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Feature for 

August 2008

Blue Wave Theory

Name: Blue Wave Theory

Genre: Progressive Surf

Geographical Area: New Jersey

Interview by email with Steve Rabeler on 7/30/08

1. What is the current line-up of your band?

Steve Rabeler – guitar

Bill Schmidt – drums

Kevin Stamper - bass

2. How and when did you get started with your band?

Steve, Bill, and Kevin all worked day jobs as engineers for the same company based in Moorestown, NJ.  At work, they often had discussions about music and forming a new band. Eventually Steve and Bill left the company, but kept in contact. Finally, in February 2007, Steve and Bill started rehearsing some original songs, recruited Kevin to complete the sound, and Blue Wave Theory was formed. Our website is

3. What bands or music have influenced you most?

Steve’s guitar playing and songwriting is often influenced by classic and current surf / instrumental bands including Dick Dale, The Ventures, The Mermen, and Los Straitjackets.  Other artists / guitarists influencing Steve’s style include Billy Zoom, Johnny Ramone, Jimmy Page, Chuck Berry, and Leslie West.  Elements of progressive rock, rockabilly, psychedelic rock, and jazz / rock fusion styles of music are also present in Steve’s sound.

Bill:  A pretty wide range actually. I cut my teeth on the usual drummer bands (Rush, Dream Theatre, Genesis, Dixie Dregs, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin). My interests have since branched out into jazz, where I discovered the amazing Tony Williams. My interests have lately tuned away from bands producing blazing 64th notes and more towards bands putting together a coherent song – telling an interesting story.  For example, Red is probably my favorite band right now.  The one musician that has probably had the single greatest impact, oddly enough, is Phil Keaggy, an instrumental guitarist.  He has an amazing grasp of chord layers and songwriting.  From a drumming perspective, many of his (blistering) guitar runs translate into very interesting fill patterns as well. I don’t think you can listen to that level of musicianship without it having an impact in some form or another.

Kevin really loves funk, jazz, and soul.  He has been influenced by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Parliament / Funkadelic, Victor Wooten, the Beastie Boys, and Rage Against the Machine. He tries to listen to as much world music as possible, like Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars, in order to keep the bass lines appropriately unconventional.

4. What is the breakdown of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?

For live shows, Blue Wave Theory plays approximately 75% originals and 25% covers.


5. What recording have you done?

During the past year, we have been developing several new songs for our debut Blue Wave Theory CD.  Several tracks have been recorded with engineer / producer Dan Skye at Skylab Studio in Roosevelt, NJ. More studio sessions are planned for this summer and our CD will (hopefully) be completed and released before the end of 2008.

Steve has been in a few different bands over the years and made several recordings:

Blaze Orange (1982 - 1983)

-          Blaze Orange’s song “Survivor” released in 1983 on Binghamton, New York radio station WAAL compilation album of various upstate New York bands.

Lochinvar (1987 – 2001) 

-          Lochinvar’s song “The Untamed Child” released in 1988 on “12 x 12”, a Dallas, Texas compilation album of independent bands.

-          “Knight Songs” EP released in 1997 on Records.

-          “It Came From The 80’s” CD released in 1999 on Records.

-          “Lochinvar” CD released in 2001 on Ampcast Records.


Speed Limit 35 (1997 – 2007)

-          “The Speed of Sound” CD released in 2000 on Records. 

-          “Shifting Gears” CD released in 2004 on Hectic Eclectic Records.

-          Speed Limit 35's song "ReKrupaRation" was featured on the first episode of the Roadtrip Nation television series on PBS. The show premiered in September 2006 on PBS stations nationwide.


Artificial Intelligence in Texas (1986 – present)

-          “Time Remembers” CD released in 2006 on Hectic Eclectic Records.

-          Several new tracks are currently being recorded for a new CD entitled “Precious Piece of Mind”.  This CD is scheduled to be released in late 2008 / early 2009.


Bill has been involved with many different bands and recording projects including:

Interstate 89

-      Percussion Institute of Technology studio project

Arrival (1988 – 1993)

-      Recorded full album “The Water” and an untitled project.

Elysian Skies (1991 – 1993)

-      Released “Exquisite Whisper” CD in 1995 or so. The song “Digg” from this           project received radio play and actually found its way onto a couple of jukeboxes across the country.

Penny Lane Studios (1990 – 1995)

-     Was the “house drummer” for Penny Lane studios in El Paso, Texas for a number of years.  Received many calls to record tracks for bands that did not have drummers.

