Grease Factor: A musical pot of funky, finger-lickin jams,
by Lorne Chambers
The greater Allman Brothers family has always spawned spin-offs and
side projects. Some have grown as big as Govt Mule, while others
have been a one-tour experiment, like Matt Abts and Johnny Neels
X2 (experimental duo), which passed through Charleston last year.
Neel, who has played keys for the Allmans in the past, is particularly
restless. Hes participated in a variety of these spin-offs/side
projects, including Blue Floyd, the aforementioned X2, Gregg Allman
Band, Dickie Betts Band, and his own band Johnny Neel and The Last Word.
Now hes at it again with The Grease Factor a new musical
collaboration with Shane Theriot of the Neville Brothers, Derek Jones
who tours with Nickel Creek, Jeff Sipe of Leftover Salmon and Aquarium
Rescue Unit, and Count MButu of Col. Bruce Hampton and Aquarium
So how did this musical concoction come together? Well, it started
out with one thing and then it went in another direction, says
Neel in his gravelly blues voice. But I think musically its
going to be very impressive. The name of the band came from the
title of a solo album that Theriot recently recorded. During that recording
session someone wanted to make a track a little funkier and suggested
they turn up the grease factor. The album title was born
and soon a whole band was too.
Theriot and Neel played together on each others various solo efforts
in the past and decided to put something together and invite some other
musical friends. But when describing the bands sound, even Neel
can only speculate what will happen when they hit the stage. Thats
because they havent really rehearsed and dont really plan
on rehearsing until they debut this Wednesday night at the Handlebar
What this will be, will be the roots of the band. This will be
our first outing but this will entail developing our sound and well
go from there, explains Neel. Then on Thursday, Jan. 28, they
play Cumberlands for their second-ever performance. We really
will make up a song right there on the spot, he admits. Its
really spontaneous. We might learn only two or three songs. Of
course when you have the combined individual musicianship like that
of Grease Factor, spontaneity and improvisation are part of the excitement
of the music, which Neel envisions ranging from funk to spacey jams
to African rhythms. Well begin with three chords and see
what flows, thats really what jam is, he explains. The
percussion element will be very nice so we wont have to play all
the time and just let the rhythm carry the people to a place.
As of right now, Grease Factor only have four dates scheduled. After
South Carolina, theyll play two shows in Georgia. But according
to Neel, they plan to make live recordings at each show and have them
available the following nights. So even though every night is a new
experiment, its also the making of a live album, which will last
a long time, even if Grease Factor dont.
Whether or not Grease Factor will book more dates or eventually have
the legs to grow into a Mule-like entity remains to be seen. But Neel,
who also plans to play more with his own band in future months, says
hed like to see Grease Factor evolve into a fairly regular thing,
where other members who arent touring with their respective full-time
bands, can get together and jam. But spin-off bands are often like spin-off
television shows, and for every Frasier there are a dozen Joanie Loves
Chachi. So make sure to catch this experimental group of able musicians
this go-round, because you never know if theyll have enough grease
to keep it running smooth.
Grease Factor:Thurs. Jan. 29, Cumberlands, 26 Cumberland St. 577-9469
A Greasy Super-Group: Grease Factor:
Shane Theriot, Johnny Neel,
Jeff Sipe, Count M'Butu, Derek Jones
Wednesday, January 28, 2004. by Mark R. Pantsari
Every so often in the musical universe, the planets align just so and
a super group emerges. For the five working musicians of the Grease Factor
even to unite to form the band requires an act of divine intervention
or meticulous planning - or maybe both.
The band's creation and resulting moniker came from
session work for the solo effort by guitarist Shane Theriot titled ''The
''It's sort of a studio jargon thing,'' Theriot says.
''I heard a producer one time tell a studio musician to 'change the groove
... and bring up the grease factor a little bit.' And I thought it would
be a cool name for a band.''
Aside from the cool band name, the Grease Factor is
also chockfull of talent.
