Stackhouse Interview

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

Stackhouse is a musical endeavor by Scott Stackhouse, an individual from my local area in Iowa. Cedar Falls has always had a diverse group of musicians, with acts ranging from pop-punk to hardcore and Extreme cover bands. This group is around for the live show, playing large compositions of rock tracks for the bars around the town. The Alternative was able to chat with Stackhouse about his insane career and what is up next.

Hello Scott Stackhouse! Welcome to the Alternative, how are you doing today?

Hi Sean, thanks for the invite.

You are the mastermind behind the act known as Stackhouse, how did the group start and how long have you been in the game?

To answer your last question…a helluva long time.  I toured semi-nationally in the 80s, did the Major Healey show from 93 to 2008, and then this band started in 2013

You know STACKHOUSE was really just something new that I wanted to try…call it an experiment. I had just finished up recording my first solo CD and knew that I wanted to get a band together that could support the material.  Of course, knowing full well that most clubs and crowds hate original live music, especially in our home area, we needed to have a band that could do both originals and also covers in a unique, yet crowd pleasing way. I know from past experience, and I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone, cause I’ve done it, but it’s almost a fact that any band or musician, regardless of talent and experience, can get a crowd to react by breaking into Don’t Stop Believing, Brown Eyed Girlor Sweet Caroline, a road I really didn’t want to go down again.  And finally, I wanted this to be a weird concoction of seasoned veterans and a few wildly energetic young persons, especially the drummer because I have always disliked taking breaks of any kind. This band routinely does three to three and a half hour non-stop shows, and that young guy on the skins needs to get through a show without collapsing – me too as far as that goes. Also, one of the young-ones is my son on sax…and he’s awesome. And then to top all that off, I also knew that in the five years or so since I had gigged, the support for live music has taken a nose dive, meaning this would not be an easy one to get off of the ground.  

And it did take a minute or two.  Club owners were saying at first, wow, these guys are great, but the material will never work…and the no-break thing was different. But you know what? Pretty soon the crowds started getting to know the original material and the covers they haven’t heard in a long time. And the club owners started appreciating that people weren’t leaving during breaks.  So it’s been great, really. We just hit our two year mark and are about to start recording a new CD as a band.  All is good Sean.   

Awesome, it’s always nice to see bands around the area thrive AND have fun while doing it. What is your favorite song to play live, especially with so many to choose from?

Oh that’s easy.  First and foremost, when you can get a reaction from a song that came from your heart and soul – there’s nothing like it.  Every night I love playing Stackhouse tunes like Letting Go and Jackson Hole.  Outside of that, there’s just one cover that stands above all other covers to play…we do a rendition of Springsteen’s Rosalita.  And it just rocks to the point of over exhaustion. I need a breath after that.

How is the recording process going for the record?

The CD is coming along well.  I’m really just finishing up all of the writing and the recording of demos. With a seven piece band, it’s pretty tricky making sure all of the instruments, including vocals, work together, so getting the outline to the musicians is ultra important, or it could just be a huge bucket of mush. From there we will refine everyone’s parts and roles, then go in and knock it out.  And if we like what we hear, we will look at a 2016 release.        

That is good to hear people reacting in a positive way. What are you favorite toppings on a pizza?

Canadian bacon and pineapple hands down.  Throw in an onion if I’m feeling adventurous.  But please for God’s sake, leave the hot-dogs, french fries and pretzels off my pizza.  

What influences would you say show the most in your playing?

Influences in my playing… That’s a tough one, when it comes to guitar playing or singing because I have been doing it for so long I kind of just do my own thing. Good or bad, I guess. And it evolves every year.  With this band, I have such a large role with singing, that I really am enjoying taking a back seat on stage with playing lead guitar to our other guitarist Jon Chamberlain, who I love listening to every night we play.  As for performing, I grew up watching the guys who never quit until the last note of the night – and then they probably drop.  Springsteen, Bono, Tommy Shaw are the guys who I marvel at all of the time.  I figure if they can do it in their 60s and above, I’ll try to hang in.            

I have heard pretzel crust is great! If you could see one band live that isn’t around anymore, who would it be?

Are you kidding?  That’s easy – the same four guys everyone else says…Frank, Dean, Sammy and Peter! The Rat Pack, baby!  

Any last words?

For last words, I would have to say that live music has changed in the past five years.  The bands out there are greater than ever, but unfortunately, for whatever reason, audience support is not what it used to be – whether for live performances or recording.  I read somewhere that Bono said Rock n Roll is becoming a niche, and I think that’s sad. That being said, I encourage all of the young musicians, including my kids, to stay at it and keep playing good music in front of anyone who will listen, it will come back. For our band STACKHOUSE, I feel fortunate, and really blessed that folks still want to come out and see a show of unique and original, high energy music. The number one priority to me during a show is the response of the audience and the fact that it takes a great team of talented people to get that response  – and that’s what makes it all worth while, right?  

Thanks Sean.  

Here is a link to some music to listen, and be ready to hear more as the year progresses on!