Frank Bang & the Secret Stash Set to Unleash New CD on 5/2
Blue Hoss Records announces a May 21 release date for Double Dare, the new CD from former Buddy Guy Band monster guitarist Frank Bang & the Secret Stash. As its title implies, Chicago-based Bang's new CD (his fifth release), displays an artist not afraid to take chances, and showcases a wide palette of roots sounds inspired from his blues, rock and country influences – all awash in his scintillating electric guitar and slide work.
Double Dare was produced by Umphrey’s McGee and Rod Stewart producer/engineer Manny Sanchez and recorded at the Windy City’s I.V. Lab Studio. Bang’s lead vocals and assortment of guitars are backed by a core band of Bobby Spelbring on drums and Ryan Fitzgerald on bass, augmented with guest musicians on harmonica, guitars, keyboards and sax. The 11 all-original song disc kicks off with the blazing title track, wherein Bang launches a mind-blowing caldron of slide guitar blasting straight into the stratosphere. Other highlights include the riff-based rocker, “Lose Control;” the celebration of life’s simple joys, “This Is What It’s All About;” and “Wonder Woman,” a warm slide guitar powered tune about the inspiration and healing power of love. “I knew I had a song with heart and meaning, and that set the bar for the rest of the songs that I wanted to write,” he explains. Similarly, “All I Need” chronicles the turns of life over a bed of gently grinding six-string and a glide of organ, brought to an emotional arc by Bang’s soaring solo.
With six years having passed since the release of his last CD, And They Named It Rock and Roll, Frank Bang has experienced several personal and professional highs and lows, all of which have informed the music on his new album. And he pays that experience forward with the insightful songs on Double Dare. “I felt that I really had to step up my game and write songs that had a deeper meaning, because I realized my music had a deep meaning for a lot of people,” Bang says. “People would, and still do, tell me my music lifted them when they were down, and helped them through hard times. I wanted to live up to that.
“There isn’t one thing on this album that isn’t true,” he adds. “There are stories about my family, about my life and experiences, about things that have struck me as funny or interesting. Even the guitar sound goes right back to the buzz I got plugging an electric guitar in for the first time — getting that real pure tone and letting it rip."
Born and raised in Chicago, Frank Bang’s musical influences initially revolved around the music he heard at home while growing up. Bang saw his first live music at the lounge where his mother waitressed. His father, a Chicago police officer, was initially disapproving of his son’s interest in playing guitar. But Bang persevered, and at age 16 bought a cheap six-string and amp that he was only allowed to play in the garage.
After initial excursions into rock, when Frank turned 21 he made his first visits to Chicago’s blues clubs, where he learned that the genesis of most of the music he was digging at the time came from the blues root. After a false start in college, he quit school and got a job at Chicago’s Hard Rock Café, which led to him transferring to other Hard Rock locales in San Diego and Houston. A chance encounter in San Diego with the great Stevie Ray Vaughan set him on the righteous path back home to Chicago and all its blues wonders.
When Bang moved home, he got a one-night-a-week job at Buddy Guy’s club Legends as a doorman. Over the next few years, his involvement in the club grew to even occasionally traveling with Guy and his crew to major concerts. And after the club had closed for the night, Frank and his newfound musical buddy Wayne Baker Brooks, son of blues giant Lonnie Brooks, would drag the amps out on stage after hours and play together, trading licks and trying to learn some of what they’d just heard that night.
Besides expanding his guitar vocabulary, Bang - whose real surname is Blinkal - got his professional name during his Legends years. He’d occasionally take time off to road manage for guitarist Larry McCray, who started calling him “Bang” due to the speed at which he accomplished tasks — as in “bang,” job done.
Bang began playing during the Monday night Legends jams and soon assembled his own blues-rock group, the Buzz, who became regulars at the club. He also came into his own on slide guitar — which plays a major role in Double Dare — after discovering the daredevil musicianship of Robert Randolph, Aubrey Ghent and the other slide-based players from the Holiness Church sacred steel tradition.
Eventually, the man himself - Buddy Guy - took notice and asked Frank to join his band on second guitar.
Bang circled the world five times with Guy, headlining clubs and theaters, and opening on major tours in some of the biggest arenas and amphitheaters. Along the way, Bang shared the stage with the Rolling Stones, Santana, Robert Plant, R.E.M., Jimmie Vaughan, Dave Matthews, B.B. King, Clapton and other blues and rock titans. He also performed alongside Guy in many television appearances, including the The Tonight Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
Bang continued to forge ahead on his own, too. In 2004, he cut his debut album, Frank Bang Alive One, followed by the studio set, Frank Bang’s Secret Stash in 2005. In 2006, he made Homegrown Live from Martyr’s. With 2007’s And They Named It Rock And Roll, Bang’s songwriting skills took a significant leap forward, which led to his developing the songs that play out on Double Dare.
“I’ve set a high bar of artistic maturity and musical integrity for myself,” he says, “and I hope people hear that in this album.”