Happy Hour with Chase Stain

Valley Frequencies Magazine

December 2021

Written By: Austin "Groove" Lyons

Last year, Valley Frequencies interviewed local music supporter, musician and business owner, Chase Stain. Our very own Ashley Harlem performed the three part interview in the early summer, and over the next year she expressed how much she enjoyed talking with Stain. Ashley told me that she felt that Stain had an unexplainable charismatic presence about him, and that interviewing him was a fun, and laid back experience, that also stimulated her thoughts and propelled her into a personal philosophical journey. So when I traveled to Phoenix to visit my parents in November, my curiosity took control and I was compelled to interview Chase Stain myself. Now I must admit, I had no clue who Chase Stain was prior to reading the interview Ashley did with him last year. I had heard of Bad Stain Records, the Phoenix based record label that he has been running since the mid nineties, and I was somewhat familiar with his former band, Numbers On Napkins. However, I was never a fan of NoN and didn’t know anything about Chase Stain’s career. Prior to the interview, I did my homework and researched Chase Stain and his various achievements.

Stain has been a huge supporter of the local music scene throughout his life. Stain has produced and engineered several albums for various artists. He has worked as a promoter when he owned Laundromat Productions, a booking agency in the Valley that specialized in punk, metal, emo, and indie rock. Stain has owned two fanzines in the past, and wrote columns and reviewed records, interviewed assorted bands, and more. Stain was even responsible for the Arizona Ska Punk Awards, and Grammy-like awards ceremony that celebrated various musicians and figures throughout Arizona’s local underground scene. With all that being said, Stain has been largely inactive over the past decade. Ashley had told me that when she interviewed Stain, she was surprised that he was not at all what she had expected.

Ashley said that she had assumed that Stain would be a wild, frat boy type, but claimed that she was surprised to find out that Stain reminded her more of a laid back, philosopher type. Considering that Stain is now in his mid-forties, it didn’t sound at all surprising to me, but I was curious to meet someone who impacted my co-worker so much in a short period of time.

On my long drive from Tucson to Phoenix, I listened to Stain’s former bands, Numbers On Napkins and Dirty Laundry, as well as he solo album, “The First Quarter”. I also took a quick look at various photos of Stain from his time in Dirty Laundry and NoN. When I first laid my eyes on Stain in person, it was obvious that he has aged, although he still looked good for a guy in his mid-forties. Sure, Stain has some more wrinkles in his face, and has gained a good ten pounds, and now has the beginnings of a proud beer belly, but it’s been a decade since Stain was a solid presence in the local scene. Stain was dressed in a casual pair of blue jeans and a brown ringer style shirt, with a pair of plain black Vans shoes. His jet black mohawk has small colorful streaks of purple, blue, and pink, with small touches of grey peppered throughout it. Stain’s shirt displayed the phrase, “If a Fat Girl Falls in the Woods, Do the Trees Laugh?”, which is a fitting shirt for him to wear, considering Stain’s reputation for writing comedic, but often crude, raunchy, and offensive lyrics.

Chase Stain has been a prolific and outlandish presence in the Phoenix underground music scene for over two decades, and he has been known for writing songs with lyrics that focus on a variety of social issues. While in his first band, Dirty Laundry, Stain co-wrote the bands popular track, “I don’t care if you’re a homosexual, just as long as you don’t try and fuck me up the butt”, which sparked outrage from many people, but also helped the band gain exposure. Stain continued his tradition of offensive song lyrics over the years with other bands like Numbers On Napkins, who released songs like “True Love” and “Fat Girls”, which both have a strong sexist tone. Stain has always stated that he likes writing comedic songs that make his fans laugh, even when they are laughing at something that is “vulgar and offensive and not something that anyone should really laugh at.”

“That’s the fucking point!”, says Stain as he pushes the hair from the front of his face and out of his eyes. “I like pissing people off sometimes, and I don’t know why. I just think that everyone takes themselves way to serious, and I like to upset people and also make people laugh. Hey, what can I say, I’m an asshole.”

At a time when everyone seems to be walking on eggshells, afraid to speak their mind or offend anyone in the slightest to avoid being canceled by the masses, it’s somewhat refreshing to hear Stain’s words.

“Anyone who really knows me, knows that I am not a bad guy. I’m flawed in too many ways to count, but I don’t have any problems with anyone as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else. If people don’t like my lyrics, they can turn off my music. Although it’s actually better if they bitch and complain because lets face it, that just helps sell records.” Stain laughs and takes a sip from a bottle of Bud Light.

