We Love Music: GroundScore


All GroundScore wants is to have a good time and watch you dance. And no – that isn’t creepy. It’s freakin’ awesome.

This trio of DC metro-area jammers debuted their first full-length record late last year and is now determined to bring that “feel good” feeling back into people’s lives one east coast town at a time. They’re a group of self-proclaimed reggae rocking, blues driven, jamming machines who rehearse with the recording tape running at all times.

“That’s how we get some of our best stuff,” guitar player and lead singer Zach Bellas said. “We just leave it running for 7 to 10 minutes and have a good time.”

They go back and listen to the tracks after the fact to pick out the gems of the session, add those gems into the original piece of music, and voilà – a song new song is born.

“Our tracks are never 100% structured,” drummer Chase Lapp said. “That’s the coolest part. But that’s what also makes the record so restricting, as awesome as it is. The only thing that sucks about making a record is the restriction. Now people have expectations of what the songs should sound like.”

GroundScore started out with no material in early 2008 jamming out at three hour basement parties trying to play DJ in friend’s basements via their own creation of reggae-blues-jam-band-rock.

That’s when they caught the jitter bug.

Both Bellas and Lapp agreed — there’s just something about seeing people dance to the music and groove to the tunes that make GroundScore the fun band they’ve always wanted to be a part of.

Two shows standout in the band’s collective mind as their greatest musical successes to date – well, that and getting people to 2-step their entire set. A four hour set on the Ocean City, Md. boardwalk hooked that jitter bug to GroundScore’s set-list. They played hole-in-the-wall while people walked by during the day’s peak afternoon hours sipping on beer, sun beating down, and solidifying their spot on the ‘walk as folks came and went with their foots always tapping on the dance floor.

That boardwalk show combined with the experience of playing to a packed crowd of 1,400 at the SONAR in Baltimore makes these guys believe they have what it takes to head out and start staking their claim in the east coast music scene. There’s really no fighting them on that one.

Think Sublime’s 40 oz. to Freedom meets 311’s Amber with a jam band twist and dash of Blues.

GroundScore’s biggest fault is also their biggest attribute — they sound like “everyone else”. Their record Healthy Children (released under the independent label SMB Records) feels like a generic reggae track-pack at first listen. This is one case where first impressions are not correct.

Bellas’ voice is like hearing Sublime’s Bradley Nowell come back from the dead. It never falters, is always on pitch, and is as smooth as buttah (with an “AH”, not an “ER”). Lapp and bassist Nick Graves lay down the rhythm track that keeps the band in the pocket while groovin’ along.

It’s safe to say that if you want to chill out with your buddies this summer and grab a beer, GroundScore would make the perfect soundtrack to your life in the process.

GroundScore is scheduled to play Asylum in Adams Morgan on Tuesday, March 23 at 9 p.m. For more tour dates visit their MySpace Music page.

Rachel moved to DC in the fall of 2005 to study Journalism and Music at American University. When she’s not keeping up with the latest Major League Baseball news, she works on making music as an accomplished singer-songwriter and was even a featured performer/speaker at TEDxDupont Circle in 2012. Rachel has also contributed to The Washington Examiner and MASN Sports’ Nationals Buzz as a guest blogger. See why she loves DC. E-Mail: rachel@welovedc.com.

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