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Chadwick Stokes on Balancing Bands, Family, and Life on the Road

Adam Reynoso ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

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Chadwick Stokes has been in three bands since he entered the music scene. He began with Dispatch, and then with State Police before breaking out on his own solo act. From sold out shows in Boston to tours around the world, Stokes has been many places with many more performances in the near future.

Preparing for his last show of his solo tour at the House of Blues, Stokes took the time to speak with Emertainment Monthly about his music career and where he’s at with his multiple projects.

What was the journey like from the beginning of your career?

It was very innocent in the beginning. I had no idea what we were getting into. We just liked to play music, but at some point, it just kind of snowballed. I never intended it to be a career. You never really think you’re good enough, you know?

At what point did you realize this would be your career?

I think when we got the encouragement of the people coming to shows, with more and more coming to shows. It became a real thing. The Hatch Shell was the biggest show we’ve ever played. It was ridiculous. It was too hard to compute. We just tried to get up on stage and not mess up.

How does it feel being in the business for about 20 years now?

It doesn’t feel real, which I know it is. It’s one of those weird things, weird numbers. I’ve been in the music industry longer than I haven’t.

How’s the solo tour been so far?

It’s been good so far. We have one more show in Boston. It’s been really fun, great band and great people in the band, awesome group and really fun to play with and ride around in the van, different city every night. My family stayed behind for this one because there was seven of us in the van and all the gear. It was pretty tight, but fun.

How do you balance your personal life with your life as a musician?

It’s difficult. We just try to bring the kids along as much as we can.

How do you balance these different bands and projects?

I don’t know. I try to, whichever project I’m in, I try to be in it like it’s the only thing you’ve ever done. I try to compartmentalize things. I can get better at spreading it out and that each project has its own identity. I try to make time between Dispatch records and State Police records and solo records. The biggest thing now is being a dad. I’ve got two little kids, one year old and two years old, so that’s most of my life. I’m just going out on mini adventures.

What’s been one of your most memorable shows?

The Hatch Shell. Traveling Australia was amazing with State Radio and we had some fun shows in Germany. We were on stage at some festivals with State Radio where we were sharing the stage with Pearl Jam, Queens of the Stone Age, Dropkick Murphys, Kings of Leon, Sonic Youth and Beastie Boys. One time we played at a Bruins hockey game between periods.

Who would you say has been the biggest influence on your music?

With the bands I’ve played with, Rage Against the Machine. In general, I would say Creedence. I grew up on a steady diet of classic rock. Creedence, Traffic.

What are your thoughts on how the industry’s changed over the years?

It’s changing quickly. I don’t really worry about it too much as long people keep coming to shows. I don’t mind if people get the music for free as long as the touring experience is there and still an opportunity.

What made you decide to have your music on a site like Napster back when you first started?

That was three years in or so of us being a band. It just really helped us reach people on the other side of the country. It’s such a great way if you’re an independent band and don’t have a label or aren’t on the radio. All of a sudden, you have a way to get to people’s ears, to get to people’s headphones.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned being in the music industry?

I’ve learned that you really gotta put your time in and every once in a while, you have these spikes of good luck. It’s just a lot of driving and packing the van and unpacking the van. As long as you feel like you’re with good people, you believe in what you’re doing. It can be doing what you love or a labor of love. I feel really lucky.

Catch Chadwick Stokes tomorrow night at the House of Blues and pick up his next album The Horse Comanche on February 2nd, 2015. 

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