Severance (2000 – 2003)

-     Recorded “out of control” and live album CD’s for this high-energy rock band.

Artificial Intelligence in Texas (2007 – present)

-     Joined Steve’s modern rock band and is in the process of recording drum tracks and percussion for the current CD project.

Kevin has not released any recordings to date, but he's excited about the upcoming Blue Wave Theory release.

6. What kind of gear do you use?

Steve:     For live shows and band rehearsals, Steve uses…

G & L Skyhawk electric guitar

D’Addario XL .01 - .046 strings

Herco thin blue nylon picks

(if anyone has any extras of these picks lying around, please let me know. They haven’t been made for years but I’d love to have some more!)

Marshall 9005 power amp

ADA MP-1 pre-amp

ADA T2-12C SL split-stack speaker cabinets

Lexicon LXP-5 multi-effects processor

Scholz R&D Rockman equalizer

ADA MC-1 MIDI foot controller

Dunlop Cry Baby wah-wah pedal

Boss HM-2 distortion pedal

Boss TU-2 tuner pedal

Steve needs to seriously downsize to a much more portable guitar rig!!

For studio recordings, Steve sometimes utilizes a POD 2.0 guitar direct box, but usually just goes direct into the board, utilizing various software programs to create tone.  When practicing at home, Steve pretty much always plays his G&L “unplugged”.


Bill:        Heh heh…. well, I have a >>>30 Piece<<< drum set sitting in my basement, consisting of  Ludwig vistalites, rototoms, octobans, and electronics.  Some of the more unusual pieces include a buzzsaw blade (very tough on the sticks), an ashtray, and two garbage can lids. I have plans to expand in the future.

Live is a bit more pedestrian: Typical 7-piece kit with double pedals, or whatever equipment that is at the gig that produces noise (typically augmented with the octos).

Kevin:   For live shows and rehearsals, Kevin uses…

Jackson JPB-9 electric bass

Trace Elliott GP7SM 250 bass amp

David Eden D212XLT speaker cabinet

Boss Flanger BF-3 pedal

Occasionally, he'll use his Digitech Jamman looper/phrase sampler pedal when he wants to keep the bass line going but play some melody lines or solos.


7. What is your band’s favorite food/beverage?

Steve:     Pasta, blueberries, and strawberries.

Bill:        Ring-tailed Lemurs.

Kevin:   Chocolate, of the Dark variety.


8. How do you get gigs?

We’re a relatively new band and are just now starting the process of getting gigs.  Blue Wave Theory’s first public performance was in August 2007 at the annual “Music on the Back Porch” festival in Boyds, Maryland.  Since then, we’ve played 3 more shows: 1 private party in Cherry Hill, NJ, and 2 shows as part of Unsteady Freddie’s monthly surf –rock shindigs at Otto’s Shrunken Head in New York City.  3 more shows are currently on our schedule for 2008: the annual Twangstock festival (August 31), a gig at Desmond’s Tavern in NYC (November 1) and Unsteady Freddie’s Surf-Rock Shindig on December 6th at Otto’s.  Now that we’ve developed our sound somewhat, and written a lot of new material, we hope to schedule several more shows in the near future!


9. What are the difficulties you find playing your kind of music in your area?

Since we’ve only played a handful of shows, no difficulties have arisen yet. Thanks to Unsteady Freddie for asking us to be part of his Shindigs, and for his promotion of the type of shows where instrumental / surf bands can play the kind of music they want to play in front of a very supportive audience!


10. What positive attributes does your band have that sets you apart from other bands (of any genre)?

The three of us have very different and diverse musical backgrounds, influences and styles of playing. As a result, we tend to develop songs that often go in unexpected directions.


11. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool you’ve used to further your band’s musical path?

The internet.  Word of mouth is also extremely important.


12. What’s the most interesting performance experience you’ve had?

Bill:  Once, I was playing a country western gig on the back of a flatbed truck about 10 miles up a dirt road. It was funny, cause they had this big generator next to the truck that was drowning out all the musicians. The bad part wasn’t the bad springs on the truck that caused the truck to rock and equipment to fall over, just the snow…


13. What do you hope to get out of being a NESMA member?

NESMA gives us a fantastic support group and network of contacts.  As a new band, playing all instrumentals, it would be nearly impossible to establish the connections and alliance that NESMA provides.


14. Anything else?




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