Hey Folks, It’s been awhile but I am back. Today I have a special treat for my fans and followers. As Everyone Knows, music has molded and shaped my life. Even this blog was inspired by my love for music…most notably “Heavy Metal.” However, my musical interests run much deeper than just Metal. I also have a passion for local bands that are trying to carve their way onto the map. With the growth of Social Media and the Internet…It’s much easier today to promote and network bands. However, it always remains a fact that many bands never make it past the local scene onto a national or international plateau. One of my goals as a blogger is to help these bands get noticed. One local band that has really caught my ear is StoneBaby. StoneBaby is a band that has it’s roots right in the heart of Southern New Jersey.
StoneBaby is not considered a Metal Band. They actually combine a folk Americana Style of song writing with an eighties type of tempo. If one was to describe StoneBaby, there would not be one category that they fit into, but they are considered a modern day pulp rock band. Anyways…I was able to sit down recently with the band and find out more about them on a personal level. The following is a Full Length Interview that I was able to conduct with the band in order to let you get to know them and learn about their foundation and their future plans. Without further a due…here is my interview with StoneBaby.
Q. How long has the band been playing and what is the story behind the name? (Scott Philipp-Vocalist/Guitarist)…Well the current band was formed a little over two years ago. However, me and Tony Schiavo (Drums) have been band mates for over twenty-five years. As far as the name goes, there is no real story behind it we just came up with the name and it represents, “Rock with a Little Soul.”
Q. Who actually formed the band and how did you get to the current lineup as StoneBaby? (Scott)…Me and Tony Schiavo actually created the band and the original name was Silent Rain. We formed the band Silent Rain in 1986 during the rise of “Hair Metal.” We were in the same circles as Britny Fox and Cinderella. We played many venues of past and present including the old Cell Block in Bensalem, which is now history as it burned down. I was actually out of music until a few years back when Tony convinced me to get back into the scene. Bobby Leonhardt (Guitar) actually joined the band two years ago.
Q. Are you currently in the Studio working on any material as a followup to your recent EP “Illuminated?” If so, how many tracks do you have complete so far and is there an album name? (Scott)…We are not currently working on a new album. However, Bobby and I are working on a side project with my Guitar Teacher, John Lilley (The Hooters). We have four tracks down so far. We are also about to enter the studio again to work on a new single which will be the followup to our last hit single, “Understand.”
Q. What style of music do you emulate and what band(s) do you compare yourself to? Are there any particular bands that inspired you? (Scott)-I would say early Hall and Oates, The Hooters, and even Philly’s own Tom Gilliam and Craig Simon. (Bobby)- As the new member of the band I am not too familiar with these bands, but I would say that Kings of Leon has been one of my greatest influences along with Dear Hunter.
Q. What has been the band’s highpoint thus far and what are your future goals as a band? (Scott)- I would definitely have to say that the high point in our career was on this past July 25th, when we opened for Poison’s Brett Michaels in Stanford, Connecticut. There were well over 15,000 screaming fans, which is by far the largest single crowd that we ever played in front of. (Bobby)- I agree with Scott, the Stanford show was EPIC and was my most memorable moment in this band. (Scott/Bobby)- As far as our future goals, we obviously want to keep going with the band and gain more local notoriety.
Q. What advice would you give to any up and coming bands? What is the most important aspect to focus on? (Scott)- “A wise man once said to me…Don’t fall victim to the marketing giant.” Bands need to focus on the “music” and actually listen to the music. You need to find a way to get the music out there to the people…get air play so that people can hear the music that you are playing.
Scott Philipp (Vocalist) Interview
Q. What inspired you to start singing and what year did you realize you wanted to be in a band? Well, it’s actually a funny story. I never knew I was going to sing until Tony asked me to sing in his band. Tony had already been a long time musician and he had started the hair metal band “Silent Rain.” At the time the vocalist ( a popular football player also) was dismissed and the rest was history. That was in 1986 when I began to sing. After the band had some issues, we split up and I quit music altogether.
Q. Who is your favorite front man in music and who do you emulate yourself too? I really do not have one favorite vocalist. I would say that I have a few that I really like such as Darryl Hall (Hall and Oates), Colin Hay (Men at Work), and Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople). Mott the Hoople was an English Rock/R&B band in the early seventies. I have not saw too many singers that are on the same level vocally as Ian Hunter. I would say that the Front Man that I emulate today is Michael Sweet (Stryper). I consider myself a power singer and he is one of the best! I also like Barry Manilow.
Q. When was the first time that you sang on stage in front of a crowd and what song did you open with? The first song I sang was in 1986 at the Oaklyn Municipal Building for a school dance. We opened with “Stone in Love” by Journey.
Q. Have you had any vocal training of any kind and how do you keep your voice fresh? No, I have not had any type of vocal training and I would say that I keep my voice consistent by smoking plenty of cigarettes and drinking Scotch Whiskey….Haahaaa.
