Manistee Sufferin Suckatash Celebrates 15 Years Together


MANISTEE – Ask any musician or band member what they love most about performing live, and the usual response is to get a positive reaction from the audience.

When the group Manistee Sufferin Suckatash take the stage, that positive reaction comes in the form of seeing the dance floor filled with people moving to their music. It’s something band members Jason Mucha, guitar and vocals; Todd Virta, vocals and guitar; Joe Krus, bass and backing vocals; and Jeff Dahlke, drums and vocals, have been coping with their upbeat sound for 15 years.

“We’ve had a few line-up changes over the years, but the guys in the band right now are the original four members,” Mucha said. “The four of us have been back together for three or four years now, because lineup changes happened because people were busy with different things and sometimes just didn’t have time to play with the band.”

Mucha said it was fun that they were able to celebrate the group’s 15th anniversary with the original members back in the fold.

“All four of us are playing again and having a great time,” he said.

Sufferin Suckatash offers a playlist that many would consider classic rock, but Mucha said he would rather call the sound classic hard rock.

“It’s stuff from the 1970s, 80s and 90s and we add an original from time to time,” he said. “Our focus is music from bands like AC/DC, Van Halen, Judas Priest and bands like that, but we always try to keep it danceable.”

The group sometimes puts lighter songs in the mix, but they add a little rock side, which goes well with the public.

“When you have a band that’s been playing together for a while, you can kind of take the songs in a different direction,” Mucha said. “You can personalize them a bit while still making them recognizable to your audience so they match what you do.”

Mucha said they don’t actively write their own music, but have created tracks over the years. He pointed out that in places where they happen like bars, service clubs, festivals, charity events (Jingle Jam and Snowshoe Stampede) and parties – which were smaller during the pandemic – people are more interested. to hear the type of music cover sound

“We’re staying pretty much around Manistee, but we’ve played a few gigs in Traverse City and up to Val Du Lakes Bar (in Mears), so we’ve stretched out quite a bit,” Mucha said.

He said people really know the band for their style of music.

“They really like to hear more of the old style of classical music, but we try to add new things from time to time, so it’s fresh for people who come to see us play a lot,” he said. .

Mucha joked that the band gets extremely creative during their rehearsal sessions.

“What’s fun about playing with these guys in rehearsal is sometimes we feed off each other and come up with different things that are really good that would make a good original, but when we’re done , sometimes we don’t remember what we did,” he said.

What it’s like to be in a band for the Sufferin Suckash band is like a lot of bands and musicians in this area, they have a real love of music and enjoy playing it. Mucha said local musicians have a strong brotherhood that often leads them to play with other bands.

“The four of us are kind of like this six degrees of separation game because pretty much everyone here, we’ve played with them, shared a stage, made an advantage or recorded with them,” Mucha said. “Todd has been in a lot of bands and played with just about everyone in town. There are a lot of talented people in our area, and they may not all play the same style, but we have a common thread, our love of music.

Mucha said that just getting out there and performing in front of people was the main attraction for his band members.

“Having a crowd get up and dance or everyone having a good time, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “We have a great time when everyone does the same on a fun night of live music. There’s nothing quite like a little light show with people dancing and throwing themselves into what you’re doing. ”

However, there is a real commitment to being part of a band or musical group in terms of practicing and preparing for a performance.

“(Being a) cover band is like being a tribute band to 40 different bands every night,” he said. “We try to train every week and spend a lot of time rehearsing. We have all played music for most of our lives as I played guitar for 35 years and started playing music through the Manistee High School Band program with Cindy Swan-Eagan , which is first order.

Mucha said the four current band members have come together in a unique way. He and Joe Krus were part of another band that booked a New Years gig 15 years ago, and just before the event two other members pulled out.

“We put out a call to get a few people (Todd Virta and Jeff Dahlke) for the New Years gig, and we loved it so we rolled with it and here we are 15 years later,” Mucha said. “It started as a one-off New Year’s gig and grew from there. The place we played that night asked us to come back a few weeks later, so we knew we were on. Something.

Mucha said the band’s name came out of a rehearsal for that first New Year’s gig. They played one of the numbers that came out so well that Dahlke said “Sufferin Suckatash was good” giving them the l inspiration to name the band for that night and it stuck.

“We decided to spell it a little differently and to this day a lot of people spell it wrong,” Mucha said.

What’s good for Sufferin Suckatash and other local live music artists is that venues are finally starting to open up more since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said they were starting to book more gigs.

“It’s great to see that more and more places are starting to do this again,” Mucha said. “We see that places have gone through (the pandemic) and they are starting to have live acts again. Two years ago, when everything was closed, we were supposed to play St. Patrick’s Day at VFW, but with the explosion of COVID, for security reasons, it was canceled.

Mucha said the group has always stayed together during the pandemic by training when possible. Now they are optimistic that they can get back to doing what they love to do on a regular basis.

For more information about the band, search Sufferin Suckatash on Facebook.


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