Stone Anderson’s band to perform first gig since beloved Huntsville musician’s death
One of Northern Alabama’s best rock & roll bands is about to play the toughest gig they’ve ever done.
Rob Aldridge & The Proponents’ 7 p.m. show June 18 at Stovehouse is their first without bassist Stone Anderson, the gifted and beloved local musician who died on April 9 at the age of 27 of an overdose accidental drug use.
There is no replacement for the irreplaceable. Or forget the unforgettable. But sometimes life demands moving forward, even if every step is heavy and hard as hell.
And that’s exactly what The Proponents – singer / guitarist Rob Aldridge, guitarist Rob Malone and drummer Nick Recio – will do on the Stovehouse stage. In addition to playing their ass for their deceased brother and for their own catharsis.
Matt Ross, of local rock band The Nerves and a veteran of bands like 5ive O’clock Charlie, Toy Shop and Microwave Dave & The Nukes, will be on bass. The promoters added keyboards for the show, bringing in Clint Bailey, who, along with Ross, also performed with the Dave Anderson Project, a group led by Stone’s father, Brother Cane singer / guitarist Dave Anderson, and fame d ‘Atlanta Rhythm Section.
Dave Anderson recently announced on social media a planned celebration of a life event honoring Stone, slated for July 31 at the Von Braun Center’s Mars Music Hall at 700 Monroe St. The Musicians involved and further details have yet to be announced.
The Props Friday concert is the absolute must-see first local show of 2021 and promises to be a Huntsville musical moment for the ages. Stovehouse is located at 3414 Governors Drive and shows are free.
Despite being the son of the greatest musician Huntsville has ever produced, Stone has lived in no one’s shadow, musically or otherwise. Besides his nuanced Tommy Stinson-influenced bass with The Proponents, Stone has also recorded and performed with indie rockers Silver Fern, among other artists, as well as a solo acoustic act influenced by Neil Young. Stone was also a special person outside of music, and if you were lucky enough to be his friend, as true as they come. It was electric to be in his orbit. Huntsville’s music will never be the same without him. Neither am I.
Recently, I reached out to Aldridge for an interview before the Stovehouse show. Below are edited excerpts from that conversation. For updates on the promoters, follow the group online at facebook.com/robaldridgemusic.
Rob, when you think about going on stage on Friday, what is the range of emotions that you feel?
I’m really excited and nervous in a good way. I want everything out of our control to be okay – the sound, the crowds, the weather, etc. – but I usually don’t worry about things I can’t control, usually. A lot of these songs aren’t second nature to me after such a long hiatus from the band’s concerts, but it can also breathe new life into them and make room for new ideas. And let’s face it, we’ll never be the same band again so I can’t hold on to the changes. I worry a little bit about breaking down during the songs because there were a lot of little things that Stone and I did together in places that were just ours, things that evolved live and including we never spoke or thought until these points in the song occurred. I won’t know until I get to these places and feel his absence.
Many of us knew and loved Stone Anderson and were in awe of his talent. But apart from his family, I don’t know anyone with a deeper connection to him than you. What has been your journey since Stone’s death?
I mean, it sucks. I’m not going to water it down, we’ve been robbed. I honestly believe there is a sick asshole who knew Stone was getting a bag full of drugs. So that makes me angry. And if you’re someone who blindly condemns drug addicts and thinks Stone has earned what he has, well, I can definitely tell you the world would be a better place with Stone here and you are gone. I knew a lot of Stone’s mental health issues, among others, but I have had to learn more about even deeper issues since his death.
But besides evil, there were also wonderful and beautiful things. In particular, the number of people from different places who have reached out that we may have only met briefly at a show somewhere. They all seem to have had a moment or story with Stone, however brief, that struck a chord in their hearts that they were truly around a special human being. Even Patterson Hood (of Drive-By Truckers) reached out to Malone to send him his condolences and talked about meeting Stone at our Nick show in Bham. But I still take my phone to text or call him every day. I still have work to do to get out of this.
What makes Stone special as a bassist? Where do you think he was heading musically?
Stone brought so much attitude to the group. And while he had the least experience, I think he had the better ear. Much like Malone on guitar and my own approach to songwriting, he picked up a lot of different styles of bass playing, but they didn’t just exist separately in his head, he could implement a lot of different things into one. only sound. He also had no ego and knew when to keep the parts simple and liked it.
