STOCKHOLM SYNDROME : : A BAND IS BORN

So much has happened, and so much continues to happen each day that my hopes lay in the nooks and crannies of my mind. To remember everything would be impossible, but to cull the most interesting, important, and intriguing moments from this, the Stockholm Syndrome's first tour ever, is what my job has become.


Wally Ingram & Eric McFadden
05.14.04 : Starclub : Dresden, GER
Memory can be a funny thing when countries blur together and nights bleed constantly into new days. When you leave Germany and drink generously with the band as our brand new tour bus (which was built for Paul McCartney) barrels through France heading to Spain, taking notes often takes a back seat to banging on table as Jerry Joseph strums an acoustic medley and Eric McFadden does vocal harmonies. Or maybe Wally Ingram is cracking jokes or Dave Schools is speaking his always interesting point of view. How could one even attempt to stop and write, rest and remember... this is a rock and roll tour through Europe and I'm the fly who lives on the wall. But before we get to tour buses and Spain, long nights in Amsterdam and the plethora of work that is necessary to make this all happen, we must first look back and in time we can speculate on what's to come.

You see, a few weeks ago I was offered the insanely rare and opportune job of traveling across Europe as this amazing band begins to hash out its form and find its legs. Consisting of Jerry Joseph on guitar and lead vocals, Dave Schools on bass, Eric McFadden on guitar and mandolin, Wally Ingram on drums, and German phenom Danny Dziuk on keyboards, the Stockholm Syndrome has inspired high expectations, which are already being exceeded. This five-piece powerhouse rock unit is setting off to conquer the world, (or at least make it stop and think) and I will be living with these cats, in the hotel, on the tour bus, and at the shows. I will be your eyes and ears, watching, consuming, and reporting back on the birth of the Stockholm Syndrome.


Jerry Joseph & Dave Schools
Rehearsal :: Berlin, GER
The first words I remember writing came from Jerry Joseph late one night during rehearsals in Berlin: "When you wake up in this haunted communist block with no one but the ghost of the last DJ they shot you can think of me." And with those words spilling out of Jerry's mouth, I just couldn't doze off on the couch of the control room in the band's plush velvet, wooden, and gorgeous Berlin rehearsal space. I'm not sure if it was the thought of what may have happened in this East German Military and public propaganda radio haven or just the jet lag. Images of cold, calculating men scarring this beautiful land were slashing through my head as the Stockholm Syndrome began their second rehearsal run in the former Ehemaliges Rundfunk – Gelande Der DDR, or the German Democratic Radio Station. But alas, much like the theory of one's body traveling too fast on an airplane thus leaving the soul behind and causing what we refer to as jet lag, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Like many feats of greatness things didn't get off to the smoothest start, but when you are traveling across the globe with instruments and tools of the trade, it's almost to be expected. As Eric McFadden and I scoured the Airport searching for his bags he said in disgust, "If I did my job like this I wouldn't have one." Mind you, this was after the airlines had already left Jerry's guitars in Amsterdam. But so it goes, you do what you can, and after the bomb scare that left us at the Tiegle Airport in Berlin for close to two hours Eric and I finally managed our way to one of the finest hotels the world has to offer; the Four Seasons hotel in downtown Berlin.

Rehearsal Space :: Berlin, GER
On our first evening together as a full band and crew we began by consuming a few bottles of perhaps the finest wine I've ever tasted and walked around the corner to enjoy one of the better meals I've had in years. As Jerry was explaining the $200 bottle of wine and Schools the difference between French and German foie gras I began to realize this month long adventure was clearly going to be like nothing I had ever experienced... musically, personally, and otherwise.


Danny Dziuk & Jerry Joseph
Rehearsal :: Berlin, GER
After our splendid dinner, Ulf, of Germany's Ulftone Records (who happens to be the tie that binds all of these musicians in one way or another) took us to a local watering hole. As we sat and talked, drank and laughed, Jerry's open personality began to turn my way. "I've never been more scared about a band," he revealed. And this comes from a man who has never done anything but play music. I can't be sure, but my gut tells me the fear stems from the potential. Jerry is one of the most under-appreciated songwriters around, and he has tasted success, teetering on the brink of stardom in the late 80s with his band Little Women. His widely documented personal demons led him down a dirty path, one that will never go away, but has been successfully tamed. And now, as we sit in Germany the potential for something huge is lingering in the air and sticking to the name Stockholm Syndrome. As the hours begin to push towards morning, Danny, Jerry, and I order more drinks and Danny asks exactly what it is I do. Jerry tells him with a smile, "He's a writer for this genre I fuckin' hate." Ahh, my good friend Jerry, always there to sling a little mud. But it's understandable. It's hard for musicians like Jerry Joseph and Dave Schools who have been making music long before "jam" was even a category, to be lumped together with a bunch of young bands that hardly write songs and meander around on derivative chord progressions and passé guitar solos. Not to say all the bands found in the "jam" genre do this, but many do, and it's been the topic of more than one conversation. But we're getting off track, back to Germany and my discussion with Danny.

I go onto clarify that I'm the editor and writer for an internet magazine called JamBase, and through an ever-evolving relationship with Jerry was brought along to witness something that can never be duplicated: the first notes, the first shows and the first tour of the band.


Schools, Joseph, Dziuk, McFadden, Ingram
Rehearsal :: Berlin, GER
Amongst the other truly unique experiences that are bound to unfold, we find something happening here that is beyond rare. Most bands start off slow, working up material and playing gigs in empty bars. Not the Stockholm Syndrome. This band of absolute monster musicians has recorded a stellar album, Holy Happy Hour at the legendary Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas. This fine piece of work (due out June 29 on Terminus Records) was produced by Dave Schools and recorded by sound guru Terry Manning, with the mixing prowess of John Keane. The band has never played a note on stage, yet they are headlining festivals across the states and being booked in major music halls. This type of stuff doesn't happen in the music business, but then again, you don't usually find such talented and driven musicians with active careers putting everything else on hold to follow an idea spawned out of collaboration and admiration. And in only three days of rehearsals, it's obvious why the dream is being chased.

It's the first day of rehearsals and the band has just smoked the D Chord power rocker "American Fork." Schools is standing behind his bass and turns to Jerry, "We can play a little butt rock, we are in Germany where the mullet is still popular." Butt rock or not, this track is shaping up quickly, as is the rest of the band's growing repertoire. Being able to watch this evolution is amazing. Not three songs in and the power is evident, the potential impressive, the vibe high. Jerry looks at Eric, who's playing Jerry's gorgeous Gibson hallow body (because his own axe was ripped off days before departure), and says, "You're gonna have to teach me all these songs." And Eric smiles, "That’s what I'm here for, to teach you your songs." This type of camaraderie may or may not exist elsewhere, but this mass of talent is certainly hard to come by.


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