On The Spot Trio (OTS) Returns With Funky Grooves on “Hefe”

I first saw On The Spot Trio (OTS) when I moved from the Sierra Foothills of California to Santa Cruz on the coast. My marriage had tanked, and I wasn’t stoked. I spent days trying to figure out the next move. But I was in Santa Cruz, it could have been way worse. I connected with some friends and began the healing process and, ultimately, never left. One night all those years ago, a friend invited me over to Funk Night at the Crepe Place, a local bar/restaurant/institution that becomes a music venue at night. I’ve been a lover of good funk for a very long time, so I decided to go. I really like that late 60’s early 70’s vintage Funk where there’s that audible fuzz somewhere in a cable or something and it feels, I don’t know, warm. If you know that sound, then you KNOW – the 45’s that no one has ever heard of. They’re all funky but have an underpinning of Jazz to that keeps them respectable. The B-sides and rarities that just ooze soul more than the stuff that was made for the radio. It’s not slick, it’s greasy. When I walked in the Crepe that night, THAT’S what I heard. It was loud, it was organ HEAVY and tinged with psychedelia and was just smoking hot. I quickly came to find out that the band was local, and at the time it was comprised of a couple of my soon to be friends Danny Mayer and Jeff Wilson (guitar and drums) and Kris Yunker on organ. You ever had that feeling when you hear a band for the first time and there’s something about it that just feels like home? Yeah, it was like that. But that was seven years ago. 

I got to know the guys for a couple years until they moved back east. Danny ended up in Philly and went on to play with the Eric Krasno Band and his own project with Marc Brownstein from the Disco Biscuits named Star Kitchen. I think Kris went to Massachusetts and he went on to play with The Alan Evans Trio and Jen Durkin & The Business. Jeff stuck around Santa Cruz until he left for Nashville last summer after being tapped to head out on the road and play with Futurebirds as their drummer. But Danny and Kris always came back, even if it was only for a minute, to OTS. The band never went fully dark, there were some blindingly bright EP releases along with 2014’s Shag (which is a killer from Big Ol’ Dirty Records). This new single, “Hefe” (after Jeff’s nickname) – there’s just something about the sound of it. It reminds me of those Funk Nights. I get wistful. It was written on our local beaches, and has that sunny, psychedelic jazz feel that compliments the study funk base like two sides of some kick ass coin. This song grabs that ten year ago spirit by the scruff of the neck and runs it out of the past and drops it right into our quarantined present and not a minute too late, either. 

For “Hefe” Danny and Kris pulled in longtime musical brother and drummer Mikey Carubba (Turkuaz) to lay down beats on this one and it was produced by Alan Evans himself who said of the song, “Since the first OTS session I recorded 10 years ago to no, a lot has changed but the one thing that remains the same is my love for these guys and the music they make. Hefe is another timeless OTS song that will, like the band, stand the test of time. “And Hefe is out today anywhere you get your music. Go check it out, go check ALL the OTS stuff out! Another single from the old days, “Soquel” should be hitting the street this summer, but we can talk about that one later. 

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