I have to be honest with myself: I wasn’t in the most emotionally (or psychologically) stable state when I first heard the Stu Tails. This no doubt had some impact on my perspective. It had to. The first time I ever listened to the Stu Tails I was fresh back from LA, mentally defeated and physically broke, my tail planted firmly between my legs as memories of clogged freeways, obnoxious Dodgers fans, and questionable Jim Morrison sightings haunted my fragile psyche. You see, I moved to the city of angels for the same reason everyone moved to that insufferably sunny desert town: seeking, as Indiana Jones would put it, ‘fortune and glory.’ What a well-worn cliche- the small town kid allured by the big time city and all the promises, hopes, and dreams that go along with it. But dreams, as I would soon come to learn, were not simply ‘made.’ Dreams are painstakingly manufactured, inch by inch, year by year, and if you’re not careful, they can consume the very essence of your soul
Damn, this post just got deep.
So my best laid plans inevitably went awry (should have heeded the lessons of Steinbeck) and nothing unfolded the way I envisioned it to unfold in my naive head. Done with the south, back to the north, back to the place of my birth to maybe find a true identity and figure out what I’m doing with my life and answer all the other quixotic existential questions that arise from a supposed failure. But, worst of all, when I moved back I was band-less. That’s not a real word. I know it’s not a real word, I’m a freakin’ English major, but there’s no word in the thesaurus that can better describe my state of being at the time. Being band-less as a musician is like being a chef without a tongue- what’s the point? I was facing the very real prospect of having to grow up, take on some real responsibility, find another calling to fill the spiritual void of 21st century existence…
This was my state of mind when the Stu Tails entered my life or, more accurately, my computer screen. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and desperation almost always leads to craigslist these days.
The ad was simple: ‘Reggae-Rock band looking for drummer.’ OK, whatever, I’ve played both reggae and rock, I can do this. Maybe it will fill up my free time, keep me from planning an overthrow of the government and whatnot. At least I’ll give ‘em a quick listen. I had already heard about a thousand other depressingly mediocre bands that day, why not one more? And so I did listen and, behold, they’re actually not too bad. Wait a minute, could it be…they’re actually pretty good. No, hold it, they’re really good. How the hell did a band this good end up on craigslist??
Dec 19, 2013 - by Nick Schneider
There must be something wrong here. The singer must be an egocentric prick. The guitarist has to be a junkie scumbag. Something has to be wrong with this picture. They can’t be talented musicians, solid songwriters, and nice guys. To quote Rose Tattoo, “Nice boys don’t play rock n’ roll.” So I’ll go in and audition but I’ll keep my guard up. And I did audition. And everything clicked, almost instantly. It was a Behind The Music moment, a sudden and irreversible cosmic collision of unity, camaraderie and inexplicable, inherent understanding. Everything just worked the moment we started jamming. Andthey turned out to be normal, grounded human beings! What did I just stumble upon? How much luck did I just use up by finding this band because, I believe, luck is like time: you don’t know how much of it you have left, but you run out of a little bit more with each passing day.
The luck, so far, has lasted for a full year, a full year free of infighting and bruised egos, replaced instead by incredible live shows, creatively fulfilling songwriting, and a weekend recording session that will live forever in my memory as a glorious one. I want to end this post before I get too sentimental and say that, as far as first years with a band goes, this has definitely been the best. With a little luck we might actually be able to pull this thing off.