Hello, world. It's October - a spiced, autumnal crisp is on the wind. The earth is in repose, draped in long shadows and dusky tatters. It has a been a moment since my first contribution to this, as I have been busy getting my life together. There have been some big things happening, and being the proud master of my own web domain, I feel as though I have a space to be candid and speak to those who are indeed curious about my endeavors.
That being said, there is a bit to catch-up on. Firstly, I played in August all around Oregon. My estranged father passed-away and I attended his funeral. I'll write about it on another day, as I feel that it deserves its own passage. I booked a small tour for after the ceremony - a three gig run - and went along on many adventures. I reunited with some old friends, namely The Redlight District's old drummer Tyler "Tyballs" Walicek and his partner Alyssa, my very first drummer Brad Mina, and one of the funniest and most talented comic artists and writers I've ever seen Kelly O'Grady. I tripped-out at a mountain-top renegade above the clouds and wondered if I was possessed or schizophrenic because I couldn't hear my own voice through the hallucinations in my ears. I coasted on fumes back into civilization after getting lost in the woods. The battery in my van was drained completely while I was blasting power metal, and it seemed as though my phone being plugged-in while it was booming in all of it's wailing, intrepid glory was drawing all the electricity from my vehicle. I had to dedicate the next day to changing my alternator and getting greasy with Tyballs. I played in Eugene at Sam Bond's Garage and ended up accidentally getting into no less than three car-chases on my way to protect a stripper from certain doom in Springfield. I played at Taproot Tavern in Salem and almost got into a brawl with rednecks and Tyballs (we would have lost). I played with one of my favorite singers in the world at No Fun in Portland - Sarah Parson, formerly of one of my favorite bands in the world The Lower 48 - and hung out with her and her partner Matt all night and some of the next day. (Do yourself a favor and check out her album Shhh right now, put it on from start to finish, and then come back and read the rest). Lastly, I hung out with someone I consider a hero of garage rock and roll to me - Courtney Taylor Taylor of The Dandy Warhols - and he and his family took such great care of me before showing me his studio and giving me a perfect send-off back to California.
Upon returning, I broke-up The Redlight District. It became painfully obvious that what was once a beautiful avenue of self-expression to carry-through a concept I once saw in my dreams had become marred far beyond recognition and was no longer fun for me. It was clear that the mask that I had created for the character I put forth was causing me to become a caricature in other peoples eyes and eventually even my own. I was becoming not much more than a stranger and a commodity to those both distant and close to me. I felt that when I was in need, many people I thought would be there for me were indeed very much not. I began to struggle with my identity and became more disposed to madness and depression. I became as hard to deal with as those that I felt brought me such deep sorrow, perhaps at times even more-so until I reached a hideous climax, and after a year of trying to care for myself and my health - when it was undeniably clear to me that I had become completely depleted of effort and spirit - I began a hard acceptance of solitude as a healthy lifestyle for me, and with that, I disbanded my treasured creation.
Moving forward, that doesn't mean the death of The Redlight District, for that name and all it implies moves with me, and I don't believe we've seen the last of it - just the last of it for now. In the meantime, I've been doing something I deem much more experimental for me. Inspired by artists the likes of Reignwolf, Shakey Graves, and Tash Sultana who create so much sound as a stand-alone artist, I have been able tap into different influences and take a different approach to songwriting as I'm working with a minimalist set-up and exploring song structures, sounds, and instrumentation in a way I've never displayed or explored before. I also have a few musical concepts that I'll save for when they're coming along. I'm recording a solo album with Ian Thornburgh at Outlaw Fringe Sound. Expect it to come-out in the beginning of next year, followed by a big move from me right after.
Lastly, I am engaged in the Rocky Horror Show live musical in Monterey, CA at the Hoffman Theatre with the Paper Wing Theatre Company. It's a split cast, and I'll post my show dates soon. It is a $30 door, but I have $25 pre-sale tickets. Be sure to get ahold of me for tickets at email@example.com. I've been doing so much research for this role, and even more work on movement, voice, and character amongst other things. This is my dream role, and I want to be the best Dr. Frank N. Furter they've ever seen - a tall order, since all the other ones have been and currently are amazing (do also see Erik Morton's portrayal - he's my counter-part in the other cast and delivers a quite inspired performance).
Thank you for tuning in. I hope to see you all soon.
Reverend Stephan Sams