Stacey Carey Jr.

Stacey Carey Jr.

Musician, Singer-Songwriter

June 17, 2015


Earl Cookie + the Galactics


Tell us more about some of your past projects?

My past projects consist of a multitude of bands; the first of which was a classic funk and R&B band by the name of Ultimate Productions. I was the youngest member in the band by more than forty years, and with them I honed my craft under the influence of McKinley Ford (Mack), a 75-year-old funk master. Mack took me under his wing and showed how to refine my wild soloing fury into tasteful riffs; he also showed me how to be a band leader. While in the band, I had a great time with its members, who were like a family to me. We would have cookouts, play private parties and just have an all-around good time. Toward the end of my days with Ultimate Productions, I put together my own lineup of the band and lead them to become Earl Cookie. Ultimate Productions ultimately dissolved due to poor management, but not before I met the members of my next band, The New Spiritual Angels of Joy. With The New Spiritual Angels of Joy I would develop my stage presence and style as well as my voice, under Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Emma Sneed. We played in churches all over the city dressed in matching suits provided by Mr. Frank. We practiced twice a week for two hours. After, Mrs. Emma would cook us dinner and we would sit down to eat, then fellowship while watching old westerns. Mr. Frank was very big into vocal harmonies, and would always try and get me to sing out more. It wasn’t until he said to me one day, “It’s a shame a man’s got a voice and is afraid to use it," that I began to actually take pride in the fact that I had a decent and unique vocal quality. While in The New Spiritual Angels of Joy, I joined a noise band by the name of The Space Gypsies that improvised every show, while dressed in ridiculous costumes and masks. It was with the Gypsies that everything that I had learned as a, mostly self-taught, guitarist began to coalesce. When Mr. Frank and Mrs. Emma retired and moved to Tennessee, I formed the rock/soul band Earl Cookie. While short lived; people assumed I was Earl so when the band broke up I kept the name.

What current projects are you working on?

I am currently working on a new band called Earl Cookie and the Galactics. [It's] a feel-good, electro, indie rock band that blends my soulful vocals with my atmospheric stylings.

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

I bring diversity to Toledo’s acoustic music scene, which makes it easy for me for me to stand out.

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

I would have to say the greatest success for me was traveling the country to seven major and historical musical cites, paying for the entire trip by playing guitar on the streets for tips. I found a place to stay in each city via The cities included Columbus, Ohio, (which I confused with Cincinnati—the upside to this was I met a wonderful couple, with whom I am still very good friends, that where able to put me in contact with a wonderful guy who opened up his home to me in Memphis),Nashville and Memphis, TN, Atlanta, GA, New Orleans, LA, Houston and Austin, TX. The trip was cut short due to a death in the family.

Who or what gives you inspiration?

Floyd Anderson is my own personal hero by being an openly gay black entertainer and drag queen extraordinaire. Floyd has accumulated multiple awards: Miss Dayton America, Miss Glass City, Miss Power Diva, Miss Ohio Entertainer of the Year, Miss Toledo EOY, Miss Toledo Gay Pride, Miss Ohio International and Miss Ohio International Plus.

Tell us about your background.

As a child, I used to sit in my room with a dual cassette deck making recordings of my voice, to sing in three-part harmony. I had an open mind to many genres of music, even then. This passion was stoked by my high school math/drama teacher, Janet Beening, who introduced me to world and classical music, as well opera and theater music. At the age of 16, I learned that my cousin was learning piano and that his younger brother had a guitar. I would fool around with each instrument whenever I was at their home. I asked my mother if I could take up an instrument, to which she replied that I was too old. I continued to pluck, pick and hammer away at any instrument I was able to get my hands on until age 20. Around this time I had discovered Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath, and the game "Guitar Hero" had just come out and was pretty popular. I remember wanting the game so bad, then I realized it would be easier to simply buy a guitar. I bought my first guitar, a sunflower yellow acoustic "Bentley." I rented every book on guitar, that I could find, from the library and read through each book until I couldn't understand it anymore. As I read each book, I realized that they went in a circle and allowed me to comprehend more of my previous read. I got the tabs to my first favorite rock song, "Stairway to Heaven," and taught myself the solo by ear, when I realized the that the tab was incorrect.

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

“The universe makes way for those who know where they are going.” A paraphrase on Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote.

Favorite place for local culture?

My favorite place to find local culture is the Moxie. It has branded itself as an arthouse pub. While it is a very new bar, I feel that it offers a wider variety of musical acts. The atmosphere is so warm with two stages that offer an intimate connection between audience and performer. I don't think I have ever met a more engaging and welcoming staff.

Toledo’s “best-kept secret” is . . .

The Collingwood Arts Center is Toledo's best-kept secret. It is the former convent for the Ursuline Order of the Sacred Heart, and later housed the Mary Manse College and St. Ursula Academy. It is a registered historical site. The center has been "Creatively serving visual and performing artists with residential, studio, and theatre space since 1985".

My favorite place to chill locally is . . .

My favorite place locally would have to be Mutz, located in basement of the Oliver House. It is the bar that as a musician I call home, with a residency that allows to play there every second Wednesday of the month. It is also home to local brewery Maumee Bay, which crafts a massive selection of standard and seasonal craft beers. During my stay at Mutz I have learned a lot about how to play to the crowd while staying true to my art.

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . .

My favorite natural place to hang out is Ottawa Park. I has a wonderful outdoor amphitheater and beautiful trails that crisscross all over the park. I used to go there to study and listen to music during high school. My favorite time to visit is during early fall and summer.

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . .

When I’m not working hard I can always be found playing outside the Mud Hens or Walleye stadiums. It is some thing I love to do because of the joy I seem to bring to the people coming in and out. I do very well while playing, making more money than I do at my day job, for Jimmy Johns.

If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

I would love to see more street performers.

Any exciting collaborations (past or present) you would like to tell us about?

My most exciting collaboration right now would have to be with my best friend, Jackson Burkett. He I have been friends for quite some time as well as having been in a few bands together. We finally found a musical common ground that seems to entice crowds we play for.

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.

If I could collaborate with anyone, it would have to be my guitar hero Jimmy Page.

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.

I could not live without the Harry Potter series; it taught me a lot about about myself.

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .

Genuine, innovative and compassionate.

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.

Pure Heroine by Lorde
Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Soundtrack
Swoon by Silversun Pickups
Led Zeppelin II by Led Zeppelin

My biggest vice is . . .

My biggest vice is my terrible Netflix addiction.

I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.

Zip Cars. 

What’s the last dream you recall having?

The last dream I recall having is battling zombies with a sword.

The last lyric that moved me was . . .

"I was frightened of every little thing that I thought was out to get me down /  To trip me up and laugh at me /  But I learnt not to want / The quiet of the room with no one around to find me out / I want the applause, the approval, the things that make me go" — Lorde, from Bravado

One movie character I identify with is . . .

One movie character I relate to the most is Harry Potter. We were both treated different just because of who we were. Even when he discovered his differences and joined people like him, he still found himself ostracized. He overcame this by discovering true friendship. With their acceptance of him, he learned to accept himself. I relate this to my sexuality, which I struggled with until very recently. Coming out has taught many things about myself that I never knew. It taught me to not deny who I am and to face my problems head on.

The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .

The best gift I ever received was a guitar that I gave away to a friend because it was a bit beat up. She took it, fixed it up and then gave back to me. I loved it because it was a guitar that I really liked, but also because of all the hard work she went through to restore it only to return it to me.

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

My most inspiring moment came when I auditioned for the reality shows American Idol and The Voice. While I did not make it on to the shows, my elimination from them drove me to rediscover the musical direction I had intended to create upon first taking up the guitar and to write songs in that vein.

I want my last meal to be _______________.

I want my last meal to be bacon shrimp pasta.

See Stacey Carey do a cover of Katy Perry's "The One That Got Away":


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