• Rockers The Real Nasty cram into the Jam
    Times Standard
    Rockers The Real Nasty to cram the Jam this Friday For those in the mood for some nightlife-nuanced southern rock, the Jambalaya will get sassy with The Real Nasty on Friday night. ”Back in April in Oxford Mississippi I promised a sweet young lady that she could come onstage and administer spankings to any willing man in the audience if she came back to our show that night,” said Ryan Lukas, the band's lead vocalist and upright bassist. “She showed up foxy-dressed with a crew in tow and set the night up right.” While providing the soundtrack of goofy circus music, the band and practically the entire crowd that night received pizza-paddle spankings -- then the spanker became the spankee! ”The poor Southern belle had no choice but to consent to a whack of the paddle on the behind,” Lukas said. “It was quite a sight to see her pretty face blush red as a rose! After that the whole bar was jumping, dancing and rocking.” It's wild antics like these that Arcata can expect from The Real Nasty on Friday. A group that has played in Humboldt before with local standouts like The Absynth Quintet and Strix Vega, the Oakland trio is indeed excited to come back. ”Humboldt is one of the best places to play music that we have ever been,” Lukas said. “People are really good at conveying their love for live music and every show we have had up north has had more folks out and has gotten us energized Advertisement and excited to come back.” In addition to touring nationally this year, the group plans to release a follow-up to their sophomore record, last year's “Stranger Than Friends.” The forthcoming new album “Dirty Dollars” actually started out as an EP. ”Recording began after we came off the road from our spring tour and we had more material tight and together than we had planned on so it is now a full-length album,” Lukas said. “It's more of the rock side of what we do -- the tracks are low-down, sweaty-at-the-grill, drippin'-barbeque-sauce style cuts with plenty of love and soul.” The group said they enjoyed mastering more studio techniques with “Dirty Dollars.” They switched to a full drum set, added extra percussion and more layers of instruments. ”We even have female background vocals from Humboldt's own Melody Walker,” Lukas said. The record will be released this fall. After the current tour, The Real Nasty will head back to the studio to put finishing touches on it. After that, they'll head back out for another six-week national tour. Definitely check out a band in Arcata this Friday that likes to party and rock the house. The Real Nasty will cram the Jam with good times. ”If you like music that rocks and swings and takes you places, where you want to dance wildly or listen and pump your fists, then you should not miss The Real Nasty,” Lukas said. “In a world of men we want to be the animals. Our original music tells stories of life, living, love won and lost and celebrates everything we know about incredible rock and good ol' country music. If you want to see musicians sweat hard to wrestle the truth from their instruments with fire their eyes and passion in their hearts then come to Jambalaya on Friday.” If you go: What: The Real Nasty Where: Jambalaya, 915 H St., Arcata When: 10 p.m. Friday Admission: $5, 21+
  • Music Junkies show review/interview
    The Real Nasty at Quixotes True Blue on 10/4 – Denver, CO I never expected a Tuesday night to sound so nasty. Especially considering that what came from the stage at Quixotes was a bit of an optical and aural illusion, which I will explain. The Real Nasty hit the stage announcing the fact that they are on a national tour. They did so with a sort of confidence and charisma that marks a band of motivation. Then they just got right down and nasty…all three of them. Ryan Lukas, Jacob Groopman, and Matthew “Smitty” Smith make up this powerhouse. I never got a chance to meet them all, but Smitty was the one to generously introduce himself with the gift of their newest record, Dirty Dollars. I was already excited to receive it before he gave it to me. It was hard to remember that I had come with a mission to review the music and performance of this group. I was having too much fun. But, there are a few things that I think you should know. First of all, I mentioned they are a bit optical illusion. That is because what you see is not what you get. What you see is three guys with instruments. What you get is easily twice that amount in sound and power. No kidding. Before I could classify their genre, I was noticing their synchronicity, too. They had deliberate stops that were extremely precise, like a recording. The set began with Lukas on upright bass and singing lead vocals. You are not going to see this everyday, folks. Totally classy. Their dual vocals and harmonies were spot on, and either Lukas or Groopman could hold his own on lead or backup with no problem. I started realizing it was like a blues sound with a dance beat mixed into one. Their solid grooves did not disappoint the ladies who were hopping with every beat. I was just mesmerized by the different styles they seemed to blend together. It made me stay intensely focused to see them continue to reveal more tricks up their sleeve. When they came out with harmonica and even a jaw harp, I was thoroughly entertained. I didn’t know whether