Stain also acknowledges that the world has changed a lot since he was writing his lyrics in his teens and twenties, and further acknowledges that he has drastically changed as a person as well. Stain tells me that he wouldn’t write the lyrics he wrote when he was in high school today, as humor has changed, and Stain says that he has become much more empathetic over the years, and also states that he is much more analytical of his behavior. “Maybe some of it is becoming a father”, Stain says as he looks down to the floor at his feet, avoiding eye contact, “or maybe it’s just growing up. I dunno.” Stain’s body movements suggest that he may actually feel some bit of remorse from writing some of his past lyrics, although I can tell that he’ll never admit it if that’s the case. For some odd reason, Stain seems compelled to cause trouble, and in some way he gets joy out of having people think that he’s the enemy. “If the world is going to progress, there has to be the bad guys, and I don’t mind playing the role. If people want to think that I’m a narcissistic, racist, sexist, homophobic, pedophile that engages in necrophilia and bestiality, who cares? Besides, anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not like that. I’m just a narcissist.” Stain lets out a chuckle to try and lighten the mood which seemed to become slightly tense for just a moment.

I explained to Stain that he should be able to understand why many people would not approve of his writing at times, and he just shrugged things off with a smile until I started talking about some of the mysogynistic lyrics that he has written in the past. That’s when it became clear to me that Stain is probably somewhat misunderstood, as he starts to rant about the battle of the sexes and describes how he really feels about women. Stain states the obvious problems we have in our society, such as the gap in wages, and goes on to praise how smart most women are when given the opportunity to succeed. Stain points out that women can take much more pain than a man, and have the ability to do everything a man can do. Stain describes a situation when the Isreali government first started to have women included on the battlefield, and goes on to explain how it was the men who couldn’t handle the situation.

“When a woman was shot up to pieces, the men would always attempt to try and save them, putting themselves in danger, and many of the men died trying to save an injured woman who was about to die because they couldn’t not try to save them,” Stain explained as he shrugged his shoulders and pushed the hair from his flopped over mohawk away from his eyes. “Most men have a perception of women as being weaker than most men, myself included, but the problem is really with the men, not the women.”

Stain goes on and tells stories of how his mother worked two full time jobs, even when she was sick. Stain can’t talk highly enough about his mother, and says that she is one of his heroes and of course the greatest mother of all time. Stain explains how his mother taught him to respect women, and demanded that Stain be chivalrous, such as standing in front of a door and waiting for Stain to open it for her when Stain was young.

“She wanted me to be a good man. She instilled something in me that makes me feel like it is my duty to provide for, take care of, and overall protect women. She told me that it was okay if a woman wanted to work, and if so, I needed to support her. Although she also told me that if a women wanted to stay home and raise a family, that it was my duty that I support her in every way possible. I was lucky enough to have a daughter, and it was then that I realized that I think my mom really wanted a girl. I wish she could have lived long enough to get to know her grandchild, but that’s life. It never goes the way you planned, and it’s always a clusterfuck of shit.”

Stain continued with his girl boss rant as he talked about how shortly after the attacks on September eleventh, congress voted to pass a law that gave President Bush the power to declare war on Saudi Arabia, and how the only person that voted against putting that law into effect was in fact a woman. Stain goes on about how when COVID started to really impact the world, the five countries that handled the outbreak the best were ran by women.

“Women have always been the more powerful sex. I mean, that’s why we have phrases like behind every good man there is a better woman. Women can turn lifelong friends into bitter enemies, turn brother against brother, crumble empires, I mean.... That’s why the strongest piece on a chessboard is the queen, because that’s how it works. The king has all the power, and all the blame if something goes wrong, but the queen really has the final say in everything. If the king wants to go to war and the queen is like, Hell no, we are not going to war! The king is like, uhh, nevermind. Stain lets out a chuckle before continuing. “The queen is just smart enough to let the king think that he is in command, but the truth is that the queen is really in charge.”

Stain lights up a cigarette as he tells me that he is fully aware that he is not a perfect person, and he remains adamant that he only writes such controversial lyrics to frustrate people or to be “goofy”. Stain says that he thinks that the U.S. has serious problems, as he abruptly changes the subject somewhat.

“The citizens in this country really need to stop and think about how each side feels about some of these issues,” Stain says in a serious tone. “Understanding each other is crucial, and it’s something that I think is really difficult.” Stain looks away and smiles a bit as he shakes his head and closes his eyes. “Okay. So, this may make some people a bit pissed off at me, but I think I have a good example. When I was in my early thirties, I had a profound Oh Shit moment. You know, a moment when you realize something that you should have realized years earlier.” Stain laughs as he nervously looks around the room and avoids eye contact as he started discussing the next part of his story.

