We recently sat down with Spike Sikes and The Awesome Hotcakes, one of Northern California’s most popular bands. The Hotcakes have been on a hot streak lately headlining local festivals, completing two full-length albums, opening for Tower of Power, and booking 200 shows a year in this difficult post-pandemic market.
Bridge: How would you describe your sound to a first-time listener?
AHC: We’re pretty eclectic, but if you connect with the music of Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, or Van Morrison we’re likely right up your alley. It’s been amazing to see all the different age demographics dig what we do. When you see three generations of a family all dancing together while singing the words to your songs you know that you’re doing something right.
Bridge: You recently won the “Hardest Working Musician” award, tell us about this.
AHC: All the band members have a very strong work ethic, and are very assertive and proactive. In the past two years, we have played hundreds of shows and recorded two albums. It’s hard not to get noticed when you are constantly working and improving what you do. We love what we do, and we keep on digging. We were essentially making our own luck. It floored us when all three Wine Country counties selected us as the hardest-working band. Earlier this year our local Fox station KTVU asked us to provide music for a live one-hour special they were doing in Sonoma Wine Country. We showed up for soundcheck at 6 am after a late-night gig. One of the newscasters was shocked and asked, “when do you sleep?!?!” We quoted the great philosopher Warren Zevon, and told him that we’ll sleep when we’re dead. We really appreciated the award, and have no intention of giving up the title. (laughs)
Bridge: How did the pandemic affect what you were trying to accomplish?
AHC: Everyone was hit hard by the shutdowns, and we lost 150 booked gigs from our 2020 calendar in an instant. The entire band needed to deal with their responsibilities and struggles as everyone did. The tough part for the band was that we not only lost our jobs, but we also lost our musical outlet. It was depressing. We did some video shows and collaborations like most folks did, but really we just wanted to get back to making music together. A bright moment during this time was that Spike was provided with a grant from The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Foundation. Around this same time, we had a band meeting and decided we should get together and record a song in the studio. We headed into Route 44 Studios in Sebastopol to record that song, and it was such a wonderful experience that it ended up becoming the entire album, Take Some Time To Dream. We were dreaming of the future, and making the best of the moment.
Bridge: So what’s next for The Awesome Hotcakes?
AHC: We’ve done a lot in Wine Country, and are grateful for all of the success we’ve experienced here. Our live shows help us to forge a connection with the fans, and the reality is that we now need to reach fans outside the SF Bay Area and Wine Country. To that end, we are looking into management, booking, and distribution options outside of our current team. We’re not in a rush, and will keep working like we always have until we find the right people to work with. Our main intention will always be to bring the joy we have for this music to the people.
About The Band
Just The Right Recipe… The most frequently heard comment after a Spike’s Awesome Hotcakes gig goes something like this – “No one is making this kind of music anymore!” But what, exactly, is “this kind of music?” Like hotcakes themselves, it goes by many names. Soul. Swing. Rhythm & Blues. Jazz. Jump. It’s a sound that’s classic and simple, but when it’s done right, it hits the spot, and has you grinning from ear to ear. Spike has spent years searching for this sound. From the Texas blues joints he cut his teeth in to the funky halls of New Orleans, he was always studying the music, trying to find just the right recipe. It makes perfect sense that he found his bandmates in Sonoma County, a music scene that has fostered many eclectic artists for decades. What he didn’t know was how hungry audiences were for “this kind of music.” You might say they’ve been eating it up like…Hotcakes!
Official Website: http://www.AwesomeHotcakes.com
Band Member Bios: https://awesomehotcakes.com/now/index.php/band-bios/
Hear The Music: https://awesomehotcakes.com/now/index.php/connect/