UTG Exclusive: Stages & Stereos Video Premiere, Veteran’s Day Op-Ed

We have brought you a ton of great content today, and this evening we’re capping things off with an exclusive double dose of Stages & Stereos.

Fall 2013 has been good to Stages & Stereos. The band released their new EP, Small Town Favorites, in September and can now be found on the Glamour Kills Tour with Mayday Parade, Cartel, and Man Overboard. Tonight we’re honored to help the band premiere the official video for the EP’s title track, which you can find at the end of this post.

Here’s what the band had to say about the single:

To us this song has the best of both worlds. It has the emotion of our older songs but brings the feel and sound of new stages & stereos. Less is more was the theme with this song, lets pull back on the overdrive and write parts that sound big without cranking the amps to 11. We layered in synth and keys to build the chorus then added in some guitar parts to really round it out. This song gives me the feeling of the movie Drive in the versus. The intro and outro group vocals are really a new thing for us and I think it came out great. This song is a great example of the direction were heading and how we really want to define our sound. The Lyrics speak for themselves.

In addition to premiering the “Small Town Favorites” clip, Stages & Stereos bass player Ian Edge sent us an op-ed about Veteran’s Day. It’s something quite special, so we wanted to post it ahead of the clip. You can find Ian’s words below:

To say my life has seen two very different ends of a metaphorical spectrum would be a bit of an understatement. I started playing music when I was 15. Several bands later I desired a level of stability that a struggling musicians lifestyle can’t provide. At the age of 22 I joined the United States Army as a Combat Medic. I fell in love with the Army pretty quickly. The camaraderie and sleeping in less than desirable locations were very familiar. After six months of training I was sent to my first duty station, Fort Drum, NY.

Coming from Georgia, the cold of upstate New York was shocking. The few months I spent there turned into a blur of training and as much beer as possible on the weekends. Work hard, play harder. We all knew deployment was around the corner. Rumors had begun to float around that we were being deployed earlier than expected. The reality of it all sank in when I received my orders. I was to be deployed to Afghanistan in March of 2011.

We packed gear and supplies for months. The day before deployment came and quickly slipped away from us. The night was hell. My wife and I tried to sleep, almost afraid to really acknowledge what was to come next. She dropped me off for our formation before we were to shuttle to the air field. After embracing for what could very well be the last time, I quickly kissed my high school sweetheart and turned away. A few tears slid down my cheek, only to be swiftly wiped away before any of my NCOs or Officers could see.

There was a rocket attack within hours of landing at Kandahar Airfield. We were told a soldier was killed while leaving the showers. Things got very real, very very quickly. We would laugh and joke to distract ourselves, but it was evident in the distant staring and long drags on cigarettes what we were thinking. Everything we had been training for was right here in front of us. We had a mission, and we had enemies to engage. We fought hard, never willing to let down our brothers next to us. When any of your guys were hurt, it hit hard. So damn hard.

My lieutenant was the first critical injury my platoon had. On a mission to secure a village riddled with IEDs, one was left unmarked. The blast illuminated the whole village. For a brief moment there was sun-like brightness in the middle of the night, accompanied by a deafening silence. The silence was short lived, and without hesitation I ran towards the sounds of chaos. Multiple tourniquets and bandages later, four of my guys were evacuated. I say “my guys” because I was their medic. I lived to make sure we all got out of there alive. That became my purpose and the nickname “Doc” filled me with pride. We were just over two months in, another ten to go.

My stay in Afghanistan didn’t last much longer. Weeks later, I stepped on an IED in that same village. I was rocked hard but managed to remain conscious through everything. My right leg was destroyed below the knee. My left hand was blown apart. I was surrounded by my brothers and in their care I felt safe. They patched me up and the helicopters came to take me on my way. I had company on this flight. A new soldier to our platoon was standing behind me during the blast. He arrived the day before and now here he was. Shrapnel hit him hard, and we went home together. We met with our previously evacuated brethren and drew strength from each other. I knew it was time for me to leave the Army, but what was I supposed to do now?

After a long ordeal of healing my mind drifted back to music. I had been playing bass for over ten years and it was my biggest passion in life. My amazing wife stood behind me as I stubbornly learned to play again, this time under very different circumstances. My band Stages & Stereos came back from hiatus and we wasted little time writing and recording new music. I wrote the lyrics to a song about my time in Afghanistan. The track is titled “Pressure Under Fire” and can be heard on our first record back, “Anchorless”. A year later I’m still married to my darling high school sweetheart. We have a beautiful baby boy. He is the greatest thing to happen to either of us. And somehow, through all the madness, I’m still playing music.

As we mentioned above, Stages & Stereos’ Small Town Favorites EP is available now on iTunes. You can find our recent interview with the band here. Comment below and let us know your thoughts on the new video.

Spark Branding House (Spark.us)
Directed by Michael Nielsen
Director of Photography – Dylan Melcher
Assistant Director and Edited by Joseph Guerra
Playback Engineer – Matt Reisinger
Produced by Jenny Zoberg and Patrick Guyer
Production Assistants – Sarah Alexander, Lindsay Ward and Katie Allina

James Shotwell
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One Response to “UTG Exclusive: Stages & Stereos Video Premiere, Veteran’s Day Op-Ed”

  1. Mac says:

    Awesome, I have to tell you that for me (BTW I am 49) they are one of the best young bands I have ever heard play. Full disclosure I have known Donnie Webb for approx. 10 years and I recently had the chance to have a greet and meet as well as hear them live at Jack Rabbits in Jacksonville. I was very Impressed with all the band members and it was a privilege for me and my son (a Marine vet of the war in Afghanistan) to meet Ian. We both wish them all our very best. Most of all Thank you Ian for your service and please know that by you following your dream you are still serving the veterans and your country.