Nobody Writes About: Shootyz Groove

Brilliant sticker placement in High Fidelity* reminded me last night of a band that I haven't spent much time thinking about since high school. Like pretty much everyone that went to high school in Connecticut in the mid-late 90's, I had a brief and ill-advised love affair with rap rock at that time: my beloved Rage Against the Machine provided a gateway into winding, seemingly never-ending couloirs stacked high with ill-advised guitar/emcee combinations. Still, not all of it was bad, and there are a few bands that I still remember fondly, when I have occasion to remember.

Shootyz Groove had one semi-national semi-hit in the summer of '99 (I remember this because it was played on at least 3 different radio stations as I made my way up the Taconic State Parkway to Woodstock '99, a shitshow if there ever was one), but I knew and loved them prior to their short-lived radio fame because of an opening slot they tore apart at the Webster Theater in Hartford before 2 Skinnee J's, a band I'll continue to defend as long as I shall live.

High Definition (purchased at the show) was...fine. Okay, at the time I thought it was amazing. Not all of it sounds good still, but the aforementioned hit (download it or watch the video below) still sounds as good as it ever did, the live cut "Faithful" continues to satisfy, and when album opener "Mad For It" fades in, I'm taken right back to driving around town in the first car I ever owned, playing music louder than I ever could anywhere else. What a feeling.

But Shootyz Groove was a better band to see live than their records let on. I've seen a lot of bands since then, but they still have a special place in my heart as one of the greatest opening acts I've ever seen. Ironically, on the day that I decided to write about them, I checked around the web for them (figuring they'd long since broken up) to find they were playing the Highline Ballroom AS I WAS TYPING ABOUT THEM. I'm buried too deeply in Brooklyn to have been able to make it, but believe me when I tell you that I would've jumped right on a train if I'd had a chance to catch them.

So not only are they still together and performing occasionally (spent the summer on the road with 311, hitting The Living Room in Providence soon), they're putting out a new record, One, this year. I'd be lying if I said I expected to be blown away based on what I've streamed at their site, but I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't still going to check it out anyway.

If there's even a shred of fondness for well-done rap rock left behind the hardened indie rock husk in which you currently dwell, check out what Shootyz Groove has been up to at shootyzgroove.com, or at myspace.com/shootyzgroove.

Shootyz Groove - L Train (video below)

* The "WHAT FUCKING IAN GUY!?!?" scene: Rob goes into his back office and closes the door behind him so Marie DeSalle (Lisa Bonet) doesn't hear him flip out, and there's a Shootyz Groove sticker behind him on the right. I used to have the same sticker on my first car.


  1. Nice write-up. I'm also from New York, and probably about the same age as you, with similar fond memories of rocking out to Shootyz Groove.

    Tonight, randomly, I got it in my head to hear L Train, so I headed to -- where else? -- Youtube.

    As you can see in your post, the record label that owns the rights to the song had it taken down from Youtube.

    This is the stupidity of record labels.

    Do they really want to protect their rights to a 10-year-old album in which interest has waned to nonexistence in the hopes that people will say, "Oh, if it's not on Youtube I'll go out and buy it right now!"

    As opposed to viewing it as a free promotional venue to revive interest in a song this excellent.

    It's not like there's any shortage of examples where old or overlooked music has gone viral years later after appearing on Youtube.

    Oh well. I like Shootyz Groove, and I wish them well in reviving the band. Now, time to check out the NY shows...

  2. Funny, the CD had a movie file of the video, so anyone who bought it back then (before YouTube) owned the video as well as the audio. I wonder if I can find the disc...

    Thanks for the comment.