Indiana Music: Why Store’s Chris Shaffer

Chris Shaffer looks about the same as ever. The hair. The stance and guitar in front of a microphone. And the voice. He still has that too; a raspy full-throated roar that makes his sound instantly recognizable. And Shaffer has a sorta new album, VIM, that he is proud of, produced by Rusty Anderson, Paul McCartney’s long time guitarist.

Through the golden age of The Why Store in the mid-90’s, they were the band that took Indianapolis (and Muncie) to the rest of the US. After two successful independent, regionally released albums, their self-titled major label debut on MCA Records included “Lack Of Water”, a big song at radio, and the album sold 200,000 copies. They performed “Surround Me” on Late Night with Conan O’ Brien and had videos on MTV and VH1.

Still, band broke up in 2000, only reforming briefly in 2005 before splintering again. Shaffer, after years touring on his own and with his band Shaffer Street, formed his version of The Why Store in 2007, and now fills his show calendar with club dates throughout Indiana. The gigs are Why Store shows, even as the band is a new cast of musicians. Chris enlisted former Ma Kelley guitar player Troy Seele, Jerome Rieskamp on drums, and Dan Hunt on bass to form the new band.

We tracked Chris down on his farm, and talked about music, lawyers and Why Store fans.

ROB: What are you working on or playing live that you really like?
CHRIS SHAFFER: I am currently living on a farm in Rush County, and writing and recording demos. I believe I am working on my best material to date. I am really proud of a song that just came to me one day called “Another One”. It is, in my opinion, the best song I have ever written. I can’t wait to record it, along with a few other gems I am currently working on. The song “Beautiful World” from VIM is taking on a life of it’s own when we play it live. People really seem to take a shine to it, and sing along with the band. It is definitely a highlight of our shows. Continue reading “Indiana Music: Why Store’s Chris Shaffer”

The Lowdown: Four (or Five) Roots/Rock Shows in Indy This Week

In my world of loosely-defined roots rock and roll, these four shows all fit,  and there is a bit of a story to tell on each artist.  And there is even a fifth band I thought should get added to the list, after I had decided I was already finished… 

South Carolina guitarist/songwriter Zach Deputy plays Tuesday night Birdy’s (May 4), and is touring in support of his new record, Sunshine. He, according to a press release we got at NUVO, is “earning tremendous cred on the jam band circuit with his innovative blues, pop, calypso, soul blend”. They go on to mention Sunshine was named Album of the Year for 2009 by Homegrown Radio Network.

I dug into some of his online stuff, and especially checked into the YouTube videos he has posted. Here’s the deal: he’s a one-man jam band, using loops created live on stage to build up his songs and drive the young hippies and Dave Matthews fans into a groovin’ little dance trance. Definitely grab a puff and check this one out at Birdy’s, if that’s your thing, because I think he’s pretty damn good at what he does.