Theriot's been serving as a lead guitarist for the Neville
Brothers for more than five years. Drummer Jeff Sipe's machine-like chops
have set the beat behind Project Z, Leftover Salmon, Aquarium Rescue Unit
and Susan Tedeschi. Bassist Derek Jones' supple grooves have supported
Nickel Creek and David Grisman. Explosive percussionist Count M'Butu rounds
out the rhythm section; his talents have been displayed with the ARU,
Parliament Funkadelic and sit-ins with Widespread Panic and Phish. Keyboardist
Johnny Neel rounds out the quintet, and his blues-infected playing has
been in the Allman Brothers Band, Blue Floyd and Willie Nelson's band.
Grease Factor, featuring Johnny Neel, Jeff Sipe, Shane Theriot and
Count M'Butu, Groovestain, Soldiers of Jah Army
When: Doors open at 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31
Where: Georgia Theatre, 215 N. Lumpkin St.
Call: (706) 549-9918
''We're hoping it flies,'' Theriot says. ''It's very exciting ... because,
as sidemen, we don't get to express ourselves - we're always sort of
in the back. So this will be fun and everyone can let loose.''
The Grease Factor has been rehearsing recently to
build something resembling a repertoire for the band's ''maiden-voyage''
five-date tour that passes through the Georgia Theatre on Saturday.
What the Grease Factor lacks in conventional, pre-written
songs it surely makes up for in creativity and improvisational skill.
''Everybody brings spontaneity into the mix,'' Theriot
says. ''We'll have a mix of form and sketches of tunes and then we'll
do some free-form stuff and then we'll just jam. We have tunes and things
but we want to ride the fence of completely improvised and semi-rehearsed.
It's all over the place right now and we hope to leave it that way.''
Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Thursday, January 29
A 'Greasy' super-group Story last updated at 8:03 a.m. Thursday,
January 29, 2004
MUSIC CONCERTS by Mark R. Pantsari (Special to The Post and Courier )
For the five working musicians of the Grease Factor to even unite to form
a band requires an act of divine intervention or meticulous planning or
The Grease Factor is a brand-spanking new super-group consisting of five
of the Southeast's most unique musicians.
While each member has several "day" jobs going on at the moment,
the Grease Factor is hoping to become much more than a one-off, all-star
The band's creation and resulting moniker came from session work for the
solo effort by guitarist Shane Theriot titled "The Grease Factor."
"It's sort of a studio jargon thing," Theriot said in a recent
interview. "I heard a producer one time tell a studio musician to
'change the groove around and bring up the grease factor a little bit'
to make the music funkier. I thought it would be a cool name for a band
and everybody liked it, so we're the Grease Factor."
Along with a deserving name for the band, the Grease Factor is loaded
to the brim with talent and broad musical vision. New Orleans-inspired
funk, blues, jazz and blistering rock are just a few of the genres the
band's respective members have played.
Theriot's been serving as a lead guitarist for one of New Orleans favorite
bands, the Neville Brothers, for more than five years. Drummer Jeff Sipe's
machine-like chops have set the beat behind Project Z, Leftover Salmon,
Aquarium Rescue Unit and Susan Tedeschi. Bassist Derek Jones' supple grooves
have supported Nickel Creek and David Grisman. Explosive percussionist
Count M'Butu rounds out the rhythm section. His talents have been displayed
with the ARU, Parliament Funkadelic and in sit-ins with Widespread Panic
and Phish. Keyboardist Johnny Neel rounds out the quintet, and his blues-infected
playing has been featured in the Allman Brothers Band, Blue Floyd, and
Willie Nelson's band.
While members of the Grease Factor have collaborated with one another
in different settings, this marks the first time they have performed together
as a quintet.
The new band also allows each member to cast aside the role of "sideman"
and play their own material.
"We're hoping it flies," Theriot said. "We've all worked
with each other in different formats from time to time, but never as a
unit. We thought it would be fun and thought the chemistry would be there
to take it on the road and play some music."
"It's also very exciting to do this because, as sidemen, we don't
get to express ourselves -- we're always sort of in the back. So this
will be fun and everyone can let loose. It won't be a chops band though,
there will be some of those elements, but we just want to play good music
that everybody can get off on."
