The bar was packed and me and my friends, all gathered around a table with our beers in hand, sat as we watched the Seahawks show why they were the best defensive team in the National Football League.
We laughed, we cried, our jaws dropped from time to time at the plays being called from both ends of the team. Since I had not picked a team, I wasn’t personally invested in Super Bowl XLVIII, but it was still entertaining to watch. As the first half ticked down and anticipation built for the Super Bowl half time show with Bruno Mars and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The commercials ended and the cameras turned back to the MetLife Stadium with the lights off, the roar of the crowd and Bruno Mars appear center spotlight on a floating platform, in full-drum solo.
My interest peaked and I felt compelled to put my beer down and watch. I didn’t even know Mars could play drums – that alone was enough to catch my attention. Then Bruno whipped into his first song and his backing band, the Hooligans, came into the light as well. The half time show was underway and it gripping from start to finish. But as a bass player, the most entertaining aspect of Mars’ set was one man: the bassist for the Hooligans.
I’ll be the first to admit – I had no idea who he was at first glance, but I knew there was something special going on when he ripped into his bass solo. I reached for my iPhone mid-set and started typing away – who was this man?
The name that came up was Jamareo Artis.
A Short Piece About Jamareo Artis
Though still very young (20 years old at the time of this James Ross interview), Jamareo started playing music at the age of 10 and took a shine to the all-stars of soul, funk and RnB bass from right off the bat. James Jamerson, Chuck Rainey, Louis Johnson were among the names that helped to craft Artis’ sound as he gigged around his native North Carolina.
Artis grew into his craft over time and eventually caught a big break when he landed an audition for P. Diddy’s house band for his MTV show, Making the Band. He went on to win the competition in 2009 – at age 20!
From then on, the rest was history as the gigs became more elaborate, more prestigious and more demanding for the young Artis. Of course, the casual listener might not have ever heard of Artis prior to the Super Bowl where he performed with his current gig, The Hooligans, Bruno Mars’ backing band.
As the Super Bowl viewer might have gotten the impression, the Hooligans name says it all: a group of exciting, energetic young musicians playing a style of swing, pop and RnB music where the word hooligan was part of the American lexicon in regular rotation.
Though some might have mixed opinions about Bruno Mars as an entertainer, there are two things that are for certain:
Mars is no slouch when it comes to bringing the goods in his live performances and
Mars knows how to build and rehearse one heck of a band. Heck – that should have been shown just by Artis’ performance alone and the rare instance of a bass solo during the Super Bowl performance*
*This is where I would link to the performance but…you know…copyright from the NFL. Who would have thought someone who wasn’t Flea would be so entertaining – even if his bass was unplugged (he has since addressed why he was unplugged during the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ half time set) Jamareo also did an interview with Bass Player Magazine, definitely worth a read as well if you liked this article. If you’re someone who saw that performance and instantly wanted to hear more of Mars (and I know I sure was!) you can check out his newest album, Unorthodox Jukebox here.