July 29th, 2011 12:29 EST
We Bring You the Brilliant, STEMM! A One-On-One with Guitarist, Alex Scouten!
Last week this writer brought to you readers Joe Cafarella, vocalist and guitarist of the rock band STEMM. And with each week, each new article is placing STEMM in the forefront of all readers` minds. Yes, STEMM is becoming a `word on every pair of lips` out there in America, as readers continue to line up each and every week to get a chance to really know what STEMM is all about.
This week, I am able to bring you the next in the line of STEMM interviews, and this is one you will not soon forget. The STEMM CD, Blood Scent, is being played across the country and, I swear, I hear you all! Ever since STEMM entered my world - thankfully -the feedback I`ve received on my STEMM articles feel as if I`ve given a piece of meat to a starving dog. You`re just not going to let this one go and you shouldn`t! STEMM IS meat - they are the type of rock band that isn`t a part of this world anymore. They have class, talent, and lyrics that make you think as well as enjoy a live performance again - which hasn`t happened in what seems like a billion years. They are also THE band that has put together a CD titled, Crossroads, which is already buzzing out there in America! Now, the release of Crossroads - September 13th, 2011 - feels as if it is a lifetime away! But, as we all know, the best things in life are well worth the wait. And as your senses go crazy, and the STEMM sound takes over your mind, heart, and soul, you are given a very special gift; each week you have the ability to know this band inside and out, and become one of STEMM`s truly faithful fans.
Alex Scouten helms the guitar! And there is no better navigator for that particular instrument. Alex brings to life the rock sound that is necessary for audiences to cheer and thrill at every note STEMM plays. Alex is also the man of the band who is a true poet, where this writer is concerned. Crossroads is a phenomenal collection of songs that fans will literally play 24/7 because of the uniqueness and creativity of the lyrics and mesmerizing sound. Alex is the band member who wrote a stunning, heartfelt insert for the Crossroads album, and is the man who put together a `work` of true thanks and love targeted at all of STEMM`s believers.
And, believers, you will read that amazing STEMM `journey` when the CD appears in September. But today you get to have a one-on-one with the amazingly gifted, talented, and creative Alex Scouten. For those of you who want to know what all the STEMM fuss is about "read on! Because I am about to introduce you to one of three STEMM band members who deserves some very heavy fuss!
And, so, we begin at the beginning
Can you tell us a little about your beginning - when it came upon you personally that being part of a band/being an artist was the direction you wanted your life to go in?
Music, for me, began with Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. Once Iron Maiden entered my life I realized pretty quickly that music was going to trump any other day job I could ever find.
I never really wanted to be a guitar player; I wanted to play bass. People like Cliff Burton, Geddy Lee, and John Entwistle were huge inspirations to me when I was learning to play. I never picked up a six string guitar for years. The only reason I began playing the guitar, was that Joe and myself were having trouble finding a second guitar player for an old band of ours.
The story goes, that we were auditioning a potential guitar player one night and decided to take a break. Joe went down the hall to say `hello` to some friends of ours in another band when they heard our music being played through the walls. Our friends commented that the `new guy` was learning the stuff pretty quickly, but it turned out that it was me showing him how to play the parts. We knew a very talented bass player and Joe asked me if I would be willing to switch. I told him I would, and he quickly added, Good, you play all the solos. So I jumped right into playing the guitar and have never looked back.
I still get the occasional twinge of nostalgia for the bass, but I`m pretty much a guitarist through and through these days.
You were a founding member of STEMM, is that correct?
The answer is both, yes and no. Joe and I formed STEMM out of another old band of ours. We had material, we had the name STEMM, but we never `gigged` as STEMM.
I left before our first show. My understanding is that, after my departure, Joe shelved the project for several months in order to hone his skills at NHL for the Playstation. After he finished polishing his "poke checks,` he reformed STEMM with the same group we had been working with plus a new singer and guitarist. Once STEMM started down that road the music became a completely different beast. It should be said that I was a huge fan!
Can you give readers a little background on STEMM`s evolution? I know that you have gone through the years from hardcore/rapcore to hard rock, groove metal how would you categorize yourself now?
STEMM has always been evolving musically. I`ve heard said that, being a musician is a never ending process of trying to be uniquely derivative of your early influences. That`s STEMM in a nutshell. These days, though, the music seems a lot more relaxed. Now I don`t mean relaxed like, pan flute music, I mean it sounds more like us. We have made an effort to go back to our roots and play music first and foremost for ourselves. There is no worrying over whether a certain "demographic` will like this part or that, we just write what we like. We really are, and always have been, just a rock band at heart.
My regrets go out to you because of the departure of Steve Crowl. I know that STEMM is much more than just a band it`s a family. How will you deal with this loss? Will you be searching for a new bassist for the tour?
Steve`s leaving was a tough pill to swallow, but it wasn`t unexpected either. The warning signs were there for months before it actually happened, so when that day came we had all had time to adjust to the idea.
What was very interesting about that day was our reaction. We had said for years that particular `line up` of STEMM was going to be the last. We all agreed that we had no interest in training someone else, in bringing another member to join the family. But when Steve announced he was leaving, the three remaining members immediately sat down and began to discuss how to continue on as STEMM.
There was never a moment when any of us even entertained the thought of stopping. We just shifted things around - both musically and behind the scenes on the business end - and soldiered on. As for how to go about replacing Steve...for the time being we aren`t worried about it. In one of life`s interesting little symmetries we have the very same bass player (Mario Nobilio) that replaced me all those years ago filling in with us today. He`s an awesome player, singer, and is one of our oldest friends, so we are in no rush to announce a replacement.
