4/14/17 By: Addie Hayes Editor/Lead Writer Regional Music Journal
The Vanguard in Tulsa, Oklahoma hosted a show on March 31, 2018, which included a lineup of local bands and was one of the best shows so far this year. The evening kicked off with Pryor band Stanely’s Revenge, and was followed by Dryvr out of Tulsa, Reliance Code from Stigler, Oklahoma, and hometown favorites Less Than Human. With such a strong lineup, The Vanguard saw a good crowd from the time the doors opened until Less Than Human wrapped up the night’s entertainment.
Opener Stanley’s Revenge is a hard-hitting thrash metal band from Pryor, Oklahoma, the same town that hosts Rocklahoma each year; the band are scheduled to perform on the Axis Entertainment Stage at Rocklahoma 2018. Stanley’s Revenge is a band with immense talent, which was evident from the first song all the way through the entire set. Joey Forrister and Jordan Ketcher deliver powerful guitar riffs, while Damien Lee provides the driving bass to accompany thunderous drumming by Josh Dotson. Chris Bishop’s vocals are equal parts screams and growls, delivered with raw, rage filled emotions.
Forrister and Dotson supply backing vocals, which gives the songs more depth and contrasts Bishop’s raw vocals with melodic undertones. These three musicians are completely in sync with each other and vocally accomplish what few bands can achieve, mainly, they produce rich layers with their vocals. Stanley’s Revenge has created music with texture; songs that reach out and touch the audience on an emotional level.
Following their set, Stanley’s Revenge sat down with Regional Music Journal for an interview. The band started seven years ago when Joey Forrister and Damien Lee started jamming together and eventually brought in drummer Josh Dotson. Lee explained, “me and Joey actually just kind of messed around with guitars most of our lives and we didn’t really become a band until we found Josh Dotson our drummer. We met him through a mutual friend and we went out to a lake house one night and had a jam with him. That was pretty much a done deal. After a little bit of time, we brought in Jordan (Ketcher).” He continued, “we were just jamming around…honestly Stanley’s Revenge really came about once me, Joey and Josh kind of formed a little triangle and my little cousin, being the guitarist that he is…”. Forrister interjected, “he added to what we did, and he understood me guitar wise. We got an amazing relationship, me and this dude (Lee), same thing, musically, I’m not even talking about, we been together a long time as a band and friends but literally this is my wife’s cousin (Ketcher), I’ve known him since 2nd grade (Lee), I’ve known his (Dotson) brother-in-law since second grade, and it all kind of came from there.”
As for the addition of Chris Bishop, Dotson explained, “he actually shot a message to our Facebook page and said, ‘hey I’m moving in from Odessa Texas’, and said ‘I seen you guys stuff on Reverbnation, I see you guys don’t have a vocalist, I’d like to try out’. I said, ‘well we have been having vocalists come and go, I’m tired of having people come out to the house’ I said ‘you record yourself doing something over our music and send it to me and I’ll show it to them, cause you’re not coming here to waste my time’.” The rest of the band liked what they heard, and Bishop was brought in to front the band.
Once Bishop was on board, the band could focus on their future, Dotson continued, “we had been rehearsing and prepared to do these things, and it was just such a relief to have somebody who was on board with us and wanted it as bad as we do and are as talented in their area.” Forrister explained the importance of the close relationships on the dynamic of the band, “there’s lots of band swapping that goes on in Tulsa. We’re not from Tulsa, we have some members that live here, but we’re tight we don’t plan on going anywhere. I mean anybody in this band could play for another band if they wanted, we enjoy what we do and we’re going to keep doing it.” Lee added, “we’re basically a family band”.
As for influences, Dotson said, “I was old country and electronic music, I don’t ever listen to metal, ever. If I had any drum influences it was my dad here Jaime Dotson, he played country all my life. He was the reason I started playing drums in the first place, because he would go play shows and I was just a young kid who wanted to play drums…I listened to Phil Collins, Eagles, 38 Special.” Lee said, “us three right here (Lee, Forrister and Ketcher) it’s always about Jimi Hendrix, Pantera, Killswitch Engage that’s our three to go to.”
Forrister went into further detail, “I would say I wanted to play drums when I was little. I got a drum pack and I thought it was the coolest fucking thing, and one day I was over at my friend’s house. His dad’s best friend, this guy named Skip, gave my buddy TJ Barnes a stack of albums, and he had a record player in his room. He said, ‘have you ever heard of this guy named Jimi Hendrix?’ and I said no. I was about 12 years old, and he put on ‘Are you experienced’ and it changed my life. I never wanted to do anything again but play guitar, hands down. Metal influences, I would definitely say I grew up playing blues, but I would definitely say Killswitch 100%, I like Killswitch, but Pantera of course, Zakk Wylde, I love Ozzy Osbourne.”
