Video day in Torrington, CT. Snapper Mcgees! We’re back on the road tomorow in Albany at Valentines with The Jukebox boys. Lets hang!!


Spring 2013…Stay tuned. 


Dustin sits down with with Straight Edge for Life, and Front Row for Life, and talks about the new record(s), tour, warped, and how he keeps it X.



ALBUM: Break Your Sword       RELEASE DATE: 4/10/2012

ALBUM: Stay Awake                 RELEASE DATE: 8/14/2012

LABEL: Altercation Records

Interviewer: Karena Russo of Front Row For Life / Straight Edge For Life

I recently had the privilege of chatting with Dustin Stroud, formerly of the band Riddlin’ Kids, about his current band, Say Hello To The Angels. He shared insights about new music, touring and his lifestyle. I had a little help from my friend Mike DC McTernan {Damnation A.D./When Tigers Fight}, because he’s lived a similar life. There are a few points during the interview where Mike’s input is clear. So, there is also a little talk about living positively.   

While interviewing Dustin, I felt like I was talking to an old friend. He has a way of making someone feel at ease, and I could have interjected much more of myself in to the conversation because of that {which I am sure he would not have minded}. However, this is about Dustin, the music and the band, so I tried to control my personal talent for talking too much! I hope you enjoy learning about this piece of his world as I did.


Your current band is SAY HELLO TO THE ANGELS with Altercation Records.

You have a full length album ‘Break Your Sword’ set for release on April 10, 2012, so I’d like to talk about that first.

Is this an acoustic album?


Yes! it’s an acoustic album, but don’t expect slow sappy touchy feely songs… it’s pretty up beat energetic and goes all over the place with subject matter. We are a full band playing as loud as we can on acoustic guitars.


What made you want to do a full length acoustic album?


Actually it started out as an EP, and as a challenge to ourselves to see if we could write energetic songs acoustic, and a few re imaginings of one of our faster songs on the last record.

The whole thing came about…

When we played acoustic one time in the Czech Republic for pizza and a night’s stay at a Hostel. We liked it, and when we got back to the States, we tried to do a couple of shows like that. People liked it, and soon we were asked to do a show opening for Chuck Ragan and The Sharks. We played some more high profile shows like opening for Kris Roe from The Ataris. Then we knew we had to try to write some songs specifically geared to acoustic arrangements. We showed the songs to Altercation our label…they loved it, and said if we could record some more songs they would put it out as a record… we were so excited!


It’s great to challenge yourselves musically as a band and to have the label support…that must be a good feeling.

August 14, 2012 the band also releases ‘Stay Awake’. How does this album differ from ‘Break Your Sword’?


‘Break Your Sword’ is about not retreating from yourself, and never giving up. Generals used to break their swords, instead of handing them over in surrender. ‘Stay Awake’ is going to be more about what is outside of yourself, the world around you, and being a positive effect. Staying awake to everything around you and not letting blinders be pulled over your eyes.

‘BYS’ deals more with the fight that goes on inside of yourself, for positive change, and ‘Stay Awake’ will be more about the fight on the outside and how to effect change without as well as within. Also it’s going to rock balls with full stacks and electric guitars…


Speaking of inner and outer struggles…how does life on the road affect your lifestyle? You try to live a positive drug free lifestyle don’t you?


Yes. I’ve never drank, smoke or taken drugs…

Some would call that boring, some would call that straight edge…

I call it a personal choice. I have never worried about what I’m missing or what people think. I have a lot of fun, and most drunks would agree I am crazier and wilder than they usually are after a few adult beverages. Also I have no judgment for people who do have other life choices…This is a journey we all are on, and no one will know if they took the right road, until they reach their end. Live the best life you can live, love others and love yourself. Do the best you can and always strive for better.


I feel the same way. It’s good to know you are not passing judgment, but just trying to be a positive influence to others and live the life that’s right for you.

Mike DC wants to know about peer pressure you experience when you are touring and also how important is the straight edge label to you?


There is close to zero peer pressure. Initially people want to buy you a beer or a shot. When you explain to them you don’t drink, or in my case have never drank, they usually say they respect that. After that on a tour, you become the novelty or a running joke. If you have a good sense of humor, this actually endears people to you. They ALWAYS have a designated driver for the van, sprinted, or RV, and you can get a shot of cranberry juice or sprite, and do a shot with them. Most band guys and club owners think this is hilarious, and you can leave a lasting positive impression on the people you meet and share fellowship with. People who do drugs are often paranoid, so when you tell them you don’t do drugs, but you don’t care that they do, they never ask you again…so problem solved.

I don’t usually get into the label straight edge as it applies to me. It varies so much between region and crew, and I’d prefer not to label myself something when I’m not sure I even know what it exactly means any more. If people want to say they are straight edge, that’s cool, people can identify themselves however makes them feel empowered. That’s what I’m into! It is important, and it’s a healthy noble lifestyle.


It sounds like you have a good understanding of what it means to live the life that’s right for you. Clarity of mind is what appeals the most to me about living a clean, sober life. Always the designated driver as well. 

What made you decide to never drink, smoke or do drugs?