The Grease Factor has been rehearsing recently to build something resembling
a repertoire for the bands "maiden-voyage" five-date tour that
passes through Cumberland's tonight. What the Grease Factor lacks in conventional,
pre-written songs, it surely makes up for in creativity and improvisational
"Everybody brings spontaneity into the mix," Theriot said. "We'll
have a mix of form and sketches of tunes, and then we'll do some free
form stuff, and then we'll just jam. We have tunes and things, but we
want to ride the fence of completely improvised and semi-rehearsed. It's
all over the place right now and we hope to leave it that way."
Theriot went so far as to speculate the future of the Grease Factor. While
each member of the band has future commitments with other groups down
the road, Theriot said he and his fellow musicians are planning to ride
it out and see how far the Grease Factor can go.
"This is the maiden voyage," Theriot said, "but we're just
trying to build a machine. We have plans for more dates and everybody's
kind of putting things on hold just to do this project to see what happens.
Unless we kill each other after the first couple of gigs, we all want
to make it a band project as opposed to a super group. We want to create
material together and build something."
The Grease Factor will take the stage at Cumberland's tonight around 10
p.m. Tickets are $15.
Keep up with the Grease Factor at www.shanetheriot.com
Creative Loafing in Atlanta: The Grease Factor
, by Hal Horowitz
Helmed by Neville Brothers' guitarist Shane Theriot, this album-less collective
boasts some extraordinary musicians. Established luminaries such as drummer
Jeff Sipe and percussionist Count M'Butu join former-Allman Brothers keyboardist
Johnny Neel and Nickel Creek bass player Derek Jones to produce Southern-fried
funk, slimy boogie and grimy swamp rock as dirty as its name.
'Grease' slides into town, by Walt Torbert
Published , January 30, 2004, 06:00:01 AM EDT
THE GREASE FACTOR
With: Groove Stain, Soldiers of Jah Army
When: Saturday at 9 p.m.
Where: Georgia Theatre
Admission: $5 in advance
The Grease Factor takes the stage for only its fifth show ever this
Saturday at the Georgia Theatre. Don't be mistaken though, this is one
of the most experienced groups to pass through Athens in a while.
Each member has made a name for himself playing with noteworthy bands
and acts over the past few decades.
At the root of the time-tested lineup is Shane Theriot, the New Orleans
guitarist who currently plays with The Neville Brothers. After releasing
his latest solo album, "The Grease Factor," which received
national acclaim for its aggressive, homegrown cajun/funk arrangements,
Theriot talked a few of his friends and fellow musicians into joining
him on the road.
They include drummer Jeff Sipe, who early in his career played in the
band Aquarium Rescue Unit (ARU), has since done stints with Leftover
Salmon and Susan Tedeschi. He has also played in projects like Jazz
is Dead and Project Z, both again with Herring.
The percussionist for Grease Factor, Count M'Butu, also played in ARU.
Since, he's participated in the Zambiland Orchestra, a large group of
musicians which includes Sipe, and taken the stage as a guest of Widespread
Panic, Blues Traveler, The Allman Brothers and Phish.
The resume for keyboardist Johnny Neel is the longest of the group.
In the early 1990s, he was nominated for a Grammy while playing for
The Allman Brothers. He's also been the keyboardist for Blue Floyd and
Government Mule during his career, as well as his own band, Johnny Neel
and the Last Word.
Bassist Derek Jones is an accomplished Nashville recording artist and
composer. He's toured with bluegrass/folk band Nickel Creek, and played
with The Flecktones, among others.
The members of The Grease Factor, in one combination or another, have
shared countless stages and studios over the years.
"We've all worked together before," Theriot said, "But
we've never come together collectively." He insists that the band
will continue playing together following this short, five-show tour.
"All of us have done side gigs to the point that, even though the
gigs are great, only so much personality can come out in the music,"
Theriot said. "Now there is a lot of personality."