Matt Ross – a talented player, awesome dude and total pro – plays bass for this Stovehouse gig. Why was Matt the right choice to play bass for the Props?
Well he was friends with Stone, he and Malone go way back with the Fiddleworms, and he started my first band with Malone, (called) Fatso. So we all know each other pretty well, there’s nothing embarrassing about that. More than anything he is a fantastic bass player who currently knows some of our songs better than us after this time off.
What are your long term plans for bass? Matt going to be with The Props for the opening of Jason Isbell’s upcoming shows (September 3 in Montgomery and October 7 in Mobile), and beyond too?
Well, that’s the plan right now. It’s really more a question of availability, because he also plays with other people. I certainly don’t want to steal it from anyone, but it’s hard to replace or rotate any part of a rhythm section. I had to do this a few times on drums and I swear to god it feels like it takes us back a year each time. I’m ready to finally hit the road, tighten all our screws and no one is going anywhere. Even though we’ve developed our sound over the years, I really believe we’re only scratching the surface of what we’re capable of because we’ve never had more than a few passages with the same group of guys.
Isbell’s shows are postponed from last year, due to the pandemic. As a talented local artist who has paid her dues, is it exciting to finally have this great opportunity, after leaving it out for a while?
While 2020 was heartbreaking and recently it was a bummer to move July to October, I’m relieved to have a little more time to put things back together and hopefully release some new music. . I think when we come back to it, it will seem right in time.
What was the last concert of Props with Pierre? And is there a moment that stands out for you now from this concert?
We actually played a short gig in Sheffield for my friends Richard Bennett (from psych-pop group Gravity Waves) and Kevin Robinson (former Father John Misty drummer). They are two of the most fiery, piss-n’-vinegar dudes I have ever met. They have this video series that features emerging artists, so our last show with Stoney is actually documented on some really nice cameras and recording gear. They haven’t released it yet because we want to do something special with it, but we don’t know that yet and I don’t think I can watch it yet.
Adding keyboards, along with Clint Bailey, to the sound of The Props for the Stovehouse gig is a good thing, I think. Is this something that you will also hold onto for the long term? What do the keys unlock for your band and you as a singer?
Clint can improve the sound of any band. I would like to have it as much as possible. I think adding Clint helps me cope with the change on bass. It’s kind of an embrace of change for the band, or maybe just fighting a change that caught me off guard with a change that I have a say in. I don’t know, I’m a pretty competitive guy, I could see it’s me pulling a comeback, but more than anything, Clint is just a very, very good player and it’s fun.
How long are Fan guitarist Rob Malone and drummer Nick Recio before this show?
We’ve all been affected in different ways, really. I don’t feel comfortable talking about their experience, but I can say it was intense for all of us.
What tracks from the upcoming second Props album are you looking forward to playing at the Stovehouse concert? And what is the mood of the lyrics and the music?
Well, a few of the songs that we were playing before we started the album, so some might be familiar with them, but there are a few that we will be playing for the first time and it’s always exciting. Without revealing too much, the disc tackles dark subjects in terms of the lyrics, but there is also hope everywhere. Musically this record is a little less punk, a little less upbeat. We’ve taken our time and tried to create a listening experience that maybe isn’t always 100% recreated 100% live, but we’re still confident in how the songs hold up as a rock band to four.
Friday’s show centers around your originals, which is great. You will also be playing covers that Stone loved. Which artists will you cover?
Definitely a few replacements and a Steely Dan tune that Stone and Malone learned awhile ago that I just dragged my feet on and we never got to. Maybe another surprise in there too.
Do you already have a title for the new Props disc? And what’s the latest on an estimated release date, formats and other group news?
I think I chose the title “Mind Over Manners”. It’s a song I wrote during the BLM (Black Lives Matter) protests, so that’s what the song itself is aimed at, but I think that line better carries a theme from the record. Hopefully coming out by the time of our Oct. 7 show with Jason, but if it feels rushed, maybe in 2022. There will be vinyl this time around and hopefully a few simple releases with videos before then.
The Stovehouse concert will culminate with a “special guest”. What more can you tell us about this? If you don’t want to reveal who it will be exactly, how would you describe this guest? “Friend of the family”?
Family and friend. This will be the hardest part of the show.
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