“So, when I was young,” Stain says with a bit of a crack in his voice, “I will admit that I was a bit prejudice of black people. I wasn’t racist, and if I’m being honest I think that I’m probably still somewhat prejudice towards all races in some way, but I had an experience when I was young that stuck with me and made me the way I was. Not an excuse, I’m just explaining. When I was about eleven, I lived with my mom in Compton for about four months. The experience was rough. All of the black people would talk shit about me and my family whenever they saw us. Like, oh it must be nice to be white and be able to eat at Sizzler when we ate at Sizzler once, or... just basically things about how terrible I was for being white. All the black kids wanted to kick my ass, just because I was white. To be honest, it hurt, and for the next fifteen years, I pretty much felt like all black people were racist towards white people. I had black friends that didn’t act that way, but I felt like the majority of black people just hated me because I was white. Anyway, flash forward a couple decades and I was getting gas when a black man in his late fifties or early sixties approached me with his grandson, who was about seven or eight years old. The man was well dressed, and explained that he was from Chicago and had come to town with his wife to visit his daughter and grandson. He told me that he and his wife had gone to dinner with their grandson while his daughter was at work. He then explained that when he got into town, he thought that he lost his debit card, so he had it canceled. Then he found it, and the bank told him that he would have no problem using it, because they turned the cancelation around in time. The man was shocked when his card was declined after ordering dinner, and he had enough in his wallet to pay his bill, and leave a two dollar tip for a spectacular waitress that served them a meal that totaled $80.00. When the man got into his rental car to drive back to his daughters house, he noticed that the gas tank was nearly empty, and now he had no way to pay for gas in order to drive back to Scottsdale from West Phoenix.”

Stain shakes his head and I saw anger swell up inside of him as he told me the rest of his story. “So needless to say, this poor guy is having a shitty night, while he’s on vacation, trying to enjoy himself. He went on to tell me that he had asked dozens of people if they could spare ten dollars, and promised to mail them back the money when he returned to Chicago, and even offered to meet them the next day and pay them back. He told me that for 45 minutes he had been walking from car to car with his grandson, and when he would ask, many of the people called him a n*****, and told him to get a job and not to ask for money that he didn’t deserve. He told me that many of them would tell him that they work hard for their money, and that they weren’t going to just give it away. He was called racial slurs so much that he insisted that his wife go wait in the car, and he wanted his grandson to wait with her, but she was scared for him to ask alone. That....” Stain paused for a second as he shook his head and looked down at his feet. “Fuck man. I don’t know. That fucking hit me so hard. Looking into the eyes of that young black kid. Knowing that he is being affected by the way that all of those white people acted towards him. Just because he was a different color. I told the man that I was sorry that he had to go through what had happened, and it dawned on me that I was really unaware at how racists some people are, even at this day and age. So anyway, I gave the guy a twenty and told him to pay it forward. He tried to get my address, and was persistent about paying me back, but I just kept telling him not to worry about it. As I drove home, I thought about all of those people who fucked with me in Compton, and I realized that they had that shit happen so much in their lives, that of course they hated white people. That event just changed me so much, and all of a sudden I became aware that I was in fact prejudice myself, because of my experiences, and that they were only prejudice because of their experiences. For some odd reason I was taught to think that white, black, brown, purple, green, whatever..... everyone is the same. Treat everyone equally, because that person with a different skin color is no different than you are. Well, that’s all bullshit. I have no idea what it’s like being a different race, and we are not the same. I don’t know what it’s like being gay, or what it’s like to be a woman. I think we all need to just realize that, because it’s important.”

Stain continues on as he talks about how he has realized that his actions when he was young could often be hurtful, without him even realizing it. “I would use my fingers to slant my eyes, and then use my thumb to raise my nose like a pig and run around and say, Look, I’m a Chinese pig,” Stain says as he shakes his head with a half smile. “Like, what the hell! Why didn’t people say something and discipline me for that shit! Instead it was like, oh.. how funny. Look at the cute little white boy making fun of Asians.” Stain laughs and his eyes widen as he looks at me and says, “Like seriously, what the fuck!”

Stain seemed to be on a roll and was passionate with the discussion as he went on to tell me that he really felt as though the U.S. had pretty much eradicated racism a decade ago, but admitted that he was completely wrong after seeing recent events. “I think Obama had just been elected, so I figured that we had finally pretty much erased racism. Then Trump got elected and I was taken off guard. I had no clue that half of our country was still fucked. It’s just crazy man.”

