FROM THE BEGINNING
Dave McClure and Bill Seitzinger – Tin Soup Duo
Once upon a time, oh about 13 years ago, drummer Dave McClure and guitar player Bill Seitzinger met while on the job. A mutual starving musician friend and co-worker of Bill’s, Slidin’ Jimmy, introduced Dave and Bill, knowing they had a common interest. Slidin’ Jimmy arranged for all of them to get together for a few beers and a little jam session. This melting pot of musical mayhem took place at Dave’s bachelor pad in Horsham, PA. It seemed to be the logical place because drummers always have the most shit to move, and bachelor’s are usually well stocked with a variety of alcoholic beverages. There were many beverages that night, and the trio managed to play "the blues" for far longer than could be tolerated by the average human ear. However, the saving grace was that in between the "twelve bars from hell" in assorted musical keys, Bill and Dave would manage to spin off a cover tune or two. It became immediately obvious to both that their musical talents and interests were very compatible and most enjoyable.
After a couple more drunken blues interludes with Slidin’ Jimmy, Dave and Bill decided that they needed to get together on their own to see if anything good would come of it. They met on a weekly basis for recording sessions and beverages at the bachelor pad. Some minor masterpieces were devised and tracks were laid over the next few years. Tin Soup was the name of the two-man band. Several original recordings were copyrighted and enjoyed by friends and family. However, family and business commitments kept the duo in "the basement" and the "doghouse" quite a bit, so the bar scene was out of the question for a while. But both knew that something was missing.
George Meenan – The Glue That Binds Us
Enter the "G-Man". After a move to Southampton for Dave, a rocky relationship, and a move to Warwick, the duo found themselves in the company of guitar player George Meenan. "Geo" just happened to notice the band equipment at Dave’s place when he was installing a kitchen and said, "how about getting together to have a jam session and a few beverages?" This was done shortly thereafter because after all, there is nothing starving musicians would rather do than have a beer session with a few tunes thrown in for good measure. Some cool things happened in those early sessions and before we knew it, Geo was working his magic, and getting us out of the basement.
Birth of The Rumble Dogs Rhythm Section
Bass. Every good band needs a good bottom end. They were definitely lacking depth. Somehow, somewhere, Geo was determined to find that depth. He found Big Dave Loomis. Big Dave and Geo had previously auditioned for a band that neither one really liked playing with. Geo, being the sly dog that he is, managed to rifle Big Dave away from them for an audition with the trio and a promise of something far better. It was quickly clear that Big Dave was the going to be the bass player for the band and an integral part of the "Rumble Dogs Rhythm Section". Somehow, Big Dave (bass) and Little Dave (drummer) found a way to get depth from a $200 PA system that didn’t have the capacity to give them any bottom at all. But they did, and it was good. They started getting into all of the things they loved to play as kids like Skynyrd, Clapton, the Allman Brothers, and Molly Hatchet. Soon enough the song list was building and they were looking to add more. They all agreed that they needed someone powerful to front the band.
Auditions and Hearing Loss
Auditions are not always the most enjoyable experiences. However, the foursome had a few. Two of the more interesting "singer" auditions were Mark and Debbie
Mark was cool and he could sing! Just ask him. The boys knew it wasn’t gonna work out when Mark did a sound check by screaming into his vocal mike at like 150 dB while everyone else was still setting up their equipment. It scared the crap out of all of them. Much to Geo’s dismay, it was at the exact moment that he had leaned over to adjust his amp and his head was directly in front of the main PA speaker. His baseball cap nearly flew off his head and he looked like that guy in the Memorex ad sitting in front of the speaker with his hair blowing in the wind! Needless to say, the boys didn’t ask Mark to stay real long.
Debbie on the other hand, was the best singer they had auditioned up until that point. She had a raspy voice and was somewhat on key. She had a couple tattoos and told the guys she was some kind of registered "high priestess" in Philly. WOW! She did one heck of a rendition of "What’s Goin’ On?" She told them that she had "even won contests singing that song." And they believed her. They brought her back a couple of times, but it was soon apparent that she didn’t have quite enough for them when she was singing side-by-side with the next audition, Stacey.
Stacy Can Belt It
Ahhh. Finally a REAL singer. Stacy was a friend of drummer Dave’s sister. She had been talking to Crazy Karen (Dave’s sister) about Dave’s band and reluctantly agreed to come over and sing with the boys just for the hell of it. The boys were floored! They heard a beautiful, booming voice coming out of this tiny, pretty little lady. Guitar player Bill knew that it was all good when Stacey was singing "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane and the hair on his arms was standing up tall. For some reason, it does that when he hears some really good music. He calls it a "hair woody". It was immediately obvious that Stacey had done this before and she had done it right. The boys begged and pleaded for her to sing with them. And she agreed. And it was good.
