A Soup Named Stew
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A Soup Named Stew

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Dec
09
A Soup Named Stew @ Chelsea's Cafe

baton rouge, Louisiana, USA

baton rouge, Louisiana, USA

Nov
01
A Soup Named Stew @ The Spanish Moon

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Oct
21
A Soup Named Stew @ BREC Velodrome

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


Yes, No, Maybe

By Carole Davidson

In the spirit of spring and newness that comes with the month of April, I am going to try something different with this column and actually review a band. Yes, I know it may seem a bit extreme, but I think, if you stick with me, we may be able to get through it together.

This band was first brought to my attention by a friend at work who told me that her little brother had told her about a band called A Soup Named Stew that I should review for Red Shtick. When I asked her why, she told me the band’s motto was, “We make other bands feel better about themselves.”

I was intrigued. A band that was proud that they sucked – this I could work with. So I went to my computer to see if A Soup Named Stew had a website letting me know when they would next be playing. They did, and if I had not already gotten an idea of the band’s ideology, I would have known it after reading and listening to their website. These guys, Andrew Reed, Andy Venuto (guitar), David Loti (vocalist/guitar), Jon Schmidt (drummer), and Will Heflin (bass/vocalist), thrived on being merely mediocre, in fact, reveled in the fact that they were simply alright. The tracks they have on their site are acoustic versions of their songs that they have played on KLSU. Not expecting to be impressed, I listened to a couple of the songs. I could see why their motto was “making other bands feel better about themselves,” but I am a tenacious reviewer, and I don’t think that it is fair to judge a band by just one listening, so I decided to go and see them live.

They played as the opening act for the Groovin’ on the Grounds event at LSU on March 24. I was blown away. These guys rocked! No, I am not going to tell you that they are great musicians and that their music pushes the edge of music as we know it. These guys have the average talent that you can get with many a high-school garage band. There are no flashy riffs and trick guitar transitions; it’s just simple chords and rhythms. Where these guys rule is in their lyrics. Not taking themselves seriously, they don’t take their music seriously, either, and their lyrics are laugh-out-loud funny. Similar in style to They Might Be Giants or Bare Naked Ladies in some of their more whimsical songs, these guys will make you laugh and feel good.

The song that I was first captivated by was a song called “The Lawn Chair Song,” which was a love song to a lawn chair. The next song that I really enjoyed was a song called “Bowling State of Mind,” which was kind of a down-home, hilly-billy, country-sounding song that had some of the LSU students in the crowd doing a knee-lifting, hoe-down dance that had me chuckling.

The best song that I heard that evening (although I think that my friend who was with me would disagree and say that it was the penguin song) was a song called “You Gotta Work With What You Got.” This song started out as a typical pop-sounding love song and was sung by the bass player Will Heflin rather than the lead singer David Loti, but the lyrics soon changed it into something else altogether. When Heflin, who sounds a lot like the lead singer for Bare Naked Ladies, started singing the song, I was drawn in by the sweet, hopeful longings of a young man looking for his one true love. I was quickly brought to tears of laughter when I heard him sing, “Now I’m not saying that you’re ugly/But I’m not saying that you’re not/All I’m saying is that you’re all that I have/And you gotta work with what you got.”

You can hear the songs that I mentioned, along with several others, on their debut CD Yes, No, Maybe. The first six songs on the CD are fully produced, electric versions of their music. The next seven songs are acoustic versions of their music. Although the whole CD is highly entertaining and definitely worth buying, I would still recommend going and seeing them live. The acoustic version of “Penguins” on the CD does not do comical justice to the hard rock version that they do when they play live. There’s just something funny about someone screaming out, heavy-metal style, “Penguins, penguins, waddle ALRIGHT!” rather than simply singing it.

Priding themselves on mediocrity, which is their creed, the band says that they were stunned when they won the 2005 KLSU Battle of the Bands, which they had entered as a joke.

“They must be tone deaf,” says Heflin of their fans.