“Rose McGowan had it right when she claimed that the Democratic party is nothing more than a cult”, Stain announced with a smirk across his face. “The problem is that she failed to say that the Republican party is also just a fucking cult. Both parties are hell bent on encouraging their followers to obey and believe in their rules, and their rules only. And nobody has the courage to think for themselves and go against anything that their party believes. It seems that it’s more important for people to belong to a group, rather than think for themselves. What’s worse is that both parties are totally unwilling to even listen to the other, and flat out refuse to work together in any way. What’s really funny is that both parties, no matter what their intentions may be, have the same result in the end, which is the destruction of the middle class. You have Republicans who care about helping small business and lean towards the wealthy, and the Democrats who care about the destitute and focus on the poor, but neither party gives a shit about the middle class, which is why the middle class is rapidly disappearing. ObamaCare is a perfect example. Democrats put that into effect to help the poor who can’t afford health insurance. Prior to ObamaCare, I paid $92.00 per month for health insurance to cover me, my wife at the time, and my child. After ObamaCare was put into motion, my rates gradually increased to $214.00 per week. So I went from paying around $1,100 a year to over $11,000 per year. An increase like that has small effect on someone who makes six figures a year, but it has a huge effect on someone like me who only makes $40,000 a year. All of a sudden, I lost a quarter of my income. It helped the poor, had little or no effect on the rich, but it destroyed the middle class. We desperately need a new party that will fight for the middle class. Unfortunately, people have been sucked into these political institutions and are hell bent with being loyal. Even if you have a President that behaves like a reality TV star, the people in his party will stand proudly behind him, no matter how shameful his actions. Shame on this country. Shame on all of us.”

The next statement Stain made was possibly the most concerning point that he made during our entire interview. He smiled and asked me, “Do you know how Rome fell?” I told him that I wasn’t sure of the exact process and he went on to explain in his words.

“It all started with a Pandemic. It wiped out around 5% of the population over a couple years. It happened just as climate change was starting. Climate change causes a lot of problems. Rome was already fractured with both political parties divided on all major issues. Small riots started to happen between citizens, and as climate change got worse, areas around Rome became inhabitable. Pandemics happen about every century, but when climate change happens, old diseases come back and variations of diseases pop up. Rome already had a bit of a problem with a huge influx of immigrants, but as climate change made everywhere around Rome inhabitable, immigrants flocked to Rome, many carrying old and new diseases, infecting the population. The citizens had voted in the wealthy and powerful, and those leaders focused on the destitute and rich, but failed to focus on the middle class, and most of the middle class gradually became destitute. The citizens started turning on each other, with a small civil war that had small battles throughout all of Rome. Barbarians came in when the country was weak and took control. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a long painful process, that we are doomed to repeat unless this country works together. When the leaders of Rome refused to work with each other, it caused the Republic to fall, and that’s exactly what is happening. We need to work together to make sure that the United States does not make the same mistakes. Because it is looking like history is repeating itself so far, and that’s pretty fucking scary.”

Stain speaks honest and from the heart, and I don’t dare argue with him while he’s in this state as I feel like things could quickly escalate into a scene within the bar. Even though Stain has a casual and relaxed demeanor while talking during the interview, it seems that he is very passionate when it comes some political issues, so I quickly decided to change the topic back his music once again.

Stain is guilty of writing some controversial lyrics at times, but he is also an extremely talented songwriter, and he has written amazing lyrics that are descriptive, colorful, poetic, and touching, as well as comical and creative. Critics have praised a lot of his lyrics in the past, and as I listened to a variety of his songs on the car ride home after this interview, I’m actually very impressed with a lot of the songs wrote lyrically.

Bass guitar is Stain’s primary instrument, however, he has played guitar on several of NoN’s tracks, most of his solo recordings, and he switched from bass to guitar while in his first band, Dirty Laundry, but returned back to bass shortly after. He’s a talented musician, and also plays piano, keyboards, synth, banjo, mandolin, and even a bit of violin, although Stain claims that he isn’t skilled at any instruments, but simply knows enough to fake his way into looking like a decent musician. Stain has always described himself as a guitarist that ended up on bass because he wasn’t skilled enough with an axe. He said bands always needed a bass player, but seldom needed a guitarist, so he opted to play bass. Stain says that he doesn’t consider himself a very strong guitarist, and adds that he feels as though he is an “almost decent bassist”. I personally disagree with Stain’s self assessment. From the footage I’ve seen, and songs I’ve heard, I actually believe that Stain is a very talented and skilled bassist, and probably one of the better bassists I’ve heard come from Phoenix. His style of playing is totally unique, and it obviously comes from his guitar roots, which he frequently incorporates into his bass playing. There are not many bassists that play the bass behind their back, play chords, or use a finger tapping technique on bass. Stain also showboats while playing using his left hand over the top of the bass guitar neck, in addition to accessing the strings by reaching under the neck, and switches between the two, back and forth during several of his live shows, which is something very original for a bassist, and unlike anything I’ve ever seen a bassist do in the past. Stain has an original style of playing that is unlike anything else and helps make him stand out in comparison to other bass players.

