Photo and text by Stephen Maloney via Offbeat Magazine:
The band, led by John “Papa” Gros of Papa Grows Funk fame and featuring Alex McMurray of the Tin Men, Jake Eckert of the New Orleans Suspects, Casandra Faulconer of Cowboy Mouth, and Russ Broussard of Susan Cowsill’s Band, is overflowing with an eclectic mix of talent.
While Papa Grows Funk was in full swing, Gros would occasionally pull together a hodgepodge of available musicians to host what he called “Papa’s Special” nights, which were outlets for the musicians involved to play music that didn’t fall within the scopes of their respective regular bands.
Gristle Candy started out as one of those groups, but quickly became something more when the band started to gel almost immediately.
“It’s one of those things where the chemistry exceeds everybody’s abilities,” Gros said. “Even on our first night, it was so apparent. It was just a treat playing some really good stuff with some really mature players.”
Gros said he recruited the other members of the band because he really likes their individual musical output and gets along with them as people, so the instant musical chemistry has grown out of that feeling.
“It all fell together that first night,” he said. “Someone told me who was there ‘I was at the first Papa Grows Funk gig, and this had that same kind of magic.’”
While the members of Gristle Candy are all treating this as a side project, they are having so much fun that this configuration will continue, Gros said.
While there have been no new songs written specifically for Gristle Candy, each musician has delved deep into their own back catalogue to unearth songs that didn’t fit in well with other projects.
“For my stuff, I would say it’s more along the ‘groovy rock’ sound, as opposed to the ‘hard funk’ sound,” Gros said. “It’s just something different that I haven’t really been able to do in a while. I want to be able to exercise all of these different musical personalities that I have and share them with people, and this one just really worked out great.”