With more than 100 years combined playing experience, it’s hard to find three seasoned musicians as hungry to try something new as Terry Harper, Earl Truette and Charlie Snuggs.
Perhaps that’s why they call themselves SHARKS.
“It’s a new incarnation of what was once called The Party Sharks from way back, and we didn’t want to do that again so we just went with ‘SHARKS’,” said Snuggs, the group’s guitar player.
Building from the rhythm section of two of the area’s most well-known cover acts — the Coco Loco Party and Most Wanted Country Band — SHARKS came to be when the three longtime friends decided to spin off on a new project about three months ago.
“I’d seen Charlie and Earl, met them, watched them and never had the chance to play with them, so I talked them into coming to play with Coco Loco and Most Wanted and luckily they returned the favor by letting me do this with them,” says Harper, who plays bass with SHARKS.
“This group is cool because we’re all great friends. It gives us a nice break from the show band and the country band,” adds drummer Truette.
Shedding the costumes and well-worn cover tunes of their other projects, the trio set out to create something where they could have a little more freedom to play what they want to play.
“This is our musical expressions, whereas the other jobs we’re playing dance music or we’re doing this or that and this is really a chance to jam with no boundaries,” Snuggs said. “We’re all about the freedom to jam and play blues and just have fun with what we’re doing here.”
Running with an idea Snuggs had been contemplating for some time to do a “Phish-type jam band” Sharks takes the jam-band mantra of extended instrumental sessions and free-flowing play and gives it an old-school spin with hints of Classic rock, Blues and Country.
“We do play some Blues and we’ll go there when we have Blues players with us but it’s really a jam band underneath, where we’re really just trying to stretch out our jams and do things as we go,” said Truette.
“It’s like Widespread Panic meets Albert King,” added Harper.
And while the mash-up of styles may be a new formula to fans, it was something that came very naturally to the guys in the band.
“There’s a magic and a cohesiveness that just comes automatically with us. It was pretty special the first time we got together,” said Harper.
It’s this cohesiveness, combined with years of knowledge and experience that allows the guys the ability to play without a defined structure and gives them the chance to experiment and continue to learn from one another.
“The way we play it’s not about memory, it’s about feel. We don’t call a song or a key, somebody will just start going and we’ll just kinda fade into the show from there,” said Snuggs. “It’s really just about finding a groove and listening to the other players and if somebody leads you somewhere then you go with it. You don’t play with any real beginning or end in mind you just kinda go with it and you feel it out along the way.”
Also adding to the group’s jammy vibe is the fact that the SHARKS regularly incorporate other locals musicians into the fold. Players such as multi-instrumentalist Jaynie Trudell, guitarist “Kid” Drew Voidevich and vocalist Jackie Beaumont all sit in with the core trio from time to time.
“We’re really trying to take a high-energy approach to what we’re doing here,” said Snuggs.
It’s this energy that Snuggs thinks will help the band reach out to a younger, hipper crowd and draw the interest of some different fans around town.
By reaching out with regular gigs at places such as Bourbon Street and Kono Lounge — venues they wouldn’t normally see on the party band circuit — the SHARKS hope to expand on the niche they’ve created.
“We’re trying to get together with some other bands doing similar things and those that are promoting Blues music as well,” said Snuggs.
Based on the success of events such as the Bono Productions showcases at Kono Lounge, “Spider” Webb’s Boogie Blues Revue at Duck’s Beach Club and the Blues Express Reunion at 2001 Entertainment complex last year, Snuggs sees a growing market for this type of music in the area.
“It seems to be drawing right now,” he said. “It’s like an actual show, not just a bar band. We’re doing it in nice places and we’re really starting to get a good response with trying to build up the Blues,” he said.
Check out SHARKS Feb. 1 as they host their first Blues Jam Night on The Stage at 2001 Entertainment complex or check out details of their show Feb. 3 at Kono Lounge with Jaynie Trudell.