From the blacktop and concrete of Chicago’s southside comes Po’Boy Special – a band formed in 2011 by former members of the infamous funk-rock group Slinky Styles. With a musical relationship that has spanned the better part of fifteen years, Chuck Naegele and Anthony Barraco worked their fingers to the bone honing songs in their former band and after a brief hiatus are back on the scene with a batch of new songs. Naegele and Barraco’s latest work – a series of Blues, Rock and Funk originals – later formed the foundation for the band formerly called Mojo Walker.
Once the initial material was ready to expand the guys decided to bring in an old friend to play drums: Myron Cherry. They also contacted Broken Belts singer Shannon Hinkle to fill in on vocals. After a few months of writing, the strain of playing in eight, count ‘em eight different bands began to wear on Myron. Mojo Walker had no choice but to part ways with their friend and look for a new drummer. From these auditions they met Laurin “Mack” McPhee. Skilled in Jazz and armed with metronome-like precision, Mack became the obvious choice for the position behind the skins.
Up and running but not yet complete, the auditions didn’t stop there. Chuck invited old friend and ex-keyboardist of Broken Belts, Matt Sukevicius to join the band. Matt, with an extensive background for music instantly became an integral and often stand-out voice within the group’s music. And they didn’t stop just there! Eric Stein, the former lead guitarist of Slinky Styles, was also brought in as the band’s first lead guitarist.
Now a fully functioning unit, the final pieces were still to come. For the extra strut in their stride and bang for your buck the group searched high and low for some backup vocals.
Boy did they find them!
Jaime McGuffage and Lindsay Morris were more than qualified to handle the tasks of the background spotlight, filling the cracks between the sweet soul step and the bright strident grooves that Mojo Walker threw into the heart of every track.
With the new additions the original dynamics shifted, and in an unfortunate turn of events the group decided to switch gears and head in a different direction. Realizing their true strength, a female vocal section was born. Shannon was then replaced by a talented theater singer by the name of Julie Martin and shortly after that Eric decided to go his separate ways and depart from the band.
With everything on the up and up, and after only a few shows Lindsay decided she needed to take a break and focus on her personal life. A few phone calls later Julie reached out to good friend Amy Dettmann to take over Lindsay’s position. The band decided at this point to re-brand, they took on a new identity calling themselves Bittersweet & The B-Sides.
Then in June of 2013, The B-Sides decided to take their vision to the next level by adding an additional guitarist into the mix. Enter Mark Frazzini, the perfect compliment to Barraco’s guitar styling. A student of Blues and Rockabilly, Frazzini quickly fit right in.
Almost a year later Bittersweet & The B-Sides would under go yet another blow, this time in May of 2014 they would play their last show together. Jaime was on her way to having her second child and Julie needed to take a much-needed break. Once again the core of the band decided it was time to take things in a completely different direction, only this time it wasn’t females they were looking for, it was Brandon James! An experienced front man with a bachelor’s in voice from Columbia College, Brandon quickly became the new face of the band.
Once again the band decided to change their name, dubbing themselves Po’Boy Special.
With all the pieces finally in place, Po’Boy Special has perfected their own original repertoire and is concentrating on making new music. The band has created a Blues, Rock and Funk genre that is unique, original and most importantly, a style…. Proud to call their own.