Local Musician Spotlight –Grant Benziger – The Curly Wolf
When you hear the name Benziger, especially here in Sonoma, your mind immediately goes towards wine, but in the case of Grant Benziger, you’d be wrong. Oh he still enjoys the fruits of the vine, but music was his calling from way back when he was young. Sitting in his dads office, Mike Benziger saw the young man taking a keen interest to the music on the radio and encouraged Grant. Next up; a trip the Klein’s Music for a $100 guitar. Young Grant couldn’t put it down.
Born and raised in Sonoma County, once he turned 18, Benziger was off to Hollywood to chase his dreams and attend music school at the Musicians Institute. He eventually hooked up with some like-minded musicians that also had appreciation for a variety of musical genres, punk, metal, country and the Curly Wolf was born. The act has now moved to Redondo Beach, which seems to be more to Benzigers liking than Hollywood.
Benziger is brining the act to Sonoma at B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille tonight, April 15, kicking off at 9 p.m. Lets find out a little more about him with the usual six questions.
1) Many musicians in our generation cite the Beatles on Ed Sullivan as that moment when they knew music was what they wanted to do. When and what was it that made you realize you wanted to be a musician?
GB > Literally the moment I touched a guitar. Once my dad bought it for me, I rarely didn’t have it attached to me. I think one of the moments was when I saw the Bodies at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma about 2001. To see people I knew rocking like that really inspired me. Then my brother took me to a Metallica concert at Candlestick and that was it. I knew then for sure.
2) That first instrument you owned. What was it and do you still have it?
GB > That sunlight acoustic I got at Kleins music, and yes, I still have it. It stays in Glenn Ellen and I play it when I’m back home. My nieces play with it now and that’s nice to see.
3) Who are you’re primary influences in your music?
GB > For me, it’s ever evolving. Clearly we’re rooted in punk, metal and country, but I’ve tried hard to embrace all genres of music. Just because I like metal doesn’t mean I can’t like Dr. Dre or reggae. My sound turns into a melting pot of all my influences
4) What CD or playlist is in your car or your iPod?
GB > Boy, anything from Hank Williams III to Mastadon. Although when were writing it’s primarily our mixes and that’s what is there primarily now. We have a new single that is really different for us that I can’t wait to release.
5) Tell us about your current acts.
GB > The Curly Wolf is the main act, but we have this interesting concept act that is kind of a cross between the Blue man Group and Alice Cooper called Dead Marionette Theater. It’s really a Halloween style show with lots of theatrics and stage stuff going on. The dream is to bring that act to Vegas.
6) If you could have written one song, which one would it be and why?
GB> Oh man, I’ve actually thought about that a lot of times, and came up with a lot of songs. I honestly think if you asked me every day, you’d get a different answer.
Soundbytes – Bits and Pieces
It’s April in Carneros, where many wineries in the Carneros region showcase their wares and pair them with food and this year, many have paired them with local music. The weekend-long event is a ticketed one, but some of the wineries are still open to the public, you just won’t get to partake in the free food and special deals. Appearing, in no particular order, Ceja Vineyards, 22989 Burndale Rd. Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17, LaTiDo Salsa and Cuban music, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cornerstone, 23570 Arnold Dr, Carneros, Saturday, April 16, Ten Foot Tone. 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 17, The Cork Pullers, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards, 23555 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17, the No Buenos, Noon to 4 p.m. Larson Family Winery, 23355 Millerick Rd, Sonoma, 938-3031, Saturday, April 16, Tommy Thomsen, 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 17, Train Wreck Junction. 1 to 4 p.m. Schug Winery, 602 Bonneau Road, Carneros, Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17, the Movers. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starmont Winery, 1451 Stanly Ln, Napa, Sunday, April 17, Justin Diaz. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For tickets and more info, point your browser to carneroswineries.org
The final show for this season in the “Listening Room” inside Hopmonk Tavern Sonoma will be held this Sunday, April 17, at a special time, 12:30 p.m. and will feature Megan Slankard. The young indie singer-songwriter has been very busy, just coming off tour with her band on the “Doers and Dreams” tour and is doing solo shows in the mean time. Without any major label support, Slankard has sold over 35 thousand copies of her first four albums and is now supporting her fifth, titled “Running on Machinery.”
