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The best kept secret in music


"Stones' throw away from their dreams"

CONCERT PREVIEW: Rock band Thirty Stones just
may have its rock fantasy fulfilled with some help
from its CD, 'Canvas.'

If members of Massachusetts-based Thirty Stones have
their way, they'll be making the transition from unsigned to
signed sometime soon.

"We have some interested labels and a manager in New York," said guitarist Andy Freeman. "It's a slow process, but we've done some showcases and people have heard of us. There's definitely a buzz." At tonight's show at Pineapple Larry's in Newburgh, band members are performing original songs off their self-produced CD, "Canvas," which the band will sell at club and concert appearances once the album is ready at the end of the month.

Known on the Hudson Valley music scene as a member of the Amazing Whiplash Family and Rage Against the Machine tribute band People of the Sun, Freeman left Middletown for Springfield, Mass., in January 2001 in search of greener pastures. He found them with Thirty Stones, which opened for People of the Sun at a show in Massachusetts in 1999.

"I moved up there and produced a four-song demo for them and they kept asking me to join, so I did," Freeman said. "Everyone in this band is focused on the goal. We stay the course. We have arguments but they're over in a day because we all know the goal is more important than that. We've invested a lot of time and money, so this has to happen and we know it. It's a do-or-die attitude."

The band consists of frontman Keith Hopkinson, bassist John St. Onge, drummer Jonathan Girard and Freeman. Freeman said one of the reasons why the band is having so much success is because it receives a lot of support.

"There's definitely more of a scene up here. It's kind of like a Seattle vibe. It's a smaller music scene, and a lot of great bands have come from this area. Godsmack is from Boston and Staind came from Springfield," Freeman said.

"This area is also much more supportive of its musicians. The DJs up here are more approachable and more receptive, and if they like your stuff, they'll play it. They let people know what's going on."
Freeman said the band's songs are about emotional things that affect its members musically, and rock is an obvious outlet for them.

"I have a lot of anger to get out. I'm not sunny anymore," Freeman said. "For me, I love harder-edge music that's melodic yet can be aggressive at the same time. Every song has to have its own vibe."
Two of Freeman's favorites are "Hear Again" and "Canvas."

"I wrote 'Hear Again' acoustic on my girlfriend's couch when I was going through a very hard time. It's when I was contemplating leaving Middletown. It was, 'Do I stay here where I know nothing will happen or do I take the chance and move and know that I can make a better life doing what I do?' " Freeman said.

"Another good song is 'Canvas.' Keith wrote it and it's kind of sadistic. It's about control and being controlled."
The band will perform both covers and originals at the show tonight in Newburgh.
Describing Thirty Stones in concert, Freeman said, "If you take how I was when I was in Whiplash and add two other people doing the same thing, it's insane."

Log onto for information about upcoming Hudson Valley appearances by Thirty Stones
- Times Herald Record - By Sandy Tomcho - 2/07/03

"LiveWire Awards for 2003 Honor Musicians"

Now that the dust has settled on 2003 we would like to take this opportunity to look back and honor some of the local musicians who have put out music over the past year.
The annual LiveWire Awards offer no hardware, no statuette for the mantelpiece or parchment to hang on the wall. There’s no pomp and circumstance and we are far too economically challenged to deliver a cash prize.
This is merely an acknowledgment for a job well done. It should also be noted that these highlighted discs reflect the appreciation of a single columnist (me).
The criteria for LiveWire Award winners is as follows; you must have a local recording (CD, tape, 8-track) that was released to the general public during the 2003 calendar year. This is a “local” band-artist spotlight, so those with major label contracts and recording budgets need not apply.
We are really trying to fete the artists who aren’t, for a variety of reasons, working at that level.
So here is the list, in no particular order for 2003. These discs are generally available at stores that carry local music, on band websites, and most always at live shows.
Thirty Stones, “Canvas” - This is most likely the last “local” CD this band will release, having recently signed with a major. The band was tagged as the group most likely to be the next big thing out of the local music scene and responded to that pressure with the pummeling eloquence of “Canvas.” The CD is available at
- The Republican - By Donnie Moorehouse - 1/15/04

