Stone Harbour | Interview | “From dreamy melancholic to insane fuzzed-out psychedelic rock”

One of the most heralded private-pressing gems of homegrown psychedelia gets the typically thorough remastering and repackaging from Guerssen imprint Out-Sider music.

Where and when did you grow up? Was music a big part of your family life?

Rick Ballas: I am from Canton. Ohio. Born here and spent the majority of my life here. Canton was pretty much a factory town. Went to school here and I was a baseball player. Music did not run in my family at all.

When did you begin playing music? Who were your major influences?

When I first fell in love with music was when I heard The Beatles. My radio was seldom turned off. As a teenager I got the first chance to go see live music. It was plentiful here and a hotbed of talent. If there was a band playing, I was there… The James Gang, Glass Harp, Grand Funk Railroad, Alice Cooper… Those were local and I loved them. I was 16 when I first touched an instrument. I bought a bass guitar and started playing along with records. I never had a lesson but picked it up pretty well. I got an electric guitar next and started to learn chords. I was always around live music and most players knew me. I was the kid who was always asking them to show me how to play that. I took a few lessons but I am pretty much self taught. I started to go to big shows that were mostly in Cleveland. There are a few bands that I did not see. Here are some of the favorites; Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Humble Pie. Later on Yes, Genesis and Jethro Tull were amazing.

What bands were you a member of prior to the formation of Stone Harbour?

I had played with some different people, but no real bands. I began to look for people that were interested in forming a band. I found an ad on the bulletin board at the local record store that a drummer was also looking for. I called and we got together for a jam. This is how I met Dave McCarty.

Can you elaborate the formation of Stone Harbour?

Dave McCarty was a wild man drummer but I was playing this little thing when he started singing some words. Dave had a pleasant voice and could write lyrics. We continued to get together and I found that Dave had a pretty good knack for writing lyrics for what I was doing. I had an old reel to reel tape recorder and we started to record things. The 4 track reel to reel recorders had just come out and you could overdub and add tracks. I got one and started to work with it. Even though it was pretty limited it was pretty awesome at the time.