Now that we’ve seen Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s supergroup, Silk Sonic, blow us away with smooth vocals and silky melodies, we’re all wondering what happened to Bruno Mars’ old band. Bruno rose to stardom with his band, the Hooligans, and they really broke into wider popularity after playing the Super Bowl in 2014.
We’re really excited about the new Silk Sonic album that both Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak have teased, but we’re also worried about the Hooligans! Will they still play with Bruno Mars or did he ditch them?
Bruno Mars hasn’t said what happened to his old band, so we can assume Silk Sonic is a side project.
It’s really common for great musicians to join together to form supergroups. Typically, these supergroups are side projects to get the musicians’ names back on the forefront of our minds or just because they were inspired to collaborate. In the case of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, it is likely both!
The two were on tour together during Bruno Mars’ "24K Magic" show in 2017, and started making music together back then. Why wouldn’t they? Two talented musicians, lyricists, and percussionists were bound to come together to make some magic.
Bruno Mars shared in an Apple Music interview, “There’s a song on the album that we started in 2017, and it was just a little phrase that we had, joking around, going back and forth about. And when we got to the studio, I actually called [Anderson] on his birthday and I said, ‘I think I figured out that little hook we had, come to the studio.’ He’s like, ‘It’s my birthday.’ So he came drunk.”
From there, they just kept making music together, and the COVID-19 pandemic was the perfect opportunity to take a step away from their full bands and form a more intimate supergroup that also includes Bootsy Collins as the album’s “host.”
The Hooligans are all musicians in their own right.
When we think of Bruno Mars, we think of his powder blue suit, his dance moves, and his big band. While his side project with Anderson .Paak is super exciting, his old band was incredibly talented too, and really made Bruno Mars into what we know him to be today.
Bruno’s old band, the Hooligans, consisted of eight other guys. Phredley Brown provided keys, lead guitar, and backing vocals, while being Bruno’s musical director. He also released his own three-track soundtrack, "Run Free." Jamareo Artis was Bruno’s bass guitarist, and he actually won P. Diddy’s Making the Band reality show in 2009.
Eric ‘E-Panda’ Hernandez is Bruno’s older brother (by about 10 years). He’s the Hooligans' drummer, but he’s not the only other musical family member. Their dad was a drummer as well, and their sisters formed an all-girl group, the Lylas.
Kameron Whalum III was the trombone player who also did backing vocals. He actually made his TV debut playing with Jessie J on SNL, so he plays with various musicians. Dwayne Dugger, a saxophonist and keyboardist, was in a local band called the Jaspects that had two jazz and soul albums.
James King did the trumpet and backing vocals, and once said, “I look at Bruno like one of my brothers. Like a really close friend."
John Fossit, a third keyboarder for the Hooligans, grew up homeless, and has now performed at the Super Bowl, so he’s truly living the American Dream.
Finally, backing vocalist Philip Lawrence actually worked with Bruno on a side project called the Smeezingtons along with Ari Levine, in which they produced singles and albums with Adele, Travie McCoy, Flo Rida, and Adam Lambert.
It seems like Bruno Mars’ old band isn’t going anywhere.
Not to worry, it doesn’t seem like the Hooligans are going anywhere. Many supergroups and side projects have formed in the past for several notable bands. Green Day famously had several side projects, like Foxboro Hot Tubs and the Frustrators.
In 2018, Sia, Labrinth, and Diplo, teamed up to work on LSD, but they all still do their own thing too. In 2006, members of the Gorillaz, the Clash, and Tony Allen formed the Good, the Bad, & the Queen to come together for one album. Oftentimes, musicians are inspired to work together, and knowing this, we can be even more excited for Silk Sonic.