“I’ve always wanted to start a band, and I just decided to do that this past December,” John Sears shared on the patio outside of Southside 313, sitting across the table from his fellow guitarist Nick Baranowski. Sears is the frontman, guitarist, and vocalist of John Sears and the Stock Music Company. Dragging on his cigarette, Sears nodded to Baranowski, adding, “and I knew I wanted to work with Nick. Two weeks before the gig, I walked up to him and asked him if he wanted to play, and we played together that night and it went really well. We started playing at open mic nights and it just went from there.”
The band has performed multiple shows at several venues around the South Side of Bethlehem, and both recalled numerous shows packed tight. The talent of the group is obvious. Sears has been playing guitar since he was sixteen and has been in bands since the age of seventeen, and Baranowski began teaching himself around the same age. Influenced by the Rolling Stones, the two guitarists also share a love of the Velvet Underground that is evident in their music. John Sears and the Stock Music Company certainly has that Stones rock ‘n roll vibe with it, with an interesting bluesy jazz note as well.
“Blues add a whole different level and set of notes to the music,” Baranowski added as the two discussed the group’s influences. “I didn’t come into the project knowing blues, but it’s fun, it’s different, it adds a whole other different aspect of understanding to the music. And you can also tell that a lot of the songs that John writes are like the Stones, and have the same kind of architecture.”
John Sears and the Stock Music Company’s sound and originality is further enhanced by their down-to-earth and relatable song lyrics. “I write about everything, everyday things. What’s happening, sweet things I would say to my girlfriend, just life,” Sears explained.
The group is part of the larger South Side Bethlehem community of music, sharing venues and bars such as the Funhouse and Southside 313 with groups such as Phlesh, Insidious Rays, Strange Coincidence, and the Gonzo Project. “The number of bands that Bethlehem has on its south side is much larger than a typical city of this size,” Baranowski said, “And it’s cool, because you get pumped to play for the crowd, but you also get kinda nervous sometimes knowing that there are people in the crowd that know exactly what you’re doing.”
Contrary to their name, John Sears and the Stock Music Company is anything but stock music. Their shows are full of high energy and good old twangy rock ‘n roll. “You read the crowd and try to keep the energy high. We just recently played a show with a lot of students attending, and you pick things on the fly that you think will keep everyone moving.” A treat to watch, their addition to south side Bethlehem’s sound is one not to be missed.
Be sure to check John Sears and the Stock Music Company out at their next show at Southside 313 on April 28th starting around 9 PM.