Thursday, December 11, 2014

"You're In Some Trouble Son" Track Comments

Thirty Dollar Stella's new album "You're In Some Trouble Son" has some pretty unique tracks on it. Here's the skinny on the players and the stories behind the music.

1. Mystery Train – (Herman) Junior Parker
Doug "Tonebender" Van Quekelberg – Vocals, bass
 "Mick" Kreple – Drums
Steve "Reno" Norr – Guitar
Written by and first performed by Junior Parker and The Blue Flames, made more famous by Elvis Presley with the famous Scotty Moore guitar lick. Stella takes it for a long ride three piece style. We love this tune.

2. One Eyed Ford – Van Quekelberg / Kreple
Doug Van Quekelberg – Vocals, harmonica
Mick Kreple – Guitar, bass, drums
Terry "Tornado" Quinn – Lead Guitar
Original tune reminiscent of a game played on dates long ago where whoever saw the “one eyed car” coming the opposite direction on the road could steal a kiss from the other participant. We remember lots of cars with one dead headlight. Rockabilly jalopy drivin’ music.

3. Six Days On The Road – Green / Montgomery
Doug Van Quekelberg – Vocals, electric upright bass, harmonica
Mick Kreple – Guitar, drums
Terry Quinn – Resonator guitar
Dave Dudley’s hit from 1963 written by the Muscle Shoals boys, often covered, always a fun truck drivin’ gear jammin’ road trip tune via Stella’s simplest groove. “Georgia Overdrive” – look it up.

4. Lone Train – S. Norr
Doug Van Quekelberg – Bass, harmonica
Mick Kreple – Slide guitar, drums
Steve Norr – Guitars, Vocals
Original tune by Reno, on a train ride with the devil himself, or possibly Ozzy, you decide.

5. Whiskey In A Pickup - Van Quekelberg / Kreple
Doug Van Quekelberg – Vocals, bass
Mick Kreple – Drums, guitar
Scott "Viva" Davis – Lead guitar, lap steel guitar, harmonica
Original tune inspired by a scene in the movie “In The Valley Of Elah” where if you find yourself drinking whiskey in a pickup truck with Tommy Lee Jones, you can bet “you’re in some trouble son”.

6. Copperhead Road – S. Earle
Doug Van Quekelberg – Vocals, bass, harmonica
Mick Kreple – Drums, guitars
Steve Earle’s seminal bar hit from 1988 driven back up into the hills in a Stella mason jar fashion, primitive groove with the same haunting message.

7. Wanna Rock And Roll – Ray Wylie Hubbard
Doug Van Quekelberg – Vocals, bass, harmonica
Mick Kreple – Drums, guitars
Saw Ray do this one live a couple times with “John The Revelator” and “Whoop & Holler” added in the middle and at a fever pitch. A man once said “never second guess inspiration”. From that this version emerged and the result was infectious. Your jealous actions can have dire consequences viewed from an Alabama roadside.

8. Roller Derby Queen – J. Croce
Doug Van Quekelberg – Bass, harmonica
Mick Kreple – Vocals, drums, guitars
Steve "Stevie Ray" Neilson – Lead guitar
A favorite from our early days in bands back when frequently the roller derby was on TV in bars in the seedier side of town. Best heard with shots and a beer.

9. The Cowboy Monkey Song - Van Quekelberg / Kreple
Doug Van Quekelberg - Vocals
Mick Kreple – Drums, guitar, bass
Steve Norr – Cigar box guitar
Original tune, he’s from the 50s, keeps time with his foot, wears a black hat, still a badass, he’s Cowboy Monkey.

10. This Time Darlin’ – M. Ness
Doug Van Quekelberg –  Vocals, bass
Mick Kreple – Drums, guitars, piano
Social Distortion meets Stella. This kind of hurt just takes on a life of its’ own, with one last tune on the piano before leaving.

11. Where Did It All Go Wrong - Van Quekelberg / Kreple
Doug Van Quekelberg –  Vocals, bass
Mick Kreple – Drums, guitars
Original, there’s just so much anyone can take, whether it’s the dirty thirties or a present day cancer battle, many lay down and give up where few triumph. Lead guitar with true real life feeling, dig it.

12. What The Cowgirls Do – Gill / Nielsen
Doug Van Quekelberg –  Vocals, bass
Mick Kreple – Drums, guitars
Steve Norr – Lead guitar
Vince Gill’s mid 90s cowboy bar line dance tune, Stella takes it down to a greasy lounge tempo and puts the slide work right in there where it feels so good. Dirty martinis and Lone Star beer for the room.

13. Bad Liver And A Broken Heart – S. Nolan
Doug Van Quekelberg –  Vocals, guitar, harmonica
Musician survival tune written by Canadian Scott Nolan, you’d think he was from Texas, we know what he’s feelin’. “In this line of work no one retires.”

Friday, December 5, 2014

"You're In Some Trouble Son" due for digital release this month.

There's a new CD looming on the horizon for the Thirty Dollar Stella band. Estimated release date for the digital downloads on Amazon, iTunes, December 8th. Hard copy CDs next month. You can listen to the masters on our Reverbnation site - - We are super excited about this release, it was a HOOT to record and came out great! Please give it a listen and buy our tunes - support independent music - we love our fans and put a lot of our soul into this one!

