Local Band Spotlight: Great Time

in SF Local Bands by

How did you come up with the name of the band?
In college, we made a poster with a bunch of buzzwords on it like “Courage, Respect, Good Attitude, Great Time” etc. We overheard someone in the hallway say “what’s Great Time?” and we thought ‘might as well make it our band name’

How would you describe your sound?
When forced to select a genre, we tend to choose Alternative. It’s definitely a mix of all of our influences.

When did you first become interested in playing music?
I really became interested in playing music in middle school. I played the flute. Then in high school my interest for music grew and I started playing alto sax in bay area community programs at SF Jazz and the Berkeley Jazz School. Then I went to college at The New School in NYC and that’s where I met my band, Great Time… and we’ve been creating music together ever since.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
There’s so much to this story, but I’ll try to keep it brief. We show up to our “venue”, which is actually a nondescript warehouse in east Philly. After finally getting a hold of the “venue owner”, we start loading our gear into the building. We follow him down a long, cement hallway, past a couple churches and a boxing gym, and around the corner, we enter through an unmarked steel door. Inside our “venue” we find the dingiest office imaginable; it was an old graphics company that had gone out of business, all white walls, fluorescent lights, and no A/C.

Then the owner says “I’m just going to take this wall out real quick”. We thought he was kidding…he proceeds to begin demoing the drywall from the center of the room. As the entire room fills with dust, the lone man’s team eventually shows up (all two of them) and they begin hauling scrap wood and old desks out. At this point, we are 1 hr from doors opening and no audio equipment is present, nobody has sound checked, and all of the bands are loaded in. Everyone has the same look on their face, the classic “is this actually happening?” look. After a brief conversation with the other bands, we all decide it would be best to cancel the show…several disappointing phone calls later, we were back on the road and on our way to the next gig.

What are you listening to these days?
Oh man, I’m always listening to so many different artists, but I just made a playlist on Spotify and it included: Little Dragon, Anderson Paak, Altopalo, Amber Mark, Aphex Twin, Incubus, Beck, Mahalia, Jimmy, Todd Terje, Bobby Caldwell.

Here’s a link to the playlist.

What’s your take on why so many musicians are leaving San Francisco for Oakland?
I’ve been away from the Bay for a minute, but my guess is that the rent is too damn high in SF…

What are some of your favorites hangs in the Bay Area and why?
OK so this is the North Bay but Creekside Bakery & Cafe in Novato has some of the BEST FOOD in the bay area. Danny Jordan is the head chef there. He’s actually a really great drummer, trumpet player and organist too. We grew up playing music together but his food is to die for. Every time I come back home, Creekside is my first stop for some avocado toast and a cookie 🙂

Gordos in Berkeley is my favorite spot to catch up with friends and eat a huge, TASTY burrito!

Along with various food spots, my favorite hangs are outdoors: a nice hike on the Palomarin Trail to Bass Lake is a fav, a walk in Crissy Field, strollin’ in Tilden Park.

What does music mean to you?
Seeing as music is literally in every aspect of my life (I write it, perform it, record it, teach it, listen to it, share it, dream it) I can’t imagine my life without it. I’ve found that music is the truest way I can express my inner self, my inner thoughts and feelings, my joys and my sorrows and everything in between.

How’d you guys first get together to play music?
We all went to college in NYC and jammed one day in a practice room. Everything just immediately worked. We vibed really well with one another.

What inspires you to write?
Life. Other people’s lives. My life. Colors. Pictures. Sounds. Everything.

What’s your favorite neighborhood in the city and why?
Well, it’s ever-changing that’s for sure… but growing up I was always hanging out in the Fillmore district. Strolling around with my friends before a show at Yoshi’s or Rasselas (which is no longer there!) for some dancing!

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
Most people are surprised when they hear I got my degree in Alto Sax Jazz Performance. No sax made it on our record but maybe next time. Who knows!

Is there anything you’d like to plug?
Our debut record, GREAT ALBUM, just came out this April and we are touring the west coast in June! We’ll be headlining at the Ivy Room on San Pablo Ave in Albany on Saturday June 23rd!

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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