If you would like to check out A Soup Named Stew, you can go to their website at www.asoupnamedstew.com and listen to their KLSU tracks, and you can also order their CD. Or you can watch them live April 14 at the North Gate Tavern on Chimes Street. The show starts around ten-ish and the admission is $5. - Red Shtick Magazine


Talk Soup
Battle of the Bands winner records album

By Kelly Caulk
Entertainment Writer

December 06, 2005

Writing haikus about Abraham Lincoln and instructing a bassist to play the made-up “A mijor” chord may seem usual behavior for a band in a recording studio, but this is all the norm for Battle of the Bands winner A Soup Named Stew.

The Baton Rouge-based band is known for its humorous lyrics about robot dentists and lawn chairs, as well as songs poking fun at emo music and themselves.

A Soup Named Stew began recording its album “Yes, No, Maybe” on Nov. 20 for the first of two 10-hour recording sessions at Sockit Studios on Mammoth Avenue as a part of the prize for winning Battle of the Bands. The band will record six songs for the album.

Bassist and singer Will Heflin said A Soup Named Stew’s carefree attitude and inability to take themselves too seriously is what makes them such a crowd favorite.

“Everyone needs the serious music, but sometimes people just want to go out and laugh and have a good time,” Heflin said. “They don’t want to worry about ‘Oh, you have to take this music seriously and you gotta have the whatever tempo and the awesome bridge and the solo.’”

Drummer Jon Schmidt said the band started playing music just for fun before it began playing shows.

“We really didn’t even plan on playing shows. We were just hanging out in Andy [Venuto]’s living room playing music,” Schmidt said. “After a while we got to the point where we felt comfortable playing shows and that just grew and grew. We never got to the point where we were like, ‘OK guys, this is a serious band! We are going to make a career out of this. We are going to make it or we are going to die trying.’”

Schmidt said playing with A Soup Named Stew is more fun and less stressful compared to playing in other bands.

“If you play in a band that takes themselves seriously, you’re always concerned about messing up and people laughing at you and thinking you’re stupid,” Schmidt said, “but we’re laughing at ourselves more than anybody else could possibly laugh at us.”

Heflin said while A Soup Named Stew has received recognition for its victory at October’s Battle of the Bands competition, it has yet to see a drastic change in the number of shows it’ s playing.

“The problem is we are not very ambitious,” guitarist Andy Venuto said. “If we were ambitious we would probably have more shows.”

Regardless of the challenge A Soup Named Stew may face in booking shows, the band said it would not consider changing its “humorcore” image to playing more serious music.

“We would like to play more, but our image is exactly what got us here,” guitarist and singer David Loti said. “This is who we are.”

Heflin and Loti began playing together in 2003 in the band Kaiser Bill and started writing music for A Soup Named Stew in October 2004. Schmidt and Venuto joined the mix in January of this year, and A Soup Named Stew played its first show together in March.

A Soup Named Stew will soon return to its roots, with only Heflin and Loti playing in the band.

“Since Jon is leaving in December, Andy has decided to bow out with him,” Heflin said.

While Heflin and Loti said they are supportive of their bandmates’ decisions, they are looking to continue on with the band.

“We are hoping to find some people –– to not replace these guys because they are irreplaceable –– but to replace them,” Loti said. “Hopefully they will smell better.”

Schmidt and Venuto’s farewell concert will take place Saturday at 10 p.m. at The Spanish Moon. A Soup Named Stew is asking all of its fans to wear their homemade A Soup Named Stew band T-shirts to the show for a T-shirt contest.

But this farewell will not mean this is the last LSU will see of the band.

“Part of the agreement was if we won Battle of the Bands –– and we just said this as a joke before –– that they would agree to come back for Groovin’ on the Grounds,” Loti said. - Reveille


A Soup named Stew wins ‘Battle’
Band to open Groovin’ on the Grounds

By Kelly Caulk
Entertainment Writer

October 24, 2005

The sound of students chanting the name of their favorite band echoed through the parade ground Friday as announcer Big A held in his hand the result of the Battle of the Bands contest.

The crowd went wild as Big A announced that A Soup Named Stew, the obvious favorite, had won. Anna Byars Band came in second place.

“I don’t know what just happened,” said Jon Schmidt, theater and design tech senior and drummer of Baton Rouge-based A Soup Named Stew. “We are supposed to be ‘A Soup Named Stew: Making you feel better about your band.’ You don’t help people feel good about their band by beating them.”

