Stockholm Syndrome

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Stockholm Syndrome set to release sophomore album Apollo this month

:: Stockholm Syndrome ::
:: Sheridan Opera House :: February  22 ::
:: Belly Up :: February 23 ::
:: Cervantes’  Masterpiece :: February 25 ::
:: Fox Theatre :: February 26 ::

By Hap Fry

Dave Schools was skeptical at first, but his tune definitely has changed.

The iconic bass player of Widespread Panic wasn’t exactly looking forward to spending the beginning of 2011 onboard a boat traveling around the Caribbean coastline and the Gulf of Mexico, while playing music with his other band Stockholm Syndrome and a host of other musicians during Jam Cruise 9.

“What can I say, I was wrong,” Schools said during a phone interview from his Sonoma County home. “For years, I’ve labored around thinking that if I ever got on one of those things, I’d be running around throwing hippies overboard. But I’ve got to say, it may be the best kept secret out there. It’s kind of like taking a really cool Vegas hotel with bars and a casino, putting it on a boat and throwing it out in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Musically, the biggest highlight Schools took away from Jam Cruise was when Living Colour lead singer Corey Glover came out and performed with Galactic. “That was unbelievable,” Schools said. “Jerry (Joseph) said it significantly raised the bar for musicianship for Jam Cruise, and I would have to agree.”

Schools believes the bar also has been raised for Stockholm Syndrome. The five-piece group that initially took shape in 2004 includes Eric McFadden (guitar), Wally Ingram (drums) and Danny Louis (keyboards), along with Joseph (guitar and vocals) and Schools (bass and vocals). The band will release their second album, Apollo, this month and play an eight-show tour. “It’s a real big deal because, I think, it’s a better batch of songs,” Schools said of the group’s new album. “It’s a more unified group. It sounds like a band as opposed to a bunch of guys who are backing up a couple of songwriters.”

Make no mistake, there’s no denying that Schools’ day job is with Widespread Panic, but the outlet Stockholm Syndrome provides him cannot be minimized. “It’s different,” Schools said. “I don’t do too many lyrical contributions for Widespread Panic and that’s because what’s sort of been a rule with Widespread Panic is that we tend not to opine too much about politics and love. You know, a lot of the songs we try to make very ambiguous so that the listener can take away whatever he or she wants.

“You know, it was post-9/11, pre-2004 election (when Stockholm Syndrome released Holy Happy Hour), and Jerry and I had some political venting we wanted to do. I can’t really do that with Widespread Panic, so that was one of my main motivations,” said Schools.

Unlike Holy Happy Hour — the group’s debut album — Apollo figures to have a different vibe. Schools and Joseph needed all of three days to write the songs for Apollo, and the album was recorded at Prairie Sun Recording Studios — a converted chicken coop in Cotatai, Calif. “A lot of things had changed when we recorded this newest batch of songs for the record,” Schools said. “Maybe not so much in this country but at least so much so as far as Jerry and I were concerned. We’d gotten better at writing songs, and then I’d gotten married and moved out here to California. And Jerry had gotten married, and things were changing for him for the better.

“There’s probably a glint of hope — maybe even more than a glint — and some actual love and maybe a fear of love on the new record. There’s not so much venting and anger, but believe me it’s still there,” Schools said.

With Widespread Panic expected to take much if not all of 2012 off, Schools’ is hopeful that Stockholm Syndrome can generate some momentum this year to take into what could be a groundbreaking 2012 for the band. “I think the real chore of 2011 is going to be to increase awareness and let people know that we’re a viable act,” Schools said. “With the possibility of Panic taking some time off in 2012, there might be another Stockholm record and then you might get a big tour. I think all of us are like, ‘Let’s make another record. Let’s at least record songs.’”

Schools may not have expected Jam Cruise to turn out the way it did, but he had to know he’d at least be content on board. After all, he was provided a stage to play on, which is all any musician really can ask for. “Whether you’re playing in front of 10,000 people or desperately trying to get the one person in the bar to put down the drink and listen to you, you’re still happy,” he said. “That’s the key. The world might be crashing down around you and you might be carrying the weight of a 1,000 responsibilities, but when you’re on stage, you’re not thinking about all that other stuff. It’s your chance to have some real freedom.”

:: Stockholm Syndrome ::

:: Sheridan Opera House :: February 22 ::

:: Belly Up :: February 23 ::

:: Cervantes’ Masterpiece :: February 25 ::

:: Fox Theatre :: February 26 ::

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• Gov’t Mule

• Jackmormons

• Widespread Panic

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