Ben Pfeiffer | David Polo | Joshua Schiaretti | Dana Miller
SAGE is a dynamic quartet from the San Francisco Bay Area who have created their own genre of music by way of the ukulele. The band formed in Hawaii in 2005 and have been rocking fans ever since. Two ukulele players accompanied by high energy percussions and an eclectic (upright acoustic and electric) bass, creates a sound that is loud, deep, and rich with soul and culture.
The Ukulele is fast-emerging in mainstream music and SAGE is geared to be the band that ushers it in. The Sweet Melody that the ukulele produces is becoming more and more recognizable and distinguished, and people are growing both accustomed and excited about the potential of this instrument. While SAGE has been compared to the likes of Ben Harper, Jack Johnson and Spearhead, they are a unique genre all to themselves. It is best described as ‘Island Rhythm Rock’. Josh and Dave don’t just play the ukulele- they shred. Reactions to their music always range from ‘pleasantly surprised’ to outright disbelief that ukuleles can sound like this.
This does not, however, mean that SAGE is all about the ukuleles. Josh and Dave are accompanied by two veteran musicians, Ben and Dana, who bring incredible rhythm, flavor and soul to the band. Ben plays both the upright acoustic bass and the electric bass, which puts the band in a unique position to offer a wide range of sound that people of all ages can vibe with. When you add Dana into the mix, what happens is musical genius. The boys feed off of each others energy and become this unbelievably dynamic quartet, guided by Dana and his smooth percussion. These boys make their jobs look easy.
Combining the sounds of funk, reggae, rock and R&B – blended with their island influences, SAGE has redefined the rock genre, creating a hybrid of great music, soulful vibes and ALOHA. This is a bass-thumping, head-bobbing, funky ukulele rock party!
A CLOSER LOOK
Dave is one of the lead vocalists and song-writers of SAGE. He has had music in his life since a very young age. It was in second grade when he first started playing the Ukulele – and he has hardly ever put it down since. He does play a myriad of other instruments though – the guitar, the piano, the clarinet, trumpet – you name it, he probably can play it. Dave is also a natural performer, he performed in theater growing up, and is now most comfortable when he is on stage and is able to infect the audience with the aloha spirit of Sage music. Dave feels like he was born to play, sometimes he wakes up with a melody blasting in his head and in fact, that is how some of the SAGE songs were formed. Though he has been jamming and having fun with music since he was younger, he remembers it hit him like a slap in the face the day he realized he wanted to actually pursue music and make a band. Now, he gets to jam all the time and he loves it!
Josh has been playing the Ukulele since he was 9 years old. His grandfather gave him his first and he brought it with him to jam everywhere – and anywhere-he could. He jammed in the car, at school at recess, on the beach.. From the Ukulele spawned his love for music and now not only is josh a ukulele fiend, but he plays the piano, guitar and the saxophone. In addition to that, he is one of the lead vocalists and songwriters of SAGE. You could give Josh any instrument and he could make music on it- He feels that musicians should be fluent in all aspects of the band.
Josh met Dave in the 10th grade and have since become brothers. Their connection to music is a driving force in their lives and in their friendship. This is a connection Josh wishes to communicate with their listeners. He strives to make music that connects with everyone on their own personal level- he realizes that not everyone’s connection to a song is the same, but that is why he loves playing SAGE music- as it speaks to people in every demographic and age range. Josh’s philosophy with music (and life!) is to smile, enjoy the good vibes, your friends and family — now dance till you drop!
Ben also started paying music at a young age, but he became more committed to practicing when he started playing guitar and the saxophne in rock and punk rock bands in high school. Guitar was his original instrument of choice back then, but he gradually moved to the bass, pretty much out of necessity – Everyone wanted to be the lead guitarist, but, as Ben says – somebody had to play the bass. So he did. And he rocked at it! Then, he got the chance to learn and study the upright acoustic bass and it was all over.
Besides from the guitar and the bass, Ben can also play the ukulele and the piano a little – but when he picks up that bass, its magic. He plays both the acoustic upright bass and the electric bass, and though they share the same function in a band, they both have their merits. Ben feels they both provide a different sonic texture – the electric being more punchy and precise, while the upright is more expressive and there is more wiggle room between notes.
What Ben loves most about playing music with SAGE is that he finds the music to be very positive and life-affirming in its nature, and finds that people pick up on that. Even in tough times, where there can be any number of reasons to be down, we can play, dance and feel good for a bit. He loves being a part of a band whose sound can do that for the listeners. It is also what he saw in Dave and Josh since he met them back in 2005, and is why he instantly wanted to be a part of it.
Dana is the crazily talented drummer of SAGE. He was a late addition to the band, joining in 2008, but now has become and integral part of the sound. He has been a musician for over 20 years and his experience with different genres (rock, punk rock, metal, rockabilly/rock twang, alternative, indie…) adds to the unique and unparalleled sound of SAGE.
Despite his time and experience as a musician, compared to the other members of SAGE, Dana was a late-bloomer of sorts. He first started playing drums when he was 16 years old. He was watching a band play at his high school and suddenly it him- this is what he wanted to do with his life.
Drums isn’t all there is to Dana though. He also plays the piano and he sings! Dana just wants to make music that serves people in positive ways because it has done such for him and he knows it. It is this philosophy that he, along with the rest of SAGE, hopes is what resonates with the people who are able to hear their music.