Column, Rockin' The Region

Rockin’ the Region with Stephen Kellogg

The Women’s World Cup aptly named the HERoic Killington Cup is upon us this weekend. Besides getting to watch the best female skiers in the world, Killington Resort base area is transformed into a festival style village with lots of great music. DJ Angie Vee kicks it off Friday 5 p.m. Saturday, immediately following Run 1, around 11 a.m. is Stephen Kellogg and then after Run 2, around 2 p.m. is Noah Kahan. Sunday, immediately following Run 1, is Michael Franti.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Stephen Kellogg as he got ready to board a flight home from a mini vacation in Mexico. I’m really looking forward to his show and it’s one not to be missed. I first saw Kellogg at the Gathering of the Vibes in 2002 and then a few years later with his band. I also saw him sit in with Dispatch in 2014. This Saturday, he’ll be performing as a duo with his guitarist Danny Black from the band “Good Old War”. Stephen is a skier but probably won’t get to hit the hill this time around but is looking forward to playing at the World Cup. He said, “I’ve seen pictures, it looks great. It’ll be a lot of fun.”

Kellogg is a New Englander and loves it. He’s played all over the world but he grew up in Connecticut. He went to college at U mass and now currently resides back in Ct. He said, “I’m a New England guy. I bought a house here and I’m happy to live there for the rest of my life.” He’s always been in a band, since his first concert at age 10 (Whitesnake). In high school, he followed the Grateful Dead and stayed on his music journey. In college he realized he could make money at this. Next week he’ll be forty-six and he’s still at it. He said, “I don’t want to be too cosmic but I have spent a couple days on the beach here and I kind of feel like your destiny presents itself. The opportunity to play kept coming up.”

Pretty quickly, he got signed to Universal Records. He said, “I made records for them, Atlantic, Vanguard. The next thing you know you built a lifetime of memories and some wins and losses.” This past year, the opportunity to play with one of his favorite bands came up. The Counting Crows asked him to open for them on their Butter Miracle Tour. He added, “You stay in the game long enough and cool shit happens.”

He said that tour was unbelievable. “I spent a long time preparing for an opportunity like that. I was able to not only go out and do it but to really enjoy myself. I didn’t have that young fear you have when you’re twenty-eight, having to deliver for the record label. I just went out with a cool feeling of playing with one of my favorite bands of all-time. My daughters came and sat in with me and then the Counting Crows asked them to sit in with them. We were able to share that. It was a great experience and I was able to make some new fans.” He played the West Coast shows solo which included Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco. The band joined him back East.

Covid didn’t really stop him from playing. Sure he had a little break during the lockdown but he was playing whenever he could, whether it be in a parking lot or a limited capacity show. He said, “A new variant would come up and we toured right through it. People would say how glad they were to be back but I feel like I’ve been back at it for a couple of years now.”

His musical heroes are Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty but he surprised me with his current liking of Taylor Swift. Kellogg said, “I like her lyrics. I like the way she kind of changes, kind of like the Grateful Dead did or Pearl Jam. You know it’s the same band but they’re doing something a little different each time. I always love that with an artist. I certainly bonded with my kids over her music. I’m really influenced by her in recent years. It doesn’t bear any real resemblance to my music.” Laughing, he said “I know it’s not the answer you expected.”

He has a new album coming out December 2nd, “Keep it up, Kid”. He’ll be touring the rest of the year around that. He said that’s the big news at the moment. If you don’t get to see him live, you can check him out online on all social media platforms, YouTube and his website, all under his name. Kellogg loves performing. He said, “What I live for is the connection with people. Any form I can get. I like to walk out and see who’s in front of me and feel their vibe and read that room. Get what I have inside of me for the past twenty-five years that can light them up or I’m telling a story that can make them laugh, make them cry or inspire them. I live to feel that I’ve connected with the people in front of me. I feel there’s a lot of better singer/songwriters than me but my superpowers are feeling what is happening around me. It makes it so it never gets old. I don’t want to sound mellow-dramatic but you could change someone’s life. It’s cool if people want to dance or have a good time but you could go in and something that you do could take someone out of a dark spot. That’s a hell of a job and a cool way to do it.”

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