Chase Stain recently released his first solo album in over ten years, just a few months after his band, Numbers On Napkins, officially announced their break up. NoN was a highly energetic band live, and played poppy party punk, with a comedic style at times. “I have always been a bit of a comedian in some way,” Stain explained, “and I incorporated my humor into my music for as long as I have been writing original songs. When I started writing songs for my first band, Dirty Laundry, the majority of the songs I wrote were just goofy and funny, and I’ve just continued to write songs That I think are funny. I like making people laugh. Although like most comedians, I also have this strong drive inside of me that makes me want to taken more serious as an artist, so I try really hard to write solid lyrics that hopefully make people realize that I’m more than just a funny guy.”

Numbers On Napkins was Stain’s most successful venture, and now that the band has officially called it quits, Stain is gearing up to become more active with his solo project. NoN formed in the summer of 2003, and quickly recorded their debut full length album titled, Waiting for Tomorrow. Band members, Moe Money and Tad Gurthman, along with Stain, selected Aaron Carey to engineer and mix the album, which went on to become the bands most successful release. Carey worked with several other established artists, including Sheryl Crow, Megadeth, and Stain’s favorite, Vanilla Ice. NoN signed to Bad Stain Records, a Phoenix based indie label that Stain started in the mid ninties, and released Waiting for Tomorrow in December of 2004. The album produced the bands most successful single, Runaway, which helped propel the band forward after receiving airplay on several stations. By 2005, NoN was performing with popular underground artists in their genre, ranging from punk rock legends like Youth Brigade and The Queers, to more mainstream artists like Plain White T’s and Flogging Molly.

In September of 2005, Money, Gurthman, and Stain recruited a second guitarist, Matt Martini, and recorded and released a limited edition EP titled QuickerDrunkenLouderHarder. Sales from the EP were decent, although nothing when compared to Waiting for Tomorrow. The band continued to develop a fan base and grow musically, eventually releasing a second full length, Borrachos, Chingasos Y Rucas (Translated from Spanish to: Drunks, Fist Fights, and Ole Ladies) in late 2010. Martini parted ways with the band just weeks before the release to pursue his other project, Reason Unknown. Borrachos, Chingasos Y Rucas received high praise from critics, who called the release extremely diverse, but album sales were poor. In 2013, Money, Gurthman, and Stain put NoN on hiatus and focused on family life for five years until 2018, when NoN announced their return. In 2019, NoN released the full length album, From Buckeye To Beardsley, which featured previously unreleased recordings of several songs. Sales were weak for the release, and NoN followed it up in 2020 by releasing a fifteen year anniversary deluxe edition re-issue of Waiting for Tomorrow, featuring unreleased live and demo recordings.

Stain and NoN seemed to be trying to duplicate the success of their popular debut, and hoped that the reissue would help launch their name back into the underground, but album sales for the re-issue were also nothing compared to the original release. After finally coming to terms with the hard fact that NoN had run its course, Gurthman, Money, and Stain officially called it quits in April of 2021, but promised to release a greatest hits album later in the year. The band made good on the promise, and a couple months later, Bad Stain Records released NON Essentials: The Best of Numbers On Napkins. The full length album included all of the bands popular tracks, as well as a couple unreleased tracks.

Now that Stain has parted ways with NoN, he is gearing up to focus on his solo career. “Being in Numbers On Napkins was fucking great.” Stain exclaims with a slight quiver of his voice. “Moe and Tad are amazing, and I’m glad I was able to take an incredible journey with them. And Matt too. Matt was a huge part of the band, and I was sad to see him leave, but I’m glad he’s still doing things with Reason Unknown. I highly recommend checking them out if you haven’t. I think I’ve been fortunate to have some great musicians to work with throughout my entire career actually. I’ve just worked with so many amazing people.”

Stain referred to his former bandmates from his first band, Dirty Laundry. Stain formed Dirty Laundry in 1993, and it was his first band. Stain revealed that he actually didn’t even know how to play bass when he joined Dirty Laundry, but agreed because he wanted to play with the other band members, Kory Ochsnar, Brandon (B-Hound) Jamison, and Jonathan (Jones) Woodruff.

