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Twin Personas: Stook & Martin Devaney

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Twin Personas Interview

As an outsider looking in on the local Twin Cities music scene one may be left with a simplistic look as to what it is that The Cities and their modern artists have to offer. But aside from conversations surrounding Hüsker Dü, The Replacements or even Tapes ‘n Tapes what does the rest of the nation honestly know about the music and the musicians of Minneapolis and St. Paul? As an outsider myself it is overwhelming when attempting to step into The Cities and figure out just where to being when attempting to find the best music that they have to offer. In this edition local musicians Joshua Stuckey (Stook) and Martin Devaney discuss the opportunities that the city affords its talent, what separates the Twin Cities scene from the rest of the nation and their favorite local musicians.

What brought you to the Twin Cities or have you always lived and played here?

Stook: I am originally from Northeast Indiana, I moved here a few years ago. I moved here because of the music scene. At this point I don’t think I could live anywhere else. I originally was going to stalk Gary Louris but I got distracted.

Martin Devaney: St. Paul, born and raised.

How has living here allowed you to develop your music?

Stook: Probably more than anything else the opportunity to play original music, and the fact that there is a demand for that sort of thing.

MD: The Twin Cities music scene has always been extremely supportive of itself and it’s been easy to feel comfortable here.

Have you found any local talent which you feel compliments your style?

Stook: For sure. This town has been historically receptive to the rootsy singer songwriter thing. But as far as I know we are the only Tom Petty tribute band that makes up their own songs.

Martin Devaney: Well, that’s sort of why I started Eclectone Records – to be around the bands that I feel in tune with, though there are plenty more including Stook!

Who are your favorite local acts to play with?

Stook: We haven’t played a whole ton of shows, but there hasn’t been a band we played with that wasn’t a ton of fun. Martin Devaney is a real sweetheart and High on Stress rips. We had a lot of fun on a bill with (Chris) Koza and Alarmists and White Light Riot and The God Damn Doo Wop Band at The Entry for the Minnesota Music Awards.

Martin Devaney: I always enjoy Big Ditch Road, The Ashtray Hearts, Superhopper, if it’s more of a rock thing.

Has the Twin Cities’ scene been nurturing in the sense that it has helped you grow as a musician?

Stook: Yeah!

Martin Devaney: Definitely.

How would you compare the clubs around Minneapolis & St. Paul to those that you’ve played elsewhere around the nation?

Stook: People take it for granted, when we did our little tour in November. The one thing that really sticks out in my mind is the reaction from patrons, and sound guys, and bartenders. When I described the scene here in Minneapolis/St. Paul they were shocked at how good we got it.

Martin Devaney: Well, they’re all pretty alike, though I know for a fact that the people who run most of the clubs here have genuine care for the bands that play there. No one’s an asshole unless they have a reason, for the most part.

Which are your favorite local clubs to play at?

Stook: I like ‘em all! But the Mad Ripple Hootenanny takes the cake. Without question the premier “listening” event in the world in the last 100 years. HOOT! HOOT! P.S. if you’re going to go to the hoot don’t make any goddamn noise!

Martin Devaney: Turf Club, The Entry, 400 Bar, 331 Club for acoustic stuff…

Have you found anything intangible that sets the Twin Cities’ music scene apart from the rest of the nation?

Stook: This may sound obnoxious coming from a guy entrenched in the scene, but I really believe there is more talent in the sin twitties right now than in any place in the country. I also think that the thing that will eventually set this about to be historic scene apart from the rest of North American music history is that there is a common thread that weaves through all of the bands. And I think that the common thread is just insanely great songs (both lyrically and melodically) regardless of style. Everybody is just too good anymore. If I were to give someone advice about making it, I would tell them to move to New York or Nashville or Austin or L.A. on account of there is just way too much competition here.

Martin Devaney: I guess the fact that most of the fans are also in bands – very intertwined.

What local resources do you use to find out about new music?

Stook: How Was the Show is the only resource for local music, all others pale in comparison! Their calendar rocks too. Plus there is the added benefit of knowing some HWTS’er is basically at every show so you never have to drink alone.

Martin Devaney: The weeklies and the odd music website/blog.

Do you feel that local print and broadcast media attempt to stay current in terms of monitoring trends within the Cities?

Stook: Yeah probably – anyways I feel like if Martin Devaney is my twin persona than I am in trouble… could you find me a handsomer person to be twins with?

Martin Devaney: I do, but there are certain situations, as of late, that seem to be taking steps to stifle some of the better writers out there. I hope that stops.

Which are your favorite local musicians?

Stook: Said Method, The Cates, Jonathan Earl Band, Martin Devaney, High on Stress, The Cates, Little Man, Joanna James, Chris Koza (bad ass rec league power forward from hell), Alarmists, Charlie Dush, The Cates, Jeaneen Gauthier, Karmaglide, Dan Israel, The Cates, Heise Brothers, The Jayhawks, Tim O’Reagan, Brianna Lane (and) The Cates.

Martin Devaney: To name a few…there are many…so, I’ll just say Mike Gunther.