Thursday, June 3, 2004
Grease Factor depends on unpredictability, By C.E. Hanifin
The Cincinnati Enquirer
When it comes to his new band, Shane Theriot believes the analyzed song
isn't worth playing. Or at least it doesn't sound as good.
Following recording sessions last year for his solo release, The Grease
Factor, Theriot loaned the album's name to a sideman supergroup devoted
to spontaneity. The crew of musicians, which played its first gig together
in January, performs tonight at Jack Quinn's in Covington.
In addition to Theriot, a New Orleans-based former guitarist for the
Neville Brothers, the lineup of Grease Factor includes percussionist
Count M'Butu (Parliament/Funkadelic), bassist Derek Jones (Nickel Creek),
keyboardist Johnny Neel (Willie Nelson) and drummer Jeff Sipe (Leftover
Although the five musicians' years of experience and gamut of influences
come together to create an eclectic sound, Theriot says none of them
cares to figure out how.
"We don't think about it too much," he says. "We just
let it happen."
"Funk rock with a New Orleans tinge" - that's how Theriot
describes Grease Factor's music.
"At times it sounds like a heavy version of Little Feat. At other
times, we'll do blues shuffles ... (or we) might take it out to a more
fusiony feel," he says.
True to the unpredictable nature of the group, no two shows are the
same, Theriot says. The band members take turns leading the set in different
Neel, for example, might push the group deep into blues territory, then
"one of us will take the reins and go somewhere else with it,"
Theriot says. "That's what makes the band interesting."
Although the members of Grease Factor are no strangers to the recording
studio, Theriot says he doesn't have any plans right now for the group
to cut an album. Instead, the band will issue a live release of tracks
culled from shows on its current tour.
"I'm almost afraid to take the band into the studio - it would
dilute what we do live," he says.
Besides, Theriot says, painstaking studio work would run counter to
the anything-goes spirit of the band.
"We decided that it's got to be fun, or it's not worth doing it."
E-mail email@example.com If you go:
What: Grease Factor
When: 9:30 tonight
Where: Jack Quinn's, 112 E. Fourth St.,
Covington (859) 491-6699
Tickets: $12; available online at: www.jackquinn.com
The Grease Factor (http://citybeat.com/current/soundadvice.shtml)
Thursday · Jack Quinn's
No, the Grease Factor is not a new piggybacked Food Network/NBC reality
series where chefs have to eat things dredged up from the bottom of
the fryer. It's the name of guitarist Shane Theriot's brand new N'awlins
Funk/Soul band. If Theriot's name sounds vaguely familiar to fans of
the genre, it might well be because he's been six-stringing for the
Neville Brothers for the past eight years and getting great notices
because of it. But that changed with the release of his sophomore solo
album last year, entitled, appropriately enough, The Grease Factor,
a project which forced him to do more touring on his own and ultimately
led him to step down from his position with the Nevilles this past February
in order to concentrate on his own band and his increasing array of
production and session gigs (one of which ironically is with the Aaron
Neville Quintet). Since deciding to form a band and christening it after
the title of his well-received 2003 album, Theriot has employed a rotating
cast of talent in the Grease Factor, including Meters/Vida Blue drummer
Russell Batiste. Earlier this year, the Grease Factor finally solidified
(sorry, couldn't resist) their lineup with Aquarium Rescue Unit drummer
Jeff Sipe and bassist Derek Jones, Allman Brothers keyboardist Johnny
Neel and renowned percussionist Count M'Butu (who has gigged with the
likes of ARU, Phish, Blues Traveler and Parliament/Funkadelic) officially
taking the stage with Theriot. In fact, the band recorded a series of
shows back in January and the resultant tapes are now in the editing
process to be compiled into a live album for imminent release. The Neville
Brothers' loss is the Jam community's gain; the Grease Factor is ready
to slide into town and cook up something funky for the discriminating
sonic palate. (Brian Baker)
When taken seriously, supergroups have the potential to coagulate
musically, but they traditionally implodetypically on stagefrom
competing egos. However, when comprised of like-minded supporting players
with diverse backgrounds rather than a pack of alpha dogs, the promise
quotient multiplies exponentially. Grease Factor is comprised of five
instrumentalists whose experience covers a range of genres, featuring
guitarist Shane Theriot (Neville Brothers), keyboardist Johnny Neel (Allman
Brothers, Willie Nelson), drummer Jeff Sipe (Leftover Salmon, Susan Tedeschi),
bassist Derek Jones (Nickel Creek, David Grisman), and legendary percussionist
Count MButu (Parliament Funkadelic). Roots rock, blues, southern
Delta boogie, and New Orleans swamp funk swirl into a groove-heavy blend
with a balance of tight improvisation and nimble composition. (C.C.)
