Eric Foss -- the honcho at Secret Stash Records and drummer for Sonny Knight the Lakers -- recently invited City Pages to “watch the sausage get made" at the band's rehearsal space.
And you know what they say about that.
After watching the local throwback soul/R&B dynamos prep for Saturday's record-release party at First Avenue, and having the chance to speak with Foss and Knight, we can safely say that nobody should be turned off by what they're cooking up.
We're even more excited for Sonny's new album, Sooner or Later, and hungry to see Saturday's brassy party at First Ave.
Chad Werner: What kind of sausage is Sonny Knight & the Lakers?
Sonny Knight: Hot sausage.
CW: And what ingredient of the sausage are you?
SK: I’m the spice!
CW: I’m embarrassed I asked that, so getting back to the music, what’s different this time around with Sooner or Later? The sounds, the images it conveys ...
SK: Well, my idea is that whatever we’re doing, the fact that we’re still alive and sucking in air… is that if you’ve still got time to be in this world, sooner or later you’re gonna get whatever it is you wanna get, or whatever it is you’re trying to build up and have, you know? That’s the idea of Sooner or Later versus [2014’s] I’m Still Here. Yeah, I’m still here, so sooner or later, if I work hard, I’m gonna get mine.
CW: Was I’m Still Here a statement of purpose? From a fan’s perspective it sort of fell out of sky. You hadn’t been making records for a long, long time.
SK: Yeah, the fact that these guys chose me to get out and lead the band. Being the age that I am, and still being here to do it is what that is all about. What could the next one be? Sooner or Later, I guess, because I’m gonna get it.
CW: I’ve been watching the video for the song “Sooner or Later," and there is a circle. You get beat at pool, you’re having a shitty day, then have a good show, get paid, and then you go back to ...
SK: Get my money.
CW: But what if you lose again?!
SK: Then, I’d have to go make some more money to go back again. Sooner or later, I’m gonna beat this guy.
CW: That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?
SK: It’s about whooping that guy at pool.
CW: Tell me about the live show you guys are putting on these days. I heard things are getting larger, more people are getting involved…
Eric Foss: We will be joined for a portion of the show my old friend James Grear and his large vocal ensemble. No joke, I think I cried a bit the first time James Grear and Company sang with us in a rehearsal.
James and I used to work together at a small label that sold among other things, lots and lots of old black gospel records. It was through that gig that I was exposed to so much gospel music, and I absolutely love that music to no end. The bigger horn section is cool, two drums will be something unique and high-energy, but James Grear and Company will make your hair stand on end.
CW: What are you most looking forward to regarding this Saturday’s record-release show at First Avenue?
SK: The end of the show? [Laughter.] No, no, it’s just that whenever I have to play for the home audience, I feel doubly full of ... oh my God! You know, it’s the hometown crowd here versus being on the road. I’m anticipating doing the best show that we can do. I think that with James Grear and Company, First Avenue is going to be off the chain fun.
EF: We love adding anything extra to our show whenever we can. This weekend we're adding two dancers, Aneka McMullen and Alissa Paris. Honestly, dancers are the first thing I want to add anytime we can, which we've done three other times now. I think they really help inform the crowd of how they should move with the music. It is probably the most effective way to notch up the party.
CW: Beyond First Avenue this Saturday, what’s next?
EF: Tour, tour, tour. Now that the new album is coming out, it is time to get out there and support it.
CW: Any last words of wisdom before you get to work making the sausage?
SK: People who I grew up with are passing away now, and that’s a wakeup call. Better hurry up with this sooner or later thing, because [you] might not be around. Tomorrow ain’t never promised, so do all you can today, and do it well.
Sonny Knight and the Lakers
With: Nooky Jones, Big Dave & the Ripples
Where: First Avenue
When: 7 p.m. Sat., Oct. 8
Tickets: $15-$17; more info here