"Axis of Metal: The Up-and-Coming of Springfield Röck City"

“Springfield’s fucking nasty,” says John St. Onge, bass guitarist for Thirty Stones. His enthusiasm for the city is infectious, and his bandmates nod in agreement.
It’s Thursday night, and we’re sitting at a table at Kahunaville in the Holyoke Mall. Behind us sits a woman wearing a glow-stick necklace, surrounding us a tropical paradise: tiki torches painted on the wall; plastic palm trees; a bartender practicing his Cocktail moves with padded bottles; a stage made up like a thatched hut. At the bar and circulating through the video game arcade are about 25 people, 15 of them here to see Thirty Stones and another ten just to drink. Of the 15, about five are from other area bands.
“A gig is a gig” says vocalist Keith Hopkinson. The performance was scheduled only a few days before, to supplement a promotional ticket give-away for the Radio 104 Fest, and though the scheduling was badly done—Thirty Stones should have played during the giveaway, when the kids were still around—that they were called in at all is significant. As is the fact that St. Onge and Hopkinson, who are both from the area and who started the band about four years ago, have managed to lure guitarist Andy Freeman and drummer Jonathan Girard away from other bands, and from New York and Quebec respectively.
“I’ve played all up and down the east coast,” says Freeman, “but I’m telling you, it’s happening here. In Manhattan, where I came from, it’s really hard to establish a following. There are so many bands, so many venues, so much else going on. But here, there’s not so much else going on—bands are what’s going on here, and there are only a few venues, and everybody goes there. And there’s a lot of loyalty to the fans and to the bands from the fans.”
“We’re playing the fucking mall,” laughs Freeman at one point, but the humor is self-deprecating, not condescending (except perhaps to the manager of Kahunaville, who seems annoyed at the extended break they take between sets to talk to me). The fans, many of whom are friends of the musicians, laugh at the jokes, and sing along when Hopkinson points the microphone toward them during the choruses of familiar songs. “They’re my favorite band in the world,” says Heather Solock, a fan. “Their CD has been in my car for the last two months.”
The compliment seems unforced. In her book Heavy Metal: The Music and Its Culture , sociologist Deena Weinstein writes that “The members of the audience create a gemeinschaft . Far from being calculating and suspicious, as participants in a gesellschaft are, they behave in a manner closer to the ideal of philia, the ‘brotherly love’ that was valued in the hippie counterculture.”
An odd notion, and terribly academic language, but the gist of it is confirmed by Thursday night at Kahunaville: the affection within the band, the loyalty of the fans, the dredlocked, nose-ring wearing man who holds his young daughter in his arms while watching the performance.
Even more striking is the contrast between the band on stage and off. Keith Hopkinson’s hair—plastered to his head, curling up at the fringes—is aggressive when he’s screaming lyrics like “I’m sick/Of this shit and that you think you’re different” (from the song “Whore”). Off-stage, his hair is friendly, even a bit goofy, nothing to scare anyone’s mother.
“Heavy metal was born amidst the ashes of the failed youth culture,” writes Weinstein, and though the tone of the music and its symbols are violent, more Altamont than Woodstock, the subculture is not. If anything, it’s familial, though it’s a strange, very loud family.
When MTV resurrected their heavy metal show Headbanger’s Ball in May of this year, guest host Metallica played 17 videos. Of those, three were from Springfield-area bands: Staind, Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage. Another was from Godsmack, out of Boston, and another from Hatebreed, out of Bridgeport, CT.
Staind sold nearly seven million copies of its album Break the Cycle ; its follow-up debuted earlier this year at number one on the Billboard charts. And Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage, both of whom have toured throughout Europe and in Japan, are playing the second stage at Ozzfest 2003, perhaps the biggest tour of any genre of the summer.
Scott “Ogre” Lee, booker at The Fat Cat in downtown Springfield and organizer of the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, estimates that there are at least 10 other hard rock/metal bands from the area that have been signed to record label contracts. They include Split Shift, All That Remains, Cannae, Burial, Light Is the Language, The Acacia Strain, Sonny and Blood Has Been Shed. And bands like Thirty Stones, Hypnotic Kick and Fear Nuttin’ Band, though unsigned, have opened for national acts and regularly play industry showcases in New York.
Jeff Kapinos, who books at Geraldine’s in West Springfield, says he has worked with 178 bands from the area that play “originals” (as opposed to cover songs).