Before Chris Bishop joined the band, the foursome put together an impressive set of instrumental songs and uploaded them to Reverbnation. Dotson said, “we went to a guy in Broken Arrow named Kyle Simpson and we recorded those there. We had a vocalist at the time and he moved on to do his own thing, so we kept them up there to see if anyone would like them and want to try their stuff on them and that’s what happened. So there’s no need for Reverbnation for us anymore. I know some people still us it to market their music and stuff but what is being in a band, it’s making music and getting it to people who actually get something out of it.”
With the addition of Bishop, the band went back and reworked the songs, adding lyrics and polishing up the final product to produce their first EP. Dotson said, “the EP is finished, the song you heard tonight ‘Lost in the Darkness’ that will be on our album, so when we start our next recording that will be one of them, along with ‘Phantom Pain’.” Ketcher added, “’Phantom Pain’ is actually our newest song and we haven’t even recorded it anywhere yet, so it’s fun to play live. People see the freshness.”
Dotson continued, “the EP is finished, we’re looking to have it done before Rocklahoma but any time you rush something there’s a problem. So our guy Adam Woods at Oakwood Studios in Jenks, there ain’t no ‘when is it gonna be done’, it’s just when it’s done, it’s done. If it’s finished before then we’ll have it, if not it will be released this summer.” Everyone in Stanley’s Revenge had high praise for Adam Woods and appreciates his attention to detail and drive to bring out the best from the band.
When it comes to their songwriting process, it is definitely a group effort. Lee said, “we start with riffs really”, while Forrister continued, “we’ll come in and we’ll start playing with stuff. Or if someone’s got something they’ve had, like ‘check this out’. And then sometimes we’ll just come up with stuff while were doing it, for me I’d have to say situations and life stuff is what makes me write. Literally, I moved one time and when I was in the house and we were setting up the jam room and everything, I was standing in the window with my acoustic and wrote ‘Lost in the Darkness’.”
The song “Scarred for Life” brought the individual talents of each member together to create a spectacular piece of music that has resonated with fans. Forrister spoke about the song saying, “I always hear music first all the time, and I kept hearing this in my head over and over and it was right after I started doing vocals. I was downstairs and Ears (Dotson) goes ‘oh we can put that in right here’ and I said ‘no Ears, it doesn’t go there’, and he says ‘tell me how it goes’, and I busted it out right there.” Bishop added, “even though I came into that one, I still wrote some of it, I could vibe with that song.” He is responsible for the lyrics on “Scarred for Life”.
As it goes with most independent bands, Stanley’s Revenge shares all aspects of the business equally. The band’s attitude is, “if somebody can’t do it then somebody else will, we have to be there for each other”. Lee said, “we just all got together as a family, if there was a CEO it would be this guy (Forrister).” Dotson explained the process, “I run all the Facebook, Instagram and Reverbnation, upload the songs and sitting here and talking to you I do most of that stuff. But I tell you, I’ll consult with the guys and I do. I didn’t think they would mind this interview, but when somebody says, ‘hey we’d like you to play July 29th’, I’ll say, ‘I’ll have to get back with you on that Johnny’. Because I go Tuesdays and Saturdays when we practice and I’ll say ‘hey this guy wants us to do this are we interested’, and when I answer on the band page I say we. Running social media is one thing, but I have to represent us as a group and I have to do it because I would never take advantage of that or use it against anyone. It’s to everyone’s advantage as a group.” Lee added, “and definitely the fact that we all coincide with each other, I mean that’s the main thing, we don’t make a decision without five yes’…we come together as a family.”
The band is excited to play at Rocklahoma this year and represent their hometown of Pryor. Forrister stated, “I’ll say this, I think we earned it. We’ve been working real hard at it, all made sacrifices, to make it happen. I know all we’re saying you’ve heard bands say before and bands say it, but if other people, other bands, put out that effort you see it and I know we and you hear it in our music. You might see it in other bands, you’re gonna hear it from us.”
Over the next few weeks, Stanley’s Revenge will be rehearsing and preparing for their performance at Rocklahoma. Dotson said, “we want to represent Pryor 110%. We want to be the epitome of what Pryor isn’t, we want to show people that you can be the underdog from this town and do cool stuff like this…I will be there to represent my boys from Pryor, that’s why we do this and that’s why we’re gonna be there killing it because we’re going to make a name for ourselves and our town, and show people that there are people who are going to tell you ‘you can’t do it’ and this is how you show them you can.”
Stanley’s Revenge is a unique band. They are extremely talented and with a performance at Rocklahoma slated for Memorial Day Weekend, they are ready to show everyone their artistic brilliance. The band not only brings talent, but also humility and they are grateful for the fans’ support. Joey Forrister spoke about the band’s future and what they have planned, “I would say music that everyone is gonna enjoy, at least I hope they enjoy it, and a live performance not worth missing. We like playing live, we’re a live band, that’s what we’re good at. We’ve been getting pretty good in the studio lately, but I mean we’ve always been in your face and I don’t think that’s going to change much.”
If you attend Rocklahoma 2018 be ready to catch Stanley’s Revenge at noon on Saturday on the Axis Entertainment Stage.
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