Gimpleg had the pleasure of speaking with The Littlest Man Band’s Scott Klopfenstein ahead of their newest release “Sidle Up.” Together they discussed the music industry landscape, their time in Reel Big Fish, their Twitch platform, their upcoming single “Sidle Up”, and much more!

1. Hello Scott, it’s great to have you with us here at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?

I’m doing pretty good. It’s just business as usual. Working on new music, rehearsing the band to get ready for tour.

2. You’ve been playing in bands since you were still in high school. What was your relationship with music growing up? How did you develop your love for music?

My family was musical. Music was everything. How we connected as a family and how we connected with other people. It was and is how we learn from the past, examine the present and grow for the future. 

3. How has the business side of music changed in the 30 years that you have been in the music scene? How is it easier or harder to perform live shows now compared to when you were first starting as a musician?

I mean, post covid, everything has changed. The artist have far more control over everything and that is what it should be like. I just set my 8 year old daughter up with GarageBand. She has so much more than we had at 8. But that comes with its own challenges. Scenes are different also. Half in person and half online. I dig the way it was for me coming up, but I gotta dig the way things are now. I’m learning from the younger cats who are blazing the way now. Art and It’s mediums need to evolve and grow or else we’re just feeding nostalgia and that’s bullshit. That’s an artistic coma.

4. Your last several releases have been singles and you are scheduling singles to release this year including your next single this Friday, February 3.  In 2004 you released Better Book Ends as a full album and didn’t release any singles. What led to this shift in strategy?

It’s just how things work now. Even bigger artist work in singles. Few people have the time or attention span for a full album. I don’t make good “background” music. So in order to be heard and really digested in line with what the fans are capable of, we wanted to treat each tune as it’s own little episode. I’d love to do an album and perhaps we will in the future though and there is definitely enough material to do it.

5. You had a significant amount of success as a member of Reel Big Fish, arguably the most successful third wave ska band. You still appear to be a part of the ongoing ska scene, appearing in multiple We Are The Union music videos, doing a duet with Tahlena from Bite Me Bambi, and appearing in Lo(u)ser’s No Hope. Many of the members of your band are in other ska bands, but the music you write is not really ska. How would you describe the music that you write?

That’s always a tough question. I generally feel like the answer sounds so pretentious. Maybe it is. I never have a genre in mind when a tune comes to my mind. It just comes out as it is.

I love ska music. It is still in heavy rotation in my day to day soundtrack. And I love the scene. I owe it so much. It gave me so many of the things I have in my life today. The new guard are so good, fun and hard working. 

6. Your lyrics and even your rhyme schemes tend to be pretty complex. Who are some of your biggest influences when it comes to writing song lyrics?

Elvis Costello, Frank Zappa, Thelonious Monk, Joni Mitchell, John Adams, Julius Eastman, The Roots, The Selecter, Brian Wilson, Erykah Badu, Richie Havens, MF Doom, Bill Callahan, Ben Lamar Gay, Gilberto Gil, Desmond Dekker, Sebadoh, Eugene McDaniels and on and on and on….

7. Can you describe your songwriting process?

Ooooooof. It’s like remembering only one part of a dream and trying to get your brain back there to remember the rest for days and days and sometimes years. Sometimes you get there. Sometimes you fake it and it works out. But most time it goes into the voice notes in my phone to be listened to 100’s of times, praying that it will spark a flame. And you do that day in and day out forever. I write every day, except when I don’t.  

Does that answer the question?

8. There was a song that you performed on your recent tour that can also be found on YouTube called “Broke a Window”. It seems to be much shorter than your average song, and instead of having the complex musical arrangement that is typical of your music, you perform it with just a guitar and a clarinet. What can you tell me about that song and the decision to use such an unconventional arrangement?

