The Smoking Section is a Chicago-based quartet that plays Uptown Growl: a tasty mix of blues, jazz, jump, swing and rock that’s perfect for honky-tonks, dive bars, or wherever else the people need the music brought to them. Timmy G!, Joe Griffin, John Toljanic and Mark Felcansmith grew up within a few miles of each other and have been playing music together in various incarnations for thirty years. This band is four Chicago-area musicians with a long shared history and a common goal: to take the greatest music of the twentieth and early twenty-first century – from artists as diverse as Les Paul, Elvis Costello, Louis Jordan and Tom Waits– and filter it through their own smoky lens.
The Smoking Section have been honing their unique blend of genres since their first appearance in September of 2011, and since then have played to enthusiastic audiences in Chicago and Madison, at venues such as The Gallery Cabaret, The Grace Street Tap, Eddie’s Lounge and Madison’s Art Fair on the Square.
Upcoming Smoking Section appearances:
Friday, February 27th, 2015: Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley, Chicago, Illinois
Showtime 10 in the pm
Timmy G! – vocals, harmonica, auxiliary percussion
Timmy G! has been performing on stages in front of people since he was ten years old – as an actor, storyteller, musician, magician, charlatan, shaman, shape-shifter, witch-doctor and occasional confidence man. He is of indeterminate age and is currently at large.
Joe Griffin – guitar
Joe has played in cover and original bands since junior high school, and spent much of the late 1980s and early 1990s on Michigan’s bar and fraternity-party circuits as lead guitarist and vocalist for the Others. In the mid-1990s he performed with the Chicago cover band Mr. Peabody. He has honed his stagecraft playing to every type of crowd, from intimate coffeehouse sets to the thousands of attendees of the 2005 and 2006 Chicago Auto Shows.
John Toljanic – bass
I’ve been playing the bass for thirty years. Trust me.
In that time I’ve changed bands more often than I’ve changed the strings on any of my Fender basses.
John also plays in The Push Puppets..
Mark Felcansmith – drums
Mark started his first band in grade 8. He continued playing through high school, developing his core chops and proficiency as a drummer. He spent his college years playing in the drumline and percussion ensembles, including a steel drum band, Latin percussion ensemble, marimba quartet, and playing in the pit for theater plays, and an opera. In the early 90′s Mark was consistently playing in multiple Chicago bands, including Tangled Up!, Fuzz Chumps, Three Years Ghost, Elysium, and Early. Often his time was split between playing percussion in an eclectic group of strings, woodwinds, piano, and guitars, and alternative jazz-rock outfits. Mark also plays in The Push Puppets.