Members: Grant Caldwell, guitar and vocals; Dave Force, percussion and backing vocals; Shaune Gardner, bass and vocals; Mitch Roberts, guitar
Who we talked to: Gardner, 49
How did you guys meet/how long have you been performing together? I've known Grant and Mitch for quite a number of years, and I've actually been in bands before with both of them. Grant had actually been in bands with Dave 25 (or) 30 years ago. I actually brought the band together by just kind of knowing everybody.
Describe your sound/style? We do classic rock, Southern rock, some country (and) some folk rock (covers). Everybody in the band sort of comes from the same kinds of backgrounds with (some) varied interests, which actually gives us the sound that we have now. We sort of take an old classic rock song and smoke-ify it. So you won't really hear those songs quite like they are. We'll take a song for instance . . . by Johnny Cash . . . and sort of modernize it to where it gives it a little bit more oomph and it can be appreciated . . . by a wider range . . . of people.
Who are your influences? Our influences range from traditional country . . . to the British invasion type of music (including) Cream and Eric Clapton. We kind of cover a lot of the bases. My influences, personally, would be you know Led Zeppelin and Bad Company and The Who.
Were you in area bands growing up? I've probably been in 25 different bands since the middle of the '70s. The most famous band that I've been a part of was back in the beginning of the 90s. (Twist of Fate) was fronted by a female named Peyton Turner, who was just recently on ("Rock of Love 2"). She's actually in Nashville and has a . . . music contract. Being a bass player, I've played everything from what I'm doing now to . . . modern alternative . . . grunge (and) . . . country. (Bob Noble) has a side project where he's doing a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young tribute band. I'm actually in that as well. I actually look like David Crosby. My life hasn't mirrored his life, but (the tribute) band is actually made up of seasoned musicians from all different bands in this . . . regional area.
How did you come up with the name? It's just hard to come up with a truly original name that you're not already stepping on someone else's toes (with). Grant actually threw out the name Smokin' Section. I looked it up on the Internet, and there's actually a Smokin' Section . . . out of Pittsburgh. So I just said, "I can just put an 'x' instead of a 'c.'" Then, we came up with the idea on our logo to actually use . . . two guitar necks to make the "x."
Where do you play in the area? On Feb. 27., we're at Zingers (Sports Bar) in Dallastown. We (played) there the day after Christmas, and it was packed. We're looking forward to a triumphant return. (Laughs)
Like any other local bands or musicians you've met over the years? I think Bob Noble . . . is a fantastic guitar player. I'm friends with a lot of other musicians in the area. There's another band called Stone Blue. I actually do sound for them when I'm not playing myself. I like . . . acoustic music as well. I go . . . to see a band named Copper Sky.
How has the local music scene changed during the past 25 years? The thing that I'm worried the most about from the changes I've seen is that because of the economy a lot of clubs are cutting back on the amount of music they're having. The club owners right now . . . are opting for DJs and karaoke over live music, and it's a shame because there are so many good bands.
Is hard to balance working with a band? The two guitar players both work second shift, so it's tough for them. They have to take a night off on a Friday . . . but on Saturdays we either rehearse or play a job. I've been laid off from my job since May of last year. I've been looking for . . . a regular job, so I've had more time to put into my music. That's why I'm trying to book as many of these Saturdays . . . as I can. I would love to just be able to play music and make a living out of it. That's a tough thing to do especially if you're not touring . . . a part of the country. I'm a firm believer that if you work hard and play your music well, it doesn't matter what genre of music you play, people will enjoy it from all walks of life.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF
If you go
See Smokin' Sextion play at 9:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at Zingers Sports Bar, 3008 S. Queen St. in York Township. For details, visit www.myspace.com/zingersquick6.
On the Web
For details about Smokin' Sextion, visit www.myspace.com/smokinsextion .
To listen to the interview, visit www.flipsidepa.com.
To read more meet-the-artist interviews, visit www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory.