Chad Stokes empowers his radio

Cellars by Starlight
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  December 12, 2012


To say that this is a busy time for Chad Stokes is an understatement. Having wrapped up a stateside tour with New England–based indie heroes Dispatch in October, he's on the road now fronting State Radio while mixing in a few solo dates and gearing up for another Dispatch jaunt next month, this time in Europe. Then, in March, he returns to the Continent with State Radio. Oh, and while his Calling All Crows nonprofit hosts two gigs this weekend, he's also attempting to get settled into a new house in Jamaica Plain.

"We moved in here, and I got two stoves and a dishwasher out on the front lawn," Stokes says with a laugh. "I just try to compartmentalize things so that it's not too crazy. Trying to navigate that, it just uses up a lot of my brain, I guess. With this State Radio tour, we've been playing all the new songs, and it's been 10 years since we released our first EP, so we're relearning all the old songs that we haven't played for years."

At a recent State Radio two-night stand in Boulder, Colorado, the band went straight-up Grateful Dead and did a completely different set each night. But despite the fairly Phishy audience for Dispatch, Stokes's somewhat crunchy demeanor, and the fact that he has a dog, Lefty, that's allegedly a direct descendant of the San Francisco acid eaters' legendary touring canine Karma, the guitarist and singer is not about to get up on stage and noodle for hours on end. "I like the Dead, but I was never a fan of the jam . . . that whole thing," Stokes says. "I actually went to a show at the old Garden and fell asleep during the drum jam. But it's great to know that as we're touring with Lefty there's a bit of legacy there."

With Dispatch, Stokes says he's "always surprised by the relevance, that we can take time off and then come back and have people still care about the band." And as the rougher-edged State Radio continue to gain momentum, it's the solo gigs that end up the most challenging, since the set list is culled from both bands and is being decided night-to-night by the notoriously devoted fans. Like the new digs he's trying to organize in his personal life amidst the touring chaos, there's much to be done. "There's some deep cuts and tunes that I never even really finished that are being requested, so I got a little work I gotta do for that," Stokes says. "I gotta basically finish the tunes or at least get them to some kind of playability."


CHADWICK STOKES + FRIENDS :: The Sinclair, 52 Church St, Cambridge :: December 14 @ 7 pm :: All Ages :: $25 :: 617.451.7700 or :: STATE RADIO :: House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston :: December 15 @ 7 pm :: All Ages :: $25-$100 :: 888.693.2583 or 

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  Topics: Music Features , Chad Stokes, State Radio, music features
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