Two New Year’s Eve shows set
and Greg Ericco on drums).
“We just had to find the right people to get the sound as close as we can to the original Family Stone,” Martini said. “Now we have all the pieces of the puzzle and we’re just gonna move forward.”
That includes new members: guitarist Nate Wingfield, bassist Blaise Sison, vocalist Trina Johnson and keyboardist/ vocalist Alex Davis filling in for Sly Stone.
The funk-rock sound that led the band from playing clubs in San Francisco during the late 1960s, to putting out hit records, to rocking as a headliner at Woodstock along with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, is unique, and current band members have no problems not playing new music and focusing their set instead on the hits of the past.
“We knew that we were totally different (from what was happening musically back then),” Martini said. “We knew that Sly was the greatest music writer I’ve ever met, or ever seen in my life. His lyric writing, his content, what he did with harmonies.
“I Want to Take You Higher,” “Hot Fun in the Summertime” and “Family Affair,” are all on the group’s current setlist, as well as some deeper cuts from what some critics, including this writer, see as one of the most poignantly beautiful albums in rock music’s history, the 1971 classic, “There’s a Riot Going On.”
With “Riot,” “the music got a little darker, which was representative of all the turmoil that was going on (in the band and in society) at that time, but it’s still brilliant,” drummer Greg Ericco said during the same recent interview. “The songwriting is just ... I mean, there’s stuff that is five generations removed from today, but the kids are still out there at festivals wherever we go in the world and they’re into the music and they understand it, and it’s amazing.”