Featured Artist of Bunbury 2013: Christopher Paul Stelling


TheBlueIndian.com is thrilled to have a crew returning to Cincinnati to cover the second annual Bunbury Music Festival, July 12th – 14th. Last year was a perfect introduction for the festival and the 2013 lineup picks up right where 2012 left off, giving audiences three days of live music on six different stages – along with all the amenities you’d expect from a festival of this caliber – and a few that you wouldn’t!

We recently had a writer review the latest album from Christopher Paul Stelling (she loved it), so seeing him on the lineup made this whole deal even sweeter. I was able to catch up with Christopher during a few hours of rest he had in Asheville, NC and spoke to him about the his guitar, NYC cops, and touring Europe instead of washing dishes.

Christopher Paul Stelling plays at Bunbury Music Festival on Saturday, July 13th at the Cincinnatus Stage – 7:45pm

Sean Pritchard: You’ve been on the road in support of False Cities since the beginning of June and you have plenty more dates to follow. What’s been the highest & lowest point of the tour so far?

Christopher Paul Stelling: Well, I set into this album and subsequent tour right after the tour supporting my first record, Songs of Praise and Scorn, which came out in February 2012, so it’s really been non stop ever since. I enjoy staying busy, because it doesn’t really offer much time to reflect on why exactly I keep pushing so hard. I just want to be making records and touring basically, and when I stop, it stops… and I’m not ready to stop, so I just keep it up. The lowest points are always the lag time in between tours… but once I get on the road again, everything is much more interesting…. It’s very much a kind of survival mode…

Photo by Jonny Leather

Photo by Jonny Leather

If I recall correctly, you had a rather upsetting interaction with NYPD during your time in the city. To shed some light on the situation so people can avoid similar cases, what actually happened?

Oh, yeah… It’s still going on sort of… I first went to jail for driving on a suspended license and then more recently got stopped and frisked and locked up for having a small pocket knife, which personally I don’t really understand how anyone could get through a day without one… I open a lot of boxes and assemble records, ya know? I’m a bit disillusioned by why the police can’t use there better judgement and not arrest people with no previous convictions, who obviously are not intentionally doing any harm to anyone…. but, they obviously are trying to meet quotas like any other business… I dunno, it’s aggravating… No one should have to live in constant anxiety that their freedoms can be taken away arbitrarily by law enforcement for something they are unaware of… unfortunately I don’t see these type of situations getting any better anytime soon.

I’m a big fan of your playing style and the artists I imagine influence it. Currently, what instruments do you have on the road with you or do you just travel with your guitar?

Yeah, it’s just me and my guitar on the road and in the studio thus far… I play a lot of banjo, but I haven’t made that a part of my stage act yet. I like to keep things simple… it’s more about the songs.

You returned from Europe a few weeks back. What was the experience like?

It was so great. It’s been a lifelong goal of mine just to be able to travel and get to Europe… I just drove around and played  about 20 shows with a good friend of mine. We did Holland, Belgium, Germany, and the UK.  People over there are really nice and accommodating. I would say as a whole, the way touring musicians are treated abroad, and the way the shows are promoted and attended is incomparable… not that I don’t love touring here, but over there was a real pleasure.

Judging from the hardships that touring musicians face – mainly financial, but also the personal fallout from being on the road so much – what motivates you to continue what your doing? If you can, allude to any recent specific instances that may have given you that encouragement. 

Ya know, I just started doing this mostly full time about a year and a half ago, and I’ve played a couple hundred shows… but before that, for like 15 years, I held down shitty entry level jobs that were really depressing, and I always felt trapped. So, though this may be hard, touring and all, it beats being treated like shit breaking your neck washing dishes in the back of some restaurant. I still really get a kick out of playing my guitar, and driving a bunch, and seeing my friends all over the place… things always seem to have a way of working out.

Christopher Paul Stelling – “Brick x Brick”

[youtube id=KVm5Yx7ROwI]