Practicing was fun and building a song list took some time, but eventually it was time for the band to venture out of the basement so that their music could be enjoyed by the masses. Putting it all together though had it’s moments of tension and disagreement. Relationships were forming among band members. There was a learning curve that needed to be learned by all. This included band family members who were not used to the idea of "band practice" Sometimes, it caused some stressful moments. Hence the name of the band…Stress Factor.
Bar Room Brawlin’
GIGGIN’ was a lot of fun with the original line up. It was the first time guitar player Bill and drummer Dave had ever played in bars. The band played at The Red Stallion in Warminster and The Game Room in West Chester. Many friends and family came to party with them. A rowdy bunch of alcoholics they are! Some of the funniest things at gigs happened at the Game Room. It seemed like every time they played a gig, there was a fight. Drunken brawlers seem to get fired up when they hear Skynyrd tunes for some reason. One drunken brawlerette fell all into drummer Dave’s kit one night. Don’t know how he did it, but he didn’t miss a beat. The gigs at the Stallion were always a bit more benign. Only one fight broke out and it wasn’t much of a fight. Rocco and Dominic were good to the band and to their delight, the band brought in many boozehounds. One night at the Game Room, the boys decided to try something a little different. A harmonica player named Ken.
Harpin’ On Harp Man Ken
Ken Ferrier just happens to be Bill’s bro-in-law. Yep, he married the big sister who used to yell down into the basement to "Turn that shit down!" when Bill had his guitar cranked up to 10 and was playing "Takin’ Care of Business" for the twentieth time in a row. Ken was just the man to add another dimension to the band. He brings his Petty-like vocals and hoppin’ harmonica licks to the show. Ken had never played in front of a live audience before and was feelin’ a little woozy the first time, but once he got the first taste of applause for his work on "What I Like About You" and "Long Train Runnin’", he was hooked. He has grown more and more comfortable with playing live and brings enthusiasm and support to the show every time. Now Kenny is "the man" and an integral part of the brothers Stress Factor. He shares much of the lead vocal load with the other members of the band and he brings fresh ideas and insight to the music. Most of all, HE LOVES TO PLAY. So sis, let my bro come out to play. We need him.
Changing Faces and Changing Places
Over a period of time, there were many dynamics that lead to changes in the band lineup and members of the fold. Relationships, ecstasy, agony, trials, tribulations, feedback, distortion, clarity, etc. For a while things were quite turbulent. One thing led to another and when the dust finally settled, the band had brought in another guitar player to the brotherhood and his name is Larry Pierce.
Larry was a long-time friend of Big Dave Loomis’ and a schooled musician with tasty chops and flying fingers. Big Dave brought him on board when he stole him away from a West Chester based band called "The Flying Nut Boys". He brought a whole new dimension to the band and a much-needed re-rejuvenation. His ability to navigate the fret board on a custom Geo-built Stratocaster amazed the audience and his band brothers. Larry too brought with him the ability to pick tunes that suite the band, the audience, and the ability to make them our own. Yeah, he’s a "stone cold rock-n-roller" from way back, but he can play the funk, the dance, the southern, or whatever style is needed to leave them dancing in the aisles or with their jaws on the floor. Even after Big Dave’s departure from the band, Larry has forged ahead with Stress Factor. He has made countless trips and driven hundreds, no thousands of slightly, and I use the term loosely, "impaired" miles to remain in the fold and do what he loves most…make music with the band. He is probably the most dedicated guy I know and he would do anything for any one of us. And in his own words, "I’m the nicest prick you’ll ever meet!" He is. While Geo quietly ran the board, built guitars, and played some rhythm, he was again preparing us for the next step. What would it be?
Enter Nate Grove
Geo had assumed the awesome responsibility of making the band sound consistently great by running sound full-time, and playing rhythm guitar part-time. This is a daunting task, but Geo managed to get the sound we needed to move to the next level. Through the wonderful process of "band dynamics" we found ourselves looking for another bass player. It just so happened that Geo was working on a construction job one day when he notice a rather large man working under a kitchen sink. A heaven-sent message must have been beamed down to Geo. Out of nowhere, he leans under the sink and says to him, "You’re a bass player aren’t you?" Now keep in mind that the two men had never seen or spoken to each other before. The guy sits up, and looking rather bewildered says, "Yeah. How did you know that?" And so it began. Geo had just accomplished the unthinkable. He found us the spark, the funk, and the personality we needed to get to things rolling once again.