“First it was L.A., then Seattle, now it’s New England,” says Chris Girard of Bent 2 Struggle. To the extent that there is a heavy metal renaissance, New England is its Italy, and Springfield its Venice, or maybe Padua.
The spaces in which the music is made, performed and sold in greater Springfield are modest. A hamster pen occupies the middle of the floor of Scott Lee’s office in the back of Red Rocket Records, which he owns with Leah Urbano. Lee sits, Shrek-like, behind his desk. Papers cover most of the surfaces, the carpet is industrial-thin and his computer periodically chimes, “You’ve Got Mail.” Two teenagers, friends of his, hang around and fill in details when they feel his answers to my questions are incomplete.
I interview the members of Split Shift in the basement rec room of guitarist Ken Robert’s parents’ house in Chicopee. The release of their album Tension has been pushed back to February of next year, and they can’t begin seriously touring in support of the album until December or so. In the interim, they’re writing new songs, and on a computer in the corner, they’re playing around with images for the album cover. “So you’re writing about my boys,” says Robert’s mother to me as I leave.
Gaiah practices in the shell of what was once a printing shop, three floors above the Mardi Gras strip club in downtown Springfield. The floor is concrete, window panes are missing and a leftover poster for “Ludlow Wrestling” hangs on the wall. Aside from the equipment, some of which they’ve inherited from bassist Tony Danos’ father—a musician himself—there are two ratty couches, a threadbare rug, a cooler of Bud and a lot of empties. A black, plastic bar of indeterminate purpose hangs on chains from the ceiling, inviting speculation. It’s about 95 degrees and humid, and the band plays shirtless.
Sunday night at The Fat Cat is all-ages night. Half of the bar is closed; most of the tables have been cleared away; and there are about six people in the audience who are old enough to drink (one of them is me; another is Zeuss, producer of albums for Hypnotic Kick and Shadows Fall, among others). The majority of the crowd stands in a U around the stage, making room for a pit, in which five or ten teenagers flail wildly, occasionally slamming against each other. At one point, a boy retreats to the back of the room, cradling his left arm. He reassures someone from the staff that he’s okay, and a few minutes later gets back in the pit.
Tuesday night at Geraldine’s in West Springfield is low-key. The summer Battle of the Bands won’t begin until next week, and many of the people in the bar are from bands. Zeuss is there, as is Mike Haze, DJ at Lazer 99.3 and host of the Big Bang Local Music Explosion. They all look at the pictures Jeff Kapinos has brought from last month’s going-away party for tattoo-artist Paul Zadie. Haze’s girlfriend Vicky Rios has flyers for the second annual Wicktopia, a benefit she and Haze are organizing to help pay for the blood infusions she needs to treat her Crohn’s disease. “This local scene is really civil,” she says.
“Though no studies were conducted at the time, it’s safe to say that most guys listening to Iron Maiden in the 1980s were not getting laid all that often,” writes Chuck Klosterman in his metal memoir Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta . “It’s not like metal was the soundtrack of rampant teenage sex. It was actually the soundtrack from rampant teenage abstinence. If parents really wanted to keep their sons from getting the neighbor girl pregnant, the best thing they could have done was buy them several Dio albums and the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide .”
Klosterman’s insight, though derived from 80s metal, holds true, and is useful to deciphering the contemporary heavy metal scene, how it can be both profoundly angry and profoundly friendly at the same time. The aggressive music and violent imagery associated with the music are less the product of global trauma, and less incitements to anti-social behavior, than they are expressions of adolescent frustration. When a vocalist yells, “Are you ready to fucking rock?” he’s not pushing the kids in the audience to destruction, but to catharsis.
Genuine pain is central to many of the songs, and the fans’ responses to the songs, but it’s familiar pain: divorce, heartbreak, dysfunction, confusion. “A kid I knew used to cut his arms,” says Scott Lee. “I asked him, ‘why do you do that?’ and he said ‘to release pressure.’ When he found hardcore music it helped him to release the pressure without cutting himself.”
On the surface, the bands and their ominous names—Killswitch Engage, Bent 2 Struggle, Burial, Blood Has Been Shed, The Acacia Strain—are advocating rage, but they are also channeling it, dampening it, soothing the savage beast.
In Running with the Devil, musicologist Robert Walser writes that “what seems like rejection, alienation, or nihilism is usually better seen as an attempt to create an alternative identity that is grounded in a vision or the actual experience of an alternative community.”
