Lend me your ear
By ZACH DUNKIN
Kevin Stonerock is sitting in the studios at WSMJ-FM, Greenfield,
listening to a tape of his song, "A Little Late For Love."
His foot is tapping slightly as he stares at the reel-to-reel
tape deck, unembarrassed, he says, but not exactly at ease with a
critic sitting by his side.
The easy-going tune wasn't being aired,
although it has been at the 50,000-watt station and other suburban
radio outlets. Stonerock's problem is that he still is relatively
unknown in Indianapolis. Not that this town is a hotbed of nationally
known acts (Faith Band and who else?), but Stonerock would at least
like some attention in the Capital City.
"That's been my trouble." confessed the 22-year-old Knightstown High
School graduate "Getting people to listen to it in Indianapolis."
Stonerock's first and only album, "Day Before Tomorrow" (700 West),
has been on the market since June and only recently started a slight
move in sales. If you go into a record store you may have to dig
around for the album, and Stonerock feels the placement is another
part of his problem.
"I've had so many people come up to me and say they couldn't find
my album," related the singer-songwriter. "But there it is -
stacked away in the 'local' bin, which I think is unfair anyway.
You don't go to LA, and find Jackson Browne stuck in the 'local' bin.
"It's unfair categorization. Automatically, somebody'll see
that 'local' bin and say, 'H-m-m, no good,' It doesn't just happen
to me but to a lot or other 'local acts.'"
Stonerock actually was not bitter about the situation. That would
be against his nature. He appears to be an easygoing,
make-no-waves person and that personality shows through his
easier-to-take musical style.
His modesty is so strong that he never once mentioned his
charitable contributions that last week earned him a certificate
of honor from Gov. Otis Bowen at a benefit concert at Greenfield
High School, Stonerock was the feature performer at the show, which
was trying to raise $28,000 for the high school band's trip to the
Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington.
He also never mentioned that he once staged a benefit concert to
raise money for Jimmy Kattau, a cancer victim at Greenfield Junior High.
He also failed to mention that customers at the Main Street Music
Store in Greenfield may request that a dollar from the sale of his
album go to the Greenfield band or to Michelle Gorman, a young
Carthage girl suffering from leukemia. Indirectly, this is money
out of Stonerock's pocket.
"It's great to be able to do it," said Stonerock, slightly embarrassed
by the mention of these overlooked items. "It makes me feel good"
Does Stonerock himself support local acts?
"I've got all kinds of local albums," he answered, "'They are some of
my favorites, l can identify with them. You go into some club and see
some guy beating his brains out up there playing
a guitar and people sitting around drunk not really paying attention
and you gotta give the guy credit to stand up and take it."
Stonerock, who hails from Greensboro, has done very few club
performances in Indianapolis, but has performed at the Improvisation
Club In Hollywood as part of the Alternative Chorus Songwriters Showcase.
"If l had to choose between writer or artist, the safest way to go would
be writer." reasoned Stonerock. "But l like to perform. I'm just not
used to it yet,"
He is scheduled to perform March 13 prior to an Indiana Pacer game at
Market Square Arena, and he will play at the Vogue in the near future.
Stonerock started out as a bass player at age 16 playing in several
bands. He did all of the bass work on "Day Before Tomorrow." Rex
Thomas provided the steel guitar (which Stonerock noted makes the album
a little more country that he actually is), Paul Herr played drums and
Moe Whittemore was on keyboards, Stonerock wrote all the material for
the album and coproduced it with Herr and Whittemore.
"I put it together myself after l was frustrated by all of the record
companies turning down the demo tapes. l felt like l had a good album's
worth of material.
"My goal is a national record contract with national distribution on
a major label," revealed Stonerock, who has a Canadian label interested
in his writing ability. 'That's really what I'd like to shoot for.
But a lot of people tell me Indianapolis is a tough town to get started
in and l don't know why.
Moe Whittemore (who operates the 700 West
Recording Studios in New Palestine says there are "more talented
musicians per square mile in Indianapoliss than anywhere else."
Is anyone out there listening?