Artist of the day: Little Sheba and the Shamans
Little Sheba and the Shamans are a ’60s garage/soul throwback act featuring members from a myriad of Bay area bands (Six Volt Rodeo, Hairdresser on Fire, Jump Salty and Twisty Chris and the Puddin’ Packs, to name a few).
The members — Ari Little, vocals; Christian Little, bass; Joe Van Horn, lead guitar; Dennie Carter, drums; and Paul Mallett, rhythm guitar — have been together four months and have performed at the Pasco EcoFest and Copperheads Tap House in Safety Harbor. On Friday night, they will add New World Brewery to the list.
The group, sans Van Horn, phoned us to introduce and tell us a little about themselves.
How did you all end up getting together to form Little Sheba and the Shamans?
Christian Little: We all are and have been in other local bands, so we all know each other from the local music scene and being in each others’ bands in the past. We all just kind of started brainstorming a new focus, bounced it back and forth, and kind of landed on this.
What was that focus?
Christian Little: We’re trying to focus on early rock ’n’ roll; not necessarily rockabilly, but influenced by that. We’ve all been in rockabilly bands and things like that, but kind of like on the rhythm and blues and soul side of things.
How did you come up with your band name?
Ari Little: I was pretty much going through the dictionary trying to find things that weren’t already taken. It is not very poetic, but basically it wasn’t taken (laughs). It kind of had the feel we were going for: An authentic ’60s garage or soul band.
Are you often asked if you are Little Sheba?
Ari Little: Actually, no, no; I haven’t gotten that too much. It was kind of a joke, too, because I’m actually pretty tall.
You mentioned that you’re going for a particular sound. What influences said sound?
Carter: Stuff like Stax/Volt, Sun Records, even some Motown … That’s all old stuff. New stuff, maybe like Norton Records. I don’t know if we have any agreement on any particular bands; it’s more of a style thing.
Having been together only four months, how have audiences reacted to you thus far?
Ari Little: This will be our third show. The reaction’s been pretty good so far. We haven’t messed anything up too badly yet, so we still have time. (laughs)
What have you learned from those shows that you have added to or subtracted from your performance?
Ari Little: I think we need to practice our stage moves. We might have to start coordinating some stuff.
Ari Little: Yeah, pyrotechnics!
What is your songwriting process?
Christian Little: So far, our songwriting process is nonexistent. We do straightup covers right now. Some of ’em are pretty obscure, and it might confuse people into thinking we write things.
Ari Little: Shhh … You’re supposed to let them think we write them (laughs).
Christian Little: So far, it’s just songs that we like we’re covering and trying to nail down a sound. Hopefully sooner rather than later, we’re gonna start writing things along these lines. A new twist on old sounds.
Little Sheba and the Shamans will perform with J.D. Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers and Geri X at 9 p.m. Friday at New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8. For more on the band, search for them on Facebook.
-- Aaron Lepley, tbt*