Grimace Federation creates morphing, sonic, textured movements which groove and swerve pleasantly between the progressive and the old school. Built from an improvisational fusion guitar trio (guitar, bass, drums), Grimace used lush chords and raw drum n bass beats to develop a funky jazz tweaked indie-rock sound that rocked house parties across Philly. In an effort to continually change, always staying dynamic and heavy, the band added a 2nd drummer, a New York vibraphonist and a fretless bassist forming the lineup that is Grimace Federation today. Now the quintet crafts complex and subtle instrumental pieces that are as deep as they are classic; referencing Radiohead, A Tribe Called Quest, and Stereolab as much as George Harrison, Ry Cooder and Art Blakey. The sound is an aesthetic that is truly unique.
Chris Wood // Drums
A born and raised Philly drummer, Chris does… well… you just have to see the man play. A natural talent, Chris has developed an idiosyncratic style that displays rhythmic mastery while doing things with the drums that simply cannot be described – there are not yet words in the musical lexicon that apply what this man does. Employing a unique setup that includes everything from old jazz kits to children’s toy instruments and samples, he draws the audience’s attention with his fanatical moves and his deep dedication. He has been playing in local bands for years, and still participates in many side projects. He is not an undiscovered talent – he is a talent that is being discovered every time he plays.
Jon Wood // Drums
Jon subtly compliments Chris with a vibe that only lifelong siblings can share. A subtler and jazzier drummer, John carefully interweaves his kit with Chris’ to create a powerful and full sound that instead of dominating, perfectly integrates with the rest of the band. The meticulously tight interplay between drummers is a sight to see.
Wes Schwartz // Guitar
Raised in Philly, now stationed in NY, Wes is the well from which the band draws most of the ideas that the band evolves into songs that become truly group written. This guitarist has demonstrated that he can bring the soul of improvisation to the deceptively subtle structure in Grimace Federation. Effortlessly alternating between jazz voicings and driving post-rock lines, he brings soul and grit into the mix.
Xack Xweig // Vibraphone/Keyboards
A native of New York, Xack got his formal training at the University of Pennsylvania in orchestral music, and met Wes at an open mic jam session in Olde City Philadelphia in 2001. An expert multi-instumentalist musician in every respect, Xack is the member of the band who provides technical expertise. A mathematical mind, a bit of craziness, and a flare for the dramatic give this vibes player a style of playing that is thoughtful and assertive, harmonic and percussive. Xack also creates his own music under his own name, playing and layering every instrument imaginable. These adventurous and emotional tunes, in more or less the same musical realm as Grimace, are available at our shows and will be soon be here on he website.
Erik “Ralphie” Malmgren-Samuel // Bass
Also Philly born and raised, is not officially trained on much of anything. This all around natural has always taught himself, and has always yielded styles that are all his own, and he brings this to his fretless style in Grimace. He has played in side projects with members of The Disco Biscuits, Russo Benevento Duo and The Ally. In line with the spirit of the band, this player believes the limits to what you can play are the limits to the imagination of the band. His playing is vicious and thoughtful.