Q: When did the band form?
A: I've know (bass player Mike Sallemi) probably for about five years. We tried to get a band together (and) it kind of fizzled out. We stayed in contact over the years. We were both coming out of other projects and got together on this Banjaw thing with a guy named Bob Kresslein. He's been in other projects, too. I met him probably two years ago. We decided we would just form a band and see what happens. It's been fun. It's kind of like old friendships came together, and (we) decided we could make something out of it.
Q: Where do you play?
A: We (got together) a little bit before the beginning of the year. We spent a little bit of time getting stuff ready. Right around the first of the year, we started going out and gigging. We've gotten some really good responses. We've had a lot of support. We (played) over at the First Capital Dispensing Co. In my opinion, (it's) one of the central spots for York's music scene. We're trying to help them build up this Monday night thing along with some awesome bands. The Plums and Hexbelt and Redeye are all on the Monday night rotation, along with Garrahan's Ghost. We're looking forward to the summer time when we can get outside a little bit. I'm personally really looking forward to some sunshine.
Q: So is there a rotating schedule?
A: We're rotating on a monthly basis. Right now, Banjaw is there every second Monday of the month. I can't tell you what the other band's schedules area. I'm pretty sure its just between four or five bands doing the Monday night thing. And, of course, First Cap has music a lot of other nights, too.
Q: How did you come up with the band name?
A: We had thrown names around over a long period of time. For lack of a better name, we were like, "Well, it's a band, y'all." We just kind of shortened it down and made it Banjaw.
Q: How would you describe your sound?
A: I would call us a ... kind of jam band. I wouldn't go as far as calling it jamgrass or bluegrass or newgrass, but more of a stomp blues grass. We have tons of musical influences. We do everything from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Pure Prairie League to Old and in the Way. (We do) straight bluegrass all the way down to dirty blues and (anything) in between as long as we can put a good thump and a good harmony to it. We have a little bit of everything in our shows. We like to have fun. We like to stomp our feet, and the more we can get the crowd involved, the better time we have. But we'll also take times in our shows for some nice, soulful music. We work on our three-part harmonies a lot. We like ... to show that off.
Q: Are you planning an album?
A: We get a really good response (to) our originals. Right now, we have about 12 originals on our lineup. But we have many more that we're working on. We try to explain our originals to the crowd. At the same time, we'll throw some covers in there and have fun and give the crowd something that they like to hear and know. Eventually, it would be mostly originals. We have almost a full album's worth of originals practiced and ready. (An album) is on the horizon, but it's not immediate because we have so many other things going on right now. We have some of our own recording software, so we'll be throwing out a couple hints here and there.
Q: How does your song writing process work?
A: I'd say I write the majority of songs. Then, I come to the band with an idea. I show them what I had, and then we will practice it the way it's presented. We will record it and take a listen to it and make some changes. Because of who we are the instruments we play... things tend to grow and change the more we play them. Really, a song is never done with us.
Q: What do you see happening in York's music scene?
A: It seems like everyone's ideas are starting to become reality. People are coming together, and it's really cool to watch. We're constantly taking pictures of the fans and trying to (shoot) some video and trying to involve everyone (in) the scene. Something's happening in York. And when it pops off, it's going to pop off with a really big bang. It's just now starting to hatch.
Contact Erin McCracken at 717-771-2051.
If you go
Banjaw will perform Monday, April 14, at First Capital Dispensing Co., 57 N. Pershing Ave., York. Hear them every second Monday of the month. Check First Cap's music lineup at firstcapitaldispensing.com.
About the band
Members: Shane Haddaway, Mike Sallemi and Bob Kresslein
More band interviews:www.flipsidepa.com/music