An audio journey through the life of a solitary traveller, a wanderer and teller of tales. A candle lit vision of life and the universe. From acoustic and electric 6 and 12 string guitars comes a sweet, smoky sound that balances well with the Reverend's raw and honest vocal style. Not answers, but questions form the musical consciousness of this project, questions about the nature of existence and the purpose of life.
Only seekers of truth will comprehend the hidden message in the title "False Idols". If you are a devout Christian or even if you're only a right-winger, you probably cannot appreciate Reverend Stickman.
Although the songs are much more personal than political, still the underlying mood is one of questioning authority and recognizing tradition as another tool in the arsenal of the Church, the Government, and Big Business.
The Reverend is now on a worldwide mission to bring his unique brand of musical wisdom and hedonistic philosophy to the people. Brothers and sisters of all faiths: Unite in the joy of wine and song! And come out and see a show! Reverend Stickman, born in Denver, CO to happy, loving parents with one son (Chris) already here for five years, practicing his torture techniques to prepare for his little bro's arrival.
After a short two years the family left the state and moved to Baltimore MD. Attending school in an urban area taught a young Stickman that red hair, glasses, and good grades will get your ass kicked nine times out of ten.
After moving to Nurnberg, Germany (a trip that began as just a vacation) Stickman began to play the guitar, sometime around the age of eleven. Although technically he attempted to play an electric guitar given him by his parents at age seven, this was mostly just wierd scrapings and squealings, buzzings and fumblings, with the amplifier volume set at ten. Like early Pink Floyd with Sid Barrett. Fortunately for family, friends and neighbors, Stickman did better the second time around, playing a borrowed acoustic guitar belonging to a German man with the most tremendous nostrils ever bestowed on a human. Terrifying.
Beginning with a song book containing HITS OF THE 70'S, Stickman began to aquire knowledge of the intricacies of the musical compositions of Tony Orlando and Dawn, Burt Bacharach, and others. Years later he would realize that this early songbook was meant for piano. However, undaunted by the fact that nothing ever sounded right, Stickman continued to plough his way through even the most difficult compositions in the book, never sounding even remotely close to pleasant.
Eventually things began to shape up. At this time, when he was around twelve years of age, the family moved to Wilmington, NC, a coastal tourist town with a beautiful beach and girls to match. Here he discovered the pain that can only be truly known by a nerd. Beautiful girls who ignore you or worse, laugh openly at you. Getting good grades, "behaving properly", being nice and polite now all seemed pathetic. The ever popular tortured artist effect had begun to manifest itself, and the first original Stickman song was born. It is titled "Sometimes" and remains a sentimental favorite of his dad.
The first band was formed around this time with a friend and fellow nerd named Winston (of course). At thirteen they were partying more than many college students, also with some college students, although the term would have to be applied loosely. In spite of this obvious advantage, the band went nowhere beyond Winston's parent's garage, and sadly the record labels did not come to them at that time.They were certainly fully prepared to be tragic rock-gods unfulfilled by all the wealth and fame they so richly deserved.
Since this did not occur spontaneously, Stickman began skipping school in protest. Also engaging in many other illicit and dangerous activities,including hitchhiking from state to state, he began to gain a reputation for trouble. While grades, behavior, and respect for anything at all was on the decline, guitar playing was moving steadily forward. Both an outlet for and a refuge from the raging feelings of life, music became a separate world unassailable by the mundane. For Stickman, it still is.
However, bent on the path of personal destruction, Stick was too stubborn and having too much fun to see the end of freedom looming around the corner. After losing 262 days, he would not forget. Still the same habits prevailed. Both forming and joining bands such as Albatross, Alien, Betrayer and others, playing first parties, then restaurants and clubs, and finally bars and lounges, the risky lifestyle finally forced him to run from the law in NC, and set out on the road to Seattle.
Seattle was an oasis of art and culture never before experienced by a young Stickman. Social tolerance and diversity were considered normal. Even a nerd could feel pretty cool there. Although he was by then half nerd and half head, the nerdy half still ruled.