Q. What was your most embarrassing moment on stage? Well, I have had many embarrassing moments both on and off the stage, but I would have to say that it was during one show, while playing in Silent Rain. I was drunk and I actually fell backwards knocking out the drums and taking Tony out as well as we both fell to the back of the stage.
Q. What is your Favorite Band? Well…that’s a really tough question. I really don’t have ONE favorite band because I enjoy many types of music. I like so many bands so I really cannot answer that question. Do you have a favorite band? LoL.
Bobby Leonhardt (Guitarist) Interview
Q. At what age did you begin playing guitar and what inspired you to continue? I actually began playing guitar in 2005 at the age of sixteen. My sister was actually started playing before me. I am very competitive by nature so I wanted to be better than my sister…that’s why I continued to play.
Q. What was your very first guitar? My first guitar was a Squire Bullet.
Q. Who is your favorite guitarist of the past and who do you compare yourself to now? My favorite Guitarist of all time is Thomas Erak from Fall of Troy. Matthew Followill of “Kings of Leon” is the best guitarist I can compare myself too.
Q. What was the first song that you learned to play on guitar? Welcome Home by “Coheed and Cambria.”
Q. Is StoneBaby the first band that you played in? If not who was your first band? No, I actually played in another band first. It was a cover band and we did not really have a name.
Q. What is the highlight of your career so far and what are your goals as a guitar player in the future? I would have to say that my greatest moment so far was the show in Stanford, Connecticut opening for Brett Michaels. It was a surreal moment that I will never forget. As far as my goals, I want to continue with a music career in whatever capacity I can achieve.
Tony Schiavo (Drums) Interview
Q. What inspired you to play the drums and what age were you? At the age of six I strummed my first guitar strings. When I realized that the guitar was not for me I began playing drums.
Q. Do you remember what your very first drum set was? Thats easy…It was a Ludwig Set.
Q. Who is your favorite Drummer? Dave Wekel…he is actually a jazz musician.
Q. Do you remember your first time on stage and were you nervous? My first time on stage was with a band called “Opposition.” Gary Burns was on Guitar and Chris Aberle was the singer. And yes…I was nervous as hell!
Q. What was the very first song that you played on the drums? Good Times/Bad Times by Led Zeppelin.
Q. What advice would you give to any up and coming drummers that are trying to play in a band? The Three T’s….Timing, Tempo, and Tuning. It is also very important to get some roadies as Drum sets tend to be extremely heavy. I also want the young drummers out there to know that I give exclusive lessons for $300.00 an hour…haha. Just Kidding. But seriously drummers, its the same as any other instrument…PRACTICE. I would tell them not to look too far ahead and set short term goals. To be successful one must build stepping stones.
So that was my official interview with StoneBaby. Scott, Tony, and Bobby are all great guys and very personable. They all love the music they play and strive for excellence. For anyone looking to expand their music catalog, I would strongly suggest purchasing their first EP Illuminated. It can be purchased on ITUNES. For those of you that have not heard the band…they came up in the same scene as Hall and Oates, Bon Jovi, and The Hooters. As mentioned earlier, Scott has a good relationship with The Hooters John Lilley. Illuminated is a very dynamic album and Scott really showcases his vocals. He mentions Michael Sweet as one of his inspirations. Michael Sweet, the lead singer for Stryper is widely known for his power vocals. The band also covers Journey’s “Send Her My Love” which blends their own style of the song. They even use a saxophone…Jay Davidson, who also played for Cinderella, Whitney Houston, and Billy Preston jams out with the band. As far as reviews go…I give the album a solid 8/10.
The Band has a boatload of future events coming up in the near future. On September 13th and 14th, they will be playing at a Festival in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The night before the festival, they will be doing a radio interview and playing a local club. Then on Saturday, September 28th, StoneBaby will be playing at the Fall Arts Festival. This Festival plans on bringing over 31,000 Fans to the area of all music styles. The Festival will also feature one National Act still to be announced.
October 5th, they will be playing the Red Dwarf Studio in Sewell, New Jersey. This will be followed by an appearance as the main act at Shady Katies in Somerdale, New Jersey. In November, the band is planning on opening for “Like a Stone,” a Christian Rock Band that tours with bands like Creed, Skillet, and Switchfoot. Finally, there is a huge contest that is sponsored by Rausch Racing called the “Distractor Face Contest.” This contest pits local band against national bands for the right to get their picture on the race car.
In conclusion, I must admit I did not know what to expect when I set up this interview. I really had not heard much of the band’s catalog and I only knew Bobby on a personal level. However, this was an awesome opportunity and I found another diamond in the rough. I have spent the entire evening sampling Illuminated, their single “Understand” and Scott’s solo album “Just Another Day.” StoneBaby is an awesome Rock Band that should be playing major venues every night. Hopefully, this blog will help promote their band and bring more notoriety. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and go check out one of their live events…I know that I will!!!! Also, don’t forget to purchase their material from ITUNES. I can tell you personally, the single,”Understand” could easily be a number one hit on the TOP 200. On that note…I leave you. Stay tuned , next week I will have a review of the new Avenged Sevenfold album which is due out Tuesday………..