“I just was amazed by how talented they all were.” Stain explains while he smiles from ear to ear. “I couldn’t even really play guitar yet, and they all really knew how to play well. I just really admired them, and they forced me to work hard to become a better bassist so I could keep up at their level.”

Dirty Laundry was nothing like Numbers On Napkins, with the exception that they both had a cover of the song Baby Got Back. Stain’s first band was a true punk rock band, sloppy and 100% raw. Dirty Laundry played a mix of skate, hardcore, and pop punk, and was not as polished as NoN. Stain revealed that when the band would record, they would often use the first take, even if members made mistakes, stating that they all figured, “what the hell, it’s punk rock.” That’s what seemed to make Dirty Laundry stand out in my opinion, and it’s why the band still has managed to have a small fan base decades after calling it quits.

On January 2nd, 2021, exactly 28 years after the four original band members got together for the bands first practice on January 2nd, 1993, Dirty Laundry released a collector’s edition three disc discography box set featuring every track that the band ever released, as well as several previously unreleased songs. The box set contained a variety of goodies, including a 50 page biography, written by Stain, and a band member and lyrics booklet, as well as posters, stickers, and more. It was a happy day for fans of the band, who haven’t been able to listen to anything from Dirty Laundry in years. Stain and the other members of Dirty Laundry agreed to make each of the bands releases a limited edition pressing, so after the last of the bands albums sold out of copies in 2003, it became impossible to purchase any releases from the band. Furthermore, Dirty Laundry also refused to release any of their content in digital format, so fans have been unable to download any of the bands material, and couldn’t even stream it for several years. “It was a way to keep Dirty Laundry underground,” Stain explained. “I think we just wanted to keep our music special, and I’ve always been a fan of rare and collectable items from my favorite bands.”

In addition to releasing the box set, Dirty Laundry also released their entire catalog digitally for the first time the same day. Although Stain revealed that the band did make the process of listening to the band online a bit of a headache. Every song from every band online is given an individual digital number, much like a barcode, and Stain informed me that the band assigned the codes to the wrong songs on purpose, just to confuse and irritate their listeners. To make matters more frustrating, each of the songs from the band are registered incorrectly, so the confusion happens on all music platforms. So if a Spotify user is frustrated, they get the same result on YouTube, I-Tunes, Pandora, or anywhere. Stain let out a laugh and continued chuckling as he explained. “So basically, if someone is online and wants to listen to our song Slinky, when they select the song and play it, the song that will play is actually Stalker. But then if they try to play Stalker, they will get Friday Night. If they wanted to listen to Slinky, they would need to choose I Hired Boba Fett..... Then, to add to all the fucked up chaos, we assigned the correct songs to some of the codes.” Stain laughed while clapping his hands, applauding himself as he continued. “We said we would release our music online. We never said that we would assign the right songs to each title!”

It’s a perfect example of how anti-establishment Stain and Dirty Laundry see themselves, and is actually a creative way to display their image. Although I can see how many fans would be frustrated by the move. In any case, Dirty Laundry has finally made their music available to fans in digital format, and even if it’s a bit of a hassle finding each song, it’s better than nothing.

Stain reminded his fans of his previous projects this year with the release of the “Harmonies from the Hamper” box set from his first band, Dirty Laundry, and the full length album, “NoN Essentials: The Best of Numbers On Napkins” from his former project, NoN. The real question is how well Stain will be accepted as a solo artist. Stain’s new limited edition “April” EP was released just a few weeks ago, and it marks the first time in Stain’s life that he has released a solo album while not performing with a band.

Stain introduced his first solo release in early 2005, titled the “January” EP. The CD was the first installment in Stain’s “Month” series of EP’s, and had a limited edition pressing of only 500 copies. Six months later, Stain released the “February” EP, followed by the “March” EP, and eventually “The First Quarter”. “The First Quarter” was a full length solo album released in late 2010 that contained all of the tracks from the first three EP’s, as well as two bonus tracks. However, since Stain released “The First Quarter”, he has not been very active within the local scene of Arizona. Stain hasn’t performed a live solo performance since 2017, and his “April” EP is his first release since “The First Quarter.”

“I’m really excited to start to focus on my solo stuff again,” Stain said with excitement in his voice, “and I’m hoping that I can be back in the studio to record a follow up to April by the end of next year. Hopefully I’ll be playing three or four live solo performances locally next year, as long as everything goes as planned. Although I don’t plan on just doing my solo project. I actually have a killer project that I’m going to try to put together, with some crazy talented musicians that I think will be just amazing. I have really high hopes for this new band, and if I can pull it off, I honestly think that this band will be the most original and unique project that I’ve ever been a part of.”

