walkmen. Despite the weather, many people refused to be deterred by the rain, and instead braved the adverse weather conditions by unitizing everything from ponchos and garbage bags or even just plain standing out in the rain.
Sunday night closed after a soft and somber monologue of rolling thunder preceded the headlining performance by Modest Mouse. As the intermittent rain sliced through the colored spotlights, the crammed bodies of the pit pushed closer and closer as the show charged through the night. Almost everyone in the crowd was standing. It might have been a result of the waterlogged lawn, or maybe even because of ubiquitous sentiment that resulted from experiences shared by those at the festival. - Iowa State Daily

"The Workshy: the Ames Based Eclectic Jam Band"

"We just want to play the best show we can.” says guitarist Brant Williams when describing his aspirations for his band The Workshy and their performance at 80/35 this weekend. The members of The Workshy, an Ames-based jam band, are pleasantly laid back individuals with a friendly, positive attitude akin to most college students their age.
Onstage, their lively, high-energy performance might evoke references to the Grateful Dead or Phish, but in person, they’re average guys who “just want to make music.” They come from many different majors and still hope to earn a degree eventually, but for now are just going with the flow that comes with being a college-aged musician. Although Williams said the name of the band means lazy, they also hope to snag a tour or a contract one day.
“It might sound cheesy, but we’re playing it by ear. No pun intended.” says guitarist Danny Kratzer when describing their ambitions as an ensemble.
The group first began playing together in their junior high years as an alternative rock band with a repertoire that consisted primarily of Nirvana and Green Day covers. They continued to make music into their high school years at Valley High school where they acquired their current drummer, Evan Cokeley. They hope to snag a tour or a contract one day, but for now are content with focusing primarily on their studies. However, one may want to disregard their humility and take a look at their prolific history and performing schedule to fully appreciate their ambition as a band.
The band migrated to Iowa State, (except for keyboardist Peter Neel) and Danny and bassist Jiho Han continued to make music in the Maple Willow Larch music room. After a long winter of practicing in the dorms, the group finally got their first gig at the Ames Progressive in the summer of 2008. They officially became a band after their next gig at the Bali Stay House. “The Workshy came from an old band name that Jiho was in. We liked the sound of it and used it, it means lazy.” said Williams.
After officially becoming a band, they proceeded to book gigs like D.G’s Taphouse, Pappa’s Corner (now Headliners) and the Bali Stay House. They soon expanded beyond the Ames circuit to Des Moines venues and the Iowa City circuit .The Workshy booked many of their out-of-town shows through exchanging gigs with the friends they have made through shows they’ve played. The guys brighten up when they talk about the help they’ve received through the connections they have made. “We’ve been making friends with bands…we might play with them in Des Moines or they came to Ames to play they might ask us to play with them in Iowa City, so it kind of helps to make connections and do a little gig swapping.” said Brent enthusiastically. The guys of the Workshy stressed the importance of maintaining relationships with other bands and helping one another out to form a community of supportive musicians. One of the best benefits of this relationship is this occasional gig swapping.
They have also been establishing a following in the Ames and Des Moines area. They are very proud of their success and even threw in a plug for their sandwich that was once served at Planet Sub called The Workshy. It included a free demo CD with every sandwich order. The network of communication they broke into opened up many opportunities for the band. Their first big show with the Des Moines Music Coalition was Little Big Fest. This show exposed their talents and caught the attention of some of the influential members of the Coalition, which landed them one of the 5 recommended spots on the local band list for 80/35.
Inspiring a sandwich is not the only unique feature of the band. Perhaps one of the reasons that The Workshy stands out among local bands is their unique sound. Each of the members allies with a different style of music and they work as an ensemble to create a unique amalgamation of influences.
Initially, when asked how to describe their sound, each member had their own opinion on the influences and direction of their music. It appeared as if each of them had a different contributors that ranged from the soulful funk of Earth Wind and Fire, jazz, blues, and even some driven marching percussion influences. Eventually, the general consensus that the group used to described their musical style rested on what Danny called an “eclectic jam band.”
The group works to incorporate all of the different styles and influences of each of the members and craft a distinct sound that carries relics from almost every mainstream musical style. The term “jam band” refers to the method of organization and composition of their music. They focus primarily on improvisation over a specific musical form, rather than some of the more traditional methods of song structure. One of the most apparent features of the style is the length and development of instrumental solos. They are a far-cry from the shredders like Angus Young and Eddie Van Halen, and instead are more closely allied with the jazz masters who articulate extremely intricate chord progression and counterpoint. Overall, they are still a musically accessible group that “wants to make serious music” but not too serious.
Their set list for their 80/35 debut consists primarily of original tunes, but may include a cover song or two to spice things up. They even hinted at a surprise song along the lines of “something patriotic, we just don’t know yet.” as Jiho stated when probed about their set list.
80/35 will present the band with unprecedented exposure and organization that they would not be exposed to through most of the local shows. On top of being a part of a show produced on such a huge scale, they will be performing on the main stage along with the likes of the alternative giants, Modest Mouse and Spoon. Major shows like this one often help to catapult musicians into the mainstream and provide exposure and resume building experience that are few and far between. Although they hope to pursue a career as a band, they also have their degrees to fall back on, they often referred to jokingly.
80/35 is one of Iowa’s largest music festival and will take place this Saturday and Sunday at Western Gateway Park in Des Moines. The Workshy is playing at the Wellmark Main Stage at 12:00pm Sunday July 4th.
After the festival this weekend, the Workshy will continue to perform throughout the summer and the fall with gigs that include the Uniphonix CD release concert, Camp Euphoria, and a tailgating performance at the Iowa game.
- Iowa State Daily


Live at Vaudeville Mews (2009)


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The Workshy is a five piece band from Ames, Iowa that is getting known for their incredibly energetic live shows, and lively musicianship. Their variety of influences, ranging from jazz, funk, bluegrass, and blues as well as many others, combines to create an infectious blend of sounds, making for one of the most captivating and exciting shows around. Their music incorporates such an array of sounds that they have been asked to share the stage with band such as Radio Moscow, Family Groove Company, Mr. Baber's Neighbors, Useful Jenkins, and Jambang. Starting to play around Ames in 2008, they have been growing ever since, and have started to form a following around the Iowa music scene. Be sure not to miss The Workshy...