We all know who Bruno Mars is, but who are those funky cats with undeniable rhythm always performing with Bruno Mars?
Ladies and gentlemen they are the Hooligans.
The first time I noticed this vibrant ensemble was back in 2012 on SNL when they performed "Locked out of Heaven". I believe I had the video on repeat for weeks! It was fun, energetic and something unseen in this decade of music. It resembled the likes of a James Brown performance except with some fresh swag tailored for the 21st century audience.
I used to take dancing classes as a kid/teenager (shocking, I know, since I have no rhythm) and my instructor would always tell us before any recital "no matter where you are on stage, someone is always looking at you." Now, I love Bruno Mars just as much as any other girl on this planet, but I could not keep my eyes off the band members behind Bruno. These guys were not only playing instruments, but killing it with a whole dance routine. They were all vibing together and genuinely enjoying performing every note of that song. It was fun to watch and you can tell they were having a good time doing it.
It's been 5 years since I saw that performance and the Hooligans have not stopped blowing me away with their energy and style, from "Uptown Funk" to "24k Magic". We've all seen them and we've all praised Bruno (rightfully so), but now it's time to find out more about his incredible band and give them props as well.
Check out the Hooligans just having fun while singing "Just Friends" during a rehearsal. This will make you love them even more!
The Hooligans - Band Members
- Bruno Mars ( lead vocals, guitar)
- Philip Lawrence (backing vocals)
- Phredley Brown (lead guitar, backing vocals)
- Jamareo "Jam" Artis (bass guitar)
- Eric Hernandez (drums)
- Kameron Whalum (trombone)
- Dwayne Dugger (saxophone)
- James King (trumpet)
- John Fossit (keyboard, piano)
Bruno Mars- multi-million Grammy award winning artist
Philip Lawrence (backing vocals): original member of the song writing trio the Smeezingtons that included Bruno Mars and Ari Levine. The group co-wrote and produced hit singles "Nothin' on You" performed by B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars and "Fuck You" performed by Cee Lo Green. The trio wrote and produced all the songs for Bruno Mars' first and second album Doo Wops & Hooligans and Unorthodox Jukebox. It appears that Bruno Mars and Philip Lawrence formed a new writing group called Shampoo Press & Curl that wrote a few songs for Mars' new album 24K Magic.
Phredley Brown (lead guitar, backing vocals): A Detroit native, earned his big break in 2010 after Bruno Mars' keyboardist unexpectedly quit and Brown sent him a video of himself playing Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me. Bruno Mars put him in the band and within two weeks Brown was on national TV as a Hooligan playing on Letterman and the Soul Train Music Awards. Eventually Mars named Brown musical director of the Hooligans and later took over as lead guitarist for the group.
Jam Artis (bass guitar): Originally from North Carolina, he began playing the bass at age 9. He won the bass chair in P. Diddy's MTV Making His Band in 2009. Artis met Bruno Mars outside a recording studio where he Bruno recruited him to join his band. In 2015, he released his first solo work on the EP titles Liberation and soon after released his debut album The Red BoomBox.
Eric Hernandez (drums): Bruno Mars' older brother. It is no secret that music runs in Mars' family. Eric "E-Panda" Hernandez was born in 1976 in Brooklyn, New York. The brothers' father Pete Hernandez was a popular Latin percussionist. Eric began playing the drums at age four. By his teenage years, Eric had made a name for himself as a drummer in Honolulu. In 1995 he decided to try his luck in Hollywood where he played live gigs and work sessions until joining the pop band Louie. In 2002, after a long run in the music business, Eric joined the L.A. police force. When Bruno moved to L.A. in 2007, he began to bring in Eric for recordings and sessions with Travie Mccoy. Soon after that Bruno's career skyrocketed and Eric has been along for the ride as the drummer for the Hooligans.
Kameron Whalum (trombone): Memphis native, began playing bass guitar at 9, started playing trombone at 10. He graduated Morehouse and pursued music at the The New School of Jazz from 2009-2011 before he was called upon to play for Bruno Mars.
Dwayne Dugger (saxophone): Born and raised in New York City. Dugger also graduated from Morehouse earning a degree in Music with a concentration in Sax Performance. He's performed with other recording artists, including: PJ Morton, Angie Stone, Bobby Brown, Beyonce and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
James (Jimmy) King (Trumpet): Another Morehouse student, was referred to Bruno by colleague Kameron Whalum (it's all coming together now, isn't it). King released an in 2015 EP as Jimmy King & The Revolt titled His Pathway: The SIngles.
John Fossitt (keyboardist): A Rochester native who began playing at his local church. He met Bruno Mars at the Teen Choice Awards about 6 years ago and everything else has been history since. Here is a clip of Fossitt seamlessly transforming the intro to "Grenade."