Stain remained tight lipped about any details regarding his future project, but has high expectations and remains very optimistic. He also expresses his concern about aging and losing touch within the scene. Stain is now in his mid-forties, and realizes that musical styles are always evolving, and admits that he often relies on his only child, Nova, to help keep him informed on new trends and changes developing within the underground music scene.

Stain shares the details of the last concert he attended a few weeks earlier, going to see I Don’t Know How But They Found Me with Nova. Stain has even made Nova the Vice President of his label, Bad Stain Records, and has said in several previous interviews that he expects Nova to eventually take over the label, although he also shared with me that he doesn’t want to try and force his child to follow in his footsteps.

“Nova loves music”, Stain tells me, “They enjoy singing and writing music, and I’m happy with that. Although I don’t want to pressure Nova to be just like me. If they decide that they want to take full control of the label when I’m ready to step aside, they can have it, and run it however they want. If they want to be in a band and choose to be a musician, that’s great. It’s also great if they want to do something else. Nova has to choose the path that they want to follow, and whatever that may be, I will support them.”

Bad Stain Records is an independent record label from Phoenix that has been releasing albums for underground artists since 1995. Bad Stain has released over 60 albums from artists around the world. “I love the fact that I’m able to help local artists”, Stain announced with a bright smile on his face. “It’s pretty damn cool that I can help these bands along their journey. This is a shitty business to be in, and I really try to help protect independent musicians. Hopefully Bad Stain is a nice stepping stone on a bands journey. Plus, it’s cool that I get to put good music into the hands of people who want to hear it.”

Stain has been very active in the music scene over the years. In addition to performing with several bands, performing as a solo artist, and running Bad Stain Records, Stain has also produced several songs from various artists, written dozens of columns, articles, and interviews for a variety of underground music publications, and booked dozens of bands throughout the 2000’s with his booking and talent agency, Laundromat Productions. It seems as though he is always starting a new venture. Stain’s most recent project, Bad Stain Noize Weapons, is a new business Stain recently started that sells high quality custom made electric and bass guitars, and pickups.

“The guitars we make are fucking great,” Stain claims, “and we just released our first instrument that isn’t a limited edition build called the Prescott Bass. It’s pretty much a P-Bass, with our White Gold Pickups, which are really unique sounding pickups. We also just released our Supersonic and Hypersonic Series Humbuckers, and those are top quality. I’m really excited for the pickups we released for Halloween, the FrankenStain pickups. We also just released our latest guitar, the Hypersonic Corvette. It’s an exact replica of the Gibson Corvette, which was a killer limited edition guitar.”

Stain went into several details regarding the new guitar, adding that the instrument was available to purchase at the Official Bad Stain Facebook Shop. Stain continued to talk about Bad Stain Noize Weapons, and how he started the new business because he wanted to make his dream guitars and basses a reality. He told me that he had planned on building his dream guitar for years, and also revealed that the guitar that he is most excited about hasn’t been built yet. When I asked him why, he told me that, “(he) will eventually make the guitar when the time is finally right”.

Stain and I continued to discuss music further, especially the local scene in Arizona. Stain praises several local artists, such as the band Good Boy Daisy, a local group that Stain described as “crazy talented (with an) original style.” Stain also mentioned Mega Ray, a local rapper that revolves around video games, and the local punk band Dollskin, who has been going through growing pains while searching for new permanent members after the bands bassist and guitarist left the band a year ago. Of course, Stain also talked about more prominent local bands that he greatly admires, such as Jimmy Eat World and Authority Zero. Stain also stated that he was a huge fan of UPSAHL, who has started to make a strong impression after being featured as a guest vocalist on Mike Shinoda’s single, Happy Endings. UPSAHL was also featured as a guest vocalist for the single, Palm Reader, by The Dreamers, which has also gained momentum in recent weeks. Stain explained that he had been close with UPSAHL’s father, Mike Upsahl, since he was a teenager.

“Mike is an amazing songwriter,” Stain described, “and his old band Stereotyperider was one of the greatest bands that the Valley ever produced in the 2000’s. I think it’s clear that some of his creativity and talent rubbed off on his daughter.”

It became clear to me that Stain really does admire much of the talent in the local scene, and I feel as though he is extremely supportive. He really is a huge fan of local bands, and I can tell that he is a hardcore fan that wants to see artists succeed.

As we continued our discussion, the topic shifted back to Stain’s former band, Numbers On Napkins, and how the group was Stain’s most successful project to date. Stain explains how grateful he is to have been part of such an “amazing and talented group of musicians”, but he displays a sense of relief as the conversation continued and it became apparent that Stain felt that he had done what needed to be done with NoN, and seems excited to focus on new projects and his solo project.

