Founded by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski and percussionist Ben Malament, The Honeydrops got their start busking on the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area where they quickly developed a passionate local following. But the band’s roots stretch back to Wierzynski’s childhood in Poland where he soaked up the sounds of contraband American recordings by the likes of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong. Later, as a first- generation immigrant to the U.S. and child of political refugees, he assimilated himself by devouring American rock & roll, soul, jazz and hip-hop recordings. His musical immersion continued at Oberlin College and on the club circuit in Oakland, California.
With the additions of Johnny Bones on tenor sax and clarinet, Lorenzo Loera on keyboards and Beau Bradbury on bass, the band’s acclaimed shows often feature extensive off-stage jamming and crowd interaction. “The whole point is to erase the boundaries between the crowd and us,” Wierzynski says. “We don’t make setlists. We want requests. We want crowd involvement, to make people become a part of the whole thing by dancing along, singing, picking the songs and generally coming out of their shells.”