 It was a song I wrote one night for a theater piece I was doing in NYC. It’s actually a pretty complex tune. Lots of changes. The arrangement came about because we hadn’t practiced it and Edger said he learned the tune and could play the flute to it. So we did it and it was great. The recording, however, will have a string quartet on it. 

9. You end all of your twitch streams with words of encouragement, discuss mental health, telling everyone that they are doing a great job, and with other messages of love and support. How did this come about, and why is this so important to you?

It came about pretty organically. I have struggles, like many people, with mental health issues. Not until my later adulthood did I start to give it attention. I think a lot of people who struggle with mental health have been told that it is something to be ashamed of or that they are just not good people. I feel like people need to hear that they are not alone. 

I also think that the message that we are all deserving of unconditional love is important to say as often as possible. It can take a while to sink in. I struggle with it all the time and I’ve said it over and over again any time I find myself playing music these days. Sometimes I want to speak in plain words instead of expecting the music to do all the talking for me. 

10. In 2005 you were diagnosed with Guillane-Barrè Syndrome. What was that experience like and how has that impacted your life?

That was a life changing experience. I was completely paralyzed for about a week and then slowly got my mobility back. I also had to build my strength back because my muscles had atrophied. GBS is not completely understood and doctors don’t know fully what causes it. So I had to change my lifestyle. Eat better, exercise, manage my stress differently and remember to be grateful for the moments in life that I had my health. Also, GBS can go very bad. I was lucky in my case. I was off the road for 9 months and had to do 3 hours of physical therapy 4 days a week. 

It brought my wife and I closer together.

11. Music takes up a lot of your time between streaming, live shows, and writing and recording music. How do you balance that with your family life and other obligations?

 I don’t sleep a lot. I am lucky to have great support from my family. It is a constant negotiation and I don’t always get my way. But I also believe that life is the art and creativity is the prism I use to decipher and communicate that art. So I have to live it and my family is my life. 

12. You have several pets. Can you tell us about your pets both past and present?

The pets are not all mine. The only pet that is mine is my dog, Helda. I have owned fish and parakeets, but nothing has ever touched my heart and brought me so much joy as my dog. She is my first dog and I feel like I have been waiting for her all my life. 

13.  You have a deep appreciation for food, whether it is pastries, desserts, sandwiches and so much more. Describe the perfect meal with a pastry, a main course, a side dish, a drink and a dessert.

I love food. It would be impossible for me to narrow down my fav. I have eaten meals that could not be more different in ingredients, origin, location and/or intention. They have all been worth eating. I enjoyed the first birria taco when we moved back to Southern California as much as I loved the 4 hour prefix menu at Blue Hill at Stone Barn in New York.

14.  What is your favorite food to eat with Mustard?

 Either a corn dog or a soft pretzel. 

15. You have your own roast of coffee. How did that collaboration come about and what can you tell me about the brand and the flavor? Where can I buy my own?

 I love coffee as well. It still qualifies as food. We were looking for cool opportunities to have fun merchandise and support local small business. Our friend Lillard’s wife had a coffee roaster in Anaheim called Sir Owlvericks and we hit them up.

They had me down to the roastery to see the operation and sent me home with 3 blends to try. I spent the next day drinking 3 blends of coffee and made my choice. It is a South American blend with notes of chocolate, caramel and black tea. It has a smooth and crisp finish. I tend to lean toward a darker roast, but this is really nice and it is the preferred blend in my house. 

You can order it from

16. Your new song comes out on February 3rd. What is it called and where can I find it? Where can I go to help support the band?

The new song is called “Sidle Up”. It was recorded and produced by my dear old friend John Avila. We had a good time making it. It will be released on Bandcamp and all streaming services. 

The best way to support The Littlest Man Band is to follow us on and visit our merch store and buy stuff. Come and see us when we come to your town. Also come check me out on Tuesdays & Fridays at 9pm PST and Wednesdays & Thursday at 9am PST. We are an indie band. Everything we do, comes from our own pockets. That way the only people we owe anything too are the fans.


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