On a less abstract level,
Weinstein suggest that the music is important to its audience “for what it does to them—how it draws them into it, excites them, and finally leaves them wasted, completely spent, having burned the potlatch of their youthful vitality and purged their emotion.”
Whether the relationship between audience and artist is healthy is hard to say, but it’s clear that it’s natural. Rock music has always sold rebellion to teenagers. What made heavy metal music seem threatening in the 80s was that it was not just a musical genre, but the defining element of a subculture. The headbangers hung out with each other, dressed the same way and smoked together behind the high school cafeteria. They created a seemingly alien community, with symbols, terms and values indecipherable to their parents.
The homey element of the subculture—that the kids were just searching for a sense of belonging—is perhaps more apparent now than it was in the 70s and 80s. The music then was more metaphorical, more exaggerated. Bands often disguised the appeal to vulnerability in elaborate stage shows, flashy costumes, big hair, pagan/satanic references. They were performing, and often living out, the fantasies of power, sex and destruction that are the universal symptoms of the teenage condition.
America has never been good with metaphor and masquerade, and if metal in all its variations—thrash, industrial, new, death, glam—seems less threatening now it may be because it has become more literal, more earnest (and because neither the bands’ nor their critics’ prophecies of doom came to pass).
The music now speaks directly to the pain of adolescence where once it deflected it. In the song “Stolen”, for instance, Gaiah vocalist Shawn Santanello explores the teenage desire for authenticity, singing, “You contradict yourself/You sell me nothing but lies/Well I don’t need your help/and I won’t compromise.”
The aesthetic has changed as well. Jeans and T-shirts have replaced leather. Shaved heads are more common than straight long hair. Where there’s flair, it’s often imported from other subcultures and is generally less grandiose: dredlocks, dwarvish goatees, runic tattoos.
Part of the stripping-down of the look is the influence of grunge, with its emphasis on authenticity; part of it is the general blurring of genres that MTV, or postmodernity, has brought about; part of it is the softening of the hard line between metal and hardcore (hardcore is an offshoot of punk music).
Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D’Antonio says, “Lots of us are hardcore kids playing in a metal band. When I started, metal and hardcore really didn’t mix at all, but things have evolved a lot. Hardcore always had the underground feel, with really small shows, and everyone there really in tune with the band. After the show the band might walk offstage and drink with everyone. We’re playing metal. but we’ve kept that hardcore feel.”
What’s obvious today, with Ozzy Osbourne domesticated by MTV and Poison elevated to tragic heroes by VH1’s Behind the Music , is that heavy metal subculture was never the threat it appeared to me. And it’s hard not to look back and chuckle at many of the bands who were said to personify that threat. As Klosterman writes, “Exactly one decade after KISS made Destroyer, the world was introduced to Poison, a quartet of lovely ladies who were actually three guys from Pennsylvania and a dope fiend from Brooklyn.”
The humble reality of being a band from Springfield, a band from anywhere, is that making music is a lot of work, and costs a lot of money, and you take the opportunities as they come. Except perhaps for Staind, money is a scarce. To make it, you have to spend it—on posters, equipment, practice space, studio time, vans, CD demos for fans—and once you’ve made it, you have to spend more of it to sustain whatever momentum earned you the money in the first place.
Split Shift estimates that in the last few years they’ve spent over $600,000 on their careers, which includes all of the advance from their contract with No Name/Elektra records. Among the expenses were voice lessons; hotel rooms in Los Angeles while they recorded the album; fees for their producer; a tour bus.
“The bands that have made it work harder,” says Scott Lee. “They continue through line-up changes, quit jobs, lose relationships, do the shit tours, get in a van and go to wherever ... they keep working.” Killswitch Engage is on their second vocalist, Shadows Fall their second drummer and second vocalist. Thirty Stones replaced their last guitarist, a good friend, on September 11, 2001.
Including Split Shift, and Children of the Korn—the Korn tribute band out of which Split Shift evolved—bassist Bill Brault has been in six bands, including Oozing Scabs, Perpetual Doom (with Phil Labonte of All That Remains and Matt Bachand of Shadows Fall), and Montezuma’s Revenge (with Moises “House” Rodriguez and Derek Dunnigan of Hypnotic Kick).
