Employees ‘band together’ at Lake Austin Boulevard ThunderCloud Subs
Note: Shortly after this article was written we learned of the tragic and fatal accident of David McKnight. Our heartfelt condolences go out the the McKnight family.
Willie Barnes II, Wes Gonzeles, David McKnight, and Garrison “Mista Mozes” Moore are four gifted ThunderCloud employees at the Lake Austin Boulevard store who march to the beat of their own drums… literally. They play in multiple bands together, and the musical talent between these guys is mind-blowing.
If you walk into the ThunderCloud Subs store on Lake Austin Boulevard after the lunch or dinner crowd dies down, you’re likely to find these soulful ThunderCrew members jamming to “Play that Funky Music White Boy” or some other old-school ballad while cleaning up the shop and preparing for shift change.
David started working at ThunderCloud about six months ago after meeting Wes and Willie, who have both worked at ThunderCloud for six years. All three play in a band called Mama K and the Shades, an American funk and soul band with a bit of jazz thrown into the mix. David plays the saxophone, Wes the percussion, and Willie is on vocals.
Recently, Mama K & The Shades were invited to play at Wakarusa (a giant music festival in Arkansas, which featured The Roots as its headliner this year) after they won a local battle of the bands competition. We expect to see more impressive things from this extraordinary 11-member new/old school combo funk band.
Wes and Willie also play in a band called The Anti-Scene, which is a soul metal/thrash hop band. Willie does the vocals for this group, and Wes is the “hype man.” The Anti-Scene has already dropped one album, and can be found playing various shows around the Austin area.
Comprised of seven sound engineers/MCs including ThunderCloud’s own Willie and Garrison “Mista Mozes,” SoopaFrendz is a seven-man group on a mission to rid the world of watered down hip-hop. Willie lends his vocal stylings to the group and Garrison raps. In addition to doing vocals, Willie is also a music producer—mixing beats and tracks from scratch.
Among their many impressive accomplishments, SoopaFrendz has won the Texas Artist Showcase at SXSW the past three years in a row and has been nominated for an Austin Hip-Hop Award.
Music has always been a huge part of Willie, David, Wes, and Garrison’s lives (as well as the main reason each of them moved to Austin).
Willie comes from a family of musicians and grew up surrounded by music. David started playing the piano at the age of 8, and played the saxophone all through middle and high school. Wes started taking drum lessons in 5th grade, played band in high school, and was part of the drum line in college. And Garrison comes a classical music background, and is a member of Texas State University’s acapella vocal group.
One of the biggest reasons these guys say they love working at ThunderCloud is the flexible work schedule that allows them to play shows and go on tour when needed, in addition to the laid-back atmosphere and company culture that fosters individualism.
Rock on, and cheers to these guys.