It’s Sunday, April 14, and the six members of The Groovy Boys are riding high off their recent success as first-place winners in the Student Association Programming Board’s annual Battle of the Bands. The musicians sit around their Downtown apartment, instruments in hand. Acoustic foam lines the walls and instrument cases litter the room. “I didn’t think we would win,” guitarist Eric Sabshon, a senior majoring in business administration, said, and yet through a combination of technical skill and band chemistry, the funk and jazz fusion band is on its way to Spring Fling, where they will open for Playboi Carti and GoldLink.
The band is comprised of Sabshon, bassist Rob Castriota, a senior double-majoring in economics and business administration, trumpeter Jake Zall, a senior double-majoring in business administration and music, keyboardist and saxophonist Levi Matza, a senior majoring in environmental studies, drummer Ryan Lupia, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience and vocalist Ben Palmateer, a junior majoring in music. While students might recognize some of the members from past bands Gnarwall and Pool, The Groovy Boys has become their new focus.
According to Matza, the band started off as a side project for many of the members.
“Groovy Boys was always more of an improv group where we could do fusion stuff and hone our technical skills,” he said.
The friends joke around over the prospects of being a wedding band and reminisce over their early days when a three-hour show would be preceded by a two-hour practice.
“[Those days were] like the Eric Andre show, it started off almost memey, this past year we realized we had so much potential in this,” Lupia said. “What’s cool about this band is we do whatever we want, we were never here to be super serious — it’s just to have fun. Our name is the Groovy Boys, there’s no way we’re taking ourselves seriously.”
Matza started the band through his uncle, a drum teacher, using his musical connections to meet Castriota. Castriota was a member of the band Pool with Sabshon. Zall and Palmateer came from the band Gnarwall, where Matza was also a member. Lupia, Sabshon’s cousin, came on as drummer. Songs are usually written by Matza, who says he starts with a rough idea of what he wants and then meets with the other members to create a finished product.
“I don’t ever really set out to specifically write something, I’m just playing and having fun,” Matza said.
Matza added that the band hopes to start recording over the summer as soon as time and finances permit.
“We played one original song at Battle of the Bands, we’re definitely looking forward to making more music,” he said. “We’re going to find the time over the summer and release something.”
Sabshon says that the band has helped its members grow while having fun.
“We’ve all gotten better as players and musicians over the four years that we’ve been in the group, and we’ve had a lot of fun times, it’s always a great time when we get together,” Sabshon said.