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!
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.