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What can I say? I think most of you know the band Stavesacre from the US. This band consists of members that were once part of punkrock/hardcore bands like The Crucified,   Scaterd Few, Focused and even gothic metalband Saviour Machine. But that's past  and Stavesacre has made it's own name in the hard music scene. Prior to the release of their third Tooth & Nail effort, I had a chance to do an interview with Stavesacre drummer Sam West. Read here what he has to say about the new album and the band.


Interview with: Sam West (drummer).

Date: November 9th 1999.

Where: This is an E-mail interview and the date refers to the date of the first E-mail.

Other Bandmembers: Mark Salomon (vocalist), Dirk Lemmenes (bass-player) Ryan Dennee (guitarist), Neil Samoy (guitarist).

Band's Geographical Home: California, USA.

Discography: Friction (1996), Absolutes (1997), Speakeasy (1999)

Contact Address: Check out their website, see Links section.

Interview by: MPO.


The new album Speakeasy is about to be released. Compared to the other albums, I think you moved further away from your hardcore roots. How would you describe the music on Speakeasy?

As you point out in your review, we aren't trying to re-write our past albums. This album is different mainly because we added another guitar player, and with him came another perspective in writing. As far as hard-core roots, that really isn't anything that we have tried hard to associate ourselves with. Yes, we write heavy music, but we are also interested in melody and harmony more than we have been in the past. We are like a lot of bands in that we want to write music that pleases us and lines up with our tastes. That will inevitably leave fans of one phase of your career looking elsewhere to find that sound, but it also opens doors to fans that wouldn't have listened to you in the past. The music on speakeasy is more melodic and more harmonic than our past albums, but we all feel this is the natural third album for our band. We want to look forward in our music, and we think we have done this on Speakeasy.

As you said you added another guitar-player. Interestingly, guitarist Jeff Bellew left the band. As I understood it, he left the band because he got married. Was that something the band knew all along or was it a sudden decision?

We felt it was coming for a while, but it was something that we never discussed until he was ready to leave. I wouldn't say he left the band simply because he got married, but I'm sure it was part of his decision.

How then did you, as a band, receive his departure? It's maybe a big word to say it was an abrupt departure, because it was something that was not discussed, but I can imagine that it left the band behind with some hard feelings as you shared so much together in the past. So, how did you, as a band, receive that?

At first, to me it felt like my brother came up to me and said he didn't want to be in my family anymore. But after thinking about how the band functioned over the previous year, it was obvious to me that his heart wasn't in it. The mood of the band lightened considerably after he left, because we were back to being focused on where were going again. We remain friends with Jeff.

I read on the Stavesacre website that he's replaced by Neil Samoy. Can you tell more about him and his place within the band? 

Neil used to play for a band called Stairwell, that was signed to a small label here in California. He fits our group very well, and we are looking forward to writing songs with him. He is an excellent musician and he's fun to be around, which is important to us. We have to enjoy each other's company for long periods of time when we tour, so it was important that his personality fits with ours.

One comment of Mark Salomon is: "Doing Stavesacre has felt like a war, but it's a war that we've made it through." How do you feel about playing in the band?

Being in a band requires a lot of patience and commitment. Things are never easy from a business point of view, people always disappoint you, and your band has to be equally focused on getting through the rough times. Doing this album was very difficult due to circumstances beyond our control that had absolutely nothing to do with music. I think Mark may have been referring to the album when he said that. But we are all great friends, and I love being in this band.

But to call it a war is quite something. What circumstances do you mean?

Our album took over seven months from start to finish. We usually take four to five weeks. Many factors beyond our control made it impossible to work faster. It felt like those things were actually trying to kill our band. Our producer was ill the entire time, we were bumped from the studio numerous times, and it was impossible for us to take our masters and go elsewhere because of the format we were recording in.

In late Summer of this year you did a tour with Puller with thirty dates I think. How was that?

Fun. Puller is a great band, and we have toured with them several times in the past. We played with another cool band called Denison Mars, and a great band called Train Dodge. We played mostly small, dirty clubs. It was very rock and roll.

During a tour there are always many things happening both good and bad. Can you share with us a funny anecdote?

Our van blew its engine in Colorado back in September, and it is still there today! Do any of you know how to fix a Ford Club Wagon?

Last question. For the rest of the year I saw only one concert posted on the website. I also read that you want to continue a busy schedule of touring. So, what can we expect of Stavesacre?

We will be touring in January/February with Project 86 here in the states. We just licensed our album to Day Glo Records in Stockholm, so I imagine that we will be touring in Europe again in the spring or summer. We intend to work very hard to support this album, because it has been such a labor of love, and we are all very proud of it. Anyone interested in dates for the band can contact our agency at www.davdon.com for information. We would love to come and visit you in your town!