Monday, November 24, 2014 Review

Less-Is-More With Thirty Dollar Stella ~ By Gary Schwind @ 9/11/2014

"Recently, Gene Simmons declared that rock is dead. That is a debate that could rage on for hours, but basically Simmons is declaring that he knows all the rock bands out there and that none of them are as good as KISS. It is pretty presumptuous - not to mention self-aggrandizing - to say something like that, but even more than that is that you can't really declare any genre (except maybe disco) dead because there are always bands in all genres worth discovering. The onus is on the music fan to go out and discover those bands, which is easy enough to do considering outlets like ReverbNation, Bandcamp, etc. Really all you have to do is search one of your favorite genres on one of those sites, and you're bound to find something you like."

"One of those bands that's worth discovering is Thirty Dollar Stella, a band currently at #22 on the Los Angeles country chart on ReverbNation. This band certainly falls into the country category. However, this isn't cowboy-hat country. The country aspect of this comes from the heavy blues influence of this band as well as some alt-country sounds. The first song on the ReverbNation player is a cover of the country/blues classic "Mystery Train" This is a great version of a train song - and let's face it; there's never a bad time for a train song. This band shows it can straddle the line between alt-country and blues. A good example of this is the band's cover of "Six Days on the Road". The band takes this song and puts some good twang into it. It's very different than Taj Mahal's version of the song, but it's really good."

"If you want to hear more of the blues sounds of this band, check out the song "What the Cowgirls Do". This is a slow-burning, lowdown blues song that features some awesome slide guitar. This is a great song for slow dancing with someone in a dark juke joint. And if you like slide guitar, check out the song "Wanna Rock and Roll". This may not be front-porch blues, but it's honest-to-goodness, lowdown blues - and it even includes some lyrics from the blues standard "John the Revelator". When you check out the band's Blogspot page, you'll see that the band strives for a less-is-more approach. It's safe to say that the guys follow through on it. There are not a whole lot of bells and whistles in the songs, just a lot of great licks and real simple, straightforward vocals. Thirty Dollar Stella is currently working on a CD, which will include the first five songs on the ReverbNation player as well as some other songs. Be sure to get a copy when it's available."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The "100" Club

A friend asked me the other day in an email if I’d heard about the ‘100 Club’ where the members have pared their possessions down to 100 items, this was my response.

If that is true I’m screwed. Guitar and music item hoarder. Still have my Hot Wheels. There would have to be a fire for me to comply. I do not NEED much, I just LIKE this stuff. We are slowly getting rid of stuff, it’s something that we involve the kids in so no one feels like they missed out on a deal or that we are keeping crap that nobody wants. It is a liberating process, mixed with a lot of memories.

When we sold my parents stuff, I realized how truly unimportant it became as soon as they had no need for it anymore. So many things that we were told to hang on to, mostly by my mom, were not as valuable as they thought and/or did not hold the sentimental value for us that it did for them.

More than once I was asked "what did I want in their house when they are gone". I would walk through the house with my mom hearing about what antique thing came from what distant relative. I told my dad I would like his tools and his navy pictures and uniform, some other old pictures of old relatives for genealogy purposes. He said “that’s it?”. Yep. My dad liked his tools and some of the furniture he’d refin’d, but he didn't need any of it.

I have my dad’s pocket knife on my workbench. I really don’t use it much. I just hold it when I think about how to make something work or fix something I busted. The answers come. Is it him telling me right now or a replay of something I was taught and didn't know I had retained? I tell him thanks…a lot.

So each kid will most likely pick out a guitar to keep when I’m gone. Some really good ones will go to a low bidder. Nothing I can do, won’t need them then. I’m sure I’ll thin the herd in the years to come. One of the kids will just want my pocket knife. I hope it contains the answers to some of the tough questions later on.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"The New Phonebook's Here!"

A line out of Steve Martin's 'The Jerk' referring to his name being listed publicly for the first time. Kinda the feeling we got here at Stella's when the box from DiscMakers showed up last week.

"The new Thirty Dollar Stella CDs are here!"

Yep, they're here alright. The digital versions took longer than the pressed CDs, go figure. Anyway the digital downloads will be available 1/23/12 on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Virgin Mega and about 20 more sites.

If you buy the CD you get a piece of plastic you can, play in the car, hold, throw, put a drink on, chew on, a cardboard sleeve with our pics on it and some really heartfelt words, also a cowgirl pinup pic, so that's pretty cool.

If you by the digital downloads, you get a bunch of 0s and 1s crammed into your phone, computer or iPod and a unrealistic sense of well-being from helping to support the production of even more Stella tunes and CDs and downloads in the's like an americana mobius strip of pretty good music and tolerable singing.

Either way we're putting on the sad doggy eyes and asking that you spend two days of your Starbucks money on our little venture here. Make us feel a tiny bit like we're living the dream, albeit just for a moment, and we're "real" musicians.

Ahhhh....that's nice, ain't it? Here's the linky-dink Thirty Dollar Stella's CD

We'll leave the back porch light on and the screen door un-latched for you, come on down to the Second Hand Americana Music Shop and set a spell.

Friday, December 23, 2011

1961 Kay Value Leader Guitar

Saw Ryan Bingham on Youtube playing one of these made by Kay under the Old Kraftsman name (Kay made these for Spiegel). The tone was awesome and i decided that I needed another guitar right away. Found a well worn unit on ebay and scored it for about half of what they are going for these days. After some minor adjustments and gluing of some loose binding, it was ready to go. Tthe "zippo" DeArmond single coil pickup and the 0.1 vintage "firecracker" wax and paper tone capacitor rule the dark bluesy tube breakup tone of this recording session star. A very cool find indeed.