Your next CD, Crossroads, will be coming out in September. Seeing as that STEMM has evolved with the times can you give fans a little background on this CD and how it all came together?
Crossroads is easily our best disc to date. Now, I might be biased on that, but you can go ahead and quote me. It`s very different from any of the other discs because it didn`t come from an angry place. We didn`t really broadcast it, but STEMM very nearly broke up last year. It wasn`t over egos or money or lack of passion - it was because we were really tired of being painted into the corner as a metal band.
There are certain expectations people have when you tell them you`re a metal band. You need the big break downs and hyper-fast "riffy` bits. We love the break downs and hyper-fast `riffy` bits too, but we were really tired of needing to put them into the songs just because it was expected. It became very clear to us that we had to shift gears a little. When you look back over the years that STEMM has been making music, you can see that we`ve been trending this way for a while. Every album is different from the one before it. Every one stretches out musically just that little bit more. But on this one, the band was - quite literally - at a crossroads. Do we quit and try something completely new, or do we continue on under our own terms? We didn`t quit.
I have to say, you wrote a truly wonderful and heartfelt intro/bio regarding STEMM for the Crossroads CD the mindset of what STEMM stands for and provides for their fans. Can you tell us a little about that - what I think is a work of art?
That`s actually going to be used in the CD in place of the endless, repetitive, and very boring `thank you lists` that everyone else puts in there CDs.
Is there a Crossroads tour in the future?
I certainly hope so!
Do you have any personal idols?
My idols are all weird. Take `Weird Al` for example. I love `Weird Al,` always have. It`s amazing that his career has outlasted most of the artists that he`s parodied.
I`m also a big fan of Sharon Osbourne. Once we all got a peek at how generally incoherent Ozzy really is on their television show, I began to really respect her for the marketing genius she is. Talk about making lemonade from lemons...Wow!
I`m also a big fan of Indiana Jones. What`s there (man purse aside) not to love about Doctor Jones? He`s bad ass!
Readers and fans like to know this one
As an artist, what do you think of shows such as American Idol to launch a career?
I think it`s great work if you can get it.
What is your favorite time period/era when comes to rock and the music of the past?
I don`t really have one. If you hunt through the decades there has always been great music being made by someone, somewhere. That`s part of what makes music so incredible, there is something out there for everyone.
I always end with the questions that readers and fans love
Other than STEMM, what career would you like to try?
There are several: Theoretical Physicist; Supreme Chancellor of All Time and Space; Minion...Always wanted to try being a minion; Professional Thief; and Corporate Lawyer. You know, just to name a few.
What career would you NEVER like to try?
Anything involving changing diapers especially the adult kind.
What is your favorite word?
Scrumptious. I love the way it feels to say. Scrumptious It`s like - what it means, and how it feels, are the same thing.
What is your least Favorite word?
Plethora. This is something stupid people use (and usually mispronounce) in order to make themselves seem less so. It`s like Sam Clemens once said: It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt.
What is your favorite curse word? (This is everyone`s favorite J)
Jesus F**k! I use it constantly.
And, finally, If Heaven truly exists, what would you like God to say when you enter
the Pearly Gates?
Lucy, you got some splainin` to do! Oh, wait, that`s what I would say to God. I would hope God would say something like, I apologize for the inconvenience.
Okay, gang. I have to say I think Alex and I may have been separated at birth. Indiana Jones rocks! And the man purse is okay. I mean, after Jack Bauer/Kiefer Sutherland made it extremely masculine on 24, quite a lot of men have exchanged the briefcases for a more manly leather purse. J And plethora? Right on! Morons who wish to seem smart ALWAYS use this one, as well as conundrum` which, as a writer, drives me nuts when it is used incorrectly in a sentence!
One more thing readers, I want all out there to really hear what Alex has said. STEMM is not a quote/unquote metal band, people. I absolutely agree with Alex (and you can quote me on it, too), STEMM is not your run-o-the-mill metal band that everyone expects a certain "something` from. These are not men who have only a facade - they have heart. STEMM may have faced a `crossroads,` but we are the beneficiaries! Crossroads IS STEMM`s best album to date. Their lyrics, their music, their sound, their vitality and energy Crossroads shows the world that STEMM is not a band you can just shove into a category.
STEMM is not `metal` - STEMM is talent!
And we want a Crossroads tour!!
Until Next Time, Everybody!
STEMM Show Schedule
Saturday July 30, 2911 * 2:00 PM
The Yard, 57 Tonawanda St, Buffalo, NY, 14207
Friday August 12, 2011 * 7:00 PM
Broadway Joes, 3051 Main St, Buffalo, NY, 14214
STEMM will be playing an acoustic set from the new CD coming out this fall, and the first 100 people through the door gets the STEMM promo CD!!
(This writer hates all 100 of you already!)
Saturday, August 13, 2011 * 9:00 PM
Fusion, 3705 Brewerton Rd, North Syracuse, NY, 13212
Friday August 19,2011 * 8:00 PM
Albion PUB, State Street, Albion, PA, 16410
More Info TBA
Saturday August 20, 2011 * 2:00 PM
The Carriage House, 9033 Columbus Rd, Louisville, OH, 44641
The Carnival is the Carriage House annual outdoor festival.
For more information stay tuned to http://carriagehouserocks.com/home/
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.stemm.net
REVERB NATION: www.reverbnation.com/stemm
BUY STEMM MERCHANDISE: stemm.bigcartel.com
Catch 22 Records
Buffalo, New York
Vox Media Management LLC