Smokey the Groove presents the party challenge


Smokey the Groove bandmates combine rock and funk with some jazz tunes. Photo credit: Sean Martens

“If we were a TV show we would be Sesame Street but if Sesame Street met the band from the Muppets,” explains the talented group of goofballs who make up Smokey the Groove.

The group reminisced over burgers about how their band met, the group dynamic and revealed a proposition that they have for Chico State students.

Smokey the Groove is made up of local musicians who all met in Chico but have since brought their groovy music to places across the west coast. The sound can mostly be described as light-hearted psychedelic rock with a side of jazz. What makes this group stand out is their large stage presence of not only instruments but band members as well. The band currently consists of six people: Austin Farwell on vocals and bass, Eric Jones plays the guitar and Byron Drumming plays the drums, who says he likes the drums because “drums have that ADD sound to them yet they flow.”

But what really ties out the group is their set of jazzy horn players. Dean Simcox plays the trombone, Kevin Killion on saxophone and Miles Van Housen brings it home with the trumpet.

“We started out as a group of four but the thing was we wanted to stand out. We needed that one thing that would set us apart from the rest of the bands in Chico,” Simcox said.

The band admits they didn’t think making the group larger was the thing that would set them apart but are very happy with the results. The men have played everywhere from Portland to Santa Cruz, and their favorite venue is the Bogo in San Francisco. The close-knit vibe of the group makes it evident their relationships with each other are just as harmonious as their music.

“A lot of us met in high school and have been friends for a long time,” the group said. They began by just doing renegades and jamming at each other’s houses. Then they started to play at Simcox’s family business Art., Etc.

When asked about what influenced their band, the guys looked at each other as if they despised the question.

“It’s hard to say because we all have favorite artists we grab from but mostly we just play whatever we think sounds good and is fun,” Van Housen said. “We say funk but we aren’t really funk, we are more rock with horns.”

The group explains that they are always told that they look like they are having a blast on stage. This is their key to spreading positive energy from the stage to the audience.

Currently, the group is looking for a new location to practice but they have an interesting proposition for college students.

“We are popular in the Chico music scene but are trying to reach out to students as well,” Van Housen said. “This being said we want to present a challenge. We want students to know that we will play at any party as long as its huge. We want to jam at the biggest, most fun party and we want everyone to be included. No frat stuff. We want everyone to be able to bring their friends and we want to bring our friends.”

The group can be reached through their Facebook if students think that they have what it takes to party with the Groove.

Nicole Henson can be reached at [email protected] or @nicohenson on Twitter.