Florida band The Groove Shack books Space Coast gigs
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Wearing green earplugs in a rehearsal room at The Groove Shackinstructor John Bridges broke down a musical riff from “Bulls on Parade” for the Tone Deaf Pedestrians, an enthusiastic rock band made up of energetic kids ages 11 to 16.
“Looks like there should be an extra note, but it’s weird: Dah-dah-duh-dah. BAEF-sharp,” Bridges sang, mimicking the musical phrase from Rage Against the Machine.
Despite their teenage years, the Tone Deaf Pedestrians are becoming veterans of the Space Coast music scene, attracting attention to places they’re usually too young to enter. They won the Battle of The Groove Shack Bands showcase in March at Social Distance in South Patrick Shores, beating 10 student bands.
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They also scored a pair of high-profile spring concerts — the WFIT Sonic Waves music festival and a Space Coast Young Professionals happy hour — at Intracoastal Brewing Co. in Eau Gallie.
Tone Deaf Pedestrians was founded in the fall of 2020, and Bridges called their rapid evolution “incredible.” They rehearse and take lessons at The Groove Shack, a music school in Satellite Beach that trains about 300 children in a converted medical office building on State Road A1A.
“They started practicing with their mothers. So it went from once a week to one hour a week. Now they get together two or three times a week,” said Bridges, an adult who sings and plays guitar with Brevard County bands Zeddemore, Tank Top, Smashing Pixies and the Bradley Rodriguez Band.
“They’ll come in, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, we’ll have to relearn this whole song. It’s like, ‘No, they already have it,'” Bridges said.
Brock Wollard, who founded and owns The Groove Shack, played drums as a youth in the Stone Middle School jazz band. A former history teacher at Heritage High, he started the melodious business in September 2017 in a 10-by-20-foot storage unit off Tomahawk Drive in Indian Harbor Beach.
“So our original Groove Shack was literally an actual shack. It was a 200 square foot one-room unit,” Wollard recalls.
Today, Groove Shack’s Satellite Beach House measures 5,000 square feet with an array of classroom and rehearsal rooms.
“We come from very humble beginnings. There is no major funding. I literally scaled it myself, all my own money, everything,” Wolard said.
“We started small. We built that. And we literally teach kids how to play in bands. And now those bands are taking over the county and you can see them everywhere,” he said.
“We’re creating the next wave of bands to be featured on Brevard Live and the Space Coast Music Festival. Now you can catch our kids all over town, which is really, really cool,” he said.
In recent years, Groove Shack has hosted multi-act concerts in Melbourne, including “Grunge Shack: Celebrating the Music of the ’90s” at the former Open Mike’s Coffee Lounge, “Groovestock ’21” at Iron Oak Post and “Time Warp: A Musical Journey Through the Decades” at the Monkey Bar.
The burgeoning Space Coast music festival added an entire Groove Shack stage in November, providing a premier platform for young musicians in front of thousands in downtown Eau Gallie.
The Groove Shack stage featured jazz bands from Kennedy Middle School and a trio from Brevard County high schools: Viera, Melbourne and Eau Gallie.
And bands groomed by Groove Shack hit the stage: Tomorrow’s Reign, The Groove Kids, Critical Condition, Tone Deaf Pedestrians and headliner Nilah Lois.
“They were very popular. In fact, they drew a large crowd. And it really set an amazing tone for the festival,” said co-organizer Steven Spencer, who sings in punk-metal band Sixty Foot Giant.
“It’s the next generation. Where do you start? You start in your garage band. And the great thing about The Groove Shack is that they provide that garage band opportunity for these kids,” Spencer said. .
The members of Tone Deaf Pedestrians are drummer Harper Millband, a West Shore Jr./Sr. Eighth grade student; guitarist Jake Hodges, an eighth grade student from Delaura Elementary; keyboardist Ryder Criddle, a sixth-grader from Indianantic Elementary; and bassist Gavin Chapman, a Viera High junior. He is the grandson of the late UFO guitarist Paul Chapman, who taught at Guitar Haven and Florida Discount Music in Melbourne.
Another group on the rise: The Groove Kids. They followed June’s gigs at the Cocoa Village Concours and AMVETS Post 893 car show in Rockledge with a July 1 show at the Rubix Cafe in Melbourne, opening for Deserted Will and Sandman Sleeps.
Then there’s singer-songwriter Nilah Lois, who headlined the Groove Shack stage at the Space Coast Music Festival. During a recent school session, she coached the vocals of 14-year-old Eve Looby, a West Shore Jr./Sr. Sophomore who practiced singing “Thank You For the Venom” from My Chemical Romance and “Don’t Stop Believing” from Journey.
“(Nilah) started with us when she was 12. And we produced her first EP when she was 13. She’s 15 now, and now she’s actually working here,” Wollard said.
“So not only does Nilah take lessons here, but she also teaches here. And that’s sort of the new model that I want to push forward – kids who grew up at The Groove Shack eventually start teaching at The Groove Shack, before I even moved to college,” he said.
Lois performed at this week’s Vibe Tribe Thursday Music Art Session at Pineapples in Eau Gallie. She will take the stage on July 15 at Iron Oak Post in Melbourne.
“My goals would just be to go around the world, play everywhere,” Lois said, holding a Les Paul and sitting on a piano bench in a rehearsal room at the Groove Shack.
Rick Neale is the South Brevard Watchdog reporter at FLORIDA TODAY (for more of his stories, click here.) Contact Neale at 321-242-3638 or [email protected]. Twitter: @RickNeale1