Nate Grove can simply wow the crowd and EVERYBODY loves him. He came to audition with the band at Dave McClure’s Hilltown Palace one Sunday afternoon. What had happened between Dave and Bill many years prior, happen again with Dave and Nate. The two were immediately laying down a groove that felt so good they knew it was gonna work. Bill wasn’t quite so sure after just one practice, but after the second, it was obvious that Dave’s drums and Nate’s bass were kickin’ and it WAS gonna work!
OK. Now a seemingly southern rock, classic rock anchored band is playing KC, Prince, The Commadores, Wild Cherry, and a host of other very danceable tunes with Nate holding down the bottom end. His stage presence and care-free personality were something we all were able to feed off of and learn from. Nate not only brought the dance tunes in, but before we knew it, we were playing some VH and Ozzie to boot! Nate has had some cushy gigs during his career including playing with Patti Labelle and The Delfonics. He has given up opportunities to continue to play with his "new found family" The Stress Factor Band and we greatly appreciate his talents and his time…"Nate Time" that is.
Jim Yeager is In The House!
Even with the addition of Nate, the current lineup of Dave, Bill, Ken, Larry, and Geo still needed something more. This time, Larry found the next shining light on the Stress Factor Christmas tree. His name was Jim Yeager.
Jimbo answered an ad for a lead singer that Larry hung on a bulletin board where he was teaching guitar part-time. Larry talked to him on the phone and decided to bring him in for an audition. He walks down the basement steps, and Nate yells, "Yo Jimbo!" Again, with no prior knowledge of who Larry was bringing to audition, Nate had no idea that it would be a long-time friend of his younger brothers from the Coatesville area. Small freakin’ world or what? Probably or what. Like I said…heaven sent. Somewhere about a quarter of the way through Led Zepplin’s "Whole Lotta Love", was the point where Bill’s hair woody turned into hair loss. The stuff was so erect it was falling off his arms! My God could this guy belt it out. Pretty much anything we asked for, Jim Yeager could sing it. Leads, effortless harmonies, guitar, drums, keys, percussion, whatever. Jim can do it all. His original music was something we all enjoyed learning and playing as well. Jim had worked with a band called Vitamin F and laid down some of the best original tracks I’ve heard from a local artist in years. Artist…I don’t use that term loosely. Jim is an artist. His musicianship and stage work just elevated the band to new heights. Unfortunately for all of us, Jim is only able to join us occasionally for gigs now. You see, he found his soul mate in a lovely girl named Jo. He also has a new son named Auden and an extended family as well. The awesome responsibility of being a father is something Jim and I have talked about at length. His priorities now are his wife, son, and family…as it should be. We look forward to playing with Jim every chance we get and he is always a welcome addition and relief for us when he can be there performing with us.
Tragedy Strikes the Band
In March of 2004, the Stress Factor Band lost one of it’s founding members, Geo Meenan. George had some health issues over the previous couple years, but all seemed to be going pretty well for him. We had just played a benefit for Bucks county Special Needs on Saturday night. Geo said he was feeling a little under the weather, but played and sang the entire night. He was fortunate to have his family present that evening. We had a great time two nights before at Bill’s house with a little impromptu get together. Our last memories of Geo will always be ones that involved fun, music, laughter, and love among good friends.
Geo called to say he had seen a doctor on Monday after the benefit and that he was taking medication to treat his illness. He assured us that he would be fine. On Tuesday morning, he was gone. He passed away at home from sudden cardiac arrest. No words can express the sadness and loss that the band, his family, and the world suffered when G passed away. The world was a better place with him in it. We are all better people because he was a part of our world, our family, our band, and our circle of friends. He will be greatly, greatly missed. The Stress Factor Band will never be the same without him, but we know that he would want us to carry on and keep the music going. Keep Geo, Judy, Jason, and Ryan in your prayers always, as we will.
Well, at this point the future of The Stress Factor Band is simple…keep the music going. By now, every member has had a taste of the stage, the music, the applause that makes music so fun and so rewarding. We will continue to dedicate ourselves to improving the sound, increasing the peace, making new friends and fans, and making music for all to enjoy. The brotherhood that we call Stress Factor is a bond among men that cannot be broken. It will not be broken, because first and foremost, Stress Factor is about friends. Great friends who share a common love…music. We hope that one day everyone can experience a similar kind of joy that happens to us every time we get together and play. It is just tremendous. Come out to see us if you can. Bring a friend. Have a drink. Dance your ass off. Go home with someone you love and make a baby, or try to at least. Peace everyone and God bless.