Led by a man whose music is no stranger to TV, nationally known recording artists or former U.S. presidents, "psychojazz trip funk" band Stratospheerius will return to Mojo's on Saturday for a 9 p.m. show. Bill Burke Trio will open.
"We try to come back every few months," said Stratospheerius singer Joe Deninzon. "We have a great following in Jamestown. It's a really fun place to play."
Stratospheerius started playing shows in the Jamestown area after several area residents began attending its Erie gigs. In years past, the band performed at Carol's Silver Dollar and has been booking gigs at Mojo's for about two years.
The band includes Deninzon, who also plays electric violin and mandolin; guitarist Aurelien Budynek; bassist Jamie Bishop and drummer Lucianna Padmore.
Stratospheerius' musical range combines jam, fusion, rock, progressive, virtuoso, singer-songwriter, jazz and metal. The band has played at colleges, festivals and clubs throughout the nation, opening for acts such as Tim Reynolds, Mickey Hart, The Slip, Ekoostik Hookah and John Scofield.
"I think the thing people anywhere like about our shows is the high-energy, fun rock," Deninzon said. "It's a little bit different than what you normally hear."
Deninzon's V-shaped electric violin has also been a big hit among music fans locally and in surrounding regions. The seven-string, fretted violin has a harness that attaches to Deninzon's back.
"It's an unusual instrument," he said. "You don't see it every day."
Stratospheerius has won awards in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, the Online People's Choice Awards in the Cornucopia Festival, and Musician's Atlas Independent Music Awards, where it received "Best Jam Band" honors. The band recently finished recording the album "The Next World," which can be downloaded on iTunes. Deninzon recommends the album for progressive rock fans.
"It's very high-energy with a lot of memorable songs," he said. "I'm all about having memorable songs - not necessarily jams that go on for 10 minutes. The older stuff sort of had that, but we save that for the live shows."
The new album's predecessor, "Headspace," combines elements of hard rock, jazz, funk and Middle Eastern music. "Today is Tomorrow," "New Material" and "Old Ghosts" have garnered airplay on multiple radio formats, and the instrumental "Heavy Shtettle Part II: Heavier Shtettle," which Deninzon co-wrote with Testament's Alex Skolnick, has found its way onto jazz and metal stations.
While leading Stratospheerius since 2001, Deninzon has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Les Paul, Phoebe Snow, Ritchie Blackmore and others. He can be heard on more than 100 recordings and jingles as a violinist and string arranger.
Deninzon has appeared in Lincoln Center's "Meet the Artist" program and as a soloist with the New York City Ballet. He has performed on MTV, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and for former President Bill Clinton.
"I thought he was really into it," said Deninzon, who played in front of Clinton around the turn of the century. "I can tell when people are fans of music and feeling it. That was pretty exciting."
His music has been featured on CMT, VH1, ABC, Comedy Central, the Travel Channel, History Channel, Food Network and National Geographic. Most recently, Deninzon's music was featured in the Will Ferrell and Adam McKay-produced movie "Virginity Hit."
As for Stratospheerius, the band enjoys playing shows in smaller areas and hopes to continue booking gigs in cities such as Jamestown in the future.
"The bottom line is we enjoy playing music for people," Deninzon said. "People appreciate what we play. At the end of the day, it's about that. It's not about how much money you make."