Stella Rose
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Stella Rose

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"Stella! (Rose)"

by Anthony Mariani

On Saturday at the Aardvark, local mod-grunge rockers Stella Rose will celebrate the release of their new full-length album, Nine Caged Tigers, with Jefferson Colby, Psycles, and The Last Start.

And Nine Caged Tigers is just that: Nine growling songs that are dying to slip their prison walls and bite you in the ass.

“Makin’ It Easy” is the first and most fully realized track. A bluesy, Ace Frehley-inspired intro kicks into a Drivin’ and Cryin’ riff, with lots of pull-offs and chimes, and it threatens to completely subsume Matt Mabe’s fluttering drums and Mckenna Madget’s subterranean bass.

Even the groovier, less furious songs have an angry, animal heart. The plodding “Ultrasound” comes to life when Madget harmonizes with Beatty’s pure, distant phrasings, and the ’80s-era gentleman punk breakdown on “Golden” adds another dimension to an otherwise straightforward mushroom trip.

“Young Dumb and Beautiful” seems to be a loud, Zeppelin-esque indictment of a wayward friend’s choice in a newfangled thing (maybe the lead singer’s old-fangled one), and Stella Rose’s signature tune, “The Christmas Tree,” the only one leftover from the band’s DIY debut, Starving Hysterical Naked, doesn’t have the original’s raw fury, but it’s a gem.

Understand, Tigers isn’t perfect. Beatty’s voice occasionally registers boredom (or is it fatigue?), Beatty and Madget’s vocal harmonies sometimes compete rather than complement each other, and there are random bouts of arrhythmia between Beatty’s and Madget’s axes.

Yet even at 90 percent top speed, Stella Rose is still the ass-kickingest hard-rock band around. And that’s not even spotting them what they’re capable of doing a year, hell, two weeks from now. - The Fort Worth Weekly

"Boho Blast"

Locals Stella Rose are at the vanguard of a new musical movement, day jobs be damned.


Songwriters find inspiration both from within themselves and from others. Rather than sifting through c.d. bins or navigating cyberspace for the next big thing, Stella Rose frontman Stephen Beatty simply attended shows in his West Berry Street neighborhood. In doing so, he discovered indie magician Tim Locke. Beatty speaks with a wide-eyed reverence for the long-time singer-songwriter and his various incarnations (Calhoun, Flickerstick, Coma Rally). Locke, who sits in the inner circle of 817’s indie-rock community, befriended the tall young grunger, even playing guitar on a few tracks on Stella Rose’s new and first official release, Starving Hysterical Naked.

Bassist McKenna Madgett appreciates the benevolence of the closely knit group that asserts tacit dominion over the city’s serious indie-rock scene. At Stella Rose’s end-of-summer show at the Aardvark, Brandin Lea (Flickerstick, The February Chorus) joined her onstage for an impromptu rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee.”

A quick look at the current state of the scene reveals a community that, while deeply rooted in tradition, is in transition. A new breed of up-and-comers, including Stella Rose, along with The Burning Hotels, Valhalla, The Red Herrings, and Denton’s The Villains, are emerging, thankfully under the watchful eyes of mentors who have experienced the industry’s fickle fluctuations.

As all three Stella Rose bandmates prepare to graduate from TCU in the spring, only Madgett is paying much attention to the choices she might make upon being thrust into the real world. She, Beatty, and drummer Matt Mabe are all majoring in film, but Madgett is the only one who admits to a genuine interest in good grades. Asked about plans after May, the guys both shrugged and answered, “Play music.”

Beatty admires Locke, not only for his talent but for the professional choices he’s made. “I’d be happy to follow the same path as Tim,” Beatty said. “I’d be happy to be able to play music. Not have a job. Get to tour.” Beatty embraces the bohemian lifestyle. The son of military parents, he grew up outside of Austin and chose to attend college only because it was “better than working in a video store.”

Shared classes and musical taste — and an appreciation for cool clothing — brought the trio together about three years ago. Madgett and Mabe met on the first day of film class. They sat next to each other and eventually bonded over The Strokes. A few days later, then-stranger Beatty commented on Madgett’s Velvet Underground shirt, leading to a jam at Mabe’s parents’ house in Burleson a week later.

Music has always been a mainstay around the Mabe household. Stella Rose’s drummer also plays with his brother in Jefferson Colby and for his father’s band, Flashback. The elder Mabe instilled an early love for music in his son by introducing him to Led Zeppelin. With the encouragement of Mabe’s parents, the burgeoning threesome kept playing, tightening their sound, and eventually recorded a demo.

The demo gained them entry to a few clubs around town, and the momentum has continued to build. Starving Hysterical Naked is furious, a portrait of a band walking a fine line between rage and apathy. Mabe’s impressive drumming skills generate a hurricane-like intensity, replete with thick cymbal crashes and a lot of nicely timed fills. Beatty has a unique, thickly evocative guitar tone (courtesy of a rare Ovation GP through a Fender DeVille amp). His rough, expressive voice draws from personal and emotional experiences.

