Full Stack
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Full Stack

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Full Stack's 2003 self-titled demo

Musicianship – 8 out of 10
There are a lot of Hard Rock bands out there today. That fact is surprising, given that many times, you don’t hear much about them! Sure, you hear about the Metal bands that are in the Underground, but you really don’t hear much about good Indie Hard Rock! I’m very glad that I have the opportunity to pass the word on about bands like Full Stack – bands that are reviving Heavy Rock in the modern market!

From the very first song, I knew that I would like Full Stack. They play solid music, with a bent toward melodic, flashy guitar work! In truth, they have a sound that seems to capture the best elements of Hard Rock music from the 60’s to present day! Guitarists John Funk and Brandt Williams display this penchant in the influences that they claim in their web site bios. They are after that crunchy, distorted sound that makes Hard Rock sound great, and also aspire to be great soloists, in the spirit of Angus Young and Michael Schenker!

The rhythm section (Billy Hipps/bass and Greg Brown/drum) has also graduated from Rock and Roll High! Hipps appears to have studied the works of great players like Billy Sheehan (Talas) and Doug Pinnick (King’s X), while Brown has logged many hours drumming in speed-metal outfits. The combination works well, providing a bottom end that is solid, interesting, and flat-out Kick Ass!

For extra credit, John Funk also brings a good set of pipes to the show, belting out strong vocals that fit the sound of the band well! I think when you hear the band’s music, you will definitely appreciate it for what it is: good, solid Heavy Rock! Full Stack works like a group of madmen to create Rock and Roll that fans of many generations can and will enjoy!

Songwriting – 8.5 out of 10
I like the songwriting style of Full Stack. As mentioned above, they have a way of writing songs that contain elements of Hard Rock from several decades, yet don’t sound dated; I like that!

The closest band I could compare them to from a stylistic perspective is Velvet Revolver. I felt that they did the same sort of thing – captured the raw power and the gritty sound of Rock and Roll from decades past, and put their own spin on the music! Pretty cool, if you ask me, that Full Stack could pull the same thing off as well!

One other thing: the songs are interesting, with running times that are just right! I never felt like a song went on too long, or got too repetitive. I liked the band’s riffs really well!

Sound Quality/Professionalism – 8.5 out of 10
Rock and Roll music relies on power to communicate effectively. You have to have the thunder and rumble of the rhythm section, the screech and growl of the guitars, and the aggressive tone of the vocals to make the music worthwhile. Fortunately, Full Stack accomplishes this in their music! Their sound is very professional, with sonic clarity in the instrumentation and vocals. These songs (pardon the pun) stack up well against many in the Heavy music industry!

Packaging – 7.5 out of 10
There isn’t a package for Full Stack’s music, so I’ll comment on the band’s website. It’s nothing fancy, but the information found there is good. I would definitely like to see song lyrics, and a bit more information regarding the production/mix/mastering credits for their songs. When you are using your website as a host for your music, you should expect that people will want to know everything they can about you and your music! The more detail, the better for audiophiles (aka music geeks) like me! ‘Nuff said.

Favorite Tracks
Venus
Safe
Rips Me Open

Overall Rating – 8.5 out of 10
Most people who know me very well at all know that Hard Rock music like that played by Full Stack is right up my alley! Give me riff-oriented, Rock music any day of the week, and I’ll be your friend for a lifetime! Full Stack does a great job playing solid Rock and Roll music. They aren’t fancy in their approach, just consistently strong; for Hard Rock fans like me, that is a big deal!

I’m not sure if the band plans to release their music in CD form; right now, fans of the band are lucky, because they can go to the band’s website and listen to these great songs for free! If I were you, I’d make sure I heard the tunes as soon as possible, before the tunes are taken down!

Seriously, if you are a fan of Hard Rock, this is a band for you. Hints of the sound of great bands like Velvet Revolver, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC and other similar bands will have you in Rock and Roll Heaven! As the band says on their website, ‘the name Full Stack suggests that these guys don’t play half-hearted music’. I like that, and I think you’ll like their stuff, too!—Mark Lush, Midwestbands.com, 6/25/05
- Mark Lush, Midwestbands.com, 6/25/05


Having "discovered" that Full Stack existed about a year ago, I have to say that they get better and better each time I listen to them. They have been huge supporters of mine with my internet radio show and station, and that is something that I will never forget. This album will always be special to me because it is the first ever, and probably last, in which I am thanked by the band. I will never forget that, so this album means even more to me than it already did. So, I had been anxiously awaiting the release of their CD which I came to discover was called "Venus". It is described as an album about women, living on the edge and real RAWK music. I could not agree more! These guys have always known how to rock my ass off and this CD did just that and more.

