Class act: Black Tie Stereo displays professionalism and hard work as it releases first EP

published June 30, 2014
The Scranton Times-Tribune (paywalled)

When a producer who has worked with legendary musicians like Anthrax picks a small-town band to produce, it must be doing something right. That is what happened to Scranton’s pop rock band Black Tie Stereo.

Carl Canedy, who started producing in the ’80s and has worked with several well-known heavy metal groups of that era, heard one of Black Tie Stereo’s demos and knew he wanted to work with the group. That one song eventually led him to produce and arrange the band’s first professionally recorded EP.

The band, formerly known as the Kickbacks, left the exact reason for choosing the new name a mystery, saying it is a secret among the members. However, they believe the new name represents the classy and sophisticated image they like to portray on and off the stage.

The quartet, made up of vocalist and keyboardist Stephen Murphy, guitarist Charles Kaszuba, drummer George Pachucy and bassist Aaron Kovalich, said they had struggled with their identity in the past. They found it with Black Tie Stereo.

With over a decade of professional training under their belts and diverse tastes in music, they produce a hybrid sound unlike many other bands in the area.

“Everybody has different musical backgrounds … and we all blend everything together,” said Mr. Kovalich.

The group members also cite their professional attitude as another distinguishing trait.

“We’ve established a professionalism that sets us apart,” said Mr. Kaszuba. “We try to do everything as professional as possible.”

Besides sharing a love of music, they continually stress how well the four of them work together.

“We have really good chemistry. I couldn’t think of anyone else I would want on guitar, bass or drums,” said Mr. Murphy.

Mr. Canedy agreed.

“I’ve seen bands who have what it takes and I’ve seen bands who don’t … and I think this band has it,” Mr. Canedy said. “There’s a chemistry. They’re really nice guys, they work very hard, they’re really into their music.

“If you catch one of their shows, it’s a really amazing energy,” he continued. “They have a great appeal. I don’t know how you put your finger on it, but I’ve learned over the years that can’t be manufactured.”

In addition to being full-time students, the band members dedicate most of their time to their music. There is a saying that if someone does what he loves, it is never work and Mr. Murphy made it clear that is the case for him.

“I’ve been playing music all my life, this doesn’t really feel like a job to me. You never get tired of it,” he said.

With the help of Mr. Canedy, Black Tie Stereo is releasing its first professionally recorded album. The band will celebrate the occasion with a release party at Ale Mary’s Pub on Saturday when it will perform tunes from the album as well as other original and cover songs. Digital downloads of the album will be given to the first 100 guests.

“It will be a good opportunity for people to come and meet us and Carl will be there as well,” Mr. Murphy said.

In addition to hosting the release party, the band has a busy schedule of performances lined up in the area.

Hoping Black Tie Stereo can become a nationally recognized name, the members are dedicated to working hard to get through what they call the “circus” that many musicians have worked through.

Mr. Canedy said he has high hopes for the band as well.

“There’s never a guarantee … but I have heard nothing but 100 percent positivity from my industry people.”

Meet Black Tie Stereo

Established: July 2013
Based in: Scranton
Members: Stephen Murphy, vocalist and keyboardist; Charles Kaszuba, guitarist; Aaron Kovalich, bassist; George Pachucy, drummer
Genre: Pop rock
For fans of: Maroon 5, The Killers and Neon Trees
Online: Visit and follow the band @blacktiestereo on Twitter and Instagram

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