Anto, frontman for Tuan, had to obtain a work visa to move here from Ireland to continue playing with bassist Scott Alan after the Dublin band they were in collapsed. Rubikon singer Jae first moved from Mississippi to Boston for the music scene, and his band now commutes from Boston to Springfield two or three times a month, for little or no money, because they find it easier to establish a following here than in the saturated Boston market.
Bands like Tuan, Rubikon and Split Shift, which are at the more melodic end of the hard/rock metal spectrum, can hope to get radio play for their songs (and already have). Open to them, however narrowly, is the possibility of mainstream success.
For the purer metal and hardcore bands, however, radio and MTV, except in the blue hours, are not realistic options. The music is too difficult to please a popular audience (in this, as in its emphasis on virtuosity, metal is like classical music). Killswitch Engage, for instance, supports itself on the merchandise it can sell while touring. Most of the money they make on album sales, and even what they’re paid for performing, goes back to the label to defray marketing and production costs.
Scott Lee, whose New England Metal and Hardcore Festival is one of the largest of its kind in the country—MTV shot an episode of Headbanger’s Ball there—captures something important about what it means to be in the metal business in Springfield when he admits, “I’m 32-years-old and live in the basement of my parents’ house.”
“The whole point is to get out of here; Springfield is a secondary market,” says Louie “Lurok” Brault, who books at Pearl Street. This is the not-so-hidden truth that haunts, and animates, the local scene. To make it, a band has to make it out. At a typical show at Pearl Street, for instance, Brault will book six bands on one ticket; only the last two or three, the headliners, will be paid, and at best a few hundred dollars.
A band like Man of Velocity, a sometime headliner, has made money selling merchandise: “T-shirts and hats, and panties and tank-tops for the ladies.” But the pool of consumers is small, and the bands are competing for the same money. There is a conflict, as well, between the interests of the bands and those of the bar-owners; it’s teenagers who buy merchandise and CDs, but it’s adults who drink, and adults tend to avoid all-ages shows.
The bands keep playing because they love to play, and because it has become their life, but also because they believe they can succeed on a greater scale. Almost every band that I met spoke in terms of contracts, managers, lawyers, showcases. Some also mentioned the groupies—“Tell him the three-girl blowjob story,” says John St. Onge to Keith Hopkinson—and there’s no question that the soul of the experience is in the performance (“It’s the best thing in the world to hear people singing your songs back to you,” says Split Shift vocalist Kyle Small). But the rock star dream is there as well.
It’s hard to criticize that ambition, however, when it’s clear that the profusion of bands in the last few years is in large part attributable to the success of Staind, and to a lesser extent Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage. “The scene has definitely grown in the last four years, since Staind got big,” says Gaiah bassist Tony Danos. “A lot of people saw them and suddenly realized, hey, maybe we can get somewhere with this.”
Paul Makuch, general manager of Zing Recording in West Springfield, says that in the 80s “there were fewer bands, more time on stage and more fans. Now there are more bands, fewer fans and less time on stage. All of the sudden bands are even paying to play.” The studios at Zing, he says, are mostly booked up through 2004.
There is, as in any community, hostility, and in the hard rock/metal scene it seems to coalesce around questions of ambition, and how that ambition might conflict with the demands of musical authenticity. Staind is accused of going soft to get on the radio, but they are respected for their success. Some bands refuse to play cover songs, accusing those who do of artistic compromise; other bands feel that playing covers is just part of giving the fans a good show. Even the choice of covers can be parsed: do you play what’s hot now or play older, classic songs?
On an outsider like me, many of the nuances are lost, but I hesitate to say that they are trivial. They suggest that the musicians are thinking about what they’re doing, about what their friends and competitors are doing, and about how to self-promote without selling out. There are some artistic genres that allow for the solitary genius, off in the woods, creating a masterpiece. Rock music is not one of them; it’s a collaborative form, and the tension generated by collaboration—within a band, between bands, between a band and its audience’s expectations—is exciting. No “scene” can exist without it. No scene can self-destruct without it either, but for the moment, Springfield has found a balance between ambition and integrity, aggression and civility. May it rock on.

