Band of the Week: Instrusaurus

Meet the band: Todd Sharp (electric, acoustic and baritone guitars), Jamey Haddad (drums, percussion), Sean Jones (trumpet, flugelhorn), Joe Miller (trumpet), Jeff Caimpa (bass), Shea Pierre (piano/keyboard), Howard Levy (harmonica), Johnny Cochran Jr. (baritone and tenor sax), Dave Thomas (Hammond organ), Larry Galloway (trombone), Paul Christensen (saxophone), Bobby Selvaggio (alto sax and arrangements), Jay Ashby (arrangements).

Straight Outta the Backyard: An original member of the James Gang, Ronnie Silverman was inspired to put Instrusaurus together when he witnessed a band of veteran local musicians playing at a backyard jam session in 2004. "I had some songs that I wanted to release as a compilation — instrumental versions of classic tunes from the '60s," says Silverman, who put Instrusaurus together last year. Todd Sharp and Jamey Haddad were the first ones on board and then former James Gang members Jimmy Fox and Dale Peters got involved. "We just gradually put the other players together and went into the studio last year. The band quickly put together their own sound."

On the Future: If the string of upcoming live shows goes off smoothly, the guys might head back into the studio to cut another album. "There is that potential," says Silverman.

Why You Should Hear Them: Equally capable of playing surf rock ("Pipeline") and funk/jazz ("Watermelon Man"), these guys are incredibly eclectic. They're at their best when they let it fly, like they do on the rollicking original tune, "Mind If I Smoke?" Great chops don't mean much without great production, and Peters deserves a shoutout for handling those duties. He makes the whole thing sound razor sharp. Expect to hear most of the first album during the first set of this weekend's shows. The second set will find the band jamming with its musical friends, including Fox and Peters, who'll lead it through three James Gang tunes. Fox and Peters haven't performed together on stage since the last James Gang reunion in 2006. The James Gang tunes will also feature horn arrangements for the first time. And the set will also feature the live debut of a tune by veteran session player Paul Christensen.

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Instrusaurus performs at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, at the Savannah, at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 16, at the Kent Stage, at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, at Nighttown and at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 18, at the Beachland Ballroom.

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About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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