It seemed like the end, or at least something very much like it for beloved local pop-rock/jam scenesters Grandpa’s Stash, what with singer Scott Faw moving back to his hometown Nashville after pharmacy school, having a baby with his wife and embracing the exigencies of “real” adulthood. And then there was guitarist Andrew Sayne, the indie-rock square peg stuck in the round hole of a hippie band, ever anxious to devote more of his time to Madre, the long-running Pixies-esque college radio quartet of which he was a co-founder. And then, as if the Fates themselves yet cried out for one more proverbial nail in the band’s metaphorical coffin, drummer Nathan Gilleran, the Stash’s reliable rhythmic anchor, got himself hitched, picked up his sticks and moved to Crescent City.
And yeah, sure, there were a couple of one-off New Year’s Eve gigs at our very own Preservation Pub in the interim, but those felt more like reunions than the stirrings of Stash as a renewed and viable going concern. Hell, even eternally sanguine band co-founder Niles Haury, for all his buoyant demeanor and quizzical charm couldn’t help but believe that the project he’d begun a full 12 years back with horn-wielding fellow hold-out John Colquitt was slowly fading into the mists of memory…
But something happened on the way to oblivion, something that no sane individual could have guessed would save the band from the seeming inevitability of its fate. That something came in the form of the aforementioned Faw and his wife giving birth to baby number two.
“I guess he and his wife must have got this baby thing down,” Haury says with a chuckle. “Because right after they have the second kid, we get a message from Scott. ‘Hey, are we going to play any shows anywhere?’ So we decided to fire it up and book a show.”
That was roundabout mid-summer, and the result was a drunken and deliriously memorable early August gig at Preservation Pub. With Nolan Nevels filling the drummer’s chair in place of Gilleran, the band managed to eke out but a single practice before taking the stage on a Thursday night and playing a high-energy marathon set that didn’t end until the lights came on and the kegs had nearly run dry.
“We played three hours straight, then went off the stage talking about how great it felt to be back,” says Haury. “Then we got called back for an encore, and played until they turned on the lights and told us to stop. After that, it was like, let’s not wait so long to do this again.
“We had a blast playing again. It filled our spiritual coffers. Someone came up to me later, after the show, and just looked at me. I guess I must have been glowing or something because then he said to me, ‘This looks really good on you.'”
Not only did the band make plans for another show — the forthcoming Sept. 30 gig at the Pub — but Haury says another Grandpa’s Stash record release may on the horizon, too. “We all feel like we have some studio backlog inside of us, sort of a case of musical constipation,” Haury says. “Scott told us he’d been writing some songs, so we may have to get back to recording.”
Haury admits there are still several obstacles to Stash becoming frequent fliers again on the local music scene, not the least of those being Faw’s fatherly obligations. Also uncertain is Nevel’s continuing role in the band — the much-in-demand skinsman owes fealty to several other local outfits, in addition to holding down a heavy music teaching schedule — or whether Gilleran might be able to re-enter the fold.
But Haury says the band members — all of them now well into their 30s — have become better with age at balancing their musical lives with real-world responsibilities. “I have a feeling you can look forward to seeing us every couple months now,” he says. “We’re not the same young musicians looking for the road to fame and fortune; we’re back to being five guys playing their instruments who like what they do and like being in the same room together.
“We’d like to do some records, be on stage every couple months, and if some more energy spins off that that pulls us down a few more exits on the interstate, then that’s awesome. But we’re not doing this for the sake of some imagined future. It’s become a passion again.”
Grandpa’s Stash will play Preservation Pub Saturday, Sept. 30 at 10 p.m.