How I Plan to CopE at Orange Blossom Jamboree
It was May 7th, 2004. I went to Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa to see New Monsoon, a band whose albums I really enjoyed. As is often the case, there was an opening band, one I had never heard about before.
The band was CopE.
This quartet was excellent. For whatever reason, I didn’t run into them again until 2008, when again they were at Skipper’s Smokehouse, opening for Uncle John’s Band. Also on that bill were Christie Leneé. In fact, the first 13 times I heard CopE were all at Skipper’s.
From 2008 to 2015, I had the privilege and pleasure of seeing these boys perform three dozen times. Sometimes they opened for another band, sometimes they closed, and sometimes they were the only band on the bill. I saw them paired with The Heavy Pets, Donna Hopkins, BIG Something, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, The Applebutter Express, Kung Fu, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Come Back Alice, and The Groove Orient.
I saw them at the Dunedin Brewery, the Blueberry Patch, Ringside Cafe, and the Crowbar. They played my favorite festivals at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park: Bear Creek, AURA, and Wanee. I saw their final Hometeam New Year’s Rally set in 2014, their last OBJ appearance in 2015, and their final two performances on July 2nd and 3rd of that year at Great Outdoors Jam.
And every one was stellar. Absolutely. They played soul-drenching sets every time they hit the stage. “What Goes Up.” “Going Home.” “Suwannee River Scrubdown.” “Shake Anything.” Those are just some of the songs firmly ensconced in Florida jam history.
They rocked. They funked. Juanjamon led the reggae. And they were gloriously psychedelic as well.
There are three constants in CopE history: the Stadelman brothers and Juan Montero, much better known as Meesta Juanjamon. Over the course of the band’s existence, three drummers have propelled the beat: Brad Elliott, Dave Gerulat, and Michael Garrie.
Guitarist Dennis Stadelman was lead vocalist for CopE; he also plays banjo. His warm style and great guitar work both attracted fans. He performed solo and in duets with Troy Youngblood. His current project is called Sonic Stew, and they perform on Wookiee Wednesday at 6:20. He and brother Kenny started the band in the ’90s in Ohio and brought their music to Florida.
Bass player Kenny Stadelman anchored the funk with his low-end antics on stage and also sang. His bass lines are unmistakable and unforgettable. Kenny has maintained a lower onstage presence than the other members of the band, although he and wonderful wife Kimmie are often present whether he is playing or not. He is the go-to bassist when Come Back Alice plays a Led Zeppelin set.
Juanjamon is a multi-instrumentalist who also sings. He plays tenor saxophone, EWI, and keyboards. His current band, The Juanjamon Band, gets to some of the deepest funk you’ll ever hear. And he hosts a reggae jam at Ringside Cafe.
Dave Gerulat is also an excellent percussionist. He plays drums and sings with shoeless soul and often sits in on percussion with Row Jomah. He also is one of the hosts of the weekly Wednesday night players’ jam at Dunedin Brewery.
Brad Elliott plays with Dennis Stadelman’s Sonic Stew. He played previously with Porkupine and Somatic, and he will play once again at OBJ with Este Loves’ Church of Love Sunday at 3:20. He joins Kenny when Come Back Alice does Led Zep.
Michael ‘Thunderfoot’ Garrie currently drives the funk for The Juanjamon Band. He is also in demand for sit-ins with groups such as Holey Miss Moley.
CopE headlines Friday at 10:30 and Saturday at 10:25. Come hear history in the making.
We’ll all help you CopE!