Half Alive: Stories from Under the Black Hat
From his birth a mile high in Denver, CO to Baltimore, MD to West Germany to North Carolina to Seattle to San Diego, reverend Stickman has 'been around'. Traveling around the country and camping with his parents during the summers from an early age, journeying around Europe before the age of twelve, and hitchhiking around the country as a teenager, Reverend has seen his share of ups and downs, which really comes through in the honest approach he takes to songwriting. Reverend's crazy history, including his two former wives, has been the inspiration for many songs as well as the new theater show at Swedenborg Hall on June 24th. The new CD, titled 'Half Alive: Stories From Under The Black Hat' is filled with tales culled from real experiences out in the streets and highways of America, as well as under a few bridges. Honing his musical craft along the way, Reverend started playing guitar and songwriting at age 11, was gigging regularly with a friend at a local restaurant by the age of 15, and joined a working hard rock band as a frontman at age 17. Winner of the Cape Fear Songwriter's Competition 2 years in a row, enjoying airplay on NPR national radio and San Diego's own KPRI,a studio musician on three different SD Music Award nominated albums, finalist in San Diego Songwriter's Guild Song Competition, and band member of Cathryn Beeks and the Ordeal, Bviolin and the Gypsy Nights Ensemble, Sequoia Neptune's Kirtan Meditation Ensemble, Charlie Imes and others, the Reverend continues to bring high standards to every project he undertakes. SAN DIEGO READER MAGAZINE Stories Musician Interviews reverend Stickman: Nearly Beloved By Jay Allen Sanford | Published Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 reverend Stickman: Nearly Beloved "I play alternative folk rock, with a twist of the blues," says San Diego singer-songwriter reverend Stickman. "The music is a guitar-driven and an unconventional fusion of Americana and alternative. Most of my songs are stories from some place or time in my life. I've never been much for writing love songs. Not with two ex-wives." Not that he has anything against the institution of marriage, as evidenced by his side occupation. "I'm an actual reverend, with the credentials to perform marriage ceremonies and legal unions. What's more, everyone I've joined together in marriage is still together. I'd love to be a part of more happy weddings. That's even more rewarding than happy gigs, at least spiritually." Stickman plays in several local bands, including the Cathryn Beeks Ordeal and Gypsy Nights. In 2009, his song "Nearly Beloved" was a finalist in the San Diego Songwriter's Guild song contest. A 2010 solo album, Half Alive: Stories From Under the Black Hat, features his Electric Stickband as well as Collage Menage collaborator Jenene Lambert (vocals), Michael "Mrod" Rodriguez (drums), Christopher "Halestorm" Hale (fretless bass), Bahman Sarram aka Bviolin (violin), Bob Bartosik (saxophone), and the Reverend covering 6- and 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, slide guitar, and vocals. WHAT'S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER? 1) King Crimson, Discipline. "An amazing album, made even more so after I saw them perform most of it live." 2) Aerosmith, Toys in the Attic. "I recently rediscovered this gem, one of the best solid rock records ever." 3) Genesis, Live. "I'm a Peter Gabriel fan, so I like these old songs from when he was the vocalist." EMBARRASSING CD IN YOUR COLLECTION? "The Monkees' self-titled first record." SEXIEST LOCAL? "My friend and backup singer Jenene 'Neener' Lambert, lead singer for Verge of Distortion. She always goes the extra mile to look hot at all the shows." EVER BEEN A CRIME VICTIM? "When I lived in Seattle some years back, I was stabbed while resisting an attempted mugging. I actually didn't know I'd been injured until a few minutes after the incident, after the would-be muggers ran away and I noticed the pain. And blood. They were soon caught, arrested, and convicted." BEST AND WORST BAND NAMES? "I think Soundgarden is the coolest, most descriptive band name ever. The worst is probably Loudness, a rock act out of Japan." GIG FROM HELL? "When I went out of town with a hard-rock cover band, working in Topsail Beach, North Carolina. We showed up with our huge amps and sound system and saw that the place was a tiny little tiki bar filled with senior citizens. Our blend of Alice in Chains and Metallica did not go over well. But we did get paid. Barely." FAVORITE CONCERT? "Dream Theater, 1993, on the Images and Words tour at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. I had front-row-center seats in a venue that seated less than 5000. The evening was incredible. The album had been so fantastic that I was skeptical about whether they could perform it live. Well, they did, and I even managed to snag a drumstick when it was thrown into the audience." LAST TIME SOMEONE YELLED AT YOU? "I was yelled at recently by some crazy lady at the dog park. Evidently, she wasn't aware that dogs sometimes run and jump and even growl and bark at each other. I suggested that she might be the problem, as opposed to my dog, but she didn't seem to find that helpful." ON YOUR BUCKET LIST? 1) "Snorkel in Jamaica." 2) "Climb a pyramid." 3) "Learn a foreign language." POOREST YOU'VE EVER BEEN? "When my second ex-wife split and left me with a considerable debt. That was tough, paying for someone else's mistakes, but in the eyes of the law I was responsible. Things financially are much better now, and maybe I'm a little wiser, too." TELL US SOMETHING WE DON'T KNOW. "I have a Jack Russell terrier named Adagio who likes camping and swimming. And catching small animals." ¦ ANY FEARS OR PHOBIAS? "I have a fear of heights, but only if I'm falling." MOST VISITED WEBSITES? 1. "Chordie.org is a great resource for guitar tabs and lyrics." 2. "On YouTube, you can find how-to videos on just about everything." 3. "eBay, because I would rather get a bargain than pay full price, and I can get exactly what I want." WHAT WOULD YOUR GRADE SCHOOL TEACHER SAY ABOUT YOU? "He was a good student who would finish his work early, and then disrupt the class with mischievous behavior." SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR LIFE? "Ray Charles, Hit the Road Jack: 'And don't you come back no more, no more.'" SAN DIEGO READER MAGAZINE Stories Blurt Music News All Denominations Honored By Jay Allen Sanford | Published Wednesday, May 12, 2010 All Denominations Honored "The Reverending Story is designed to explain the strange workings in my past lives," says North Park resident reverend Stickman of his musical stage show debuting June 24 at Swedenborg Hall. "The idea behind the production came from the fact that my songs are generally stories from some place or time in my life. I've never been much for writing love songs, but I do have some wild tales to tell during the show." The multimedia production includes film footage, spoken-word skits, dancing ("of a sort"), and several guest performers, including a choir. The debut event also serves as a release party for the accompanying nine-song CD, Half Alive: Stories from Under the Black Hat. "We actually cut 13 songs in a six-hour studio session," says the folk-blues rocker. "The concept behind the recording was to lay down the basic tracks - bass, drums, and guitar - live in the studio and then add vocals and solos via multitracking. 'Half Alive' stems from the fact that it was recorded that way." Produced by Sven-Erik Seaholm at Kitch 'n Sync Studios and mastered by Paul Abbott at Zen Mastering, the CD features a full band, with Stickman covering 6- and 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, slide guitar, and lead and backing vocals. So, how did the Reverend attain his ministerial credentials? It all started with two friends who wanted him to officiate their marriage. "After quite a bit of preparation - i.e., writing a money order - and profound thought - i.e., drinking - I became a mail-order reverend. I can marry, baptize, and perform legal unions, but I do not preach, and I'm not affiliated with any single religious belief. All faiths and denominations are honored, even if not always understood. "Spirituality is something we can all feel.... Religion divides us from each other." reverend Stickman can frequently be seen walking through Balboa Park with his guitar and Jack Russell terrier, or hanging out at the Stage Saloon downtown, where he appears nearly every Saturday night from 7 to 8 p.m.