The “Listening Room” shows at the tavern have been very popular with music enthusiasts that actually want to listen to the music without a lot of distractions and noise, and special sound proofing has been put in place to achieve just that. The shows typically sell out and this will likely be no different. For tickets and more info, point your browser to hopmonk.com/sonoma
Rundown – The Set List
Annex Wine Bar, 865 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 938-7779
Tonight, April 15: Acoustic Soul. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 16: Full Circle. 7:30 p.m.
April in Carneros – Tickets may be required
Ceja Vineyards, 22989 Burndale Rd. 931-6978
Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17: LaTiDo Salsa and Cuban music. 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cornerstone, 23570 Arnold Dr, Carneros – 933-3010
Saturday, April 16: Ten Foot Tone. 12:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 17: The Cork Pullers. 12:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards, 23555 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 933-1917
Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17: The No Buenos. Noon – 4 p.m.
Larson Family Winery, 23355 Millerick Rd, Sonoma, 938-3031
Saturday, April 16: Tommy Thomsen. 1- 4 p.m.
Sunday, April 17: Train Wreck Junction. 1- 4 p.m.
Schug Winery, 602 Bonneau Road, Carneros – 939-9363
Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17: The Movers. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Starmont Winery, 1451 Stanly Ln, Napa, 252-8001
Sunday, April 17: Justin Diaz. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Barking Dog Roasters, 18133 Sonoma Hwy. Sonoma, 939-1905
Saturday, April 16: Amos Munoz. 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 17: Michael L. Castle. 3 p.m.
B. R. Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Hwy. Glen Ellen, 800-330-4064
Sunday, April 17: Jason Bodlovich. 2 p.m.
B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille, 400 First St. E. Sonoma, 938-7110
Tonight, April 15: The Curly Wolf. 9 p.m.
Saturday, April 16: T Luke and the Tight Suits. 9 p.m.
Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, April 15: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m.
HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Tonight, April 15: Solid Air. 5 p.m. Deluxe. 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 16: Hannah Jern-Miller. 1 p.m. Akarsha Kumar. 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 17: Megan Slankard. 12:30 p.m. Frankie Bourne 4 p.m.
Kivelstadt Cellars, 13750 Arnold Dr. Glen Ellen, 938-7001
Tonight, April 15: Dawn Angelosante. 6 p.m.
Murphy’s Irish Pub, 464 First St. E. Sonoma, 935-0660
Tonight, April 15: Noma Rocksteady. 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 16: Amy Wigton Trio. 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 17: 3 on a Match. 7 p.m.
Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Saturday, April 16: Karaoke. 7:30 p.m.
Plaza Bistro, 420 First St E. Sonoma, 996-4466
Tonight, April 15: Dick Conte Trio. 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 16: Nancy Briggs. 6 p.m.
Rossi’s 1906 Dancehall, 401 Grove St. El Verano, 343-0044
Tonight, April 15: Travis Hayes and Zachary Carroll. 7:15 p.m.
Saturday, April 16: Roem Baur. 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 17: Blues Jam. 9:30 p.m.
Schellville Grill, 22900 Broadway, Sonoma, 996-5151
Saturday, April 16: Butch Engle and Styx. 12:30 p.m.
Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards, 389 Fourth St. E. Sonoma, 933-3230
Tonight, April 15: Magic. 6 p.m.
Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, April 15: Stevie Gurr, Tim Eschliman and Lou Rodriguez. 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 16: The Marks Brothers. 5 p.m. Junk Parlor. 8 p.m.
Vintage House senior center, 264 First St. E. Sonoma, 996-0311
Sunday, April 17: The Telegraph Quartet. 3 p.m.
If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it.