Clint Stevens Band has been a steady player on the Arizona band circuit. I’ve had several friends and employees tell me to get out of the house to see their shows. Knowing their lead vocalist, Steve Rector (Vocals) for a few years now and doing business in dispensaries with him has been a highpoint in my career. Knowing we both play music, I would drop in occasionally, including acoustic shows at a former employer’s Wellness Center. In this last year of shows around the state, they have written a new album to debut, Choice Chillington.
I was able to attend the album release at The Rebel Lounge, an excellent Phoenix venue that welcomed the bands, and was able to facilitate the bus from 420 Ultimate Tours. It was there that I was able to meet with the band, to talk then smoke (Dutchie’s from the band and my own Tropicana Cookies and Hash from The Superior Dispensary) with some of the group, Joe Irizarry (Keys) and Nick “Groove” Turner (Bass), Clint Richardson (Guitar), Chaz Fertal (Saxophone), with Henri Benard (percussion). The ability to speak with the band before the show helped me prepare for the show. A solid lineup of local music came out to support, to build the crowd, and finally it was time.
What a time it was, their set got the crowd moving, and a solid buzz from new material began. The dancing and good times took us through a series of emotions in waves of solid grooves and a chemistry not usually seen in Phoenix bands. Each voice of the group was heard, if not felt, with the new material driving the vibe of the venue. The high of the night continued, but we decided more time with a sit down to conduct the interview was needed. I was able to do so, a Weekend at Mondo’s, shoutout from the band, Buba and Mondo for the practice/interview space. We were also joined by the drummer Z, sitting in with the band while Henri is out on tour with another project.
What sort of influences does everyone bring to the band?
Nick: RX Bandits Steve: Red Hot Chili Peppers Z: Slightly Stoopid Clint: Sublime Chaz: Stan Getz The Room: Who? Chaz: Old Saxophone player, he has an album called Focus where he plays with an orchestra, and it’s just really fucking beautiful.
I grew up on a lot of Cab Calloway and his orchestra, the saying is “good horn players are hard to find” so I’m happy you got together with this bunch because I’ve seen you (Chaz) also play with The Hourglass Cats
Steve: Chaz literally came out of a bush.
We also have RX Bandits and RHCP in there. Where is that coming from? Why so?
Nick: They’re not as formulaic and pop, they have a lot of interesting musicality to them that we also apply to ourselves.
Steve: Yeah, transitions are big for us; we’re just trying to get you to feel different kinds of feelings.
Is there composed music or is it a feel from a jam you might be having that writes new material?
Z: It mainly starts with Clint, and he brings us his idea and miraculously we turn it into songs rather quickly.
Joe: A tasty Riff
Steve: Yeah, we’re pretty open to anyone’s ideas. We respect each other, and we also trust each other with what we working on. Everyone has their own fingerprint on everything that has everyone come together fucking Voltron style.
Joe: What I find that’s really beautiful, anyone can make a suggestion to anybody else, and they’re like “let’s try it”
Steve: It’s a mutual respect. It’s cool to see you guys, we’re here now, and it’s cool seeing us get to grow together.
It’s great to grow; it is an experience seeing Clint Stevens in a show passed to how they’re sound has evolved now. The difference from then is that I’m hearing the individual voices now, no one sounds lost in the mix of good waves.
Nick: I think the recording process sort of streamlined everything we were thinking of.
Nick: Its very path of least resistance, working together equally. There is no real song creator; Clint and I do some music theory stuff. We all react and do our own thing, with the recording process being a very black and white thing, it became let’s think about it, thought about it, let’s do that, that’s what we’re doing.
We had a good sesh before the interview started, what’s everyone’s preference, indica or sativa?
Steve: I’m mainly Indica
Chaz: Depends on if it’s day or night time.
Joe: I’m a sativa kind of guy
Any products, vendors, or strains that you’d recommend or patients should know about?
Steve: I work for Copperstate Farms, so I’m getting to really be a fan, but I’m always game for some Joel’s Lemonade from Ponderosa, which is a Sativa.
Joe: I can go for some Joel’s as well. I love a good Sativa or Sativa-Hybrid
We started this sesh with some GG#13 from my friends, and some Hard Candy from Copperstate Farms. It was a healthy two blunt sesh, very heavy duty. One of the few times I’ve had a CBD wrap done justice, Thanks Steven!
You guys have been on the scene for a while, what’s the struggle been like?