Run With Me is the first song and it's an excellent song to start with as the tempo and volume changes work so well within the song. It gives you an idea of what the rest of the album is going to be like. With that said, you are still blown away with the other 9 songs after it. Echoes Stir utilizes that exact "echo" effect, which is noticible at the beginning of the song, but it's not over the top. The mark of a good band is if they know how to use what they have without abusing it, and these guys never overdo it. Yeah, they are loud, but that's the way rock should be. However, they have the talent, ability and range to play as hard and heavy or not, as they choose to. The riff in Echoes is reminiscent of the good ole' days of rock when the guitar meant something and it just gets into your head and never leaves. The version of Venus on this album is the "revamped" version from the one I originally heard. It still has the kick ass drum riff underneath it all, which is why I love it so much. Yet another great example of a fat, heavy guitar riff that is all over this album. When Breathe first starts, you are lulled into thinking it's going to be a slower, more down tempo song, but about 1:30 into it, you are hit square in the face with a fat sound and evil vocals. The different starts and stops in this song makes you wonder how in the world it can be the same song, but it's great and I love it when things are not what you expect. By this point in the album, you begin to realize that Full Stack lives up to their name. I can only imagine how hard, heavy and throbbing a concert of theirs is like! Along the Way showcases what talent these guys have with the lead and backing vocals playing off each other so well, as do the guitar sounds. On the Rise feels like a foray into Southern Rock with the groove and the guitar sound and this just shows the range Full Stack has. The song then goes into a down and bluesy riff, which in additon to the gritty vocals, makes this song sound almost sexual. Hmmm. Was this what they were going for? :) By the time As Good As it Gets rolls around, that is definitely what is on my mind. This tune is just a good driving rock song with an awesome bass riff underneath it all. I had to listen to it again so I didn't get cold! The guitar at the opening of Evil is just up my "alley" and the sound of it is perfect for a song called Evil. Another great bass sound, which I am always partial to. Fantastic guitar solo which is highlighted even more so with the driving bass line. It sounds like a touch of evil. Strip it Away is another example of that gutteral bass/guitar sound that has been so prevelant through most of the album. It gets under your skin and into your head and makes you want to listen again and again. The album ends with Heavy Wings which is quite a departure from the rest of the album. It shows that these guys, who can rock your ass off, can also pare down and get back to their roots. A definite highlight on the vocals and a nice way to end a terriffic album.

There are many things that I like about Full Stack. The first is that the band is tight. They know how to play and they do it right. From the dirty vocals to the thundering bass line and guitars, all of it just fits together perfectly. I've always appreciated the fact that all four mesh together, with noone overpowering anyone else. Let me tell you, as someone who has sampled a lot of music, that is extremely important. The production on this entire album is top notch. I also appreciate the fact that the lyrics actually mean something and aren't just put in a particular spot because it "fits". These guys have something to say, and whether it's about being evil or giving in to temptation. "Venus" showcases this ten times over. From the pounding rock of Along the Way, to the sensual bluesiness of On the Rise and the rootsier Heavy Wings, "Venus" literally has it all. Each and every track stands alone in it's own right, but when you put all 10 of them together, you have something that is extremely special, a joy to listen to over and over and definitely worth the wait! Go out and get it now. Better yet, tell all your friends to and make these guys as big as their sound and as they deserve to be.

ACDCJen of FatCat Radio (The Dark Alley and Indigo Lounge) - ACDCJen of FatCat Radio (The Dark Alley and Indigo Lounge)


Discography

Album
- Full Stack / Demo 2003
Singles
- Safe
- Venus
Album
-Venus / Released 11/25/2006 locally and 12/15/2006 nationally
Singles
-Venus
-Echoes Stir
-Evil
-Along The Way

“If you feel like you need it…”

Full Stack proudly presents their first full-length CD, Venus, a 10-song celebration of women, living on the edge (and living to talk about it later) and real rock (rawk) music.

“…give in to Venus.”

Full Stack -- John Funk (lead vocals/guitar), Billy Hipps (bass/backing vocals), Brandt Williams (guitar/backing vocals) and Paul ‘the Rog’ Rogne (drums) – is based in Minneapolis and writes original music full of hard rock elements that don’t go out of style: big drums, driving bass lines, gritty guitar riffs, searing solos and vocals and three-part harmonies that can be understood and are easy to sing along with.

