Phil Varca & The SlamJammers is a powerful rockin' blues band. They can rock thunderously with driving rhythms that will shake you out of your seat then quickly downshift into low and display sensitive, evocative playing with their soulful emoting. The group's raw, guitar driven grooves and energy creates a big sound but with no frills. Audiences identify and respond to this energy. For them, it is truly a cathartic experience.
Dynamic songwriting and performances have earned the band praise from critics.The Island Ear noted; "Phil Varca's passion for playing gives his music a lot of soul.....creating his own distinct, bluesy sound with a lot of power and emotion." Good Times magazine wrote; "Varca charms you with throaty vocals.....in addition to masterful guitar playing." Long Island Entertainment wrote; "Varca, drummer Russell Stone & bassist Tom Porter have learned from and emulate the blues masters.....taking the best of what the forefathers have to offer and added to the concoction their own brand of blues. Together they sound larger than the three of them apart. They are all at once tight, melodic and raw."
Performing together since 1989, the band's live shows have become one of their greatest assets. Extended improvisational jams and musical interplay have come to define the group's live perfomances and reflect their experience. They are a solid working unit that consistantly delivers. The Musicians Exchange noted; ".....the trio displays a finely tuned ability to listen to and play off of each other so that the interplay of musical ideas is a constant flow."
In May of '92, Phil Varca & The SlamJammers released "Lightning & Thunder", an original five-song collection. Available only at performances, the release garnered local sales of over 2,000 units. Based on the strength of the collection, the band was chosen to appear at The New York Music Seminar in 1992 and the 1993 South by South West Music Conference in Austin, Texas.
1997 brought the first full-length release titled Ready, Willing andAble on Groove Tone Sound Recordings. The track "Skin on Skin" was featured in the movie "Evil Streets", a horror cult classic which debuted in 1998. This release, a culmination of eight years persistance, hard work and determination, landed the group coveted showcase slots at the 1997 North by North East Music Conference in Toronto, Canada, 1998 CrossRoads Music Conference and BluesStock 1999, both held in Memphis, Tennessee.
2004 saw the release of "Live at Riverhead" - recorded live (naturally!!) at the 2002 Riverhead Blues Festival in Riverhead N.Y. The recording features extended versions of original and cover material and a guest appearance by guitarist Andy Aledort, senior editor for Guitar World magazine and noted Hendrix authority.
Plans are underway to re-release some earlier recordings currently out of print & sought after by fans. The band is also writing & rehearsing new material slated for future release.
"There's nothin' I like more than opening for an act and playing to a crowd that is there to see someone else. Their people don't know you & they don't owe you! We only get one chance to make a first impression...so I love playing for those people ...turning them on to our music for the first time & seeing their reaction!"
Photo Courtesy of Sharon McCraney
Phil Varca & The SlamJammers Members: 1989 - Current