Lettuce Brings the Funk Back to the Berklee Performance Center

Tedi Mara
June 28, 2012
Lettuce plays House of Blues
Erick Coombs of Lettuce
Photo Rich Gastwirt

Berklee College of Music presents Lettuce in concert on Monday, July 23, at 8:00 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts. Tickets are $31, $26, reserved seating. Purchase tickets at berkleebpc.com, call 617 747-2261, or visit the BPC Box Office.

Celebrating their 20th anniversary, funk band Lettuce is comprised of bassist Erick "Jesus" Coomes, keyboardist Neal Evans, saxophonists Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis, guitarists Eric Krasno and Adam "Shmeeans" Smirnoff, and drummer Adam Deitch. Lettuce began in the summer of 1992, when several of its members attended Berklee's Five-Week Summer Performance Program as teenagers. Brought together by the influence of various funk bands, the band jammed throughout that summer before going their separate ways.

Two years later, in the fall of 1994, the Lettuce members, who had remained in contact with each other, returned to Berklee as full-fledged undergrads and picked up right where they left off. They were fond of showing up with their instruments at underground jazz clubs like Wally's (usually at other musicians' gigs) and asking, "Will you let us play?"—hence the birth of the name Lettuce. "We never thought that name would stick," says Krasno, "but we just never got around to changing it."

The group is part of the Royal Family Collective, and while all the players in the band have other main gigs (Krasno and Evans are members of the band Soulive, Deitch plays with guitarist John Scofield, and Smirnoff has played on the road with Lady Gaga) Lettuce remains a welcome outlet for each. As Krasno says "It's all about good friends getting together to play the kind of music that made us all want to become musicians in the first place." Working with a palette of funk, jazz, and soul, the picture Lettuce paints with each song they perform is vibrant, joyous, full of soul and spirit.

In addition to the public concert, Lettuce will present a private clinic in the afternoon for participants in the 2012 Five-Week Summer Performance Program, the band's way of giving back to the program that brought them together 20 years ago.