As the title suggests (Venus, the Roman goddess of love), women, sex, love, desire and some of the unfortunate side-effects – pain, anger and depression – are themes throughout.

Venus starts off with “Run With Me,” a thunderous opening track that cautions a young woman about the perils of a life of stripping and partying: “Shake and bake can break you down baby/faster than a gun,” sings vocalist/lyricist John Funk.

“Breathe” is perhaps the most somber and most powerful song, as its title is Funk’s exhortation to his hospital-bound mother while she struggled with a life-threatening illness.

The riffs keep coming in “Echoes Stir,” and the title track, “Venus” which features the band’s unique three-part vocal prowess and the tag-team solo guitars of John Funk and Brandt Williams.

Full Stack’s sledgehammer rhythm section of bassist Billy Hipps and drummer Paul “the Rog” Rogne shines in “Along the Way” and Rogne’s abuse of his Ludwig kit is featured in “Strip it Away.”

And fans of heavy rock riffs – a la Judas Priest and Alice and Chains will dig songs like “Evil,” “As Good as it Gets” and “On the Rise.”

Venus leaves the listener with the stripped down, bluesy acoustic guitars of “Heavy Wings,” a tune John Funk wrote about surviving the “rock and roll lifestyle.”

Full Stack recorded Venus between May and October, 2006 at Winterland studios under the wise ears of Todd Fitzgerald and Brian Johnson.

The disc is available locally at Cheapo and Down In The Valley and nationwide through CD Baby and iTunes.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

A lesson in history………

It all started a little over three and half years ago, when three friends who were all musicians went golfing. By the end of the round the idea was firmly in place that we wanted to put a band together. John Funk, Bill Hipps, and Scott Savage had all at one time or another been in a band with each other. Bill and Scott were the obvious rhythm section to build a rock band around, and John had played guitar with some of the best guitar players in town.

As far as who would sing lead, we had all had our fill of dealing with pain in the A$$ vocalist, too drunk, lazy or stupid to rely on. John Funk was a long time song-writer but more of an acoustic based style of singing. Conversation was that we would try some of John’s songs electrified, with a full blown PA system and see if everyone liked what they heard. Ironically, Bill called his life long friend and current Full Stack guitar player Brandt Williams to ask if we could use his bands rehearsal space to give it a try.

The first rehearsal was a little on the rough side, but the magic was strong enough for the three musicians to commit to going in on a rehearsal space of their own. Over the next year they forged the bases for what is known today as Full Stack. At that time the band was more of a blend of AC/DC with a dash of pop. After they crowned their one year anniversary it was decided that drummer Scott Savage would be moving on due to previous commitments he had with another local band, Crashmatic. Once again Ironic, Brandt Williams had joined the band just prior to Scott’s exit.

The decision was made to go toward a bigger band sound. One with giant guitars and a massive three part vocal harmony, shoes that Brandt Williams was born to fill. To Brandt’s many credits; including guitar playing and backing vocals that both come from the heart. Brandt also took on a band that had no drummer, so the three remaining band mates started running advertisement for a new drummer. The first crack at finalizing the band turned up a drummer that would hold the spot for the next 9 months was Mike Bourgeois. Mike ended up leaving the band for personal reasons.

Full Stack’s next crack at finding their drummer yielded a rock power-house by the name of Greg Brown. Who helped the band greatly in carving out their heavy sound over the next 9 months. Ultimately being the 1st incarnation of Full Stack to hit the stage and establish them selves as a hard edged rock band on the local scene. Greg ended up leaving the band due to his deep commitment to his wonderful wife and family. This mishap was starting to weigh heavily on the band members who were starting to feel as if they were cursed.

Bill Hipps, undoubtedly the most focused and resourceful band member had one last poker hand left to play. Luckily for the band, Bill was holding four aces. He placed an add on local Rock Station 93x web site, like a flair in the night Paul Rogne answered the call. And so once again the band was able to beat the odds and move forward better than ever. Paul Rogne proved to be the shot of adrenaline needed to propel Full Stack forward, once again escaping the inevitable death that finds most bands half their age. Some how the band had found another giant rock drummer and is now able to forge yet another chapter in their journal. Now bigger than ever, with screaming vocals, giant guitars, and a thunderous rhythm section, the future looks better than ever.