You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
Having earned the reputation as one of Central Arkansas's top blues rock guitar slingers, Stephen Compton now steps into the spotlight, fronting his own project: Stephen Compton and the GDC.
Pulling from the influences of his youth, Stephen mixes the sounds of blues, rock, soul, country and funk to produce something that's all his own. Comfortable in his skin. Satisfying to the Soul.
Tune in and Get Down w/ Stephen Compton and the GDC.
About Stephen Compton and the GDC:
Abilene, Texas, native Stephen Compton got the music bug early on in his life. Inheriting his mom’s taste for rock and roll masters like The Beatles and Elvis, Stephen picked up a guitar around the age of 10. "I took about a month of guitar lessons and that was it. Just enough to learn a few basic chords. I was set after that", reflects Stephen, "It was all I needed to rock out some Elvis!" But like most kids that grew up in the 80's and 90's, Stephen eventually gravitated towards Grunge and Electronic Metal, listening to bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails. He also started forming his own band, writing and playing songs, and making as much noise as possible. "We practiced in my buddy's basement. All cement and concrete block walls. Loud as hell, but I didn't have anything like a real guitar amp back then. My Dad would never go for that. So to get over the drums, I daisy chained 3 or 4 little 10 watt practice amps together, turned them to 11 and let it rip. Loud as hell!"
These basement practices led to some early recording sessions that Stephen still remembers. "My first studio experience was at Second Street Studios in Little Rock AR. I might have been 17 and I think we paid about $900 to get 3 songs done, so this was big time for us. The engineer let us listen to tracks he had done for Izzy Stradlin and George Clinton. Needless to say I was amazed. Since then I've always regarded the studio as another member of the band. Any chance I get to record, I take it."
While Stephen's high school band was fun, it didn't amount to much, and as always, life intervened. It wasn't until college that Stephen started developing his own unique sound. "From 1998 on, I've had a big passion for the blues. Albert King, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy started it off. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, and Dwayne Allman came next. Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks are more recent influences,” he explains. College also introduced Stephen to the Jam Band scene. "I got into the Greatful Dead, the Allman Brothers, and Widespread Panic. I started dating my wife at Red Rocks and I guarantee that I can always find Shakedown Street!"
These influences and a lot of practice led Stephen to form early blues jam bands such as South 61, but it wasn't easy. "When it came to playing the blues, I was terrible at first. I mean really bad. I could clear a room in 2 minutes flat. I also spent years in the shadow of other players. People who were good and played all the time to what I thought was great acclaim. It was frustrating for me because I wanted to be known as a good musician but I had people telling me to give it up all the time. Thank God I was too young and stupid to actually take their advise."
After years of trial and error, Stephen finally found his voice with Interstate Buffalo. Formed in 2009 as an acoustic blues cover band, Interstate Buffalo eventually grew into a well recognized electric blues rock band. Centered around Stephen's hard driving guitar sound, the band's first full length album "One Step Away" garnered international recognition, winning the 2012 Best Debut Blues Rock Album Award from the Blues Underground Network. Interstate Buffalo was also a one of 24 national finalists in the 2012 Bud Light Battle of the Bands, as well as a competitor in the 2013 International Blues Competition in Memphis TN. "The IBC really opened my eyes to what a band could and should be. It was an incredible experience but I recognized that I needed to be doing more as a musician. I really wanted to take Interstate Buffalo to the next level"
But once again, life intervened. So 3 babies and 3 drummers later, Interstate Buffalo came to its end in December 2013. "The music business is tough, and it requires a ton of time and effort, with a healthy dose of believing in yourself. The guys that I worked with in Interstate Buffalo are great friends and musicians, and they helped take Interstate as far as it could go. It was a good run."
Knowing that Interstate Buffalo could go no further, Stephen began forming the vision for a new project. Something that stepped away from a "Blues Band", and captured a more complete sound. "Arkansas is the crossroads of every type of music you can imagine. Blues, Rock, Country, Funk, Soul. Half of it started in Arkansas and the other half grew up in Arkansas. I wanted to do something that respected all these different sounds."
So at the beginning of 2014, the sun rose on Stephen Compton and the GDC. With a sound best described as "Rock n Soul", Stephen is now joined by Brad Birge on the Bass Guitar and Daniel Curry on Drums. Concentrating on original music written by Stephen as well as covers by artists like Gary Clark Jr, the Black Keys, and the Rolling Stones, the group is scheduled to record their first EP at the end of January 2014, and hit the road in March.
And exactly what is the GDC??
You'll have to come to a show to really find that out, but till then, the band hopes you'll Tune In and Get Down, because there's nothing like being part of the Get Down Crew.