• “Your band freakin’ rocks!” – Joe Strummer.
• “Fantastic! You guys are tough.” – Buckwheat Zydeco.
• “Those guys are nice, really nice.” – Angelo Moore.
• “A rocking big band out of Baltimore/ DC, the Players can hit all the styles and are a must-see live!” – Alternative Press Magazine.
• “The Players ooze class and the horns are just damn big. The living vibe of their fun music is what really helps you hear why you need to go see them. A must listen, clearly an accomplished organization with a tight sense of groove that makes such music so damn good!” – Music Monthly.
• “[The Players] exhibit a near-encyclopedic knowledge of classic soul that mixes nicely with a rocking take on reggae and ska. They do the ska thing, and do it well, with horn-heavy choruses and chicken-scratch guitar on exuberant tunes – Ain’t no hatin’ these Players.” – Baltimore Magazine.
• “This could be the hottest act in the area. The music has p-a-r-t-y written all over it! I knew from the first notes I heard that these guys are the real deal. This is the stuff that good times are made of!” – 103.1 WRNR.
• “The Players just lock into grooves and rock them for all their worth, an unstoppable live experience!” – Washington City Paper.
• “Near-virtuoso level instrumentation, a great instrumental album!” – Rude Roots Magazine.
• “A must listen, clearly an accomplished organization with a tight sense of groove that makes such music so damn good!” – Music Monthly.
Approaching their 500th show since their founding in 1999, The Players
Band continues to deliver sweet Jamaican ska, rock, and reggae sounds
to festival and club crowds across the Mid-Atlantic region. The band
has opened for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s The Isley Brothers and Joe
Strummer, Grammy Award Winners Toots & the Maytals and Rebirth Brass
Band, as well as The B-52s, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The English
Beat, Matisyahu, Citizen Cope, Fishbone, The Skatalites and many
others. The Players Band has headlined Baltimore’s Inner Harbor New
Year’s Eve Spectacular, First Night Annapolis, and welcomed Olympian
Michael Phelps headlining “Maryland’s Olympic Tribute Celebration at
Fort McHenry”. Venues played include 9:30 Club, Verizon Center, Pier
6, Knitting Factory, Trocadero Theatre, Chance Theater, Bottle & Cork,
Rams Head Live!, 8×10, Ottobar, and many others.
In the beginning…..During the summer of 1999, The Players Band came to fruition when drummer Andy Schneider decided to form a new ska-influenced group to replace his recently disbanded Baltimore ska band The Mobtown Beat. The original five players were Andy on drums; his brother Dan on bass, Mike Gorman on bari-sax, both formerly of now defunct Baltimore ska band The Unidentified; and ex-Mobtown members Joe Ross on guitar and Colin Leech on saxophone. The group practiced for a few months, wrote material, and solidified the lineup with the addition of Bob Thorp on trumpet and Tim Bosworth on trombone. The group was unable to find a vocalist who fit the band, even after hearing a number of auditions. Joe eventually switched to keys and Dan took over on guitar. Soon after, Jorge Banales joined on bass and left after a short stint. Former Unidentified bassist Keith Jackson joined while Tim decided to move on. Bob introduced trombonist David Blackstone and trumpeter Paul Weiss to the group. Annapolis percussionist Jason Booze was invited to join after being heard at a local gig.
In 2000, The Players Band began recording material for their first album ‘Instrumental’ which was released in 2001. Soon after the first release, Joe (temporarily), Colin, and Paul left the band. Jason experimented with some vocals and eventually became the group’s lead vocalist, while continuing on percussion. Around the same time, the group discovered local hip-hop artist KB (Kevin Brooks), and invited him to join. KB’s tenure with the group, however, was short-lived due to musical differences.
In 2003, further writing and recording produced a second CD, ‘Hate the Game.’ This album leaned more towards a rock-heavy ska-influenced feel, as opposed to the more traditional ska sounding ‘Instrumental’. During production Dan began experimenting on vocals, and Bob decided to move to Boston to further his musical education. After playing for a period with only two horns, the band invited former Mobtown Beat trumpeter Nick Reider to replace Bob. The band also welcomed Joe back on keys at select shows. During that summer, Keith decided to move on, Joe filled in on bass, eventually rejoining full-time. The band invited friend and ex-Pietaster Pablo Fiasco to perform on keys. When Jason decided to leave the group, singer Ian Maddy joined to share vocal duties with Dan.