The quirky band won over the crowd with their musical talent and songs poking fun at Emo music, lawn chairs with baby seals and themselves.

“We had played with A Cup of Tea and Planning Fallacy before and we came here absolutely astounded that we made the cut,” said Will Heflin, graphic design senior and bass player for A Soup Named Stew.

As A Soup Named Stew stood and discussed their excitement that they had won, David Augustine, marketing junior and rapper from New Orleans-based Dee-1 and the Crew, walked over to shake the hands of all of the band members and congratulate them on their victory.

“They had a lot of good bands out there,” Augustine said. “I was impressed and also happy with my group’s performance.”

Even though Dee-1 and the Crew did not win the Battle of the Bands, they received a good crowd response, and said they have been approached to perform at an upcoming show.

“The people here from EA Sports talked to me, and we are going to be performing next month,” Augustine said.

A panel of six judges from the local music industry and one student determined the winner of the Battle of the Bands.

“We are going to be judging the bands based on their stage presence, musicality, crowd reaction and overall opinion,” said student judge Kirbie Pillette before the show began. Pillette is a philosophy senior at the university.

The 10 bands that competed in Battle of the Bands are A Cup of Tea, Anna Byars Band, Yellow Light Go, Random, A Soup Named Stew, My New Best Friend, Dee-1 and the Crew, The Planning Fallacy, Brenton and the Brentones and Point of Reason. Each band had 20 minutes to play on stage.

Many students attended Battle of the Bands to show support for their favorite band.

“I came to see Random,” said Grayson Davis, a business administration freshman. “I am a fan of the band and I thought they did well.”

Students on Target and KLSU put the event together, and said that they are pleased with how the show went.

“The turnout was a huge success compared to past years,” said Ryan Cooney, director of Students on Target. “Some of the bands also got into promoting our message, which is great.”

In his “after battle” statement on KLSU-FM, DJ A gave his opinion on the bands’ performances.

“I thought all the bands did a great live performance,” he said. “They were all tight musically and impressed me — certainly the most critical and opinionated of us all.”

Throughout the show, attendees were given t-shirts, CDs and the chance to sign up to win Voodoo Fest tickets.

A Soup Named Stew was awarded the opening spot for this Spring’s Groovin’ on the Grounds concert, air time on KLSU and a prize package from Socket Studio, consisting of 20 hours in a recording studio and donated CDs. The prize package from Socket Studio is valued at more than $1,000.

When asked where they plan on taking their band from here, A Soup Named Stew replied in a manner all too characteristic of what made them the crowd favorite.

“We want to be huge in Malaysia someday,” Schmidt said.

A Soup Named Stew came up with the name of their band after singer and guitarist David Allen Loti went to see Bowling for Soup in concert.

“David kept calling them A Soup Named Stew, and when he found out that they were actually called Bowling for Soup he was like ‘Well A Soup Named Stew would be a cool name for a band too,’” said Schmidt. “So then we decided to start a band just so he could name it that.”

In the song, “Work with what you got” Heflin said the band inserted part of a cover from the Better than Ezra song, “Good.”

“We put in some of Better than Ezra because I am a big fan of them and they are playing right now,” Heflin said. “I didn’t get to see them, but I guess it’s worth it,” he said as he held up his award. - Reveille


Discography

Shhh! We're in the Library--September 2006
Yes, No, Maybe--March 2006

Recordings and videos available online at:
http://asoupnamedstew.com
http://purevolume.com/asoupnamedstew
http://myspace.com/asoupnamedstew

Photos

Bio

A Soup Named Stew formed in Baton Rouge, LA in 2005 when four musicians decided to combine their adequate powers for the purpose of defeating the evils of non-entertaining musicians by making the best mediocre music ever. Guitarist Andy Venuto with his strength of being so old no one would ever disrespect him, guitarist and vocalist David Loti with a gift of bantering enemies to submission with his endless nonsensical talking, drummer Jon Schmidt (who was later replaced with a robotic Andy Reed, who was later replaced with a substitute robot drummer) with his power to pierce the ears of foes through his screamo technique, and bassist and vocalist Will Heflin with his adequate ability to make babies, attractive women, and trolls cry, formed the quartet which would one day make other musicians feel better about their bands.

