It happens every time my friend Scott and I go see live music together. We always get the itch to get the band back together. In fact, Scott and I getting together is kind of how the whole band came about in the first place.
Scott has always been one of my best friends, ever since I moved to Minonk in second grade. We are pretty much like brothers, as he is seen as a member of my family, and I am seen as a member of his. One of the common denominators in our friendship has always been music…another being having a good time.
And so it was that when we were in our 20’s, we decided to have a big party every year to celebrate our birthdays, since they are only a couple of weeks apart (end of April, beginning of May). Every year, the party kept getting bigger and bigger, with more and more people attending. We would usually put together mix tapes full of party tunes every year. But one year, when we were in the early planning stages, I said to Scott, “You know, we should hire a band this year.” Scott’s reply was “We should put together our own band.”
It wasn’t a far-fetched idea. We had both been in and out of bands for a lot of our adult life. And we knew plenty of musicians. So that night, we decided who we would try to recruit. My cousin John was always my first choice for a drummer (you’ll remember him from the story about my first gig that I posted in December). I hadn’t talked to him in quite some time, but agreed to get ahold of him. Scott and I also agreed to ask my friend Dan if he wanted to join to play guitar. Then Scott said that his next door neighbor, Dave, was always talking about getting together to play some music. Dave was one of my idols growing up, as he was the leader of a local rock band when I was a kid, so I was very excited at the thought of jamming with him.
Everyone agreed to get together, and we started rehearsing. It was a little rough at first, but it started fitting together nicely. We played mostly 60’s and 70’s tunes, since that’s what we were most familiar with. Within weeks, we were ready for our debut.
When we played the party, out in Scott’s backyard on a beautiful late-spring day, we received many compliments. We also heard something from many people that we didn’t expect… “Where are you guys playing next?” We hadn’t really considered “next”. We had just kind of thrown things together for the party. But low and behold, within a couple of weeks, we had another gig lined up.
Since Dave had been in a band years earlier called “The Glory Stompers” (taken from a Dennis Hopper biker movie from the 60’s) we asked him if it would be alright if we called ourselves “The New Glory Stompers” to pay homage to his past. He agreed. So we started our musical journey that took us in many directions, with many changing faces along the way. Dan left for awhile, but rejoined again later. John also left at one point, only to come back to the band after a few years. Dave left the area, so he was later replaced with my brother, Randy.
There have been a lot of fun gigs, and a lot of fun stories from those years together. If you’ve never been in a band, it’s hard to describe the dynamic. There is a real camaraderie, with an underlying tone of “we’ll all be great together, or we’ll all suck together.”
I’ve been in a couple of different bands since the Stompers broke up the last time a few years ago, and I have enjoyed the time that I’ve spent with those bands. But it’s just not the same as when the Stompers fire up. We’re certainly not the best band in the area, but we have a blast, and we have many devoted fans…the kind that keep asking “When are the Stompers getting back together?” Maybe it’s because we only play in our hometown, and people may feel like we’re “their” band, and that’s awesome.
It happened again Saturday night. Scott and I went out to see a band, and almost immediately started talking about getting together again. So if any Stompers fans are reading this, there may be an announcement coming soon…because there ain’t nothing like playing with the Stompers in Minonk in the summertime.