- The Valley Advocate - by Daniel Oppenheimer - 7/24/03

"Fitchburg Fever"

Locobazooka may be an Eastern Massachusetts
phenomenon. It may be sponsored by a Boston-based
radio station. But this year’s shindig – slated for Sept. 28 at the Fitchburg Airport – will have a distinctly “local” feel.
Starting with the show’s headliner, Staind, and including Valley metal-meisters 6 Degrees, Split Shift and Thirty Stones , western Massachusetts will definitely be well represented.
Turns out, some of our local boys were looking out for each other.
“We definitely have Scott ‘Ogre’ Lee to thank for our spot [at Locobazooka],” says 30 Stones frontman Keith Hopkinson. “We knew with Staind and all those nationals that play similar styles of music to us, we had to be on this bill. So we called Ogre, and he made it happen.”
Good to see people helping people – not that the Stone-rs are a tough sell.
In fact, since the independent release of Canvas earlier this year, 30 Stones has moved a couple thousand copies and even charted nationally on CMJ.
In other assorted acts of goodwill, Locobazooka promoter Dan Hartwell says that all New England veterans of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” will be treated like the heroes at the event.
“They will be honored with free passes, a special ceremony, a military aircraft fly-over and a patriotic fireworks display in the evening,” Hartwell says in a prepared statement. “It’s the least we can do to recognize their efforts to keep us all safe.”
For more information, visit
- The Valley Advocate - Northampton, MA - by Gary Carra - September 25, 2003


CANVAS is almost a year old but when you lose touch with bands, you seem to miss out on some stuff. That is exactly what happened with Springfield, Massachusetts” THIRTY STONES. Wasn’t a huge fan of them but when I walked into Bill’s Bar in Boston last week they blew me away. They’ve gained two new members, a lot more power and aggressiveness for stage performances.
On CANVAS though you hear the definite maturity with the title track CANVAS. Very intense, driving and bold with hints of melody that heightens the track. As you go down the line of songs, you hear the signature mark of Staind and Godsmack, commercial melody. Vocalist Keith Hopkinson has a real sharp sound to his voice. It’s so melodic with an edgy and rough attitude laid deep down inside.
HEAR AGAIN is very tight with profound guitars, a catchy melodic chorus and its smooth sounding and hard hitting all at once.
SUBJECT TO CHANGE is funky as the into hits you with full on guitars and blasts into a moving heavy ass beat.
BOUND slows it down a bit and has Staind appeal. A good song to show off the vocals and the singing diversity Keith has.
WHORE is heavy and dirty sounding with quirky guitar tones. It brings a darker element to the THIRTY STONES sound. It plainly focuses on the more aggressive side of the band. (But come on, any song called WHORE has to be angry!).
SLEEP has intriguing musical attributes to it. It keeps your ear glued to the speaker to make sure you don’t miss the changes.
They even go as far as to show you the tender side of the band with an acoustic version of the song HEAR AGAIN. This was my favorite song off the disc and to get a feel of it in different outlets was a double pleasure.
All n all a huge improvement for THIRTY STONES. I welcome the new members and wish the whole band good luck and can’t wait to hear brand new stuff.
- East Coast Romper - By Stephanie Stevens

