Ty Stone Rambling Through the Country

Feb 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Ty Stone epitomizes the Cindarella story within the music business. An opportunist of fate, Ty Stone is embarking on stardom under the tutelage of mentor Kid Rock and behind his upcoming debut single American Style. His smooth rock-country style vocals have been wowing audiences for the last couple years touring with national acts like Uncle Kracker, Jamey Johnson and Rehab.

CityBeat caught up with him to promote his stop on Kid Rock’s Born Free tour this Friday night at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. They discussed his unique story plus some interesting stories along the way.

CityBeat: I appreciate you calling me today. I just wanted to talk to you about the show next week and try to do a little promotion, not that you guys need it, for the Louisville show.
Ty Stone: Oh, I always need it. Thank you so much. I’m definitely trying as hard as I can to let people know I’m out there so I really appreciate it.

CB: You’re a fairly new artist. I’ve seen you several times in the last year but you’re playing in front of 40-, 50-, 60,000 people every night. Do you get nervous or how do you prepare for that? People usually work up to that a little bit.
Ty: It’s funny, I did the Live Trucker Tour with Kid Rock. That was my first step into the arena setting. To be honest, I don’t get that nervous anymore. The first few shows, I definitely had a little bit of a settling in period. I did a couple outdoor amphitheaters with Kid Rock this summer but still Ford Field was intense, very intimidating. I don’t get that nervous regularly, I just get really, really excited to play my music for everybody. I think that’s a good spot to be in. But at the beginning, you always get nervous the first couple shows.

CB: I’ve seen you play by yourself several times and now you have the band, The Truth. How did you find those guys? Have you been friends a long time? How did you get the band together?
Ty: The truth about The Truth is that I used to run around Detroit sharing half of Uncle Kracker’s band, Marvin Young used to be in my band who is now in the Trucker Band, and Peter Keys is in my band who is in Lynyrd Skynyrd. So, I honestly didn’t have a band. This is going to sound really weird but I have some friends over at the CW Network in Detroit where we actually held a band search that started with Webisodes but it got so popular that they would air it on TV during Gossip Girl. The Webisodes were only five minutes long or something. But we held a contest and everyone came out. I invited anyone who wanted to try out, it was kind of like American Idol and we had a cut every week. And the guys I have now are the guys I have left. Everyone thought it was a weird idea but I felt like I got discovered by Kid Rock out of nowhere and I thought there must be some guys out there who are great players and who would really love to go out there and do that but who aren’t spoiled by the scene. I found those guys. I found everyone I have and they are so cool. It’s the funnest tour I’ve ever been on. I’m in a band full of people I like who are happy to be there and happy to play music and play great.

CB: And you all get along. I guess that’s crazy that you put a new group of people together and you all get along.
Ty: I’ll tell you right now that was a major, major consideration in picking the guys. There’s nothing worse than being stuck on a van for six weeks with someone you hate. So I picked all cool guys who could get the job done. That was very deliberate because I want this to be the time of my life too. So you have to have great people around you – hard workers—to enjoy yourself. And that’s what I have, a band full of hard working great people.

CB: Have you spent much time in Cincinnati or toured through there ever?
Ty: Oh yeah. I went through there with Uncle Kracker this year. That was awesome. We did a full band show and an acoustic show. We did it in a theater but I can’t think of the name of it off the top of my head.

CB: Anything you like to do in particular? Did you get to go out in town or do anything?
Ty: Oh yeah. We tore it up. We had a blast. I got some great pictures of me and the whole Kracker band just roaming around Cincinnati. Oh sorry, the second time I went back it was with Rehab. So I definitely have been through there. And I lived in Nashville and have been traveling from Michigan for five years. So I have been through Cincinnati 200 times. But I’ve played there a couple times and decided to call it a night there a few times. Always have a good time in Cincinnati.

CB: Well great, hopefully we’ll see you there soon. And you were so close there in Dayton and Columbus and now Louisville, you are kind of surrounding the area.
Ty: Well that’s a pretty big show in Louisville, it’s a pretty big place I think.

CB: I’m actually going to come and not photograph and just watch it. I have tickets and I haven’t done that in a long, long time. So I’m really looking forward to it, just to be in the crowd and drink just like I used to do at Kid Rock shows.
Ty: They can be fun. I love watching Kid Rock shows too. Isn’t that funny? I’d say like eight out of ten nights, I just basically sit there and watch. I have no problem saying the man is the entertainer of a generation.

CB: He is amazing.. I tell people that many people don’t sound good live and he sounds amazing live and real. And that is rare I think.
Ty: I agree with you a hundred percent and that’s because I think he takes painstaking time to make what you get on the record the real thing. And we did that with my record too. He’s the executive producer and he could have phoned it in or we could have e-mailed him everything. But every single day he sat there behind the counter working on the record. And he made sure he put his style and sound into it and that was his advice, “You don’t want to put anything out there that you’re not going to be doing every single night on stage.”