“I’ve done what I needed to do with Numbers On Napkins”, Stain revealed as he stretched his left arm outwards and rubbed his shoulder, “now it’s time to take things easy and focus on new things. I have some plans, and hopefully I’ll be able to execute them. But my glory days are over, and that’s fine. It doesn’t mean that I’m just gonna stop making music. That’s something I’ll do until the day I die”.

I told Stain that I wanted to discuss his latest solo album, the “April” EP and I was surprised when he rolled his eyes and informed me that he wasn’t satisfied with his new release. “It’s really the weakest release I’ve ever had”, Stain states, “but I guess I just wanted to get something new out. I just put some songs that aren’t my favorite in order to put out a new EP, but I’m really excited about my new stuff. Hopefully I will record material for the May EP sometime in 2022.”

I asked Chase if he had any other things going on that he was excited about, and he answered, “Yeah. I actually have an announcement that I will make right now regarding Bad Stain Records. In 2022, Bad Stain will be releasing the first volume in our Arizona Local Legends Collection. There are so many great bands that helped inspire and shape the local scene that just never got any credit, and Bad Stain will be releasing albums from bands that are no longer around, but had a huge impact on the scene. I’m excited to let everyone know that the first volume will be the popular legendary local band, Generiks. The album will contain every song the band ever released, as well as previously unreleased shit, a biography, photo’s, videos, lyrics, and just a ton of shit. I just got the green light last week, so it won’t be out for awhile, but hopefully volume one will be ready by the summer of 2022.”

As I looked at the time, I realized that it was getting late and was time for me to wrap things up. I asked Stain if he had anything else that he wanted to say, and he replied, “Just thanks. I appreciate it man. Can’t wait to read it and it was nice to meet you.”

I attempted to pay my bar tab, but Stain was kind enough to take care of it for me and he wished me well as I exited the establishment. On the drive back to my parents’ house, I thought about my friend and colleague Ashley, and her experience interviewing Stain. Ashley seemed to have been impacted much more than I had, and I’m not sure why that is. I found Stain to be a friendly, intelligent, and charismatic character that was often outspoken and also very comedic, but I was not taken back by his demeanor or actions. I think that Ashley was expecting to interview a different person, as she had been a huge fan of Stain’s music and had assumed that he would behave differently. When Ashley interviewed Stain, she was surprised to find that he was so passionate about certain beliefs that he had, as she had expected that Stain would primarily be concerned with drinking and partying. Since I was fairly unfamiliar with Stain, I had no expectations about who he was, which made interviewing him a different experience for me.

With that being said, I did enjoy Chase Stain’s company, and I’m happy that I decided to take the time out to meet him and do the interview. Stain is far from boring, and it’s nice to see someone who has such passion and pride in our music scene. I sincerely hope that Stain continues to show his love and support for Arizona music, and continues to pursue his career in music. After spending several hours listening to Stain’s former bands, as well as his solo album, I can honestly say that I have become a fan of his music, and I can’t wait to hear Chase Stain’s new material. I have included the addresses for Chase Stain’s websites and social media pages below, along with the web addresses for Stain’s former musical projects, and Stain’s record label, Bad Stain Records, and his new guitar company Bad Stain Noize Weapons.

For more information on Chase Stain, his former bands, and his record label, visit these various websites:


Official Website: www.BadStainRecords.com/ChaseStain.html

Official Facebook Page: www.Facebook.com/DrStain

Official Instagram Page: www.Instagram.com/DrChaseStain

Official Twitter Page: www.Twitter.com/ChaseStain


Official Website: www.BadStainRecords.com

Official Facebook Page: www.Facebook.com/BadStainRecords

Official Facebook Store: www.Facebook.com/BadStainRecords/Shop

Official Instagram Page: www.Instagram.com/OfficialBadStain

Official Twitter Page: www.Twitter.com/BadStainRecords

Official YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyMfiHwLaBMytKue1Uo29Hw


Official Website: www.BadStainRecords.com/The-Armory.html


Official Website: www.BadStainRecords.com/non.html

Official Facebook Page: www.Facebook.com/NumbersOnNapkins

Official Instagram Page: www.Instagram.com/NumbersOnNapkinsBand

Official Twitter Page: www.Twitter.com/NumbersOnNaps


Official Website: www.BadStainRecords.com/DirtyLaundry.html

Official Facebook Page: www.Facebook.com/DirtyLaundryRocks

Official Instagram Page: www.Instagram.com/DirtyLaundryRocks

Official Twitter Page: www.Twitter.com/DirtyLaundryRox