to 2-step or jump around, so I did both. They continued to amaze as Smitty kept on his grooves, never missing a beat with the obligatory dropping of a stick. Groopman, while fond of heavy hitting guitar riffs, sure knew when to let loose and make his Les Paul or his Telecaster beg for mercy. When Lukas changed to a 5-string electric bass guitar, the band changed gears once again. I asked my friend what he thought of the band and he replied, “They have more than a hint of a rockabilly swagger.” They have a rather large dollup, in fact. I was happy that my analysis of their genre matched what I later found on their website. I definitely recommend you see this band live. Of course grab their record. But, like I said, seeing them live was a real treat. I suppose these gentlemen will win over many more audiences to come. It’s music you can sink your groove into. Your stray cat will strut while your hound dog will sing the blues. So real, so nasty. By Stephan Hume. The review was written by Musician/Writer/Co-Founder of Band Dynamics - Stephan Hume. Band Dynamics is a Denver music school that reaches out to the community in a unique way! If you’re ever in the Mile High City make sure you check them out! Interview Q: How did your band name “The Real Nasty” come about? Sounds like you guys were competing over some groupies, and “being nasty” came up in conversation. Being that “nasty” was a pre-requisite, someone said, “You don’t know nothing about nasty; I’ll show you the Real Nasty”!! Though I truly wish that the story involved a salacious groupie initiation ritual it is a bit less complex. Smitty (drummer) and I (Ryan, upright bass/vocalist) were living in a house in Berkeley with a bunch of other people. One morning I was outside having tea when Smitty pulled into the driveway, got out of his car and exclaimed ‘I have a great idea for a band! It’s going to be me on cajon, you on upright bass, and Jacob on guitar!’ My reply was ‘Dang, that sounds real nasty!… … that should be the name of the band! The Real Nasty!’ It was the easiest band naming ever. Q: Since you are currently on tour, what is the nastiest thing that you have ever seen or done while on the road? We’ve seen some pretty impressive armadillo road kill splatters driving across Texas… all’s I can say is that there is no end to the lewd and sexy places girls find to put our stickers on their bodies. Q: What is some advice that you can give that would inspire up and coming bands out there trying to make it? Stop whining and practice! We are musical force because we rehearse a ton, actually like each other and get along, and play music that we all believe in and connect with. Cut the bullshit and show what you got! Q: How did you guys get together and decide to form a band? The Real Nasty is Smitty’s brainchild. I’ve known him since college and Jacob and Smitty played together for years. He was tired of managing a 10 piece band and picked musicians with the best blend of musicianship, personality, and skill he could find. Smitty is a tremendous businessman & percussionist, Jacob is a consummate guitarist, booking agent & tour manager, and I have been writing songs & playing bass since I was a kid. With his vision and our willingness to see it through we have been able to make some awesome music. Q: What can people expect when coming to one of your shows? Dripping sweat, howling face melting guitar solos, pounding monster bass lines and heavy brutal beats that make your heart want to explode tempered with tight & funky swingin’ country style rockin’. You have to imagine the love child of Led Zeppelin & Johnny Cash sneakin’ down a back alley to share some whiskey with the White Stripes and Bill Monroe who are on the phone with the Black Keys and Zac Brown arguin’ about the best way to cook ribs. Q: For those that don’t know, Jacob Groopman and Ryan Lukas are both teachers. Have your former students reached out to you to express their thoughts (good or bad) about your success? Our students love & support the band and what student doesn’t benefit from the perspective afforded by having a touring professional musician as a teacher? The goal in teaching is to pass our acquired skills and knowledge along so the next generation of bands can rip just as hard- there is no sound or riff that is a secret. Quite a few of our students come out to gigs to dance, party and let us know what they like. Q: Matthew “Smitty” Smith, and Jacob are former members of the afrobeat band ALBINO. What was that experience like for you both? What, if anything, did you take from that experience and apply to The Real Nasty? Though it’s hard to answer for them I can say that both Smitty & Jacob learned invaluable music business skills with Albino!. You don’t get to play the Montreal Jazz Festival or get flown around the country if you have bad management. The success of that band was largely attributable to Smitty and Jacob’s ability to manage a large group of people and their keen sense in pointing the bandleader toward wise and profitable decisions. The two of them have built the business of The Real Nasty from the ground up and our growing reputation and tour schedule is a testament to their combined efforts. I don’t think The Real Nasty would have had so easy a time organizing legally and businesswise if those guys had not had the opportunity to help develop Albino.
