The morning of January 9 brought news that Papa Grows Funk, coming off arguably its best album (2012’s Needle in the Groove), was going on hiatus.
Frontman Jon Gros posted the following statement on the band’s website: “After much discussion, we have decided to take an indefinite break to pursue other musical interests. For the next six months, we will continue to perform, celebrating 13 life-changing years, and will honor all bookings—including Monday nights at the Maple Leaf Bar. To our family, friends and fans: Thank you for your boundless love, support and enthusiasm, you have fulfilled us beyond belief.”
The night prior to the bombshell, Gros told OffBeat’s John Swenson exclusively, “I’m tired of being a bandleader. The music business sucks.”
Gros later added that it would be hard to not play with his bandmates of more than a decade. “We really love playing with each other,” he said. “But we all have so many other things that we want to do … and the only solution we came to was to take a long break. Being on tour is really a grind.”
The band is still booking gigs through June and will play Jazz Fest May 3. “We’re definitely not breaking up,” Gros clarified. “We’re just giving ourselves the ability to do some other things. I’m playing with some of the best musicians in town. We all get calls to play with other people, but the way it’s set up now, we all have to focus on Papa Grows Funk.”
“It’s scary,” he said. “We all have bills to pay, but I’m actually pretty excited about this. Not having to focus exclusively on a band will turn me back into a musician rather than a business owner.”