Interview with Stomprocket
Hard rock band Stomprocket is Sado Rabaudi (Vocals/Guitar), Mead Whippo (Guitars/ Backups), Adam Schaefer (Bass) and Sam Frankeberger (Drums). They will be independently releasing their 5th studio album titled Visitor on 5/12/2017. The video for the song “Phantom Twin” was released on March 14th, 2017. The music video was directed by Emily Snell and edited by Sado Rabaudi. The track “Phantom Twin” is also available for free downloading.
Sado: “Stomprocket was formed out of the ashes of a band called “Friction”. When Friction split up the members split off to become two, separate bands, “Stomprocket” and “Carried By Six” (which I have also played guitar with “Carried By Six” off and on throughout the years). I guess my inspiration came from a strong need for attention and wanting to express myself. The first time someone played me a song by Suicidal Tendencies it completely changed my life forever. I knew at that time that my passion was to channel the energy of music. The current incarnation of Stomprocket came together when I moved back to Santa Barbara from Anaheim. I had played with Sam in a temporary musical project (IdiotKelpRocket), I rear ended Adam’s car in a parking lot so we became friends, and Mead was part of the Santa Barbara music scenes from previous bands.”
Mead: “I was actually supposed to take Sado’s spot in Carried By Six when he moved south but it never came together. I’ve played in a number of bands in Santa Barbara over the years so it felt pretty natural when Sado called one day and asked if I wanted to play in Stomprocket. Musically I grew up listening to Metallica, Megadeth, Ozzy, Sabbath, Alice In Chains….the list goes on. I really liked Randy Rhodes as a guitarist and always considered him a strong influence.”
Adam: “I’ll never forget playing a show with a different band at Velvet Jones when this soul-patched dude in Stomprocket informed me he may have hit my car in the parking lot. There was no damage so I decided to join the band when he was looking for a bass player soon thereafter. I really enjoy progressive metal/rock musically and like to bring that modern rhythm style to Stomprocket. My favorite bands are along the lines of Dream Theater, The Contortionist, Between the Buried and Me, Animals as Leaders, and a super cool Australian guitar player/composer named Plini. I really like John Myung from Dream Theater as a bass player although I wish he was more animated during live shows.”
Sam: “I played with Sado in IdiotKelpRocket for a show and we just kind of threw this band together. Some years later I got a call asking me if I would want to play drums for Stomprocket and at first I was not sure about it as I was in 4 bands at the time but decided to go ahead and do it and now here we are! My influences are Danny Carey from Tool, Tim Alexander from Primus, Mitch Mitchell from Jimmy Hendrix and other amazing drummers that really moved me and made me want to be a drummer. I listen to a wide variety of music ranging from hardcore metal to silly circusy stuff.”
What bands & projects has everyone been involved with in 2017 and previous years?
Sado: “Over the last few recent years I recorded an album with the Dtease, and have played with Broken Machine, Motion, Backmask and Phantasmata. Over my musical career so far I’ve played in around 30 bands, so I guess I’ve kept busy.”
Adam: “Recently, Stomprocket has been my only band, but in my musical adventures since 2011 I’ve been in Motion with Sado, a rock band Ride the Wild, and playing solo djent too loud in my house.”
Sam: “I have been with my Instrumental Surfband KELP since 1995 and still with them to this day. I have also had many many other bands such as Swampcock which covered pop songs in a speed metal/punk style. I’ve had a blues band called Blue Vinyl , a jam band called Angelo Meatcraft Flying Machine. I am currently also playing in a rock band called Phantasmata which Sado was also briefly involved with.”
Where have tracks and parts of new music been recorded? What organizations and people has everyone been collaborating with?
Sado: “For the new album “Visitor” we recorded the drums with Griffin Gerritsen, the guitars, bass and vocals we recorded on our own and it was mixed and masterd by Emmet Sargeant at Beagle Studios. I have done quite a bit of collaborating with Andrew Duncan Velikenje of Motion. As many people may know he was in Stomprocket for quite awhile, but even as we went to work on separate projects we still collaborate on songwriting from time to time.”
Adam: “Sado pretty much fully answered that. It was great to do a decent amount of stuff on own because collectively we were able to nail a sound we all liked and really balanced the Stomprocket sound.”
What brands of guitar/instruments/gear have band members been enjoying and recording with?
Sado: “My main guitar currently is a Les Paul studio. I don’t think they were built for Drop C tuning, but I love the way it sounds. When I recorded the Dtease album I used a Bogner Shiva, which I loved the sound of, but for the Stomprocket album I mostly used an Orange amp.”
Mead: “My main guitar is a USA built Esoterik DR1 that the team at Esoterik were absolutely amazing in giving me. Effects-wise I have a bunch of different boss and Morley pedals and it all routes through a mesa boogie triple rectifier and mesa 4×12 with celestials.”
Adam: “Oh man, I love gear. So much so that I work at Santa Barbara’s own Instrumental Music. My bass for Drop C/Drop B tuning is a Spector with EMG P/J pickups while my Drop A/Drop G# bass is a Peavey Cirrus 4 with a 35” scale length which really helps when tuning so low. Amp wise, I used a 1983 Mesa 400 tube head with a Genz Benz Uber 4×10 cab. I have a small pedal board with a mix of MXR, Boss, Seymour Duncan, TC Electronics, and Electroharmonix pedals. The board is always slowly changing but never growing.”
