|What was your family like?
I'm the fourth of five kids ... three boys and two girls. In our early teens, we went to church once or twice a month. You had to go three times in a row to become a member ... and we never made it (laughs). It was a Lutheran church. Then we also went to a Presbyterian church that we would drive to every so often, but not even as much as the Lutheran Church.
What was the first record you ever owned?
The first 45 r.p.m. was "Happy Hands" by Captain Kangaroo. The first album was "Bachman Turner Overdrive - Not Fragile." And my dad hollered at me, because I kept saying, "Mom, I need this much more money," and finally they gave it to me. My mom cracked.
What was the first record you bought for yourself?
The first 45 was "Bang-Shang-A-Lang" by the Archies, and the first album was "Bachman Turner Overdrive - II." The first Christian album I owned was "Daniel Band - Straight Ahead."
We hear you're a big collector of eight-track tapes ...
I go to flea markets, garage sales, whatever ... wherever I can smell an eight-track. I honestly don't know why, because every time I put one in they break; they're so rotted, and that little metal thing falls out. I don't think I'll buy eight tracks anymore; I'll just buy records.
You started out as a guitarist. How did you learn to play?
My dad bought a guitar, an old Harmony Stella. I just picked it up and started playing. He hardly ever picked it up. We had guitar class in school. In seventh grade we had piano and then in eighth and ninth we had guitar. The one thing I do regret is that one time my brother got me mad when we were getting up in the morning, and I whaled a sweeper part at his feet because his foot was the only thing that was exposed because he was getting out of bed. He moved his feet and it hit the side of Dad's guitar and put a big, long crack in it.
Who were your big influences as guitarists?
My biggest influence was K.K. Downing and Glen Tipton from Judas Priest cause they were excellent metal guitar players, and they would trade licks and go back and forth and harmonize, which I really liked. I think as good so-called "party" music, I think B.T.O. plays good. I like their sound. And of course, Ace Frehley in Kiss.
What was your first band?
My brother Dave bought a drum set for $3 off my neighbor. It was one of those Tom Thumb things, I think they call it. They used paper plates for heads. And me and him, we would just play around in our bed room along with records. We called ourselves "Dead End."
How did you learn to play bass?
Well, actually, I haven't yet. (Laughs) There's still so much more I need to learn. Especially when I look at my bass book and listen to other bands and I hear their runs and fills. But the major reason is because I love God, I love music and I always wanted to get into a band. And I love the ministry to the younger people. I knew there was a need in the band (ApologetiX), I happened to have a bass and it's shaped like a guitar. If they needed a violin player, I would have taken up the violin 'cause it's kind of shaped like a guitar, too.
Why do they call you "Stan"?
One misquote by a waitress at a Waffle House in Georgia. The waitress didn't really know my name and just thought I looked like a "Stan" and that's what she called me. Ever since then, it's just stuck. I think it's funny. When I think about it, the only Stan I know is Stan Laurel from Laurel & Hardy. I'm thinkin' ... is that who she confused me with?
You filled in once for ApologetiX way back in December 1992 ...
Their bassist couldn't make it, and even back then I didn't know how to play the bass. I just wanted to play "Livin' After Midnight," it was about the only song I knew. I just kind of watched Karl and Andy's fingers and just faked my way through it; kind of like I still do to this day.
Had you ever thought about joining ApologetiX after that?
Actually at the time, I did have a band I was trying to get going with a couple of people from church, but it never really took off. But since I married Krista (in 1990) and Karl being my brother-in-law, I often wondered if I was good enough to be in the band.
When I heard Andy had left the band, I really got excited. I thought, "I think they'd give me a chance," but then I thought, "There are probably a lot of better bass players than me." But they gave me the chance, and I took the chance. Years earlier, a friend from an old band I was in had given me a bass, but I'd never really played it much.
What was your first concert as the official bassist like?
Nervous, but it was really fun, too. I had a couple friends come down from north of Pittsburgh thinking they were just going for a 20-mile drive. They ended up thinking they had crossed the Mason-Dixon line on the way down, because the concert was well into West Virginia. Seeing them out there kind of made me feel a little more comfortable ... a peaceful, easy feeling. That's it; that's what I had! Especially after all the girls started swooning at me (laughs).
Did you say "swooning" or "spitting?"
Tell us about that bag you carry everywhere with you.
That's kind of like Linus' blanket; That's pretty much all the music for all the songs that we do. Every time I get a little bit of time to look them over, I try to take advantage of it.
We hear you're a Star Trek fan.
Oh, yeah. I don't dress up like them or anything, but I do like Star Trek. You go down to Carson Street on the South Side and you see people dressed up like Vulcans and Klingons; I'm not quite that weird. I do have all the Star Trek Christmas ornaments up till this year. Krista got me Riker, Picard and Q dolls that talk when you push their back. You press the button and they say three different phrases. And she bought me a Next Generation candy bar, but I don't want to eat it, because it might be worth money in the future. I guess I'm more of a fan than I think I am.
When did you become a born-again Christian, and how?
I don't remember the date and the time I did it, but it was when I was in high school - I believe it was '75 or '76 and what brought me to the Lord was I used to hang around with my best friend at the time's mom, who was very much into church stuff. And she didn't drive a lot, and he would drive, and I just lived down the road, and I would drive around with him. Some of the times I would go into some of these meetings and stuff, and she would pray for me, and she was probably the instrument God used most in my life to get me saved. We would just talk about God ... just little tidbits. Just little things that she said - little fillers here and there. Just by the way that she lived. Seeing her read her Bible, and praying, and praying for other people - just influenced me.
Did you feel different right away?
When did you know that something had changed?
I believe not too long after that ... I played guitar though I was very new at it ... I sat down to write a song to the Lord. I can't remember the title. I made the commitment, but I really didn't walk with the Lord for a while, because I didn't really have any discipleship whatsoever in my hand. But I did start going to church - I used to go to Wildwood in Aliquippa with friends and this friend's parents went to a missionary school, and they played a role just by visiting them. Of course, my friend had a big part in that, too, besides his parents.
How do you know it's real?
I don't feel the way I did before. I don't do the things I did before. I have no yearning to do the things that I'd done before. It just makes too much sense to me compared to what everybody else has to offer.
How did it affect your musical tastes?
No secular music whatsoever. Everything was Christian music. I burned everything except my Bachman Turner Overdrive albums. I kept my B.T.O. albums (laughs).
How long did that last?
Oh, geez. I'd say several years.
If a person asked you, "Why should I become a Christian?" What would you say?
Well, first of all, hell scares me. I think the overall peace you feel about things no matter what situation you're in. Knowing that there's a way out, even though at particular times you might wonder where God's at, you can always look back after the experience and see where He was.