"The Valley Advocate 2003 Readers Poll"

Best Guitarist: Andy Freeman
Andy Freeman's been playing with Thirty Stones for about two years, joining the band a few months after he moved to the area from New York. "We play melodic hard rock, borderline hard-core at times," he says. Freeman cites both rock guitarists (Eddie Van Halen, Dave Navarro) and jazz and blues guitarists (Wes Montgomery, Chris Whitley) as influences. Thirty Stones, which released its album Canvas in March, plays three or four shows a week.
Q: Describe your worst show.
A: When I lived in New York, I had a two-year period of bad shows. I started this band and our first gig was great, and then every one after that was playing to other bands and their girlfriends.
Q: What's the craziest thing a fan has done?
A: Got really dusty and made me sneeze at night.
Q: What's your favorite conspiracy theory?
A: It has something to do with who shot JFK and who shot JR. I think it was the same person, because they both happened in Dallas.
Q: How often do you play sober?
A: We play Tool's "Sober" every show.
- The Valley Advocate - September 2003


Canvas - Full Length CD Released Feb. 2003


Feeling a bit camera shy


“Rock music seems to have lost it’s way in the new century. There are no heroes in rock and roll anymore” proclaims Thirty Stones bassist and founder John St Onge. In his brash, devil could care attitude; he adds emphatically, “We have one mission… To save rock and roll." His vision: Form the nastiest band imaginable.
Formed in Springfield, Massachusetts, now known as a hotbed of musical talent, St. Onge enlisted Vocalist Keith Hopkinson to front Thirty Stones and only after a few shows, they were playing to full houses. After a few member changes, they recruited guitarist Andrew Freeman, who had been a friend of the bands.
Freeman relocated from New York after sitting in at a band rehearsal. “I was blown away by the bands conviction and determination.” Freeman says, “I ‘ve played with a lot of so called pros, but to me these guys had everything I was looking for. They were the real deal."
The band finally came together after the addition of drummer Jonathan Girard. Who brought the focus and the “make it or die trying” attitude to the forefront for the band. With all the pieces in place, Thirty Stones were dead set to make a name for themselves. On last years independent release, Canvas, Thirty Stones did just that. Without a record deal, management or any sort of substantial backing, they set out to conquer the world.
Enlisting the production talents of Zuess (Hatebreed, Shadows Fall) they created a sonically charged hard rock classic. The CD takes you on an emotional joyride that will pump your fist and then open your mind. “What I find crucial is that you have the right hook, and lyrics that your audience can relate to, something they can really feel. The combination of those two things can make for great music, and endear people to connect with it.” That connection brought Thirty Stones a large amount of radio attention across the United States.

In the spring of 2003, “Canvas” charted on FMQB's Metal Detector and CMJ Crucial Spins in the height of a successful metal radio campaign fueled by Concrete Marketing and Skateboard Marketing. The Record Charted higher than artists on some major record labels, a feat that is not the norm for a band that has yet to sign its own deal. This feat turned the heads of the right people and as a result of the attention brought to the release, an awareness rose about the band. Thirty Stones started fielding offers from many major and independent record labels.
In November of 2003, Thirty Stones singed a record deal with 3L Entertainment. They will begin recording their first major release in spring of 2004. You can expect them to be the next big thing in the rock game.
“Music is our life, our outlet, and our source of therapy”, proclaims Freeman. “It is impossible for the members of this band to live a normal existence.” That attitude, combined with their undying determination is proof positive that Thirty Stones is an unstoppable force in the music industry.