Rock And Roll Country Blues Funk Folk and Stuff: An interview with Trey Stone

Trey Stone

For 15 years, Trey Stone served as Musical Director at Chicago’s The Second City, which is basically the minor leagues for Saturday Night Live.  But that’s not where his experience as a performer begins and ends.  He also founded rock band The Regels, who made their record with celebrated audio engineer Steve Albini (PJ Harvey, Nirvana, The Stooges), at his Electrical Audio studio.
It wasn’t long after relocating to Dayton in May 2011, that he began working on his self-produced “rock and roll country blues funk folk and stuff” album, titled Ahead of the Pack, which he promises will show of a broad range of influences, from Dr. John to Tom Petty and Chuck Berry.  Having assembled a remarkable cast of local players – including Mike Minarcek of Onceler on drums, bluesman Noah Wotherspoon and John Dubus on guitar, and Leo Smith (of the Air Force bands) on bass – Stone has been laying his tunes down at Dayton’s Cyberteknics Studios. Stone is anticipating a Spring release date.
Ghettoblaster caught up with Stone to discuss his comings and goings, as well as his forthcoming album.  This is what he said….
When did you first realize that performing was a passion of yours?
I’ve performed my whole life.  As a kid I performed at church, in nursing homes, etc.  As an adult, I’ve played in all kinds of situations.  For fifteen years I served as Musical Director at The Second City in Chicago, and my time there has been a huge influence on me.  I’ve performed and recorded for years with jazz singer and Wright State grad Lori McClain.  I helped found the rock band The Regels, and we made a good record at Electrical Audio, Steve Albini’s place in Chicago.  Then there are countless gigs peppered throughout, stuff that happens to you just for having been a piano player.
How would you describe your sound to people who’ve never heard you?
To put it simply, my sound is “rock and roll country blues funk folk and stuff.”  Or maybe just “non-jam-band American music.”  Or “New Orleans Nashville Chicago Memphis Detroit.”  Any of those descriptions work.
Who are your primary influences?
I’ve been Beatles nut since I was very little.  Of course, their songwriting is among the best ever, and I love the wide range of musical influences they used.  As a pianist, I’ve always idolized Dr. John and his ability to make funky, gut-bucket music without sacrificing his exquisite piano playing.  I love Tom Petty and Dwight Yoakam for their straight-ahead rocking.  Then there are Bob Dylan, Allen Toussaint, James Booker, Chuck Berry, and on and on…
How long have you lived in Dayton?

I moved to Dayton from Chicago in May of 2011, and have been glad I did ever since.  I love Chicago very, very much, but it’s stressful to live there.  Dayton is more calm.  Plus the music scene is here is just incredible.  Not only are there great musicians here, but the fans appreciate good music more so than any place I’ve lived.
You have a forthcoming album. Is it your first? What are the details of that?

Yes, I am finishing up work on a self-produced album titled Ahead of the Pack.  Although I’ve recorded a bunch in the past with other bands, this is the first album I’ve made under my own name.  I’ve been working on it at Cyberteknics Studios here in Dayton, and I couldn’t be any happier or more proud of it.   The release date is not firm yet, but will be this spring.
Do any other Dayton musicians perform on your album?
I assembled a band of incredible Dayton musicians for the record, and they all did a killer job.  Mike Minarcek (of Onceler) plays drums on it.  I actually met him when we played in the same cover band in Chicago.  When I moved to Dayton, he was the first person I called.  The one and only Noah Wotherspoon plays electric guitar.  The great Dayton songwriter John Dubuc plays acoustic guitar and does backup vocals.  Leo Smith, by day the bassist for the Air Force bands, plays bass.  Having a good bass player is very important to me, and he is the best.