Madstone – Interview
Interview with James Stone of Madstone and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
JS: We are a southern rock band. This is MadStone. It’s the music of Steve Burnside, Mark Doolin, and James Stone. Andy Ramos on Bass, James York on Drums, and me James Stone on vocals and guitar. Hard driving beautiful simple melodies that aren’t simple at all. This is New Country music, Texas Rock n Roll.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
JS: We Started in 2005 with James Stone, Sydney Goldis, and Steve Burnside as the band Hester Prynne. We burned it up all over the central coast of California. A few years later, Steve became ill and passed away. He will be sorely missed. His music still lives on though. Madstone was born. Thommy Souza became the drummer, James moved to guitar and vocals and Al Young became the bassist. A lead guitar was added by Shannon Shrogin. Two albums later, Shannon’s life changed dramatically and he was unable to continue. That’s when Mark Doolin entered the picture as co-writer and lead guitarist and the 3rd album Heavy Thunder was born. It’s a long story, but James and Thommy needed a change and headed for Texas in September of 2017. Andy Ramos became the bassist. Thommy’s health became an issue shortly thereafter and James York became out new drummer. Things have settled down and James. James, and Andy are now Madstone and we are back stronger than ever. The music of Steve Burnside, Mark Doolin, and James Stone is still the same Madstone it always was. Pour some whiskey and crank the volume. We are a hard-hitting group of southern rockers and we know what we’re about and come out swinging with every track.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
JS: Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, SRV, Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchett, and Blackberry Smoke but we also re influenced by Zeppelin, AC/DC, and other rock. We’ve been doing this a really long time, so there are a lot of influences, not the least being everybody we’ve ever played music with over the years. Our original music, 3 CDs now I think reflects what we like.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
JS: Like every musician, we want to do nothing else but play and create music.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
JS: As stated earlier, Steve Burnside wrote 6 or 7 of these tunes. Mark Doolin collaborated on 4 on the last CD, Heavy Thunder.
James Stone, that’s me wrote most of them or arranged them the way you hear them now. James is the lead singer and guitarist. Every song has a story. Some are love songs, some are just fun. Take Mr Bones Wild Ride, for example, there used to be a game called Sim City Entertainment Parks. It had a roller coaster called Mr Bones Wild Ride. It was slow, 3mph and took an entire year to complete. That means most of the riders passed away long ago. At the end of the ride, if you survived, you would walk around the entire park and come back to the entrance of the ride with a sign that said “The ride never ends”. I adapted that to the song that it is today.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
JS: Facebook, Twitter, Reverbnation, interviews, a lot of live shows, as many places on line as we can. Madstone is listed or placed on well over 40 to 50 websites. That’s the way things are these days.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
JS: I do everything online. You can’t even find a music store anymore. Nobody buys CDs anymore. We usually give away a few CDs at every show. CDs today are more marketing material than anything else now. So yes, downloading music is the way to go.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
JS: There are many, but writing is a lot harder than people think. There are certain songs that the first time you hear them, they have that something about them that just gets you and everyone else too. Songs like Freebird, Stairway to Heaven, Comfortably Numb, Back in Black, but my favorite all time tune is Led Zeppelin, ‘Ramble on’. There’s something about these songs that made them instant favorites of whoever heard them. I think our tunes Heavy Thunder and Mr Bones have that kind of appeal, but not on that scale…….yet. So the one I wish I’d written hasn’t been written yet. I’m working on it.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
JS: Venue owners who can’t be honest. Musicians who think too much of themselves.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
JS: There have been many. Some people like to jump out of airplanes or ski down a crazy hill for their adrenaline rush. Mine is playing in front of a big appreciative crowd. So when we get a good crowd and they are having fun, really enjoying the music, that’s an awesome moment and what I am proudest of.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
JS: New music, always. We’re are about halfway there for enough for CD#4. It takes a lot of time. Can’t be rushed. The best music takes playing it live, trying different phrasings, crafting signature leads, working on the background vocals, the works.
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
JS: We have fun and our fans have fun. It’s always a party at a Madstone show. Our next gig is at what they call the Crater Rally. It’s a weekend long biker rally with camping, food, non-stop music, and just a lot of fun. You should be there if you want to get away from the crap this world throws you and you need to get lost in some good rock music. Some music that takes over and consumes your mind for the time you’re there. We’ll put a smile on your face.
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