A local production

Chico’s The Make is about to blow up on Aaron Rodgers’ record label

The Make’s Trevor Sellers, Sarah Ann and Jeff Schneeweis.

The Make’s Trevor Sellers, Sarah Ann and Jeff Schneeweis.

Photo By Travis Zachary

The Tall Pines Entertainment Center—a bowling alley in Paradise—served as the setting for some serious weirdness one Sunday last month. Green Bay Packers quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers chatted up local reporters in the corner while a cadre of disco cops practiced breakdancing next to a pair of scantily clad showgirls fluffing their feathers. A band set up in the middle of the lanes as a few dozen of their friends soaked it all in. And who’s that oddly familiar guy with a movie camera? Oh, OK, it’s the bass player from Sugar Ray.

No one’s dying and no one won the lottery, so this shindig surprisingly wasn’t hosted by the Make a Wish Foundation, nor was it the finally indulged eccentricities of a new millionaire. It’s just another day in the thus-far short and surreal life of Chico band The Make, a shoot for their first video, “Get It.” The song and video were released on the band’s website and YouTube last week.

The Make is made up of Jeff Schneeweis (guitar/vocals), Trevor Sellers (bass) and Sarah Ann (guitar). Schneeweis and Sellers played together in Number One Gun and got back together for this project, which so far hasn’t operated like most bands (“We haven’t actually played a show together,” Schneeweis said with a chuckle and a touch of incredulity).

The reason for this mixed-up modus operandi—and what enabled such an elaborate video—is that The Make is the first band on Suspended Sunrise Recordings, a new music label owned and operated by Chico native/superstar Rodgers and a business partner, Ryan Zachary.

“I’ve actually known Aaron for a long time,” Schneeweis explained of the association. “His brother has been one of my best friends for over 10 years, and I’ve known Aaron since he was little, we just grew up together. Trevor’s known him for a while too, so that’s how it all started.”

Schneeweis said the future Hall of Famer’s musical endeavors are no mere lockout lark: “He really is a big fan, he loves music and music culture, he’s really into it. He even plays guitar a little bit.”

Sugar Ray bass player Murphy Karges directed the video: “He had a lot to do with the creative side of some of the Sugar Ray videos,” Schneeweis said. “Aaron saw a video he did for Donavon Frankenreiter and was really impressed with it, so he was kind of the first person Aaron thought of when we talked about doing a music video.

“We obviously didn’t want to do a low-budget video. We wanted to do something really good and try to get it done the right way, and I think Murphy was the perfect man for the job.” Schneeweis said he knows how much the video cost but he’s keeping mum on the particulars, instead focusing on the experience.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I feel like the after-party was the video. The whole time was like a big party, because all of our friends were there. We had a great group of people, everyone got along, it was just great.”

The Make celebrated the video and single’s free release with a web-streamed acoustic performance by Ann and Schneeweis, and Schneeweis said a full-length, live web concert is in the works. The band and label have been aggresively using social-networking sites including Twitter and Facebook, a tech-savvy approach that’s garnered them hundreds of fans before anyone heard them play a single note.

“Yeah, it’s crazy,” Schneeweis said. “I think some of it has to do with our previous background in music, other bands we’ve done, and a lot of it has to do with Aaron. All the built-in press is definitely not hurting.” Rodgers has touted the band and label on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Fox Sports, and a litany of national magazines and websites have mentioned The Make.

“I think it’s the way to go these days,” Schneeweis said of the band’s net-blitzing. “I personally try to keep up on social networking, I’m into that sort of stuff. I think that the band collectively and the label have a good understanding of the power of using social networking and the Internet. Honestly, that’s where all the eyes are all the time nowadays, so why not?”