He soon co-founded the band “Sound Prism”, performing a mix of originals and covers. “ Sound Prism” was immediately noticed by a local agency who booked them into many of Seattle’s premier clubs. Meeting with some success on the Pacific Northwest circuit, the band was nevertheless destroyed by weakness. The bass player, a certain Jeff person, quit the band suddenly in order to keep his day job cleaning carpets. In stunned shock, the remaining members of this power trio, Kevin Sibley and Stickman, attempted to revive “Sound Prism” with some fresh blood. But it was not to be.
After trying out several more incarnations of the band, it was over. Kevin actually stopped playing music permanently and got married instead. Big girl.
Stick went on to front for the band “Freak Boutique”, but grew tired of the constant bickering between the two guitar players and hit the audition trail again. Everyone seemed to be locked into one style or another, but Stickman has always been determined not to stay inside any musical boundaries. Why play music with just one color when there are so many to choose from? This dilemma led him from band to band for awhile. For the first time since forming his inaugural high school rock band, Stickman decided to try going solo again.
Throughout this period, Stickman had proven himself incapable of getting a girlfriend. Shy and ineffective, his friends began to pity him and tried setting him up with various and sundry girls. However, when Stick finally did find a girl of his own, he refused to admit that it wasn’t the right girl. He suffered years of tribulations, brightened only by getting to be a dad for her beautiful little baby girl Tabitha. Believing that honor and obligation meant something, he stuck it out blindly (kind of like his guitar playing) and hoped for the best. However, after his wife cheated on him, Stickman immediately left the relationship, left the state within two weeks, and never once looked back. But the muse of heartache had returned with renewed vigor, and the lyrics would pour out for some time, leaving him stronger, wiser, and more determined than ever to change the patterns that had dominated his life so far. Also with a lot more songs.
Going to NC, ostensibly for a vacation, but staying for about five years, turned out to be great move. Stick fell right into a gig playing lead guitar for a house band at a local beach club. The club was called “Jacob’s Ladder”, and the clientele was comprised almost entirely of tourists. As luck would have it, many of these were hot young female tourists. It was during this time that Stickman learned that red hair, contacts, and a smoking’ rock band will get you laid nine times out of ten. For the next year and a half, Stickman would sow his wild oats. Heh. He then met his wonderful wife with whom he was destined to have many fabulous adventures, including Times Square at Y2K, and traveling cross country in a beat-up old van packed with all their worldly possessions to start a new life in California. But that was later.
The lyrics written then were light-hearted, party-oriented, upbeat stuff. Songs such as “Fourty Dollars”, “Crazy Too”, and “Pictures of Heaven” were conceived with images of parties and women dancing in his head of heads. Stickman was also able to jump-start his solo career in NC, performing on National Public Radio’s “Magnolia Fatback Hour”, and cutting a song for a compilation CD to benefit Habitat For Humanity. He was the first place award winner in back-to-back years in the Cape Fear Songwriter’s Association’s Award ceremony, and has done numerous studio sessions with local musicians who value his finely honed improv ability, sharpened by years of jamming with musicians all over the country.
The band 3AM, which actually was short for 'three asshole musicians‘, was formed in NC to once again pursue a full band sound for the compositions of Stickman. The self titled CD release was hailed as “a breath of fresh air in a stale musical market” and “easily the best CD ever cut” and so forth by all of the band members’ families, but resulted in few actual sales. This was probably due to the fact that there were only 50 copies ever pressed. It was a sellout, though.
to be continued
From coast to coast and a lot in between
I hit the road before I hit eighteen
With a two-hand discount for an ace in the hole
An empty head and a big fat bowl
Lost my copy of the hitchhikers guide
Where I been I probably should have died
It's not so bad sleeping under the bridge
A lesson learned for everything I did
I never get my priorities straight
I can be on time but I'm usually late
It's all my fault it's not the way I was raised A dollar burned for every dime I save
I spent some time at the grey bar and grill
Stranger tales I could never tell
Animal people and mechanical guards
Sex and cigarettes and decks of cards
I got a deck and then I learned how to play
And half the game is watching what you say
Every now and then I wish I still didn't know
But things had changed and it was time to go
I went back home but it just wasn't the same
I'd forgotten how to play that game
Nothing they did could do me any good
Struck out alone but it wasn't for long
I found a woman who could do me wrong
It's not so bad living under the stars
The way it is is just the way things are
I never get my priorities straight
I can be on time but I'm usually late
It's all my fault it's not the way I was raised
A dollar burned for every dime I save