Ginada Pinata. Have you heard of them? They’ve been a staple in the local jazz/funk/jam scene over a super long period of time, and they are awfully good. They are also going to be at The Blue Side on Friday night, and it’s definitely in your best interest to check it out. We recently caught up with drummer Jesse Shultzaberger to talk about what it was like to play The Barns at Wolf Trap, when we can expect new music from the Shepherdstown quartet, and why The Opera House is such a a great place for local music. The fun starts at 9:30 p.m., friends. Honestly. You won’t want to miss this.
Take us back to the beginning. How did Ginada Piñata get together in the first place? How long have you since been together?
Ginada Piñata originally formed in 1998. The band was Sam Jannotta on keys, Matt Lewis on bass, myself on drums and Patrick (Packy) Roland on turntables. So at the time, we were really hitting that acid jazz vibe with a D.J. in the band. We played around the area for years, had a monthly gig at Firestones in Frederick, and were playing D.C. a couple times a month. Around 2000, we added Ken Bussey on guitar. Ken and I had grown up together and he was the perfect fit for us. Shortly after, Packy left the band and we’ve been a quartet since.
Your Facebook page says you guys have played at the Barns at Wolf Trap – that’s a pretty big deal. Can you tell us a little about that? With whom did you play and how did you guys land the show?
The Barns show was great for us since we were able to make new fans. We opened that show for a friend’s band called Aubergine 3. They were very much into a similar sound as us. Sometimes, it’s who you know. That definitely got us that show.
It also says that you released a record in 2001, “Talking To The Boss.” Any plans to record soon? Why or why not?
We have started the process of recording again at Unger Studios here in Shepherdstown. There are five or six tunes that are on the table. A digital release and an EP are hopefully in the near future.
What’s your perception of the local music scene in and around Frederick/Shepherdstown currently?
We are lucky to have a lot of talented musicians in our area who make up a strong community. All these players feed the scene as well as push each other musically. There are tons of jams happening where you can meet new players. Just last night, I went to Cactus Flats to the blues jam and then came down to The Blue Side for a Grateful Dead jam. If I had wanted to, I could have gone to multiple jazz jams. The music is there if you want it. Beyond that, there are incredible bands passing through at places like The Opera House, The Blue Side, Cafe Nola, and Town Run Brewing Company (in Shepherdstown). Really none of this would be possible if not for all the people who come out week after week and for the clubs that hire us.
Who are some of your major influences and why?
Definitely Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis; those artists really inspire us. Also groups like Soulive, MMW, James Brown, The Meters and the reggae sound. Really, we want to make funky music that’s fun to play.
Can you give us names of some bands we need to check out that we maybe haven’t seen yet? Who are you listening to the most these days?
Volfpek is a new band who is doing some cool stuff. Also Snarky Puppy and Leon Bridges. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the new Galactic album, Chick Corea Trio, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Lettuce.
Where are some of your favorite places to play and why?
The Opera House in Shepherdstown is one of my favorite places in our area. The sound and room are amazing. Larry Cumbo, the owner, is a super cool guy who treats all the bands with an incredible amount of hospitality. The Blue Side is also great. They have that nice big stage and the crowd is fun and laid back.
What does 2016 look like for you guys?
We have some great shows coming up. We’re at The Blue Side on Friday, and Domestic, in Shepherdstown, on June 3. We’ll be playing Shepherdstown Street Fest in late June. Then in September we’ve just been added to Deep Roots Mountain Revival at Marvin’s Mountain Top near Morgantown, West Virginia.
And, of course, what can we expect from your show at The Blue Side?
We’ll be paying a mix of our originals and some fun covers. Basically, the plan is to get super funky and have a dance party.