Tea Leaf Green has gone from four to five band members since its beginnings in the late '90s. But as far as changes to the act go, really the other big shift to note is an unfortunate water-balloon-hurling incident that led them to no longer utilize a man in a gorilla suit to hype the crowd.
Keyboardist and singer Trevor Garrad attributes this longevity to the band members' "pacifism and passive-aggressivism. We're all real mellow cats that get along," he says.
He also emphasized they are not a cover band. "We've never been great at covers," he says. "There's always that one guy in the band who doesn't know the song." The San Francisco jam band instead takes a collective, egalitarian approach to writing original music. It's currently putting out one new song a month available for free download from its website. Each song is written by a different member. They hope it will morph into a new album to follow up 2013's In the Wake.
Garrad is looking forward to their trip to Florida, which begins Saturday night at the Culture Room. He sees it as a chance to "shake off the California blues. We're going to play some grade-A jams, songs from all three songwriters, and maybe even some of the new songs we recorded that we've yet to play live."
But what about covers? Their website has examples of them playing grooved-out versions of everything from the Pixies to Rage Against the Machine to Prince, and this writer even saw them play a mean version of the Beatles' "I've Got a Feeling."
"Those are our influences," he clarifies. "It's a funny thing, when you talk about influences. Once you hit 17, your influences are done; you should now be doing the influencing."
Tea Leaf Green. 8 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $15 plus fees. Call 954-564-1074, or visit cultureroom.net.