We've had the pleasure of hearing Stonecrazy on more than
one occasion and we can attest that their sound is new, fresh and exciting.
Danny proved to be both unassuming and a pleasure to speak with. Barrelhouse
Blues (BB) takes great pleasure in sharing our discussion with Danny
with all our readers...
BB: How did the members of Stonecrazy meet and get together
as a band?
DK: After the J. Geils Band stopped playing, I took some
time off from playing and was working as a chef in Fitchburg, MA. I missed
playing and started to get back into music again. I was playing some blues
gigs with a local band, one of the members being Babe Pino. At one of the
gigs the guitar player that night was Babe’s brother Ken. He had
been on the road for ten years with Johnny “Clyde” Copeland
and was now playing with blues woman Debbie Davies. Debbie was looking
for a bass player and Ken asked me if I was interested. I went on the road
with Debbie for a couple of years. During that time Ken and I talked about
starting our own blues band. After we left Debbie we formed a band with
Babe and a few different drummers. We finally hooked up with Mark Hylander
who has played with many bands most notable being Duke And The Drivers.
BB: How would you describe the band's style of music?
DK: We perform Blues and R&B. While we are influenced
by all the Chicago blues greats as well as other regions such as Mississippi
and Memphis, we are really excited by the Texas style of blues by artists
Like Freddy King, Johnny Copeland, Joe Hughes, and many others. We feel
that a lot of Texas blues has more of a rock edge to it, which we enjoy
playing. On the R&B side we’re into many different styles, from
Stax and Atlantic Records and James Brown, to Philly R&B, Motown and
other Detroit R&B, and Chicago influences like Percy Mayfield. We also
enjoy various Swing and Jazz music.
BB: Who are some of the performers that have influenced the
band’s style of music?
DK: To try and name all the musicians that influence our
music would take a whole other article. Some of the blues musicians are
B.B., Freddy, and Albert King, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Jr.
Wells, Jimmy Reed, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Magic Slim, Paul Butterfield,
Charley Musselwhite, Albert Collins, James Cotton, Johnny Copeland, Joe
Hughes, Lonnie Mack, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and about a million
others. On the R&B side there are just as many, from all the Stax greats
like Otis Redding, Booker T., Sam and Dave among others to Aretha, King
Curtis, Don Covay, Wilson Picket, all the Motown artists, the legendary
Dyke And The Blazers and another million others.
BB: What are the band's musical goals? How would you like
to see the music evolve over time?
DK: Our musical goal is to continue to grow as musicians
and as a band by taking our influences and evolving them into our own style
of music. That is, to get to the point where we sound like Stonecrazy,
which will be derived from the music and artists we’re influenced
by, but not sound like them.
BB: What are the challenges and rewards of playing Blues
in the New England market?
DK: The challenge of playing blues in New England is that
there are fewer venues than there used to be and the blues market is suffering
from the same problems as the rest of the music industry these days. It’s
difficult to make a living as a working musician. The rewards of playing
blues in New England is that the fans are very knowledgeable and loyal
and the clubs that do remain are really into the music and the club owners
treat the musicians very well. Also, organizations like the Boston
Blues Society and BarrelhouseBlues.com are
very helpful to both blues musicians and fans. Blues radio, such as Holly
Harris’ and Carter Allen’s shows among others really helps
keep the blues scene alive and vibrant.
BB: You’ve been performing a long time. Is it still
exciting to perform on stage? How do you maintain your enthusiasm?
DK: Being excited to play is never a problem. We love to
play and always have. The two or three hours playing on stage are always
exciting. The other 22 hours of traveling, staying in motels, being away
from home, etc. can be a drag, but playing the music you love in front
of an appreciative audience is always satisfying.
BB: What’s been your most rewarding experience to date
as a band and as individuals?
DK: There have been so many over the years that it’s
hard to enumerate them. I think the most rewarding thing is the feeling
you get when you learn something new and grow musically. There’s
always something to learn.
BB: What would you most like your fans to know about you
and your music?
DK: We love what we’re doing and we try to convey that
when we perform. We hope to grow as individual musicians and as a band
and hope our fans will enjoy our music as much as we do.
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