We met the Stoplight Observations boys at Bonnaroo in 2013. At the time it seemed like they were all fresh out of high school. Everything was exciting to them, as it should have been. It was one of their first big festivals, they were seeing it all from the backstage perspective of an artist, getting treated like rock stars to a certain extent, that’s exciting, especially when you get to do it with your best friends. We were camping next to the SLO boys for the weekend, so we got to know them and they got to know us, especially Spud.
Over the course of the next couple of years our paths would cross again, once in Austin, TX during SXSW, on the very night that an idiot would drive drunk through a crowd of festival-goers, and kill four of them. I myself was worried that my pals from Stoplight were amongst that crowd, as when we had said goodbye on the street that evening they had headed off in the direction of the incident. Fortunately they were fine. We would meet up again in my hometown of Asheville, NC, where I’d catch their show in front of a crowd of about twenty people. Regardless of the audience, the boys brought it like they were playing to a sold out arena. That’s when I really started to take notice, their talent was unmistakeable, the desire was there, and the love for what they were doing poured through in each tune, and the sweat that covered their brows. I snuck out before the set ended because I’m an old man and it was past my bedtime, but I caught up with them once again in my new home town of Venice Beach. I showed them around the iconic neighborhood and boardwalk and then brought Spud to see their performance at El Rey Theater. They pulled Spud onstage, gave him one of the best nights, I was really appreciative of them for that. They did right by a good friend of mine, well, of ours.
These boys are doing their thing. Touring the USA, and building a fan base, and I won’t be the least bit surprised when I see them announce a European tour and then a world tour. Each time I’ve seen these dudes perform, it’s been better than the last. They are extremely talented at their craft, and their music gets tighter and tighter as they get older and less blinded by the lights of success. Through it all though, one thing remains a constant, they are superb people. Each and every one of them is a pleasure to know. They always greet me with genuine smiles and excitement on their faces. They always take time to talk and find out how we’re doing. If I lived in Charelston or if they lived in Los Angeles, I have no doubt that we’d be great friends. So it was a really good feeling to be able to include them in our GQ X Jam in the Van Showcase at SXSW. I love being able to share successes with friends, and that’s what I consider each one of these guys. The fact that they blew the room away with their incredible new music was just a bonus, a totally expected bonus.
At any rate, I’ll stop wasting your time with all of this soft memories crap. You’re here for rock and roll, so without further interruption, this is Stoplight Observations. Tighten your shoes, unless you don’t mind losing your socks…