Have The Time Of Your Life New Year’s Eve With Heavy Pets At Jack Rabbits

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Playing to a full room on New Year’s Eve is an awesome responsibility that Jeff Lloyd doesn’t take lightly. He’s committed to giving his all to those choosing to ring in 2017 with his band, The Heavy Pets, during a special show at Jack Rabbits that was moved from 1904 Music Hall.

“When people decide to spend their New Year’s Eve with you, it’s always a special night. Emotions are running high and people want to have the time of their life,” he says. “People really want 2016 to be over with and get on with the New Year so we take it seriously. We want to give people a really good time and we’re super grateful for those people who’ve decided to spend it with us.”

Lloyd is excited to share the bill with guests MZG, The Groove Orient, Blackwater Grease, Vlad the Inhaler and Cat Party. “There are a whole lot of great acts that are going to be part of the show including some of our best buds from the area,” he says. “We’re really stoked to have everybody on the bill. It’s going to be a great time.”

While 2016 has proven to be a monumentally difficult year for many reasons, The Heavy Pets – Lloyd on guitar and vocals, Mike Garulli on guitar, harmonica and vocals, Jim Wuest on keyboard, drummer Jamie Newitt and bassist Tony D’Amato – enjoyed the rare spoils of the year including a return to the studio to break ground on a new full-length album and an upcoming spring tour.

“We’re working on a new record so that the latest thing. That’s kind of exciting,” he says. “We’re really happy with the way things are coming along with that. I’m excited to get something fresh out there for 2017 and give people a full-length record for the first time in six years.”

Lloyd is hesitant to reveal too much but will say that the new release will be out sometime next spring and features a mix of new grooves and some old material that fans might be unfamiliar with. Some of the older songs from the band’s repertoire are those that might not get enough play live and really translate well in the studio, says Lloyd.

“We’re going in and fooling around with the arrangements and seeing that these songs have a whole lot of life,” he says. “It’s kind of like Frankenstein or something. You get in there and all of a sudden ‘it’s alive’.”

Heavy Pets

Lloyd says it’s unlikely that the band will test the material on audiences before the record is released because he doesn’t want to overthink it and challenge the spontaneity of the music. He also doesn’t want to suck.

“We don’t do too much testing in the live setting,” he says. “We want to make sure that we have all the parts down and that everyone is super comfortable with the songs before we bring it out on stage. We are a jam band but we definitely like to make sure we all know what the hell we’re doing before we get out there and just wing it.”

The Heavy Pets earned a reputation for soulful songwriting, powerful live performances and bending the elements of R&B, jazz, funk, disco and reggae with rock ‘n roll. The group found success on Sirius radio in 2007 with the release of their double-disc debut album, Whale.

Embraced by the jam scene for their raw talent, the Heavy Pets cultivated a crossover sound that propelled them into the margins of mainstream music. The band returned to their acoustic roots on 2011’s Swim Out Past the Sun, setting aside their electric axes for a more organic approach.

The Heavy Pets followed up efforts by releasing the Everywhere Sessions: Volume 1 EP, recorded live in the studio with accompanying videos of the three songs “Chew,” “Help Me Help You” and “The Day the Sun Forgot to Rise.”

Lloyd says the band has a “huge schedule” ahead of them with touring, recording and the record release but he’s hoping 2017 will also bring a little “love, understanding and happiness” to smooth out the rough edges a bit.

“Things are about to get hectic. Right after the holidays we have a New Year’s run that continues on all the way down to Key West and then we head out to the West Coast and then a little time off,” he says. “That’s when we are hoping to get back in and really start cranking out the rest of this record. So by April when we go back out strong, it’s done.”

About Liza Mitchell