Café Chi Alpha, Café Reggae/Tequila’s Café, The Caterie, The Darkroom, The East Baton Rouge Parish Public Library, North Gate Tavern, Rickochet Billiards, The Spanish Moon, Rotolo’s, and The Varsity Theatre are venues ASNS has played sharing stages with A Cup of Tea, the Anna Byars Band, the Chris Keegan Band, Judge Genius, Lucid Soule, The Planning Fallacy, The Pretentious, Shark Attack!, and nationally touring acts A Billion Ernies, The Hanks, Liquid Cheese, Lyfe Jennings, Josh Turner, and Puddle of Mudd. KLSU 91.1 FM in Baton Rouge and the nationally broadcast Dr. Demento show have also broadcast the band.

ASNS was the winner of the Students on Target and KLSU 2006 Battle of the Bands (October 21, 2005), which awarded the band a performance at the 2006 Groovin’ on the Grounds spring concert at LSU. Thanks to the award package from the battle of the bands victory, in late 2005 and early 2006 the band captured some of its sounds through six studio tracks recorded at Sockit Studio. These recordings in addition to seven live KLSU acoustic tracks were released as Yes, No, Maybe in March 2006.

A Soup Named Stew’s style is a blend of pop punk, pop rock, alternative, hip-hop, country, jazz, and stand-up comedy, but the band has been recognized as the founder of humor-core. The group has been compared to They Might Be Giants, Weird Al, Green Day, Barenaked Ladies, The Aquabats, and Tenacious D. Songs like “The Monkey Song”, “The Lawn Chair Song”, “Penguins”, and “Zamboni” serve as odes to atypical lyrical subjects, while “Robot Dentist v1.0” stating “in the future when robots are in control of man, we’ll need some leverage to show robots that we are their friends” showcases the bizarre side of the band’s creativity. “5 Million Dollars a Year”, “Lyrical Genius“, “All Punk Rock Sounds the Same”, “Sad Country Tune”, and “She Broke Up With Me” spoof the genres of hip-hop, punk, country, emo, and screamo while “Bowling State of Mind” and “You’ve Gotta Work With What You’ve Got” are simply fun, humorous tunes. The band regularly weaves abnormal and humorously altered covers into its sets such as “The Billy Madison Way”, The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, Ogden Edsel’s “Dead Puppies”, and the Diesel Driving Academy commercial jingle.

One of the band’s strengths comes from the members’ ability to not take themselves seriously; the website http://ASoupNamedStew.com (constructed mostly in Microsoft® Paint) is evidence enough of this. As Jon Schmidt said, we guarantee you’ll laugh if you come to one of our shows. You may laugh with us; you may laugh at us—we’re fine either way. The band even references its own unflattering stature in its song “How the Mediocre Have Fallen,” and ASNS’s most recent T-shirts say “We haven’t heard of you either.”

True to their mission of mediocrity, the members of A Soup Named Stew have remained average in their musical skills while entertaining many diverse crowds along the way: emo and hard core kids, fraternity boys, sorority girls, random passers-by on Chimes Street and Highland Road, and bar and coffee shop patrons. Although ASNS is nothing impressive on paper or online once you have seen their live performance you will understand the positive response:

“They played as the opening act for the Groovin’ on the Grounds event at LSU on March 24. I was blown away. These guys rocked!…Where these guys rule is in their lyrics. Not taking themselves seriously, they don’t take their music seriously, either, and their lyrics are laugh-out-loud funny. Similar in style to They Might Be Giants or Bare Naked Ladies in some of their more whimsical songs, these guys will make you laugh and feel good.”--Carole Davidson of Red Shtick Magazine

“Local battle of the bands winner A Soup Named Stew kicked off the concert night and it was evident they had a big fan following. They were a fun band, kind of reminded me of Sum 41, Green Day, in a complimentary way. The lead singer really plays up to the crowd and was very entertaining. The other band members were interactive with the crowd as well, a nice band.”--PuddleOfMudd.com

“The sound of students chan