You are hereOut of Favor Boys
Out of Favor Boys
They're called the Out of Favor Boys, but don't let these six local guys fool you: They're hardly pariahs on the blues scene. The band is enjoying a new peak in popularity since their latest release party “Can’t Be Good” at the State Theatre. Saxaphone player Tony "T-Bone" Sproul said crowd reaction at the show "kind of blew our mind a little bit" and continued after the gig as about 150 people snapped up the groups seven-song CD. The experience meant a lot to the band since, "We've only been together about 9 years - we're still kind of fresh and young," Sproul said. Several times during the interview Sproul talked about "how happy this band is." and the almost giddy sound of his voice conveyed his enthusiasm for making music with this group.
Sproul, grew up near Pontiac and came to town to study education at Western Michigan University, He now teaches science at Kalamazoo Central High School. The rest of the boys are Mike Porter, Tim Brouhard, Joel Krauss and Dan Ouellette. Sproul and Ouellette started the group after amicably leaving the Crossroads Blues Band. Sproul said he started the group with a plan "to move the blues in a new direction around here." They don't aim for straight, swampy blues or Chicago electric; it's blues to dance to. In his Gazette review of the Boys' opening set for Harman, Mark Wedel described the band's style as "its own blend of the funky boogaloo." "The sextet did the blues but I leaned towards bass-popping funk...," Wedel wrote. "The group's hit of the night seemed to be the straight-up pop ballad 'Things I've Never Known,' sung by Joel Krauss."
A modern blues sound is what you get with a band spawned from sessions in The Funky Basement - the nickname of the lower level of Wonderful's bar. "I did all of my sax studies down at Wonderful's," Sproul said, and credits Crossroads' sax man Ed Lester for showing him how to connect with the music. "Most of us have learned our music through the jam," Sproul said about the band. "It's been 15 years since I read a piece of sheet music. At one point in time I could read it, but not anymore. I feel like I'm playing more now from the inside out instead of the other way around, if you know what I'm saying." "Hearing it live was what got me hooked," he said. "A live blues show for some reason - well, I haven't seen one yet that the people on stage weren't giving me every last piece of sweat that they've got."