In this edition of Tell Me About That Track, we catch up with Ben London of five-piece rock outfit STAG, a group currently promoting its latest 7-inch single, the T-Rex-indebted “The Bedazzler,” through Mike McCready’s HockeyTalkter Records (find it via Pearl Jam’s site here). You can hear them play it live this Friday at Darrell’s Tavern 7th anniversary party.
In three sentences or more, tell us the story of the band: This is the true story…of seven strangers…picked to live in a house…and have their lives taped…to find out what happens…when people stop being polite…and start getting real…The Real World. Sorry, that’s the Real World. As for STAG, we’ve all known each other for years, decided to form a band that was based on the scientific question, “What would a can of Rainier sound like plugged into a Marshall Stack?” and have lived with the consequences ever since.
In three sentences or more, tell us the story of the track: The Bedazzler started out of a joke-filled conversation I had with our bass player Pete about the old commercials for “the BeDazzler.” I’m a big ’70s glam fan and started joking around like I was T-Rex’s Marc Bolan saying “I’m the Bedazzler” while doing wizard hand moves. That punch line stuck with me and I sat down a few days later and wrote the song. They lyrics practically wrote themselves. Once we started working it out as a band it got larger and more epic at every turn. Add some horns, some Gary Glitter-esque “Heys!” and a few guitar solos, what do you get? The Bedazzler!
What’s next? We’re headed out to New York City in early February to make a record with one of our favorite producers John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Hold Steady, Sonic Youth, Buffalo Tom). We’ll be producing the 2nd Annual Summer Stag Party Aug 5th at Slim’s (that in 2016 featured Big Star’s Jody Stephens), and playing some other shows here and there. For 2017, it’s basically just keeping the pedal to the metal and faking Workers’ Comp injuries to get pain meds from Urgent Care. We have a single release show on February 17th as part of the celebration for Darrell’s Tavern’s 7th anniversary.
Thanks Chris Estey for the kind words. “Just got this slinky, crunchy, very naughty STAG 45 in my box (eek!). It’s a true delight, a great sample of the superb vinyl releases from HockeyTalkter Records. I’m sent back into a summer night of my past, Columbian pot-wafting trailer park yard under glittering coals of stars, sharing a sleeping bag with Janie, whose brother John made out with Rhoda nearby in their own bag. Summer stoned and deep tongue kissing for the first time, and the chorus of this song tickles like anything by the Sweet and stomps like pop Slade. The flip “Runner” has a buzzy Badfinger jog to it (“I’ve been making the same old jokes / living on rum and cokes / get me high!!”); both choruses on this new single are true boss. Thanks boys! Right on”.- Chris Estey
Stag is a band from the northwest whose making ripples in the water of Seattle rock. Formed in 2010 by a host of some of the city’s finest musicians, Steve Mack (vocals), Ben London (guitar), John Randolph (guitar), Rob Dent (drums), and Pete Everett (bass), the group is highly evolved. By mixing pop rock from the late ’60’s and early 70’s with straight ahead rock, the group has avoided the “Deathcab” stereotype and have forged their own path, “We love so many bands, it’s hard to pinpoint,” says London, “I guess a Stag’s DNA includes strains of Cheap Trick, Big Star, T-Rex, but also English power pop rock bands such as the Hollies and the Sweet.”- KEXP
The latest recording from Seattle Power Pop purveyors Stag is a full-on chooglin’ slice of stomp-worthy boogie evoking early ’70s glam. Let’s just say Marc Bolan would be proud. A limited edition colored vinyl 45, featuring iconic cover imagery from famed NYC ’70s-era photographer Meryl Meisler, is a rager!. Recorded by Jack Endino and mixed by Martin Feveyear, the single captures the members of Stag laying down their most ambitious songwriting, and production to date. “The Bedazzler” burns hot live and will sound perfect mixed in with artists like T- Rex, Ty Segall or Eagles of Death Metal on any radio station or playlist. Hear it now in all its glory!
Debuted yesterday on Seattle Radio Station KEXP, the Bedazzler is ready for action!
It’s not surprising to find references to record stores and record players on Stag’s self-titled, full-length debut. Or for that matter, a faithful cover of Eric Carmen’s “Get The Message” from his days with Cyrus Erie in 1969. The Seattle-based Stag, fronted by vocalist Steve Mack of the UK’s That Petrol Emotion, packs a power pop wallop that harks back to an era when Cheap Trick and Carmen’s better-known group, The Raspberries, pretty much released everything on vinyl.
Stag’s chief songwriter, guitarist-singer Ben London, draws from a variety of influences, such as The Who on the energetic “Ides Of March,” and the original British Invasion on the catchy and fun tribute to indie labels, “Love Her Records.” London’s knack for satire shines through on the galloping “Chameleons,” with its images of diners fighting over a check and urgent chorus of, “What are you waiting for, you’re running out of time.” The rollicking “Tiffany Rose” depicts a woman so caught up in the latest trends, she disappears within her high fashion clothes and make-up. Mack offers a wide range of vocal styles throughout these 12 tracks, and creates some inventive harmonies with London and guitarist-vocalist Lincoln Barr.
Travis Hay over at Guerrilla Candy voted STAG one of the best local rock records of 2012!
This group of local scene vets – Ben London, Lincoln Barr and a few others – joined forces with producer dynamos Jack Endino and Johnny Sangster to create one of the best power-pop-rock records in recent years. If you like The Posies, Super Deluxe or Big Star, you can’t go wrong with Chamelon.”