For an up-and-coming band, the road to fame can be grueling. Little by little, a foundation must be poured to garner a following. Phoenix rock 'n' roll act Stone Mary is in the beginning stages of this tedious process.
In their corner, they already have the support of local club promoters, word of mouth, and a small but steadily growing fan base. Most importantly, however, they offer a throwback musical style that encompasses a broad range of rock 'n' roll. Their catchy beats and lyrics will have a crowd bopping along by the end of a show. Just check out their single "Shine On" and try not to jam with it.
You will have the opportunity to catch the new addition to Phoenix's vast musical database tonight at Joe's Grotto when Stone Mary opens for RED.
Up on the Sun talked to guitarist Danny Fedo in the days leading up to their performance to ask him how he plans on making a name for Stone Mary as well as the end goal with his musical career.
Describe what it's like trying to make a name for yourself as a band in Phoenix.
Honestly, we don't try to get too concerned with that. We just really love music. Whenever we get out and play, we've always had a really positive response. A lot of patrons at the venues will come up to us afterwards and say they love what we do, and sometimes we will see those familiar faces at the next show we play.
What do you do locally to promote yourself?
Little to nothing, really, right now. We just get out and play and have a good time with the people who are at the bars. That seems to get people out to have fun with us again.
Tell me your perspective of the music scene in Phoenix. Your likes and dislikes?
I think there are plenty of people out here who want to listen to original music from the artists in Phoenix. A lot of the shows have pretty good turnouts. In terms of improving, it's difficult to say because I'm sure all the venues have their own business models, but it's just a matter of people wanting to go out more often or go check out a band they've never heard or seen before.
Hopefully, when people do devote some time to any band they go out and see, they'll remember the band and tell their friends about it, which gets more people out to the venues.
When did Stone Mary come together?
Myself, the other guitarist and the singer have been playing together off and on for the better part of a decade, but we formed Stone Mary about a year ago.
Describe your music for a potential new fan?
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We love all sorts of music. We love listening to music, we love talking about music. I've heard we sound like Fabulous Thunderbirds, from Joe Grotto. We've heard Deep Purple a couple of times and the Black Crowes.
I would say [our sound] is blues rock. We definitely have a lot of influences and we play what we like to hear. I guess it's kind of hard to pigeonhole us.
Do you have an album in the works?
We're working on it. Hopefully, [the record will be done] within the year. We're still writing and trying to get what we want on an album together.
What is your ultimate goal with your music career?
If we can make a lot of people happy on a big scale that's great, and if we can make our friends and the people who see us at the bars happy, that's also great. We're just playing to have fun, and if something big happens, wonderful.
How do you plan to achieve something on a big scale?
It's really just connecting with people who have experience or are in the industry already. Once you have friends like that it helps put us in touch with a lot of popular musicians and labels who can play us or sign us.
If not, they can give us some advice or point us in the right direction to make more contacts. We went out as a band to the NAMM [North American Musical Merchants] convention in Los Angeles as guests of Fender. We did some jamming and had some fun and met people in the industry.
When you open for RED on Friday night, what do you plan to bring to the stage so that Stone Mary is the band people are talking about after the show?
We're just going to do our thing, and see what happens.
What is your thing?
I would say by having music that is different from the rest of the music that will be played. We always tend to play with a lot of heavier acts. Our blues rock is a little bit different than most of the bands on the bill. I think our showmanship and our guitar work [on stage] can be interesting and enjoyable for the audience.
How do you interact with the audience?
Preferably with drinking. [laughs]
How did you get into playing music?
I learned piano when I was young and played saxophone for a very long time and had the chance to play abroad. Then, when I got into university, I realized saxophone was not quite as sexy as guitar, so I decided to teach myself guitar.
Since then, I've just been writing songs. I met the majority of the band when I was in college and we've been jamming for a long time and enjoying each other's music ever since.
RED is a great headliner to run with. How did you guys get that opportunity?
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Joe [Grotto] really enjoys us, so whenever a decent national act comes through he usually gives our manager a call and tries to get us on.