NORWICH – A group of five area musicians have joined together as ‘Seek the Lion’ with the hopes of not only showcasing their talents on a local level, but are also aspiring to take the nation by storm, beginning with an upcoming east coast tour.
With Nick Andrews on drums and vocals, Rob DeFilippo (“Rob D”) on guitar and vocals, Mike Davis on guitar and vocals, Nate Collins on bass, and Randy Heuer on hand percussion, Seek the Lion has already been playing shows in New York and Massachusetts. Members describe the band's sound as roots reggae, with some funk and jazz infusion.
Rob D has lived all over the country and has family roots in the Oneonta area. He began playing the guitar at the age of seven and has been writing his own songs and recording music since he was 12. He formed the band Part One Tribe at 15, and over an 18 year span recorded 8 full-length albums. He has played shows in 35 states and the Bahamas.
Rob D said Part One Tribe faced many obstacles and had an ever-changing lineup, but just “never broke out.”
“Have you ever wished you could go back and do something over again knowing everything you know now? Well, for me that is Seek The Lion. We're just five guys coming together as men with a common goal and bond,” said Rob D. “We all want to make music our profession and we share a similar taste in the reggae roots influence in our music.”
Andrews, a 28-year-old Norwich native, has been playing the drums for more than 20 years. He's played with bands including Fools at Play, Dubstate, The Suspicious Hats, Tumbleweed Highway, the Hop City Hellcats, Spoken Gun, Baby Mouse and the Rudeboys, Mike Pinto and The Fifth Wave. His talents have taken him to California, where he said he met Rob D.
“We were both touring with other bands in California. Our bands played a few shows together and we went on our way,” said Andrews. “A little bird landed on my shoulder a few months ago and told me to find out what he was up to, and that we should form a band.”
And just those few months later, the five men booked and played their first show, which was an “immediate success,” according to Andrews.
Guitarist and vocalist Mike Davis said, “I never would have thought about being in a reggae band – being a blues funk rocker myself – but I find the grooves and good nature really opens me up to freaking out on stage.”
Davis added that his involvement with Seek the Lion and his solo effort - Mike Davis and the Laughing Buddha Episodes - are the two projects currently most gratifying for him.
Andrews added that the sound infuses island roots reggae with east coast rebel reggae. “It's rootsy, but in your face at the same time. The groove we've created traps the soul and levels up the vibes,” said Andrews. “Reggae is not only uplifting spiritual music, but it is also some of the best music to dance to.”
The ensemble seeks not only to entertain, but to offer a spiritual therapy through music.
“Music is a language spoken not with words but with feeling and can be the only thing in some situations that will influence a person's mood in a way that will help them through times of stress,” said Heuer. “We all have memories of being in a bad situation we can do nothing about, and getting through it with the help of music.”
Heuer added the five mesh very well together, and their connection on stage helps to connect with the crowd.
“I think collectively our goal is to be that positive energy that can bring someone to a better place and enjoy existing in this life,” Heuer said. “Good memories are the most valuable things we have when we look back at our life, so we want our fans to have fun and feel good at our shows and take that memory with them.”
According to Andrews, the group's name derives from the Rastafarian beliefs that the lion is the most powerful being. “We want to live to be the best in spirit, body and mind,” he said.
Rob D added in the past few months Seek the Lion has built great momentum and a supportive fan base. “There are no signs of slowing down,” he said.
The group is currently planning to record its first set of songs – all of which are originals. Shows are in the works in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Florida for this winter. A full east coast tour is slated for spring of this year.
Seek the Lion's next local show is at Richie's Bar in Sherburne on Jan. 25. The band will also be playing at The Blarney Stone Pub in Norwich on March 7.
For further information, audio, and video, visit seekthelion.com or the group's Facebook page at facebook.com/seekthelionfan.