In the summer of 2000, four St. Louis musicians did what about a million musicians have done before and since — made a promise to themselves that they were going to get real and put both feet in to create a band that would stand the test of time and all the indignant crap about to be thrown at it. But unlike about a million other musicians before and since, Nervous Pudding kept their promise with an unrelenting watchword: commitment.
How could they not? First, their heavy-funk, metal-jazz rock they affectionately call “devil’s blues” is their second reason for living (avoiding death is their first reason). Second, they discovered something very early on: the heart and soul they put into their music comes back to them — times ten — from their ever-growing, multi-state fan base that gobbles up all the Puddin’-pride swag it can get its hands on.
“The way our fans give back to us is a rush that will never get old, and it makes you work all the harder to make sure you deserve it,” Jimmy Smith, the band’s lead vocalist, observed. “Nothing was ever given to us; we earned every good thing the hard way. We put it out there, and our fans give it back to us in return. It’s a high that keeps getting higher, and it keeps raising the bar, and that drives us to outdo ourselves every step of the way on this journey.”
A recent high for the now-five-man band was besting 50 bands from throughout the Midwest over the course of three contests to win regional radio station 105.7 The Point’s “Battle for Pointfest 2015.” This resulted in the band being selected to play at the 20,000-capacity Hollywood Casino Amphitheater at Riverport during the summer of 2015. Yet another high for Nervous Pudding was its CD release party on February 6 in the famed Duck Room at Blueberry Hill, where the group formally launched its second album, Breaking the Mold.
Like any band that’s learned the art of survival, Nervous Pudding has evolved over the years. It’s changed bass players, added a keyboard player and constantly reinvented its live show to become a formidable force of rock entertainment on stage. But through all its changes, the band has kept its promise to itself and to the fans with whom the band made this tacit agreement a decade and a half ago: “Give us your support, and we’ll give you everything we’ve got.”
So far, neither party has shown any desire to back out of that contract.
Nervous Pudding personnel: Jimmy Smith, vocals; Josh Lawson, guitar, vocals; John Nicholas, drums; Daniel Hodge, keyboards, vocals; Jordon McCallister, bass; Matt Hogan, manager. 314-800-4857 www.nervouspudding.com