|ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS SEXSTONE
WE'RE AN AMERiCAN BANDNothing is more exciting than a rock n roll dream that is on the verge of coming true, especially in these frightening economic times. Established in 2004, the Kentucky-based SEXSTONE started out with a dark, moody sound reminiscent of THE DOORS. For whatever reason members left but the heart of the band –guitarist STEVE WHEELER and bassist TRENT RILEY – decided to forge on as an eighties cover band in pursuit of a sultry, female singer. What they got instead was a young, dashing front man and prolific songwriter named STEVE BAUER who introduced a more tempered alternative rock sensibility to the band. Having established a devoted following throughout the southeastern states and favorable press, SEXSTONE have released their eagerly awaited debut LP THE PAINFUL SIDE OF TRUE – a rocking catalog of life’s highs, lows and second chances.
TRENT RiLEY OF SEXSTONE
TALKS TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT THEiR DEBUT LP THE PAiNFUL SiDE OF TRUE
FiNDiNG THE iDEAL FRONT MAN
AND TAKiNG THAT NEXT STEP
iNTERViEWED BY BRiAN LUSH
ROCKWIRED spoke with bassist TRENT RILEY of SEXSTONE over the phone. Here is how it went.
Now that your CD is out there for people to hear, how do you feel about the finished product?
We’re proud of it. We worked hard for a little over a year just to get the songs written. We’re very, very proud of it.
What about the actual recording? How long did that take?
We actually recorded on and off for about a couple of weeks with a local guy here. As far as the mixing and the mastering, it took a little over two months to get it all finished and sounding good.
Talk about the name SEXSTONE. I noticed in my initial e-mails to you guys that I was misspelling it. Where does the name come from?
You know, we actually keep that under wraps. We haven’t gotten around to disclosing that information just yet.
Then talk about how this band began.
Actually, SEXSTONE has been around since 2004 but with a completely different line up. At around 2007, me and my guitarist STEVE WHEELER had decided to put together a project and look for a female singer. We started auditioning all kinds of girls around the area. We wanted to put together an eighties cover band and give the material a kind of country-rock crossover kind of sound. We auditioned all kinds of girls all over the area and could not find the right girl that could do what we wanted her to do. Eventually we started getting all of these random e-mails from everybody and anybody in our area that was looking to sing with us and then we happened to get one back from STEVE BAUER who said to us “I’m not quite a female but I can sing.” He sent us this song FALLING AWAY and it’s the third track on our CD. It was a rough recording. It sounded like it was recorded on a microphone with a computer with just him on a guitar and singing. We fell in love with the song. He came in and did a little audition and we just loved what he had. He is a great writer and a singer and we stuck with him. We’ve been through a couple of drummers since then but all in all things have worked out. It’s been a great ride ever since.
Talk about he current members of the band.
The lead guitar player STEVE WHEELER and I have been with this thing the longest. He is a great guitarist and he’s got a lot of eighties influence in him – hair bands and things like that. He’s a clown, especially on stage. He’s pretty much – for the lack of a better word – the balls of the band. He plays a LES PAUL through a MARSHALL stack which gives us that ballsy sound that we have. STEVEN BAUER joined the band in the fall of ’07 and he is just a wonderful writer and singer. Onstage he is just a great performer. He takes the stage over and he takes the crowd over and gets everybody involved in the show. His day job is teaching middle school and he coaches girl’s basketball. He’s just a regular guy.
Sounds like a cool teacher to me!
He’s a great guy. BRYAN THOMAS is our current drummer. He’s actually not the drummer that played on this last album. TROY DALTON played on the album. He had twins around the time that the CD was released. He got so busy around that time that he actually had to kind of back down. BRYAN THOMAS has been with us for about two months now. He’s played in tons of local bands around this area. He had actually played in a couple of cover bands with STEVE back in the day. He is just the perfect fit. He’s got the same kind of personality that we do and he’s an excellent drummer. Just a wonderful guy and he’s a little bit of a showman on stage. We’ve kind of got a full package now and we’re ready to go.
How did music begin for you?
I think it started with my older brother. He had a huge 8-track tape collection and my favorite was KISS. I remember being five years old and painting my face up like ACE FREHLEY with my tennis racket in front of the mirror and miming along to the 8-track stereo. Ever since then, music has always been a part of me. Throughout high school I was more of a jock. I played basketball and I really didn’t pick up an instrument until I was nineteen. After picking up my first guitar, I just fell in love with it. I’ve been in bands off and on ever since.
You’ve already told me that STEVE brought this one song to you guys and you all just went for it. Talk about the songwriting process in this band. Who does that get relegated to and how does that get done?
The album that we just did is all STEVE BAUER. He’s actually got a huge song book with over a hundred songs that he has written over the years. A lot of them have the music finished. He’ll come in with an acoustic guitar and play them for us and we will get together as a band and add something to it. That was pretty much how this album was recorded. It’s a lot of old songs that he’s had over the years and we just add our own little flavor to it and we put it on CD.
And of the songs on this, which songs stand out for you the most personally and why?
FALLING AWAY is one of my favorites. It takes you from the beginning to the end of a relationship and it just really hits home with a lot of people. Even though it is one of BAUER’s stories you can relate to it through your own life and find something in it that really hits home for you. It’s also got one of my favorite bass lines to play. I really enjoy that song. It takes you on a ride. THANK YOU is a fun song to play. It’s our fans’ favorite song to hear live. It’s great to see everybody get pumped for hat one and sing along to it. It give you’re a great vibe. BRIGHTER SIDE OF BLUE is also a favorite. It’s a story about struggling with addiction and finding that one person that can help you conquer your addiction. It really hits home with a lot of people also.
Talk a little more about how live audiences have reacted to the material.
Here at home, we’ve got a nice little following. It started out as just a couple of friends coming together to see us to where we’ve got tons of people coming in. We’ve got a nice following and I’m blown away by how much everybody likes the songs. We’re at the point now where people are actually singing along to the some of the songs. It feels great. Even when we go out of our area where people don’t know who we are, we always get a great response. We’re getting rid of a lot of CDs.
What’s next for the band musically?
On the first weekend of November, we’re going down to record with BRANDON MASHBURN in Springfield, Missouri. BRANDON just finished up the new TRUST COMPANY album that is coming out in 2010. He’s an up and coming producer. He’s done a lot of mixing with bands like THREE DAYS OF GRACE . We’ve got a good thing going right now. He’s going to do three tracks for us and we’re gonna do a label placement with ERIC BAKER MUSIC and R.A.R. ENTERTAINMENT out of Nashville. They’ve got some ties to UNIVERSAL’s ARSENAL RECORDS. In two weeks, it’s going to be a completely different ride. We’re going to be taking a step up in the world and see what we can do with it.
What would you like someone to co me away with after they’ve heard this CD?
I’d like them to walk away feeling that it really hit home with them. One of my personal favorite quotes is if you can’t feel the music it ain’t worth listening to. I think music should be listened to but that you should also be able to feel the emotion behind it. I would like for people to find a part of their life in each of our songs.