You can#039;t deep-six Stephen Kellogg and band

by Beacon Staff • October 18, 2006

On stage, the band from Northampton, Mass. cracks jokes with the audience, telling stories about first kisses, interjecting movie quotes between guitar chords and paying homage to Queen by singing an a cappella version of "Fat Bottomed Girls.,Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers aren't afraid to be themselves.

On stage, the band from Northampton, Mass. cracks jokes with the audience, telling stories about first kisses, interjecting movie quotes between guitar chords and paying homage to Queen by singing an a cappella version of "Fat Bottomed Girls."

The band's sold-out show at the Paradise Rock Club on Oct. 13 drew local fans to see bassist Keith Karlson, better known as "Goose," parade around in skintight Superman briefs, mimicking dance moves of the geeky, space-boot wearing weirdo Napoleon Dynamite.

Stripping down to your underwear is nothing out of the ordinary for Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers; in fact, it has become a homecoming tradition of the band's when they play shows in Boston.

Kellogg brings a new dynamic to his songs during live performances.

He experiments with six kazoos in his performance of "Uninspired Gambling."

The familiar whirling plastic toy from elementary school days has been a signature of Kellogg's music since he started his solo gigs back in 2000.

"We were supposed to be on the cover of Rolling Stone, but we didn't look good in that pink getup like Fergie," Kellogg joked during the concert.

What may seem like the ultimate goal for many artists isn't a top priority for Kellogg. He isn't striving for the cover of magazines; instead he's looking to make meaningful melodies.

"Fame is only useful to take your music out there," Kellogg said in a phone interview.

"Getting our music out on a broader scale appeals to me because I'd like to play in even nicer, bigger theatres and where the sound is great and the lights are great so the people that come into the show can have a great experience."

In between silly covers of Madonna's "Material Girl" and embarrassing anecdotes about losing their virginity, the band remains true to its roots, playing honest, hand-crafted songs.

"The idea for me behind writing music is dealing with emotions and the way you feel and so you can be a happy person-whether it's expressing joy through song or expressing sadness or confusion," lead singer and guitarist Kellogg said.

The messages behind the music are conveyed in many of the band's songs, including the emotional piano-driven ballad, "Such a Way," and the acoustic tune "Keep Me in Your Thoughts." On this touching song Kellogg sings, "I know it's morning and that you need to go/ You look so lovely in the morning glow/ The only thing I ask is that you know/ That I will keep you in my thoughts throughout the day."

These lyrics prove that Kellogg's songwriting has matured on his latest self-titled release.

The band recently released its first DVD, The First Waltz, a testament to the band's personality on and off stage and to the local Boston music scene. They invite former Dispatch member Chad Urmston and folk singer/songwriter Mark Erelli to guest on their songs.

Kellogg credits Urmston as being a major influence.

"I have this attitude that I'm not ashamed to make money, but I also do it to make a living," he said. "One of the great, beautiful things about Chad is that he's taught the importance of trying to do that, but he's taught me that it's very important to give to the community, to give to charity, to use this particular job towards a positive end."

The band is now working on a new album, Glass Jaw Boxer, which will be released early next year.

The Sixers will be touring throughout the rest of the year, and also plan to play an acoustic tour with a stop at the intimate Club Passim, focusing on songs from their new album.