MEET THE BAND: Dreadlock Dave (vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, drums, ukulele, piano, woodwinds, brass, sitar, percussion)
IT ALL STARTED WITH A UKULELE: Dreadlock Dave, who grew up in Olmsted Falls, took ukulele and piano lessons at age 5. "Both my parents were musically inclined," he says. "At that time, it was popular to take piano lessons. I just took lessons from the neighborhood lady. That's how I got started." That piqued his interest in music, and he eventually became president of his high school band. "I played three different saxophones in high school," he says. "I played the flugelhorn and sousaphone too." He then learned to play woodwind and brass instruments while studying jazz and electric bass at the University of Akron and Cuyahoga Community College. He released his first album in 1999. "I played all the instruments on that album," he explains. "I just wanted to produce my own music. I can't remember how many songs are on it, but they were the first songs I had ever written. I put it together and went for it." As a solo artist, he now regularly plays about 200 shows a year.
A SELF-PRODUCED MAN: For his fourth album, Shine, he started writing songs in the past year or two. "I'm just continuing on to spread the positive vibes," he says when asked about his approach on the album, which he recorded at his home studio. "It's all self-produced. That's the Prince influence. I want to play and record and engineer and do everything myself. I wanted to continue with that process."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HIM: Shine opens with the funky "Come and Get Down." The frenetic opening number then gives way to "Time Flies" and "Open Your Heart," mellow tunes with percolating synthesizers and mid-range vocals. Dreadlock Dave gets back to the funky stuff with "Equilibrium," a song that about gentrification, and "Lemonade," a tune with a thick bass riff and distorted vocals. "My influences are so wide ranging," he says. "My favorite music is funk and jazz and the fusion of that. I like Sly and the Family Stone and all the funk artists. They weigh heavily on my heart, but I record whatever comes out of me at the time. I don't have a plan. From the other side of the coin, I'm a huge Joni Mitchell fan, and I like folk music." For the release show at the Music Box Supper Club, he's put together a three-piece band. "It's a power trio with bass, drums and keys," he says. "I think [the release show] will be a one-time event and a special thing. It's not like we're a band. I put this lineup together special for the show."
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM: dreadlockdave.com.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HIM: Dreadlock Dave performs at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 22, at the Music Box Supper Club.