Madgett’s smooth transitions on the bass and subtle harmonies add a ghostly texture, tempering the testosterone with femininity. Beatty said, “A lot of people congratulate me on having a chick bass player. They say it’s a good gimmick. But she’s no gimmick. I played with a lot of different bass players down here, and she is definitely the best one.”

On top of the individual talent, the group shares friendship and good chemistry. Mabe has high hopes for the future. “I really want the band to last indefinitely,” he said. “We play off each other really well.”

Even though Stella Rose’s new record has created a lot of buzz, a second effort is already taking shape. They love what they’ve done with Starving Hysterical Naked but hope the next album will be even better. Beatty describes the new material as “sophisticated, complicated, and not so blatantly Nirvana.”

As its impressive catalogue of grunge-laden, progressive indie power gets larger, the band hopes to find management and a label to support the cause. Beatty said, “We’re green, but people will never be disappointed in our shows.” Mabe agreed: “We put everything we love into it.” - Fort Worth Weekly

"Stella Rose"

By Anthony Mariani

Newbies Stella Rose are like grunge but better.

Stella Rose is the best new grunge band youve heard but tough where others are just loud, and spacey where others are just gratuitously prog-rockish.

The profound lack of sonic depth on Starving Hysterical Naked, the Fort Worths trios recent full-length debut, is redeemed by the musics brutal, baroque darkness. Along with bassist and background singer McKenna Madget, drummer Matt Mabe and vocalist/guitarist Stephen Beatty punch, kick, and scream so hard, your gut will hurt.

The biggest revelation on Naked is the bands mature, fully developed sound. Even though all 11 songs teem with instantly recognizable references, the aggregate product adheres to no single, obvious musical lode star. On The Christmas Tree, the spirit of PJ Harvey makes an appearance in the form of a steady, sludgy, predominantly single-note bass line, but shes eventually buried beneath ominous arena-rock riffage (think: Sabbath, Rush, Zeppelin) and pure despair. During the chorus, over an epic expanse of crashing cymbals and growling, churning guitars, Beatty, with Madget providing sweet harmony, sings, I hit my head on the ground cause I like it ... I like it. Sinister, self-loathing, in-your-face this is the real shit.

Elsewhere, the ghost of The Toadies is summoned for China Doll, Hole in Her Heart goes from Stone Temple Pilots at their most melodic to coarse Nirvana for the chorus, and when musicians raised in the 90s approximate early-70s glam, something great like DeAnna can happen. (The handclaps during the breakdown are awesome.)

Even when the band appears to settle into a groove, the more is more approach rears its head and, surprisingly, still produces magic. A prime example is Karmatic. Mabes furious Middle-Eastern pounding, though mighty, cant steal the spotlight from Beattys elegant yet raw playing. Going native, the guitarist seduces an elongated, serpentine lead from his ax the way a snake charmer might coax a cobra from a pot.

Stella Rose is new, sure, but the band has already secured what may prove to be one of the biggest end-of-summer shows in town. On Sept. 9, Beatty, Mabe, and Madget will open for Calhoun and Flickerstick at The Aardvark. Tickets are available at - Fort Worth Weekly


"Starving Hysterical Naked" - 2006
"Nine Caged Tigers" - 2007
Currently in the studio working on new album for release in 2009.



Bands come together in strange and unique ways. Whether they grow up childhood friends looking to live the Rock n' Roll dream, or they're bored teenagers taking up instruments just for something to do, or they're musicians that came together in a smoky bar, every band has a story. However, sometimes all it takes is a t-shirt, a common taste in music, and a college class to pave the way. That was the way the three members of Stella Rose met three years ago.

During the relatively short time they have been a band, they have gone about things their own way. With two self-released records, "Starving Hysterical Naked" and "Nine Caged Tigers," the band has developed a raw sound that is quickly becoming their signature.

Stella Rose is a rarity of a band in a sea of peers. Instead of just copying current music trends, they make music that will continue to stand the test of time.

Stella Rose takes the ideal hints of their influences (Zeppelin, Nirvana, STP) and are able to produce their own brand of dark, aggressive, sexy Rock n' Roll.
In the past year, Stella Rose has become one of the most sought after bands in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Stella Rose has opened for some of the largest national acts in the area (Flickerstick, Black Tie Dynasty, Calhoun).

The band was invited to play SXSW weekend 2007 in Austin and the Deep Ellum Arts Festival in Dallas in 07 as well. Undoubtedly, Stella Rose knows that hard work and building a name for themselves as a band with integrity are the true keys to success. Over the past three years they have built a loyal fan base that is quickly growing.

Stella Rose has started to gain airplay in markets around the country. By using tools such as and iTunes, they are more than just a regional favorite.