Whiskey Hill
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Whiskey Hill

Band R&B Funk


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"Whiskey Hill Blues Band"

Posted Fri April 30, 12:48:58 PDT 2004
By Sarah Rizk and Margie Sarna of The Campanile

Students and teachers crowded around the deck at the end of last month when the Whiskey Hill Blues Band (WHBB) had their third performance at Palo Alto High School. Yet their audience extends far beyond those who know them personally, and they can be found at bars from Mountain View to Sunnyvale on Friday night Ââ€" center stage. Though they will soon be parting ways, their unique style and incredible talent have been a source of entertainment and fun in the community.

WHBB originally formed in the year 2000 when members Giorgio Cafiero, Adam Carter, Nathan Eberhart, Adam Kurihara and Luke Li were freshmen at Paly. Back when they first performed at school, the band's name caused a stir among Paly administrators due to its alcohol reference. However, the name was derived from Whiskey Hill Road, where one of their guitar teachers lived. Since then, the band has grown to include Paly seniors Alex Emslie and Max Ghenis and Paly junior Eric Sundhiem, as well as Gunn senior Will Magid. In addition to adding members to the group, many of the members have switched instruments over the years. They have branched out with their styles, but they've always stayed "true to the blues."

"We've always been influenced by soul, but we've become intensely more funky," singer and guitarist Carter said.

The band currently plays "funky blues music" and includes a trombone, tenor saxophone and trumpet, which add a jazzy feel to their songs. In combining different music genres, the band members have looked to various artists for inspiration.

When it comes to funk, WHBB strives to emulate both Maceo Parker and James Brown. Other musicians that have affected their music include Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Wilson Pickett, Stevie Wonder and Eric Clapton.

For the members of WHBB, playing is not only fun, but socially rewarding.

"It's great when people at school tell me that they like my band and my playing," Carter said.

Although the band has written three original pieces, the majority of the songs they perform are covers of other bands. The band's favorites include their cover of "Mustang Sally" and the cover of "Hoochie Coochie Man," as well as their own song, "Smell da Funk."

"Smell da Funk" was a combined effort on behalf of the band members. Carter wrote the lyrics, while Emslie and Magid developed the bassline. Kurihara contributed the chords to the chorus.

Starting their freshman year, the band has made numerous appearances on the Paly Quad, but has advanced to gigs in local bars and other venues. The band enjoys playing on their home turf at Paly but enjoys the enthusiasm of the more engaged audiences at their concerts away from campus. WHBB can also be seen performing at private parties and charity events.

"We have a great time," Cafiero said. "People of all ages enjoy listening to our music." Currently, the band performs about every other weekend, while they practice a minimum of once a week.

Cafiero has stepped up as the band manager, organizing gigs and contacting all the members with scheduling information.

"You really learn you have to plan things in advance," Cafiero said. "You can't really procrastinate when you have to organize things."

So far, this planning and organization has given them the opportunity to showcase their musical talents all over Palo Alto and the Bay Area. In the upcoming weeks, the WHBB will be performing locally for what may be the finale of their four-year progression.

"We're really not sure what the future [of the band] will be," Cafiero said.

One thing about the future is sure, though: The band will spend this summer touring the west on their "Farewell Tour," stopping in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada during early July. Since the band is mainly composed of seniors, they will be heading off to different colleges and will not be able to play together during the school year.

Still, many of the members look forward to joining new bands in college and exploring other types of music.

"I want to play music for all my life," Carter said. "I never want to stop playing." - The Campanile on April 30, 2004


Still working on that hot first release.



Whiskey Hill was born in 2000 when some high school friends came together in a Palo Alto garage to jam some classic soul music. Eight years later, they have incorporated blues, funk, Motown, and R&B songs into their repertoire, keeping audiences dancing all night long. The band's classic soul covers and funky originals attract a diverse crowd and a variety of venues. They have played various venues throughout California as well as three interstate tours.

Whiskey Hill has played hundreds of shows at clubs, bars, colleges, festivals, competitions, private parties, and more. Some past venues include Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco, the historic Whisky-A-GoGo in Hollywood, and Jazzbones in Tacoma, WA.

Featuring a killer line up complete with two guitars, male and female vocals, horns, bass and drums, Whiskey Hill performs originals and covers from artists such as Stevie Wonder, Muddy Waters, James Brown, The Doors, Aretha Franklin and The Temptations. Some original pieces include "Smell Da Funk," "Texan Whiskey," "To the City," and "Viper Lounge."

With a newly seasoned EP and a continually growing fan base, Whiskey Hill cooks up high energy horn lines, notes sauteed with soul, and entertainment that is finger-lickin good!