  • Mostly Junk Food BLOG Show Review
    Mostly Junk Food
    If you’re into that soulful style of southern rock and blues, then I can safely say that this is one of the better bands that you’ve never heard of. Self-described as a power country trio, The Real Nasty is an Oakland, California based trio. But here’s the kicker… They play southern rock! Now I’m a southern boy myself, having lived in North Carolina and Tennessee for most of my life. But I despise country music. No joke, I literally can’t stand the stuff. But the Real Nasty is not actually a “power country trio,” as they say. Otherwise I would have just left their show Tuesday night. These guys caught my attention and really intrigued me. The Real Nasty does a real solid job of incorporating a little southern twang into their Skynyrd-meets-moe.-meets-Ben Harper-eque style of play (minus the slide guitar), but falls well-short of country music, and keeps within the realm of southern rock with that delightful west-coast spin. You can stream all of their tracks from all of their albums here, and can download directly from the website. The band is on tour right now to promote the release of their latest album, Dirty Dollars. I think the album highlights their unique sound. Incorporating elements of rock, country, blues, funk, and soul, the album sees blending of a ton of different musical styles that clearly draws from an enormous range of musical influences. I caught a show Tuesday night at Quixotes True Blue theater in Denver, and felt compelled to make you all aware of this band. First of all, the venue was fantastic. The crowd was small but that just made for a more intimate setting. Posters of the all-time greats (Jerry, Jimi, Jim, you name it, not just J’s) adorn the walls of Quixotes in masses, covering every available inch of the venue. Choice of venue? Excellent… But what about the show itself? The Real Nasty plays deep rockin’ music with the energy of wild animals sweating primal electricity and gets audiences dancing with abandon, pumping their fists with whiskey in hand. Their range of low-down dirty funk, to soulful blues, to “hey girl, get those pants off and come over here” sexy rock was delivered with a smile, a growl and groove. Booties were jiggling, my friends. Booties were jiggling. The trio is talented and versatile, and doubled up on instruments to add a little variety. They even pulled out an upright bass for a couple of songs… Bonus points in my book. Like I said, The Real Nasty just embarked on tour in support of their 3rd album, Dirty Dollars (released 9/30/11). Wherever they’ve been, it’s been love at first listen for audiences. The band turns heads. Check out their website. Below is a list of where they are touring. If you get the chance, I highly recommend spending a few hours at one of your local bar/venues and checking these guys out. Though not off of Dirty Dollars, this track, Leave it Alone, is my favorite that I’ve heard thus far. But I intend to listen to these guys a lot more.
  • The Real Nasty Joins an Elite Club
    Tim Parsons: Tahoe Daily Tribune
    The Real Nasty is matriculating across the nation with a goal of becoming a rock 'n' roll sensation. The word “matriculate” gained a new definition when coach Hank Stram was hooked up to a microphone during Super Bowl IV and he used it to encourage his team — “Let's just keep matriculatin' down the field, boys.” The word works for the Bay Area trio who, since coalescing in 2009, are making steady progress. The Real Nasty just completed its first national tour, is working on its third full-length album and on Saturday will debut in the prestigious Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room when it opens for Tacorum. “I'm just psyched that other bands are interested in having us play with them,” said Ryan Lukas, the band's singer, songwriter and upright bassist. “It's really been a big part of all the touring that we've done. It's been really important being friends with other bands and working together as a musical community instead of competing for a precious spot.” The Real Nasty, which has played a number of South Shore shows, plays a blend of rock and country. Its first album contained two discs, one country, the other rock. It followed up with the 13-track blend of both styles in “Strangers and Friends” on the Ninth Street Opus record label, which is how the music is presented live. Lukas said the Real Nasty was well received on a spring tour through the Southwest all the way to the East Coast up through North Carolina and Virginia. “People have found the thread from country and our rock, and I think we're starting to refine that as well,” Lukas said. “We've been working on the rock stuff a whole lot lately. Things are leaning a little back in that direction these days.” The long tour gave the band time to refine its songs for a month of studio sessions, an extended benefit of being signed to a label. “It made going into the studio really easy and fast,” Lukas said. “We've had very little editing because were all so familiar with the material.” The band will remain close to home this summer, performing mostly in California, so it can finish mixing the album to be released in the fall. In the meantime, the Real Nasty can celebrate a victory. It is joining an elite club of bands who have played in the Crown Room, such as the Derek Trucks Band, Jackie Greene Band, the Nevvile Brothers and Umphrey's McGee. What's the real definition of the verb matriculate? To admit or be admitted into a group.
  • Nasty Boys
    SF Weekly
    You're forgiven if you're a bit sheepish about typing "The Real Nasty" into Google, but rest assured, the local trio soundly defeats the porn industry on the first page of results. (You're on your own if you choose to dig much deeper.) The reward for discovering the countrified rock outfit is pretty great: Its music playfully stomps through the same fields once occupied by Led Zeppelin and Johnny Cash, and there's even some Pixies-esque weirdness to keep everyone on their toes. All three members have plenty of experience under their belts — drummer Matthew "Smitty" Smith (who plays a homemade cajón percussion set) and guitarist and singer Jacob Groopman used to play with Afrobeat ensemble Albino!, while bassist and singer Ryan Lukas did time in Persephone's Bees and Guns for San Sebastian — and it shows in songs that confidently strut, rattle, and roll. The Real Nasty continues to support its debut album, Paper City, which was recorded live in two days. "Recording live is always a bit nerve-racking, but we had put in long hours rehearsing and were excited to be there," says Lukas, who also keeps busy as an adjunct private instructor at Santa Clara University. "I think we did a good job of presenting where we were with the music and our style at that point. Since then, we have played a bunch of gigs, been on tour and back into the studio, so we hope to be bringing it like a stampeding herd of bison."