Grease Factor Tuesday, June 8, 10 p.m. Barleys
©Copyright The Daily Beacon (http://dailybeacon.utk.edu/article.php/15179
Arleah Shellman, Staff Writer
Volume 96 Number 3
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Grease Factor is coming to Barley's Taproom Tuesday, June 8,
filling the room with its unique sound and sophisticated music. Roots
stemming from rock, blues and "New Orleans swamp funk" compose
the southern band's phenomenal sound, which is comprised of five experienced
musicians. Guitarist Shane Theriot, who has performed with the Neville
Brothers, led the formation of the five musicians into Grease Factor,
and branded its name one day during a recording session for his own
album. The other members of Grease Factor include keyboardist Johnny
Neel, drummer Jeff Sipe, bass guitarist Derek Jones and percussionist
Count M'Butu. Neel has performed with the Allman Brothers and Willie
Nelson. Sipe, a veteran musician for Leftover Salmon and Aquarium Rescue
Unit, has taken on accompaniment with Grease Factor. Jones played with
Nickel Creek and the Anger- Marshall Band, while percussionist Count
M'Butu has performed with Aquarium Rescue Unit and Parliament-Funkadelic.
One of the most unique aspects of the expertise behind Grease Factor
is that they perform every show as an impromptu act, sometimes even
writing songs on stage and in the moment as they feel the energy of
In fact, Grease Factor is not using a pre-recorded album to promote
their tour. The band is taking the tour one stop at a time, and the
songs are decided in the moment. "Their focus is mostly live concerts
because most their songs are made right on the spot. The band has not
recorded in a studio yet because they wanted the songs to be created
right there as people listen. The bottom line for Grease Factor is improvisation.
The band played for two hours (at a previous show) and still had an
encore - the guys are so skilled and it makes for high energy during
a show," Dave Weissman, tour publicist, said.
Grease Factor was formed at the end of January 2004 and followed with
a short six show tour. The band has started playing again in May and
will continue tour into July. Those who come to watch Grease Factor
at Barley's will not only get a chance to hear some of Southern rock's
legendary musicians, but they will also witness the creation of songs
in front of them from the pure energy that forms when experience and
talent fuse together on stage. Grease Factor will be performing at Barley's,
located at 200 Jackson Ave., Tuesday at 10 p.m. The performance is for
adults ages 21 and over, and the cover is $7.
What happens when you decide to start a band, cant rehearse due
to a good ole North Carolina ice storm and then play together
for the first time when the lights go down and the show begins? Well
for one, you get the almighty Grease Factor, an aggressive, deep
fried blend of delicious, jazz infused Cajun rock with a backbone of
soul. Made up of guitarist Shane Theriot (Neville Brothers), keyboardist
Johnny Neel (Allman Brothers), bassist Derek Jones (David Grisman),
percussionist Count MButu(Aquarium Rescue Unit), and drummer Jeff
Sipe (Aquarium Rescue Unit), Grease Factor is loaded with undeniable
talent and strong musical vision.
Jeff Sipe is a drummer of many wonders. Having been born in Germany,
when he was a freshman in high school Jeffs family moved back
to the south. It was at this time Jeff found the magic that is Miles
Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and the entire jazz dynasty. I
realized that just about all roads in American music lead back to New
Orleans and the great music that came out of the turn of the 19 th century.