The Players Band third album, ‘Halftime’ was released in 2005. Shortly after release, Ian left the group to pursue a solo career and the band invited Unity Reggae Band’s Mark Leary to join as a percussionist and vocalist. In addition, guitarist and friend ‘Lady Hatchet’ Kristin Forbes is becoming a regular member of the lineup, having performed many shows with the band over the years. ‘Halftime’ was followed up with the band’s fourth album, ‘Live & Direct’, released in 2008. The Players Band counted their 450th live performance in 2014.
WJZ TV Baltimore
“Players Band” Performs At New Year’s Spectacular
In just a few days, Eyewitness News will be at the Inner Harbor to welcome 2008 to Charm City. This New Year’s Eve Channel 13 will be joined by some new friends. Peggy Lee has more on the band performing at the New Year’s Eve Spectacular for the first time. As the clock winds its way to midnight this New Year’s Eve, it will march to the beat of a different drummer, saxophonist and bass guitarist. It’s “The Players Band,” a Baltimore-based eight-member band. “We play ska, reggae, some rock-influenced music. Music is really characterized by the horns and the upbeat guitar, so it’s dance-able upbeat music,” said band member Andy Schneider. “The Players” made an appearance this summer at Artscape, but they plan to ring in the new year with more of a bang. The band will be taking the main stage for the New Year’s Eve Spectacular, joining thousands of folks at the Inner Harbor. “This is our first time doing the New Year’s Eve down at the Inner Harbor and we’re proud to be from the Baltimore area and promote music we like,” said band member Nick Rider. “Cherish any opportunity to play for the city of Baltimore and any opportunity that our family and friends can come out in a public setting,” said Pablo Fiasco, band member. They’ve opened for some pretty serious bands and performed more than 350 live shows in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Virginia. “The Players Band” has a CD out titled “Half-Time.”
The Catonsville Times
Community banded together to make concert a success
Thanks to The Players Band for making Friday night’s benefit concert for Lazarus Caucus such an outstanding success. If you missed the concert, you missed one great band. This was the first time I had heard them play, but it won’t be the last. I was so impressed I had to have the band’s CD and T-shirt. A special thanks to Tom Schneider, who coordinated the event. Without him, none of this would have been possible. Even with the rain on Thursday night, we had a wonderful turnout and over $2,700 in donations. This money will be used to help the homeless men, women and children who reside at the Westside Cold Weather Shelter in Catonsville. Again, none of this would have been possible without The Players Band, Tom Schneider and, of course, our generous community. Thank you so much. ~Gloria Powell, treasurer Lazarus Caucus Inc.
Other notable press
Conlin, B. (2012). “Frederick Road Fridays adds sounds of Appalachia and Caribbean.” The Baltimore Sun
Associated Press (2008). “Performers announced for Phelps celebration.” The Associated Press
Campbell, E. (2008). “The Players Band goes live.” The Baltimore Examiner.
Lee, P. (2007). “”Players Band” Performs At New Year’s Spectacular.” WJZ-TV, CBS Broadcasting
Baylor, A. (2007). “Soundcheck, The Players.” The Baltimore Sun.
Campbell, E. (2006). “Group plays benefit for homeless in Catonsville.” The Examiner.
Sattler, D. (2006). “Hungry for help.” The View.
Sattler, D. (2006). “The Players are playing for big money. But not their own.” The View.
Ames, M. (2006). “Brothers play for homeless.” The Catonsville Times.
Lewis, J. (2006). “The Players Band, Halftime.” Baltimore Magazine.
Unknown. (2006). “The Players Band will rock Alive @ Five event.” Gazette.
Schaffer, S. (2004). “The Players.” The Baltimore Sun.
Wollan, L. (2003). “The Players Band.” Music Monthly.
Lewis, J. (2003). “The Players Band, Hate the Game.” Baltimore Magazine.
Buckley, M. (2003). “The Players Band.” Chesapeake Music Guide.
Unknown. (2003). “The Players.” Viking Remedy Magazine (France).
Trawinski, J. (2003). “Hate the Game’ is a jam driven album.” Towson University Towerlight.
Scruggs, S. (2003). “The Players, Hate The Game.” Music Monthly.
Wollan, L. (2001). “The Players, Instrumental.” Music Monthly.
Jones, D. (2001). “The Players, Instrumental.” Rude Roots Magazine.