Scary Pockets (S.P.) are a dynamic funk band formed in Los Angeles, founded by Ryan Lerman and Jack Conte. The two are joined by a continuously rotating line-up of quality musicians for their videos and album releases. Ryan Leman spent his twenties touring as a bassist for the American singer-songwriter Ben Folds. He also performed as a guitarist for Michael Bublé and as a musical director for John Legend. The other half of Scary Pockets, Jack Conte, is an American musician, singer-songwriter, entrepreneur, and filmmaker. He is one half of the band Pomplamoose with his now wife, Nataly Dawn, leader of the band Magazine, and co-founder along with Samuel Yam of Patreon, which is a membership platform that provides business tools for content creators to run a subscription service. It helps creators and artists earn a monthly income by providing rewards and perks to their subscribers.
It is immediately obvious when watching one or more of their videos how much time, effort, and skill goes into their production. They surround themselves with incredible musicians and singers from the L.A. music scene, and the “funky” passion and incredible skill sets are evident in every single performance, whether it is only a few others performing or a much larger ensemble. One of the things that stands out for me when watching these videos is how, while paying their respects to the original material, they also skillfully make it uniquely their own. They have been touted as the “best cover band ever.” I prefer to be a little less definitive in my assessment, so I would say they are in my top three! The band’s motto is “arrange quickly and simply, have a ton of fun, and be funky.” Check, check, check!
What follows are five unique covers of five disparate artists/groups and genres. The originals represent five musical decades from the 60s to the 2000s. Be prepared to be transported back in time and thoroughly entertained! First up, “I Want You Back,” by The Jackson 5. Seeing an 11-year-old Michael Jackson performing on The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1969 might bring back a memory or two.
S.P. featuring Danielle DeAndrea “I Want You Back” – May 2021
The Jackson 5
The Jackson 5 were an American pop band composed of members of the now infamous Jackson family. The group was founded in 1964 in Gary, Indiana, and for most of their career, consisted of brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael. They managed by their father Joe Jackson. They were among the first African American performers to attain a “crossover” following. In 1968, they signed with Motown, where they were the first group to debut with four consecutive number one hits, including the one featured here, “I Want You Back.”
The Jackson 5 “I Want You Back” “The Ed Sullivan Show” – Dec. 1969
S.P. “Dreams” Fleetwood Mac – Funk cover featuring Elsie Trouw – Jul. 2020
Fleetwood Mac were a British-American rock band formed in London in 1967. They were founded by guitarists and vocalists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer and drummer Mick Fleetwood. Bob Brunning was hired as a temporary bass guitarist before John McVie joined the line-up in time for their eponymous debut album. Danny Kirwan joined as a third guitarist in 1968. Keyboardists and vocalist, Christine Perfect, who contributed as a session musician starting with the band’s second album while she was a member of the band Chicken Shack, married McVie, and Joined Fleetwood Mac as a full member in 1970 and became known as Christine McVie.
Primarily a British Blues band, they had some success with the original line-up, but by 1974 several of the original members had left and subsequent replacements also left or were dismissed. In late 1974 when Fleetwood was scouting studios in Los Angeles, he heard the American folk-rock duo Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. He asked Buckingham to be their new guitarist and vocalist. Buckingham agreed with the condition that Nicks join as a vocalist. And the rest, as they say, is history. The new additions gave the band a more pop rock sound and their 1975 album, Fleetwood Mac. Their second album, Rumours (1977), from which the featured song comes from, produced four Top 10 singles.
Fleetwood Mac “Dreams” Album Rumours – 1977
S.P. featuring Judith Hill “You Shook Me All Night Long” Back in Black AC/DC – Sept. 2018
AC/DC are an Australian rock band formed in Sydney in 1973 by Scottish-born Australian brothers Malcom (rhythm guitar) and Angus Young (lead guitar). Their music has been described by a variety of listeners as hard rock, blues rock, and heavy metal, but the band calls their music simply rock and roll. The band went through several line-up changes before releasing their debut album, High Voltage in 1975. Band membership eventually stabilized around the Young brothers with fellow Scottish-born Australian Bob Scott (lead vocals) alongside native Australian Mark Evans (bass) and Phil Rudd (drums). Evans was replaced by Cliff Williams in 1977 and has since appeared on every album since Powerage (1978). A short time after the release of their breakthrough album, Highway to Hell, Scott died of alcohol poisoning and the other members considered disbanding. They decided to soldier on and recruited English singer, Brian Johnson, as their new front man. The first album with Johnson, Back in Black (1980), was dedicated to Scott’s memory. It was a huge success, launching the band to new heights and became the second-best selling album of all time!
AC/DC “You Shook Me All Night Long” – Album – Back In Black – 1980
S.P. featuring India Carney “Creep” Pablo Honey Radiohead – May 2017
Radiohead are an English rock band formed in Abingdon, England in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards); brothers Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), and Colin Greenwood (bass); Ed O’Brien (guitar, backing vocals); and Philip Selway (drums, percussion). Their experimental approach to music has led many to say that they advanced the sound of alternative rock. Their debut album, Pablo Honey (1993) contained their debut single, “Creep,” which became a worldwide hit and has been covered by many artists.
Radiohead “Creep” – Album – Pablo Honey – 1993
S.P. featuring Therese Curatolo “Happier Than Ever” – Album – Happier Than Ever Billie Eilish – Feb. 2023
Billie Eilish is an American singer-songwriter. She first gained public attention in 2015 with her debut single, “Ocean Eyes,” written and produced by her brother, Finneas O’Connell, with whom she collaborates on music and live shows. Since that release, she has gone on to receive multiple accolades, not to mention seven Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award, to name but a few. Not too bad for someone who will turn 22 this December!
Billie Eilish “Happier Than Ever” – Album – Happier Than Ever – 2021
Los Angeles 2023