Tampa Bay 4-piece COPE is heading out on a bunch of weekend warrior tour dates coming up, and that means warm weather vibes, groovy tunes, and smiling audiences all around. Their songs often incorporate a wide variety of diverse styles and embellishments, but it all ends in a scintillating batch of well structured tunes that’ll get you happily bouncing along to the melody and rhythm offered by the players.
Fusing rock, reggae, jam, and roots music into an audio conglomeration of epic proportion, COPE offers lively, danceable, and friendly live experiences, coupled with years of musical experience, to make them a sure-fire bet for an enjoyable evening of live music! Make sure to check them out when they hit your town, and bring someone along with you to share the experience.
Though they’ll mostly be sticking around the southern areas this time around, I’m looking forward to catching the group back up our way in New York State, every moment wishing they’d bring some of that Florida sunshine with them. I caught up with guitarist Dennis Stadelman to talk about the current batch of dates, their lengthy performance history, their take on live taping, and what we can expect from them in 2013!
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! If you could, please introduce the members in the group… Who is everyone, what do they play, and where does everyone come from?
D- Hello! No problem. Kenny Stadelman bass and vocals, Dennis Stadelman guitar, banjo, and vocals, both from Akron, Ohio. Juan Montero keyboards, saxophone, and vocals, San Juan, Puerto Rico y Tampa, Florida Dave Gerulat drums, vocals
G- Right on! So, how long has the current lineup of COPE been a full-time band, and can you tell us a bit about when you first got started and how it compares to now? Do you remember the moment that you really felt this lineup of the group “click?”
D- 4 years. We’d been playing with a similar lineup for a few years. But about 3 years ago, on some big stages, it began to take shape.
G- Very cool! Now, COPE has roots in Ohio, but you’re a Florida band at this point. I bet you don’t miss the snow too much! Can you tell us a bit about Florida’s music scene for your perspective… How is the scene and how are the responses at your shows?
D- It depends on the town. Gainesville, Fort Lauderdale/Miami, Jax beach are all developing some good scenes. We get really good responses all over Florida… We are at home and have a huge Cope family here in Tampa bay! And no… Do not miss the snow!!
G- Send some of that warm weather and sunshine our way if you would… Getting mighty cold up here!
So what can we expect from COPE for 2013? Do you currently have, or are you working on, any releases right now? When will you be heading back to the studio, or on the road a bit closer to where I am in New York? Anything currently in the works or fun stuff up your sleeve?
D- We have 2 releases (Going Home… Released Oct 2009 and See… Released Aug 2011)
We’re currently working on a new album due out spring 2013. We’re doing 2 shows in Pennsylvania early December. Closest we’re getting this year.
G- Would you consider COPE to be a party band, or generally pretty mellow pre/post performance? What kind of beers and booze do you want people bringing up to you onstage this time around?
D- We’re pretty mellow these days. We like to be in our heads for the performances. However, there’s nothing wrong with a tasty craft beer now and then!
G- Dig that! There is always time for a good beer 🙂
So, what should your fans, both old and new, expect of the performances when you guys hit the road? Should we expect any new material or special appearances, and what should some of the first time listeners expect to see when you take the stage?
D- Expect everything!! We try to touch all genres, energy levels, stage shows, new stuff, old stuff, but always a great time!!
G- Very cool. So, to get a bit depthy for a minute, can you describe for us a bit about what your writing process is like? Who in the band typically comes up new music? Do you have a primary songwriter, or do you write music more organically through jamming during rehearsals?
D- We all write. Sometimes all together through jams, sometimes separately, but we always arrange everything together in an open discussion situation.
G- Can you give us a few examples of any bands or artists in particular that influence your style? Who do you typically like to listen to, and are there any acts you think we should know about?
D- The Beatles, The Funky Meters, The Police, The Dead, James Brown… pretty standard stuff. Various jazz, reggae, bluegrass, you name it. Not sure of anyone you wouldn’t know of.
G- Ok right on. So, are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future? If you could pick a feasible Dream Bill that includes 3 bands and yourselves, who would they be and why?
D- Definitely. For me it’d be The Allman Brothers, Umphrey’s McGee, and Yonder Mountain String Band
G- Lol nice! That’d be a stellar show for anyone to check out!
What would you say is the craziest or most memorable show that COPE has played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
D- Wanee 2012. Thousands of people in the crowd, great response, amazing feeling!
G- Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
D- Always make sure you’re headed in the right direction at all times. It’s easy to become stagnant.