QUNICY, Calif. — Chicago-based funk group The Main Squeeze won’t be Chicago-based for long. In a matter of months they will be making the long move from Chicago to Los Angeles, where the group recorded its new album, “Mind Your Head.” After seeing The Main Squeeze live, producer Randy Jackson offered to fly the group to LA, rent the studio time, and produce an album for them. The process took nearly two years and each time they flew to LA they became more enamored with the idea of living there full time.
Now, the album is due out in September and the group will be making the move in January. However, these aren’t the only changes the group has on its docket. The members of the group are also working on evolving their sound from jam-based to a little more song-based.
“Working with (Jackson) as a producer, we learned a bunch and our mindset changed when it came to songwriting,” keyboardist Ben Silverstein said, “we used to write for the live setting and jam a lot, now we’re trying to write more for the studio and consolidate our songs into four or five minutes. We want to write songs that are timeless.”
While this might seem like a transitional period for the group, they are, by no means, unfamiliar with change. After meeting at Indiana University the group moved to Chicago three years ago to pursue music more seriously and in doing so had already taken steps to write songs that separate themselves from the jam-scene they’ve grown up in. On the group’s self titled album, the songs “Where Do We Go” and “Dr. Funk” feature a more commercial approach to arrangement and production, Silverstein credits singer Corey Frye for that.
“Ya know, Corey’s our leader. He brings a pop-sensibility to the whole songwriting process.”
The group’s transition is anything but awkward. As they took the Vaudeville stage at High Sierra Music Festival they continued to explore and improvise songs in the style they’re known for but also featured catchy choruses and involved the crowd in funky sing-alongs, flashing glimpses of their future while keeping their roots in the past.
It’s a winning combination. Frye’s voice is effortlessly soulful and built for the kind of hit records that bury themselves in your head and guitarist Max Newman has the chops, taste and flair to build a cult following in the style of Jerry Garcia or Trey Anastasio. Playing to each strength provides a clear path to a bright future The Main Squeeze and supplied one hell of a show for all in attendance at High Sierra Music Festival on July 3.