Joe: We spend a lot of time together so that makes it easier. We played a ton last year, for the album we’ve pulled back, but still busy touring the year before. It made us really tight; we played everything, acoustic, backyard BBQ’s, small joints, big shows, festivals…
Steve: If we can get you to not think about the bullshit that everyone goes through, just to enjoy some shit, if you can just get a good feeling from it, just get away a bit, that’s what music does for me.
This is your first full length record, where did you find the inspiration? Is it concept-heavy?
Steve: Not concept-heavy, we started saying choice, brought it back into the vocabulary when we played the Super Troopers 2 debut, we played the 420 release with the Timeless box, and after seeing the movie, we wanted to bring that vibe back.
Nick: Yeah, We all got that box.
Steve: So we just brought saying choice and chill back into the vocabulary, trying to be the choicest and chilliest. We create this entity, Choice Chillington, a young man in the 1600’s, though he was a man of peace; he was still slain pretty early. It’s really just us working and living to be choice and chill without losing ourselves.
What advice would you give to those in the music scene?
Joe: Knowing when to step back or when to take over, and how to contribute.
Steve: The common goal always, is to make something beautiful
Nick: Go out to any shows, if you love music, go to a show, come to our show, or check out any new bands. It doesn’t exist without people coming to shows; it will just make everything better.
Steve: If you’re out there drinking and smoking, partying. Might as well come out and support some local bands.
Nick: Or if it’s a work night, come out and have two beers and call it a night. Check out your favorite band or a new band, it doesn’t have to be a rager.
The room goes to our friend Katie, who expresses her love of Katastro as I mention getting her record player going. The main spins have been Katastro records, and her attending this festival with tickets won from that band. Steve announces that Choice Chillington vinyls will be a thing, coming to the public soon. Joe took the opportunity to mention band member Henri who is on tour with a side project, called Okilly-Dokilly, A Ned Flanders and Metal mash-up, I’m told it’s a genre considered Heavy Neddle. They recently had their song and video for White Wine Spritzer played through the credits of The Simpsons on a Sunday episode. They’re from here with an album called Howdilly-Doodilly, with they’re new follow up called Howdilly-Twodilly, and a feature in Rolling Stone Magazine to check out.
Check clintstevens.com for future shows, merch, and the full release of the new album, Choice Chillington
Favorite records? I think on the bus at the release show we had a good conversation about Jeff Buckley?
Nick: Oh goodness, one of my favorites
One of your favorites, one my favorites, an amazing tone and a voice so angelic yet very opera-esq. With those high peaks and low valleys of life in his recordings. With everything that I’ve heard, I can hear that influence as you play more melodic music, listening to those Ups and Downs, like a sharp knife to the side.
Steve: I like that; I think a lot of that comes from Clint
Clint: I listen to some old music, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Bob Dylan. I was growing up on simple music that I now bring to the table, but make it smoother.
Nick: What he isn’t telling you is he also has a jazz background.
Clint: I make it Jazzy
Nick: I have a little classical over here, so we kind of come together to figure out the structure, the skeleton and everyone fill in so it starts to evolve.
We move from the big questions to some of the yay or nays of the band!
Blunts or Joints?
The Room: Blunts
Waffles or Pancakes?
Almost everyone: Pancakes
Glad there is some counter-culture
Steve: I find both to be a little too sweet, so I don’t do either.
Is there a favorite spot for food, where do readers need to go out to eat?
Nick: Blackbear diner for waffles, and Wildflower Bread Co. for banana walnut pancakes!
Any Favorite musical gear or recommendations?
Z: Yamaha Stage Custom Drums
Nick: I go a Jazz bass through a Fender amp… oh your Telly is pretty cool, can I talk about it?
Clint: It’s your guitar.
Nick: It’s a telecaster with P-90 single coil pickups, but in the center position, you have a single Humbucker pick up, so it’s very unique for a tele. Twangy when on either side, but in the center position, it’s so creamy. I’ve had it for 5 years, and it is magical.
Chaz: Want to hear about my Sax?
Any day of the week, you call me up and I’ll listen.
Chaz: Well it’s an Eastman, it’s a great sax! Also to any horn players, go pick it up and put that shit out in the universe!
Almost Everyone: Yes, all around, that’s a go!
Chaz: Yes, but only around Clint Stevens, or if it’s around
The Room: Yes
Clint: Edibles, Dabs, Tinctures
Steve wearing his Good Things Coming edible brand gear, and giving a heartfelt shout out to Chef Theresa. We wrap the discussion and move on to listening to some exclusive recordings about to drop for the rest of the album. We try to find plans going forward. I was invited to 4/20 with the band, perhaps Days of Green with Clint Stevens Band. Tune in next month to see what comes next, as it is all good things coming with Clint Stevens Band!