A phoenix rises

Stella’s Demise shakes off the ashes
for CD release at Oscar’s

Bradley Bowermaster and Jill Dodson lead Stella’s Demise “lite jazz” assault.

By Mike Ritchie

The name comes from the demise of a former band. “Bradley [Bowermaster] and I used to play in a band called Stella Blue about eight years ago,” recalls lead singer Jill Dodson. Stella Blue burned to the ground and out of that demise, a new beginning came. “Years later Bradley and I got back in touch and ended up playing music again.” They talked about getting together, grabbed a few people, and started the band, with Bowermaster and Phil Doncaster on guitars, Kiel Jones on bass, and George Tucker on drums. “We ended up jamming and never stopped playing together. We all mesh well together.” She laughs that, of course “there’s always a dirtier or more controversial version of every story.”

Stella’s Demise release their debut “Phoenix” at Oscar’s Apr. 6. The title is appropriate. “The phoenix dies, completely reinvents itself, and comes back,” Dodson notes. Asked about genre, “We play lite jazz,” Dodson jokes. In actuality, “I would say hard heavy rock.” They teeter on metal, too.

Dodson was formerly in Death By Fetish but wanted to concentrate on singing with Stella. They started practicing in mid-2016 and their first show was February 2017. “I just sing, these guys got [the music] handled, they’re amazing,” she says. “We’re going out there and having fun.”

Dodson delivers clean and rough vocals, harmonies with some growling, “Brad does a lot of growling, Phil’s started to scream a bit and we’re working on some
three-part harmonies.”

The five-song EP was recorded at Popside Studio, “It’s a good album. [The songs] all have a different flair to them,” Dodson says. “Some were done by Stella Blue, revamped, and taken to a completely different level.” With respect to former bands, for Dodson it was the most fun she’s had recording, “There’s a lot of good stuff in there.” They’re proud of the finished product.

Jones says everyone’s starting to contribute material, forming their own sound. Bowermaster agrees, “We’re starting to sound like us now.”

Everyone’s excited for the release party where they’ll share the stage at Oscar’s with local powerhouses Thundertaker and Jasper the Colossal. “That’s a killer lineup, all female fronted bands—for a reason,” Dodson says.

Dodson started out singing Patsy Cline songs around the house with her mom, then her ‘80s influences kicked in, such as Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, Bananarama, and Wendy O. Williams. Lite jazz indeed.

Tucker drums best to Sabbath, Zeppelin, and King Diamond, while Jones grew up on country until discovering Metallica and then never looked back.

As a kid, Bowermaster wanted to be the Space Ace. “I tried to be Ace Frehley in my bedroom with spotlights, turning the lights off and on,” he remembers. “I had a smoke machine. I’d step on it for solos and my room would fill with smoke. My parents hated it.” He moved on to Hendrix and Page, then Angus Young to Slash and
kept getting better.

At one point, Bowermaster had an offer to play in another band and was told the Dayton scene was dead. “The guy said what’s the point of playing originals in Dayton? No one cares about that scene anymore. I walk in here tonight, the bar’s full. I don’t know what rock he was under.”

Doncaster agrees, “The scene’s unbelievable right now. It’s the perfect size with enough people with incredible talent across all genres and still small enough where you
know everybody.”

“The Dayton music scene has so many good bands and people, everybody goes out and supports,” Dodson says. “We’re really happy to be a part of it.”

Now it’s cooperation over conflict, “Back in Stella Blue, everything was a rivalry,” Bowermaster says. “You fought for positions. Bands support each other on social media now.”

The scene is more organized too, “We have a Google calendar for Dayton bands so you can’t book over someone, which is kinda cool,” Dodson says. “It’s quality
over quantity.”

The band would love to play bigger shows and venture forth to other cities and venues, but for now they just want to play music and see where the road goes. Bowermaster was apprehensive about the process going in, “Now that I’ve heard it, it was like, holy crap and it’s not even done yet. What’s next? I don’t see how it could get better.”

Stella’s Demise EP release is Friday, April 6 at Oscars Bar, 320 N. Dixie Drive, Vandalia. Thundertaker and Jasper the Colossal are also on the bill. Show time is 9 p.m. Call 937.890.8655 for more information, or visit OscarsDayton.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at MikeRitchie@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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