Play that funky music

Jeff Fletcher

PHOTO courtesy of wonder bread 5

Catch Wonder Bread 5 at 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 22, at Folsom Live on Sutter Street on Old Folsom. Tickets are $25-$45. For more information, visit

From the name and the campy outfits—which often consist of wild, matching suits and Afro wigs—it’d be easy to assume that professional cover band Wonder Bread 5 plays only ’60s- or ’70s-era songs, but that’s not the case. In fact, the band’s songbook contains moldy oldies (Kool & the Gang’s “Ladies Night”), ’90s-era classics (The B-52’s “Love Shack”) and up-to-the-minute hits (think Lady Gaga). The clear leader of the band is singer Jeff Fletcher. He jumps on tables, he dances with the fans, he gives it his all at every moment—anything to get the crowd on its feet. And boy, does he whip them into a frenzy. Fletcher talked to SN&R about his path to success, costumes and weird fans.

How did Wonder Bread 5 come together?

We started the band as a Jackson 5 cover band, so all we played was the Jackson 5. [Eventually,] people wanted to hear more than Jackson 5 stuff, and now it’s just everything.

[Back then,] it was five white guys doing Jackson 5, so that’s why we called it Wonder Bread 5. That was 16 years ago.

Were you in other bands before this?

Everybody was in another band before. We were all doing original music. All our original bands broke up at the same time, and I just grabbed who I really liked to play with and started this band. Most of the guys do their original music on the side, but this gives us the freedom to not have a day job and just be able to do music.

How do you choose the music you play?

When we started, [we played a lot of] Jackson 5, and people said, “Oh, do ‘Brick House!’” and “I wanna hear this” or “I wanna hear that,” and other ’70s stuff. Then we progressed to the ’80s, and now we just kind of do everything. The way we pick the songs a lot of the times is if we play festivals or state fairs or where kids are at, they’ll say, “Play this song,” so we’ll take it from them, because, obviously, they know whatever’s popular. We’ll kind of see whatever is most popular right now, like [on the] top 10 [charts]. And then, sometimes we’ll mix older songs that go with those songs—that makes it funny, too, because people are like, “Oh, that’s that song.”

Have you done anything that was a total flop?

Yeah, we’ve definitely done that a few times. Or [sometimes we play] stuff that was totally popular, [but now] people are over it, so we have to kick that song out of the set.

How many costumes do you have, and how do you feel about wearing them?

They’ve always been wild, and they’ve always been crazy. We match a lot more now. It used to be kind of a free-for-all where we’d try to do the craziest costume. We still do that. I’m looking at my garage right now: I have a giant rack space that I’ve made for costumes, and I’m sure I’ve got 300 in there.

Where do you get them?

Back in the day, it was [from] a lot of thrift stores [and] secondhand shops. Now that I don’t have as much time like that anymore, [it’s] Internet stuff usually.

I was struck by how many people came out to the California State Fair just to see you guys. Tell me about your fans.

The fans are really loyal, and sometimes, they get a little too loyal (laughs).

Has anybody come out to see you a hundred times? Does that feel weird?

Yeah, yeah, [but] those aren’t the crazy ones. A lot of the time we’ll get somebody who’s new, and they’ll just freak out on us. There’s one new fan who puts up all these weird photoshopped pictures of us on our Facebook page, and she’ll comment on every single thing we put up on our page. I mean, she’s really nice, and it’s all [done with] good intentions, but it’s still a little weird.

Are you a naturally extroverted entertainer?

I would say so, but this is the first time I’ve ever been a lead singer in a band. I’ve always been a drummer. … If you could have seen me the first time I did this compared to how I am now, you would have been so embarrassed for me. I was standing up on stage and didn’t know what to say to the audience. But then, I went around and looked at all the different bands I liked … and took a little bit from each … and put it into my own thing.

What’s your favorite song to perform currently?

Usually, it’s anything new, because we play so much, [but it’s] “Don’t Stop Believin,’” because Journey is my favorite band. That’s always fun, [and] everyone just loves that song. We’ve been doing [LMFAO’s] “Sexy and I Know It” and “Party Rock Anthem” as a medley—put them together and people go crazy over that.