CB: I know you collaborate with Kid Rock all the time. Is there somebody out there you’d like to work with that you haven’t gotten to yet?
Ty: Yes, Adam Duritz. I’m on Adam Duritz mission right now. Which is funny, my girlfriend is in the shower right now and I can hear Adam Duritz and I did an interview yesterday with a girl who is opening a blog with Adam Duritz. It’s like I can’t get away from the guy. They say he answers all his tweets so I may have to re-venture myself onto Twitter.

CB: Yeah, you’re going to go after him today, be his stalker. Stalk him on Twitter.
Ty: I would totally look like a Adam Duritz stalker. I just love the Counting Crows so much. And I love Ryan Adams and I feel like we could do something really cool together.

CB: Yeah, I could actually hear both of those guys with your vibe and your sound. It would be a good combination. Is Adam doing music now? I haven’t heard about him in a long time.
Ty: I’m not sure. I heard about his Twitter. That’s like my mission. I just got home today so I was going to see if the internet still works. I literally woke up at 1:40 and I usually wake up at 10 o’clock everyday so I didn’t bother setting the alarm. I was like “What Happened?!”

CB: I read that you went to Kenyon College. Is that right?
Ty: Absolutely, yeah yeah. Kenyon is like the Ivy League of Division III colleges. It’s very prestigious. Yahoo voted it the Most Beautiful Campus in America last year.

CB: That’s what it was. That’s where I saw it recently.
Ty: It’s a great, great school. You know it was a cool experience. And they have a great international program so I got to spend two semesters in England which was really cool.

CB: So did someone just pass your demo tape to Kid Rock and that’s it?
Ty: Yeah, yeah. Well obviously that’s not it.

CB: It just seems like such a crazy story.
Ty: It is. The funny thing is, that was my friend Sam and we used to work at Guitar Center. I remember we were sitting at a bar where I used to play every Monday night telling him, “God, it’s too bad I can’t get this CD to Kid Rock, I bet he’d like it. I bet there’s a million bands out there thinking the same thing.” And one day he got tickets to a Pistons game where his sister says that they are close to where the owner and Kid Rock sit. So they are great seats. So he takes the demo just in case. And sure enough, Kid Rock shows up at the game. And that’s how it happens. And we’re in the limo on the way home, I heard because I became friends with the guy he was at the game with that night, me and him became friends later, and he was like, “ Dude I remember the first time I heard your story.” And he told me the story from the other side and I was, “Oh my God.”

CB: That really is an amazing story. You lived in Nashville for a while right?
Ty: Oh yeah. I spent about five years in LA. I lived in Nashville. I tried a million things and to have it fall in my lap in Detroit is pure hometown magic.

CB: What’s your goals for 2011? Any New Year’s resolutions this year?
Ty: Well I’m very excited because our single is going to hit radio… American Style is going to hit radio in May. I talked Atlantic into putting it onto iTunes so it’s actually sitting out there now which is neat because I hope to get a lot of word of mouth about the song beforehand so when it hits radio it will do really well. I’m going to be able to major label record out this year which is going to be amazing. I just can’t wait. We’ve been working on it for five years. It’s just the time now. I feel like it’s the time. Everybody seems to be behind it. The label and Kid Rock is really, really behind me. He has been extremely supportive and it’s all coming together and I’m very, very excited.

CB: Hopefully we’ll all survive the cruise again.
Ty: Oh I’m going. I’m in. I’m really looking forward to the cruise. You can certainly write that as part of my exciting events of 2011. That was the best times I ever had.

CB: I told you it’s my birthday. So don’t forget.

Ty: Oh that’s right, your birthday. Let me write that down. The phones don’t work. That’s my favorite part of the cruise is the phones don’t work. And you’re just all alone. Nobody can get a hold of you. And if you met someone, you never have to see them again. It was neat.

CB: I thought Kid Rock was going to hate it. I think he went into it thinking he was going to hate it being cooped up on a boat for four days. But I don’t think he did.

Ty: Oh no. He told me it was the coolest vacation he ever took. And he said the party we threw on Saturday night was the best party he ever had been to. He told me that straight out of his mouth. And I was like “I WAS THERE!!!” And he’s been to a few good parties.

CB: I felt good just being there being a part of it. I will definitely be there and I will find you.

Ty: You will find me.

CB: We could have some drinks.

Ty: Absolutely. About 30 of them more than likely.

CB: I found my limit on the boat Friday night actually. It was 17. I think I would have been okay at 16 but 17 was the limit.

Ty: We met this bartender in this artist room. And this dude in there was really nice to us and he started slipping us free drink cards. He gave me two beer cards and a whiskey card. I was like “Oh my God!” The days I had my shows, I stayed sober til after I played. If it weren’t for that I would have been off my rocker the entire cruise.