Stereos take time to make it — at home

Rising Alberta band Stereos produced two Top 10 hits — Raise Ya Hands Up and Summer Girl — for the Universal Music label since blowing judges away on the MTV show disBAND.

Rising Alberta band Stereos produced two Top 10 hits — Raise Ya Hands Up and Summer Girl — for the Universal Music label since blowing judges away on the MTV show disBAND.

But going back a year or two, the group had barely registered with Edmonton music fans before appearing on the last season of the disBAND reality show.

So why were members of a rarely talented group, that had radio-ready songs and a catchy hip hop/pop style, still having to work in retail to make ends meet?

“They really had no success in Edmonton — they were still trying to get people to come out to their shows,” said the band’s drummer Aaron Verdonk, who joined Stereos just after its disBAND success.

Verdonk believes talent isn’t enough when everyone owns a home recording studio. “There’s an over-saturation of bands these days.

“You could be in a really good group and no one will know you because everybody and his brother is in a band, and everyone and their cousin has a demo tape.”

“You need a catalyst,” he said — and for Stereos, who perform Saturday at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre, it was coming to the attention of music industry types, via the high-profile TV show.

The program disBAND followed the band through three name changes and various hardships, like two road trips to Toronto.

It revealed the band’s disappointment after driving across Canada, to discover they hadn’t yet secured a spot at a band showcase event. (Of course, they ended up with one).

Among those who gave Stereos the thumbs up was KISS member Gene Simmons, who isn’t a regular show member, but made an on-camera appearance.

Verdonk said this association was short-lived.

While the KISS frontman is on the lookout for Canadian music talent, Verdonk said creative “disagreements” made it clear Stereos and Simmons were not on the same path. “We were going to go our own way.”

Verbonk first befriended the Stereos musicians through disBAND (he’s a friend of a band mentor on the program). He was later asked to take over from the original drummer, who “wasn’t ready to do the music thing full-time,” said Verbonk.

He believes he was a good fit with other group members because he also grew up in Edmonton to the age of 11, when his father graduated with a medical degree and moved the whole family back to his native Ontario.

“It, absolutely, gave us an immediate bond.”

Verbonk, who gives his age as 23, but sounds more mature (Wikipedia puts him at 26), said his own background was with a band called Closet Monster. He also wrote television theme songs for programs, including YTV’s Adrenaline Project.

Appearing on disBAND didn’t influence the way Stereos make music, said Verbonk — songs are still largely created by lead singer Pat Kordyback, with input from the musicians.

But it did alter the group members’ perceptions of themselves.

“The show gave us a bit of a rock star vibe,” Verdonk added. Just realizing the band had something special was a confidence booster, and “you need to have a bit of an ego,” he added.

The reality show also “gave us a great jumping off point,” and finally allowed Stereos members to focus on their music.

“We all got to quit our (side) jobs. I had done just about every retail job out there . . . ”

Stereos play with The Midway State at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Memorial Centre in Red Deer. Tickets are $31.30 from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.

Just Posted

Alberta hiring more paramedics and buying new ambulances, none for Red Deer

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer is not concerned the provincial government didn’t… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Halifax airport operations normalize after Boeing 747 runway overshoot

HALIFAX — The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has resumed normal operations a… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Brothers, 20, face second-degree murder charge in death of teen: police

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say two brothers have been… Continue reading

A young mayor, his friend, and a fatal attraction to opioids

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

GM fights to retain key tax credit amid plant closing plans

WASHINGTON — General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit… Continue reading

TTC union asks provincial government to step in on transition to Presto

TORONTO — The union representing transit workers in Canada’s most populous city… Continue reading

Small pot growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licences

Yan Boissonneault’s daughter was turning blue. Without warning, his baby had stopped… Continue reading

Most Read