Unity – The Stakes are High

Imagine we all kept a shelf stocked with sharply written, illuminating first-person accounts of these stages of life—not just the eventful beginnings and endings, but the middles, too. We’d have what amounts to an instruction guide for living. We’d know better how to survive the ordinary things that happen to all of us but which are no less daunting for their ordinariness. That’s why we need this book , and others like it {memoirs about regular lives}.

Mary Philpott

I have a tendency to layer my insights about what ever I am writing about with personal experience. This happens most often as music and books hit on something that marks that moment as significant. It is almost like the moment would not have been important without the musical or literary connection, it is those mediums that allowed the moment to even happen. That is why so many narratives start with a degree of memoir, and why others find them inspiring and or interesting. Music provides a universal context.

The Stakes

In 1992, U2 was touring through Arizona on the Achtung Tour, and I was very surprised in my youthful naivety to see Public Enemy opening the bill. Music for me was all and nothing. Once I liked something, I devoured it. I couldn’t get enough, I wanted all the albums, all the b-sides, all the imports, everything – but only for the select groups that I decided I liked. I wanted nothing to do with the music I heard all around me. Growing up, I remember music as being divisive. If my group of friends got the DJ to play Lovecats at a school dance, we got mocked to no-end by the entire football team, and usually either got in fights or left to go skate somewhere. Music was never inclusive. If you hung out with this group, you listened to this genre. Eventually, over time I developed deep stereotypes about music, and it kept me from enjoying much of what was going on around me in the world. Even when the topic was my home state, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

This was absolutely the case with Rap and Hip Hop.

I was not yet a debate coach. I had not seen Troost Ave. I had no idea what this was about….. before Kansas City. U2 did though…. I just wasn’t awake yet.

I graduated high school in 1992. The Rodney King riots were no more real to me than a gangster movie I wasn’t allowed to watch. NWA meant nothing. And in my mind, there was absolutely zero connection between the message of bands like NWA or Public Enemy and bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, or even Joy Division. It didn’t matter that Ice Cube was at Lollapalloza ’92. I didn’t really wake up to anything about the connection of people in the real world until I spent time in Kansas City, Missouri.

And it was like the world exploded.

Years later, at the Marquee Theater in Tempe, I saw Public Enemy perform again. This time they were opening for The Cult, and it was one of the best concerts I have ever seen in my life. At that tour, they sold a hoody. It was all black. I remember being disappointed that it was so basic yet so expensive. I think it was $80. It had the word UNITY printed across the back. I wish that I had bought one.

The Stakes

Here in Phoenix, we have The Stakes, and if you have not been to one of their shows, you need to remedy this. They are high energy, exciting, and uplifting. You will leave their show feeling more connected to the people around you, realizing there is far more similarities between us than the things that keep us divided. This message comes like sweat on the dance-floor. It comes like an upheld fist in the air even though you aren’t sure why and you have never been there before. You do it because the music made you feel something, and for that moment it was glorious, and if others did it more often….

The world would be a better place.

The Stakes

1. What three local bands in town are people not paying enough attention to besides yours?

The Color 8, Optimystical and Palo Brea.

Note to Self….. Palo Brea is becoming recurrent.

2. Where do you shop for stage clothes?

The Stakes

We don’t shop together or necessarily have “stage clothes” but we do try to color coordinate.

3. Have you ever met Bubba? Explain.

I’m not sure haha

The Bubba Whicker question is like a litmus test. This guy is everywhere. So it has been fun to see who knows him, who remembers him, and what stories they have to tell. Say hi next time, Bubba!

The Stakes

4. What other bands do you play in around town, if any?

Marah and Luis also play as a duo called LuMar.
Kevin Phillips plays with Vanilla Spice.

5. What is your go to cover song?

Depends on the vibe. If we want to keep the dance floor moving, Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder. If the vibe is chill, Butterflies by Michael Jackson.

6. Besides being musicians, do you have day jobs, and if so what do you do?

Everyone has jobs. Either 9-to-5’s, event coordinating, or music teachers.

7. Ninja or Samurai?

Ninjas are more fun.

Award Winning Wildlife Photograph 2019

This is one of the questions that I have the most fun with, and so far…. there are ZERO votes for Samurai’s my friends. We live in a dark world. LOL

8. As a band what are three of your favorite venues that you play around town?

Crescent Ballroom, The Monorchid and Valley Bar.

The Stakes

The Stakes play a weekly show at The Monorchid in Phoenix. This is bound to be a tumultuous year, for a lot of reasons, it is wonderful that their is a weekly place you know you can go…. to UNITE.


Keep the Greasy Side Down my Friends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.