When the members of Jackrabbit Slim came together out of their love of New Orleans music two years ago, they had no idea what fate would have in store for them ... It all started with an informal jam session in the fall of 2003 with Greg Heaney on guitar, Brian Kesley on bass, and former member Ricky Darmanin on drums. The three quickly added vocalist Ryan Sweeney and pianist Paul Viers to the mix and Jackrabbit Slim was formed. Their first show was a bash for a good friend's birthday at the legendary Maple Leaf bar on Oak Street opening for Big Sam's Funky Nation. After this success, they laid down a demo that apparently turned people on, because it got them into the Battle of the Bands, which they took third place in. Not bad for a second gig. For the rest of the year they played two big shows at Tipitina's Uptown and continued writing and recording material. Then the band lost their drummer and musical inspiration when Ricky left New Orleans to return to his native Puerto Rico. Luckily, the band's best fan, Nikolai Giefer, was also a phenomenal drummer, having grown up in the Santa Barbara rock scene. He settled in and the band began to play their packed energetic live shows right away. A major stroke of luck occurred when Greg was working in John Snyder's office (John Snyder is a multiple Grammy award winner and professor of Music Industry Studies at Loyola New Orleans). Taking a rare moment to relax in the office, Greg was playing some of the demo on his computer when Snyder happened by. 'Who is that? That's pretty good,' said Snyder to Greg. 'Why, that's my band Jackrabbit Slim, Mr. Snyder,' replied Greg proudly. 'We're taking you out to Dockside Studio as a school project, let's set it up for next month,' was Snyder's response. Knocked completely out of their socks at this opportunity, the fellas began to practice and write with fervor previously unknown to them. By the time they got to Dockside, they were prepped to lay down tracks for their first record. After a whirlwind weekend, eight songs were recorded onto 2-inch tape and ready to be mixed as the band's first record. However, the band was unsatisfied with the bare-bones arrangement of the record as it was, so they took the tracks into their school's studio and began to lay down overdubs to flesh out the songs. Over the next couple of months, with Greg behind the board working knobs and dials, the guys recorded percussion tracks, vocal harmonies, rhythm guitar, bass fixes, and even a cello part for the album, courtesy of one of their classmates. Another stroke of luck struck the band when another teacher and multiple Grammy winner, Trina Shoemaker (engineer, Sheryl Crow), offered to help them with their mixes. Eagerly accepting her offer, the long mixing process was begun in the spring of 2005. After finally finishing this grueling feat in June, Greg, Ryan, and Paul took to mixes to John Fischbach (engineer, Stevie Wonder's 'Songs in the Key of Life') at Piety Street Studios who mastered the final version. The college boys were looking forward to their junior year, Greg was eagerly anticipating having a steady job with Snyder's company, and the band was to release their CD to their New Orleans crowd in the fall of '05. Katrina changed all that. She ripped through the gulf coast mercilessly, leaving the boys without a school, Greg without a job, and all of them without homes. Most bands would have broken up. Most band members would have gotten depressed and gone their separate ways. Not this band, not these band members. After spending the first few days of the hurricane crisis in Houston, Paul's hometown, the band was determined to stay together and come to the aid of their fellow musicians and their hometown in any way that they could. 'Let's do a tour to support the Red Cross and Habitat For Humanity!' 'Let's donate half of our CD sales to help New Orleans music survive!' 'Let's go to Chicago!'
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