An interview with Troy Stetina of Second Soul
by Mike Huberty
Shredder. While some cubicle drones might immediately think about office equipment and geeks might conjure up images of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ greatest foe, headbangers think of dudes that can play the guitar. No, not just rhythm, but real guitar. Lotsa sweaty dudes can power chord their way through a set. We think of leads. And not just octaved melody lines that pass for “solos”, but guitar histrionics that melt your goddamn face. Licks and runs that make long-haired high schoolers run back to their Mom’s basements to practice their scales. SECOND SOUL is the Wisconsin band that’s taking the kids back to school. It’s hard rock with a modern sound, as comfortable next to HINDER (And who the Hell named that band?) as they would be next to RANDY RHOADS-era OZZY OSBOURNE. This Milwaukee-Madison based group has an album that’s ready to hit. With a recording that’s ready for radio, a full-throated lead singer in Scott Yanke, and a shredder’s shredder in Troy Stetina, SECOND SOUL was a long-time coming. Dues paid. Songs written. Stetina has sold over a million copies of educational guitar materials. Now, it’s time for the teacher to become the artist.
But it’s been a long road. “I reached a point where I gave up on bands in the late 90’s. It was kind of a long shot and I had a lot of things going on:”, Stetina says. “It wasn’t until 2001 when I was writing for Guitar One magazine and the editor-in-chief mentioned that Mark Tremonti, who was in CREED at the time, got a lot out of one of my books, it was his favorite.” That partnership was the inspiration that got SECOND SOUL off the ground. “I ended up teaching him for a number of years right before CREED broke up, and he went off to do ALTER BRIDGE. Through that time period, I worked with him a lot and he developed his lead technique. You can hear a huge difference in his playing between that ALTER BRIDGE and the CREED stuff. The only reason that I gave up on the band thing was that you have to have something that people want, but you also have to know the right people. I didn’t at the time. So, it seemed like it was a really hard sell to go knocking on doors, which isn’t something I like to do anyway. So, I asked Mark to help me with arrangements and he said sure.” That was the impetus for Stetina’s own band and it lead to the original incarnation of his band, SECOND SOUL. The first version of the band didn’t please Wind-Up Records because of the singer so it was back to the drawing board. “ Everything in the music industry has to work together to make anything work.” according to Stetina. “Then, the music industry was melting down and things were going upside down. Time went on, so we had several line up changes. Finally, we found Scott in 2007 and it seemed to be working, we had everything right.” Personal problems intervened and the band went again on hiatus.
Years into the project, things started happening again. As Troy describes, “This project, in a sense, has been going for nine years off and on. Finally, we got back together and we decided to take all these songs that we were on the verge of getting signed with and decided to just finish it ourselves.” The album is “Beyond The Infinite” and the song that will introduce the world to SECOND SOUL is “Goodbye”. A track that emphasizes Stetina’s guitar mastery he also says that “The message of the song is kind of harsh, but it’s one of those things that’s part of life. At some point, you have to put up a boundary, you have to say this is me and I’m moving on from here. All of our songs we strive to have some kind of meaning, some kind of purpose. There’s some level of a spiritual message, it’s not always spiritual, but it’s meaningful. It comes from challenges in life, which is not always pretty. We’re not afraid to look at that and I think there’s a thread of hope through that record. It’s not death and destruction, but it’s mixed, there’s a lot pain in there, but there’s a lot of experience. It can be positive.”
And with radio support, a developing audience, and an upcoming show in Madison on October 6th and Milwaukee on October 23rd, they’re ready to take their act to a bigger crowd. According to Troy, “When we do a show, it’s either, ‘You guys are the best band I’ve seen’ or ‘What are you doing here?’… What many people regard as the kind of musicianship and energy that you just don’t see around here except for exceptional acts. I’d like to be in company with them, that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”(5274) Page Views Second Soul Online:
• Facebook • Wiki
CD: Beyond The Infinite Record Label: Self-released
• Purchase Beyond The Infinite on Amazon
• Download Beyond The Infinite on Amazon