Sam: “I play a five piece Pearl Masters Studio Drumkit, Zildjian Cymbals, Iron Cobra Speed King double pedal, and Vic Firth 7a drumsticks.”
What has helped everyone in terms of staying focused and evolving creatively?
Sado: “I believe the inspiration for creativity often comes from absorbing powerful emotions that we experience in life and shaping it into an expression through art. It seems very often that the emotional inspiration comes from negative experiences, but when we can take loss or failure and shape it into a creative expression or a story, we find that others can see themselves (or their own story) in it. Through this medium it seems we can gain some power over situations that may otherwise seem overwhelming. The best feeling is to know that an audience is not only receiving the feeling you’re trying to put out there, but they’re also reflecting it back at you in an amplified way. I think this is one of the things that makes performing music live such an exhilarating experience. In terms of evolving I think exposing myself to lots of new and different styles of music helps me to (hopefully) continue to grow as a write and a musician.”
Mead: “Creativity seems to come to me randomly when I’m inspired. Not necessarily from specific events either, I just have these moments where I’m full of ideas and then other days when I’ve got nothing. For example, the main riff/verse/chorus to the title track, Visitor, just came to me randomly as Sam and I were noodling around for 20 min or so one night while Sado ran home to grab his guitar. Super random delay at band practice and we got a killer song out of it; you never know where ideas will pop up.”
Adam: “For evolving, I believe listening to a lot of music will inspire a different way of song/riff writing. Focusing on song writing is hard to do with busy lives, but finding fragments of time to jam or record isn’t too hard. With the ease of home recording now a days, it’s great to be able to record a decently well mixed scratch track and text an mp3 of it to Sado an hour later for his thoughts.”
Sam: “I keep listening to music that inspires me and moves me to be a better drummer every day.”
What would anyone like to say about a song or album(s) you created or helped create recently and what kinds of feelings do you get from it?
Sado: “I recently wrote a song titled “Phantom Twin” that is based on the idea of how our lives can take drastically different paths based on simple choices that we make. I used the title “Phantom Twin” to relate this to a different version of me that I imagine would exist had a made other choices. I suppose I have spent a lot of time regretting the past and fearing the future, so with music as a form of therapy, this song is a way for me to attempt to overcome that and to try to start living in the present. To try and not focus so much on all that I could have been, and rather on who I am.”
Adam: “Since Sado writes the lyrics he definitely pulls the most emotion out of the songs. You can definitely hear it in his voice. Musicially, Parallel was a song I originally wrote and Sado and myself really worked on it in its infancy. I really like how no matter who has a song idea, we all add our opinions and work out a great Stomprocket sound.”
What is going on in the future and what else would everyone like to have going on in the future?
Sado: “We are currently planning a tour to coincide with our new album release, so in the near future it will be lots of playing live. After that we’ll probably take a bit of a break before getting to work on the next album.”
Adam: “In the immediate future, the Visitor tour will be what’s going on musically. I hope to be attending a Masters program somewhere not in Santa Barbara soon so I’m not sure how Stomprocket will survive without the most talented and best looking member. Just kidding.”
Sam: “I look forward to writing more songs and albums! It would be nice to someday actually get paid to be a professional musician… hahaha… (sigh).”
Are there any values or beliefs that band members would like to talk about?
Sado: “I believe staying focused on new goals is an important thing to feel alive and inspired. I hope to continue to strive for something outside of my reach. Even if I’m 90 I want to find new ways to create, learn and be inspired.”
Adam: “Thinking about how to improve yourself and situations is important to me. It can sometimes be mentally exhausting but improvement is an essential part for growth.”
Sam: “Be good humans.”
Is there any additional thanks anyone would like to give?
Sado: “I’d like to thank all the fans that have supported us throughout the years and the fellow bands and friends that we have made along the way. Music is a tough business these days, especially when it comes to playing live, and it’s nice to get support where we can. No matter what, I know I’ll always continue to create music as it has become a necessary part of my life. I suppose I’d like to thank all of those that help me (or put up with me) along the way, and of course our family and pets.”
Mead: “HUGE thanks to my wife, Christina, as she is very patient and accommodating to me when I have to be away a lot working on music. Also, Big thanks to Ryan and the whole team at Esoterik guitars. They have been an amazing support for this little small time guitar player in me.”
Adam: “Without sounding cheesy, I’d like to thank my friends, family, and anyone who has listened to Stomprocket and not turned off their sound system. Also, thanks must be given to Sado, Sam, and Mead for being great bandmates, even if I’m obviously the most talented and best looking member. Just kidding.”
Sam: “Thanks to my wife Diva for always being there for me, my family for supporting me, my friends for lifting me up always and my cat Salem for being so damn cute.”
From left to right: Mead Whippo (Guitars/ Backups), Sado Rabaudi (Vocals/Guitar), Adam Schaefer (Bass), Sam Frankeberger (Drums)
Photo/Video Credits: Emily Snell (Director), Ivy Hive (Makeup Artist), Issy Marie (Model), Matthew Ford (Director of Photography)