It spawned this beautiful American jazz music that Miles really understood.
For me all roads lead to Miles (laughs), Bach too is probably my favorite,
I wish those two could have met. I wondered if any album in particular
had ignited this passion, this instant musical revolution? Bitches
Brew was an awakening. [His] sense of timing, phrasing, and his pacing
throughout the song
everyone that he played with was going for
And why not go for it, especially when you can put yourself in the middle
of an experienced forceful musical unit. I had never really had
this level of (rythming) before with five guys, Sipe says of his
Grease Factor band mates. Unable to rehearse before their first show
at Stella Blues in Ashville last January, they showed up at the venue,
hoping to pull something off. While each had worked with the other on
separate occasions, whether in the studio or on the road, these five
men had never played as a collective component before. No one knew what
sound was going to come from that stage, but I doubt anyone expected
nothing short of awesome. We were really amazed, at least I was
Sipe continues, We actually pulled off some spontaneous compositions
with intros and great hooks and tight endings. Everything seemed
liked it was actually rehearsed. It went so well; the response
was so moving that what was originally a five-night run transformed
itself into something a bit more permanent.
Starting a new band though means starting from the beginning. We
are still trying to introduce ourselves to the public. Like any starting
band you really have to build it from the bottom up, Sipe noted.
Each man has played to sold out venues, where thousands upon thousands
have come to feel the sensation of their music. So how does it feel
once again to be back in a club atmosphere, with considerably less people?
Sipe enjoys smaller rooms, maybe up to 500 hundred people or so.
Once you get 1,000 people in the room or more, it just feels a lot less
intimate, the music automatically somehow becomes a little diluted,
just to appeal to more people. Its a different ballgame if youre
playing with big production in a big room. Its really exciting,
with a different kind of adrenaline, a different kind of excitement.
Smaller groups, smaller rooms allow for magic and spontaneity.
Magic and spontaneity seem to be the secret weapon for this group and
these five men know how to use that weapon to be impulsive and continuously
feed off the musical grace that each possess. Every night, theres
a section of the night that writes itself and its pretty amazing
to me how that happens, Sipe stated.
They are able to accomplish this task by bringing their personal roots
into the mix. How does it all fuse together? Well, Johnny Neel,
is really very soulful, influenced by the southern seed. He breaks away
from the southern rock mold though and is able to go into the jazz world,
but not too heavily. It all comes from a very soulful place. And Shane
Theriot has got this New Orleans rhythm and his soloing is just magical
and fantastic. The Count, who studied African and Latin percussion adds
the spice and Derek Jones, who has played with all types of genres,
well theres just no idiom that can describe his sound.
While the name of the band comes from a recent Shane Theriot album,
most songs are in nightly development and continue to write themselves.
I asked Jeff if there were any songs he was excited to see mature and
he answered with two. First, I have a soft spot for ballads and
beautiful melodies, I really want to be Tony Bennett (laughs, but truly
serious). Theres nothing more beautiful than a pretty melody,
it transcends everything else, so Everyday, thats really a joy
to play. And the second, A really sad Latin Groove the Count,
myself and Derek are getting into, rhythm section wise. Its like
soaring like an eagle with those guys.
Well if that isnt what you want out of the musicians you play
with I dont know what is. I also dont think there is anything
more you can ask from the music that you go and see. It is this type
of connection that makes a band great that makes a bands growth
worth watching; there is nothing more enticing. Not that you wont
be impressed already, each member of Grease Factor has the making of
a legend in his own right. I must say that Jeff Sipe is one of the most
articulate men I have spoken with and his love for music is obvious
in every statement made, in every story told and in every drumbeat played.
I highly recommend checking out Grease Factor when they come your way
and us Memphians, well lucky for us we dont have to wait long,
Saturday July 17th at HI-TONE is when we finally get to see this all
with our own eyes. So enjoy and get dirty.
DivingIn2Memphis would like to thank Dave Weissman from Musical Earth
and Ben Lee from Golden Squid Entertainment