Family bands have a longstanding history of success in the music industry, and that’s one tradition The WizBangs intend on following. This father/son group officially joined together in 2014, but father Jim Feenstra has enjoyed a lifetime of watching his sons flourish in music. He says, “I’ve enjoyed watching them play in bands and recitals. I always wanted to share music as part of a band, not a solo artist. Watching them perform and compose music over time, it was quite natural to join in.”

Jim’s parents were barbershop quartet singers, so he grew up listening to four-part harmonies as far back as he can remember. He picked up his first guitar when he was 9, and taught himself piano and vocals so he could perform in a church band, which he continued to do into adulthood. Between holding a position as a Chief Marketing Officer at an international company and raising a family, Jim’s passion for music was placed on the back burner. After twenty-plus years of work, he’s retired, and his greatest thrill yet has been making music with his sons. “Forgetting they’re my sons, it was intimidating to be the “newbie” with the group,” Jim says, “But I admit my eyes welled up when we listened to our first track in the studio.”

His oldest son, J.P., quickly realized that drums were his talent. Often taking on the producer role in the studio, J.P. is not only a great percussionist, but has a fantastic feel for how a song should sound. “We like so many styles and artists, it drives us to be creative…we live in different cities, so we might not see each other for months, but we get in the studio and in no time, it’s like we’ve never been apart.”

Younger brother, Charles, began playing the violin at age 9, and after a standing ovation at a school recital, he knew music was his destiny. He later picked up saxophone, guitar, and piano, which he plays with The Wizbangs. Charles attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston for Music Composition and brings his strong writing skills to the band. “We’re telling personal stories running the gamut of emotions,” Charles says, “It’s not hard to understand what I’m feeling in my songs.”

During the recording of their debut album, LIFE, LOVE AND OTHER MISHAPS, The WizBangs recruited other band mates that were a revolving team of very talented close friends who add their own style and voice to each song. “The majority of us have played together since I can remember,” says drummer J.P.

The album was produced by Grammy winner Will Russell at his studio Electric Wilburland in Upstate NY. Russell has worked with artists like Rusted Root, The Sim Redmond Band, and recorded a Grammy winning album for world musician Mamadou Diabate. Jim says, “Will gets us to the end game without adding more stress. Oh, and there’s a Grammy trophy in the room, so you know it’s time to focus on the task at hand!”

The WizBangs are focused on sharing their music online, recording videos for several songs and ultimately streaming live shows. Jim explains, “We’d rather do streaming shows to a wider audience. But if the demand is there to hit the road, we’ll load up a bus and go.” Taking full advantage of today’s social media technology, they look forward to reaching as may people as possible and inspiring with their own personal stories.

With plans for their second album already in the works, The WizBangs are simply a group of family and friends who love playing and creating together. “At the end of the day,” says Jim, “I’m making music with my sons. How cool is that?!”

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Enjoy three songs from our live radio performance on WEEU 850. http://thesoundroom.live/the-wizbangs/

The WizBangs Live Performance at The Sound Room

 

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