Band brews music in new studio

By Troy Doetch

To students who dine at Lincoln Hall, Alex DeForest is the pony-tailed manager on staff. To followers of DeKalb’s country music scene, DeForest is better recognized as the scraggly-haired bass player by the epithet “The Dark Squirrel”, of the ambitious outlaw country rock band, Stroker-Red.

The band, formed by Grant “Stroker” Stoker, and Chad “Red” Carlson has found a niche in its first year of existence with an average of five shows a month in the surrounding area. With a mixture of both covers and originals, the band’s major influences include Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. It wasn’t until this June that Stroker-Red found a haven in DeKalb’s own recording studio, Audio Brew.

Audio Brew, 229 Palmer Court, opened this summer with the mission of providing local musicians with an affordable means of producing professional recordings of their work.

The studio, operated by owners Sean Scanlon and Jon Dolieslager, also allows musicians to trade in used equipment for studio time.

Stroker-Red quickly became one of Audio Brew’s steady customers, recording their weekly practices at the studio.

“A lot of mistakes we don’t normally catch,” said, drummer Cory Moore. “But listening to recordings of our practices, we hear something right away.”

Knowing their mistakes gives the band a chance to fix them the next time around, Moore said.

Both Stoker and Carlson agree that this technique has improved their performance, and that a lot of local bands could benefit by doing the same.

Although the recordings have been mostly for educational purposes, some tracks have been refined and released to the public, Scanlon said.

“If we get a really good track, I’ll mix it down to something they can release,” Scanlon said.

However, when the band comes in to record their professional demo in the near future, the instruments will be recorded individually.

Until then, Stroker-Red will continue meeting once a week, playing live for Dolieslager and Scanlon.

“They’ve been very hospitable,” DeForest said. “They really bent over backwards for us.”