  • Too many bands talk about their "sound" as if they've gone and single-handedly revolutionized pop music.
    J. Poet, The East Bay Express
    Too many bands talk about their "sound" as if they've gone and single-handedly revolutionized pop music. Few groups ever really do anything new, so tip your hat to The Real Nasty for actually coming up with a fresh approach. The trio includes acoustic bassist and singer-songwriter Ryan Lukas and electric guitarist Jacob Groopman, but the wild card is Matthew Smith, who plays cajón, the Peruvian hand drum that looks like a packing crate and combines the sounds of kick drum, conga, and snare. The album is divided between rock and countryish tunes, with the cajón sounding most innovative on the country ones. It adds a subtle Latin swing to the Johnny Cash bounce of "The Surprise," a hint of funk to "A Pretty Nice Place," and turns "Never the Plan" from a typical country shuffle into something more puzzling. The rockers are carried by Groopman's inventive guitar work and Lukas' new wave-flavored bass. "Time to Lounge" is a melodic punky rocker and kiss off to an ex, with an ironic edge. "K C's Blues" lives up to its title with Ryan's howling blues vocals and electric guitar, while "I Don't Love You Anymore" is a poetic, R&B-flavored ballad enhanced by Lukas' whispered vocal. The nastiest song is "Bad Medicine," an R&B-meets-country thang with a killer opening line: My girl's on drugs, and I am too. (Opus Music)
  • "Paper City" captures The Real Nasty’s gritty, live performance in a studio setting
    Heavy Connector
  • The Real Nasty is rockin' and makes me so happy that I actually want to be a better human being.
    San Francisco Chronicle SF GATE
    The Real Nasty is three members and Paper City won't disappoint. They're stripped down with guitar, upright bass and utter, sonic delight.
  • Berkeley's The Real Nasty is a trio that blends folk, rock, blues, and country into a hard-hitting package.
    East Bay Express
    Its energetic playing is driven by an amazingly precise rhythm section made up of percussionist and Cajon player Matthew Smith and stand-up bass man Ryan Lukas, with Jacob Groopman supplying lead line on a bare-bones Telecaster setup -- one guitar, one amp, no effects. Lucas writes fine original songs and can growl like a bluesman or croon like a Nashville cowboy to deliver them. The band's impressive debut, PaperCity, is a double EP that was recorded live, no overdubs, in keeping with the band's in-yer-face philosophy.
  • The Real Nasty in Tahoe
    Tahoe Action news!
    Somewhere between “Downtown” and “The Sticks” you can find the Real Nasty. The Berkeley band is comprised of musicians whose other projects hardly resemble what is heard on its CD “Paper City,” which will be given to everyone who pays a cover charge this weekend. It’s two EPs in one package, with “Downtown” being rock ‘n’ roll and “The Sticks” country. It sounds like a cross between New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Refreshments. A really detailed listener might even find Weezer meeting the Latin Playboys. One band member compared the hybrid sound when the two styles are mixed during live shows to Uncle Tupelo. “We found it’s solidly split that the girls like the country and the boys like the rock,” said Matthew “Smitty” Smith, who plays a cajon, a percussion box with African origins first popularized in South America by slaves and their descendants. “It’s fun for me to play the rock stuff because it’s so far removed from what the instrument I’m playing it on is typically used for.” Smitty and Nasty’s Telecaster guitarist Jacob Gropman also plays in an Afrobeat band, Albino. Upright bassist and songwriter Ryan Lukas played together with the Flux, a jam band familiar to numerous Tahoe venues. “The members of the band have played every room from Crystal Bay to the Auld Dubliner to the Divided Sky and MontBleu,” Smitty said. “Tahoe’s one of my favorite places to play on earth and I’ve probably played in 100 different cities. We’re ecstatic to be bringing this project up to that neck of the woods.” The Real Nasty’s sound might not be a surprise considering Smitty was trained in Afro-Cuban and West African music but grew up listening to rock. In an attempt to find a record label, the band recorded several songs but had difficulty with sequencing. The members elected to make two CDs — one country, one rock. “You have to be creative to have people even look at your CD these days,” said Smitty, who had to make a “paradigm shift” by shortening songs to five minutes or less. Opus Music Ventures liked Real Nasty’s two sounds, and have signed them. Another CD is in the works, probably again with the different styles on separate CDs. Both sounds will be presented during this weekend’s live performances.