You keep looking for something hidden in the Grandpa's Stash practice house. Cool original paintings line the walls. Saxophonist/keyboardist Kyle Renalds pulls up some chairs and a large dog occupies the sofa. The drums are set up and ready. The members are uncapping and pop-topping beers.
"This becomes 'The Lair,' " says Stash guitarist Andrew Sayne, who unfortunately didn't ask the price of the beer he bought and is drinking his brew with a side of buyer's remorse.
"I got up there and it was $12!" he says.
The band is all assembled, excluding vocalist Scott Faw (formerly of Llama Train), who is in Nashville.
The band is on the eve of releasing its first CD, which is nearly complete. On this evening, a title still hasn't been decided on.
" 'Where Does It End?' That's a good title," says Sayne.
"I kind of like 'The Waltz' idea," says drummer Nathan Gilleran.
Suddenly, Gilleran makes a comment that might be a title and might just be a declaration: "I don't know how much longer I can do this. When do we start making money?"
"Are you gonna quit?" asks trombonist John Colquitt. "It's hard to keep finding drummers!"
"Especially ones that all look the same!" adds Sayne.
Gilleran has actually been in the group before and agreed to return when the previous drummer left because he liked the new lineup. Sayne happily took the departing lead guitarist's place because his band Madre was breaking up and he always liked Grandpa's Stash.
"I just want to be able to pay my bills and be able to make music for a living," says Gilleran.
Gilleran has the longest list of band credits. He's played in the groups Fair Drive, Mamaw Thrasher, Flash Mob, The Young, LipLipLip Hands, he's backed up touring artist John Ralston and he's still in the bands Wolf at the Door and Johnny Astro and the Big Bang.
Bassist and founding member Niles Haury says the current members all have a similar sense of humor, which makes all the difference.
The original group formed eight years ago, but only Haury, Renalds and Colquitt remain from that configuration.
In the ensuing years, there were dramas, fistfights and ego-crises that might have required a Metallica-like intervention had the band had any money.
"We've lived the rock 'n' roll life," says Colquitt. "The only thing we haven't done is make it big!"
"Lots of break-ups," says Gilleran.
"And lots of make-ups," says Haury.
Throughout the changes in the band, Grandpa's Stash developed a loyal following and reputation for brass-laden solid rock 'n' roll. Still, until now, the group has never made an album.
"I think a recording is seen as sort of the same as a college degree," says Haury. "'Yeah, you're good, but where is the album?' "
Recording the album at Knoxville's Rock Snob studios was, by all accounts, a challenge.
"There are six people in this band and four to five of them have strong opinions on everything!" says Sayne. "And in the studio time is money."
Yet, with the disc almost completed and big shows coming up, including Saturday's free event on Market Square, the group members want a little of the adventurous side of rock 'n' roll.
"I want to hit the road," says Haury. "I just want to taste it ... I don't see why we can't play Bonnaroo!"
"The biggest show of our careers is coming up and who knows what's going to happen from that?" says Sayne.
And while the group definitely knows how to laugh, have a good time and poke fun at each other, Haury says the name Grandpa's Stash isn't a joke referring to marijuana, booze or contraband.
"It's familial," says Haury. "I didn't even know my grandparents. They were gone when I got here. I didn't know my grandparents except for their stash. It's really just about what you leave behind."
Oktoberfest on Market Square
With: The Delta Saints, Black Cadillacs and Grandpa's Stash
When: 6-10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Market Square
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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