It’s strange. I was raised around really responsible people that also happened to use marijuana. In fact I would say they are the poster people for responsible use. So my views on drugs are not congruent with most people that are straight edge. I don’t think there is anything wrong with moderation with most things, as long as your respect yourself and the others around you.


I always say you can abuse anything. Moderation is the key. If you can do something that doesn’t affect your life in a negative way, than who am I to judge?

So, you just made a choice growing up to not do these things?


My reason for living clean is I’m afraid my personality would not be able to handle it. I don’t do anything in moderation, I am extremely driven and everything I do is done with haunted obsession. I can’t even keep video games in my house. I’m also afraid of losing control, or losing “the edge” so to speak. I don’t want my consciousness clouded, and although, we all want to escape reality once in a while, I do not want to escape from myself or have that diluted. Again I’m not judging anyone.


I understand. Knowing yourself is the key here.


Also my family has a history of drug and alcohol abuse on both sides of my family. So genetically I think I would be rolling the dice. Better safe than sorry. Plus, it never appealed to me; the idea. When most people thought it was cool to sneak around, smoke a little pot or sneak beers, I thought, “Eeew, that’s what adults do. I don’t want to do that, they are dorks and goofy.” I still don’t drink coffee to this day for that reason… Maybe I’m just immature. Hahaha!


No, I think that’s a mature mind! Let’s get back to the music. 

How much of the writing process is a collaborative effort among you and your band mates?


Collaboration is absolute! Everything we work on, we work on together. Some songs may come into the practice room a little more fleshed out than others, but we finish songs together, and the process is quite democratic. Everyone writes, and has essential input!


That’s great! Can you tell me about your tour plans with the new albums coming out?


We are planning to support the acoustic record regionally before this summer. We are going to play a string of Warped Tour dates, and then in August, we are flying to central Europe to start our 3 week EU tour with the first show in Germany at the E&L Open Air Festival.  We are playing with Terror and Molotov and some other really awesome bands! Then we criss cross Central Europe through Germany, Czech Republic and Italy. When we get back to the States we are going to do an East Coast Tour of the Tri State area, and New England. Two Records. Two Continents…Summer tour.


I’m sure Front Row For Life will hit some of your US East Coast dates! 

Sounds like a lot of fun. Also sounds exhausting! 

Are you ready for the tour?  What do you do to prepare yourself mentally for leaving home?


I love to tour. I think I was born for it. I only really feel alive (besides being with my wife, who by the way I met on tour in Germany) when I’m on tour. You can either do it or you can’t. Some people lose their minds out there; they get lonely, turn to drugs or alcohol, or just get burnt out. I would be on tour all the time if I could. Some of the best rest I have ever had was in a moving vehicle. To prepare, sometimes is hard, I’m a pretty high strung person, so I’m always stressing before we start, but once I’m in the van, or the plane is in the air, all is right with the world. I’m also always scared of getting sick on the road. That is my biggest fear. Being a singer you can ruin it for everyone if you don’t take care of yourself. So exercise, eating right, bringing plenty of Emergen-C, and lots of vitamins, and herbs like Ginseng, and Echinacea is crucial. I’m excited to see you guys out at the shows!


We definitely look forward to the live experience! We have to capture another aspect of you and the band, besides this interview! That’s a must.

How does touring the US compare to Europe {From Mike DC}? 

I guess given the fact that you met your wife in Germany touring Europe might take the cake {From Karena}!!!


We love touring the USA; it’s our home, our heart, and our blood. I’ve toured all the lower 48 states with my old band Riddlin’ Kids, and the east coast and South West with SHTTA. Europe in some ways is exciting in its own way, because people patronize the arts so much more. They really go crazy for music over there, and love to go out and see live shows. It’s like the 80’s or 90’s when people used to go out and see more live music in the US. Also, most clubs have a place for the band to stay and provide a hot meal. This is awesome if you are a touring band! The people are amazing and very friendly (also much like the US). Travel is a little more expensive in the EU, as gas is more expensive. You have to rent transportation and back line (all the amps and drums). Going country to country in the EU is a lot like going state to state in the US. They have open borders for the most part. Both are fun…We do say though, if you have a bad tour in Europe, hey, at least you are in Europe, right?! If you get stranded on the side of the road in Hoboken, NJ, I haven’t heard a band say, “Hey at least we’re in Hoboken…” J/K I love New Jersey! :)


That’s ok…bash NJ! Everybody does! :) 

You mentioned playing some high profile shows, and you were in the band Riddlin’ Kids, so I imagine there have been many high profile tours. 

What type of show do you enjoy the most?


Every one! It doesn’t matter if we are playing to 5,000, 500, 50, or 5 people. We love to play! It’s the best feeling in the world. If you can make a difference in one person’s life you have fulfilled your purpose on the planet. Seriously, I love NJ! We played Asbury Park right before Thanksgiving. It was pouring rain…raining sideways, and people showed and we can’t tell NJ we love them enough!


That’s the best attitude to have! You know you are doing it because you love it.

From what you said earlier, it seems as though Altercation Records has been very supportive of SHTTA. 

So I want to ask one more of Mike’s questions before I let you go! What has it been like going from a major label to an indie one?


Great Question! One of the smartest guys I have ever know in the music industry named Paul Gomez (One of Riddlin’ Kids old managers) once told me that Major Labels “break bands,” and Indie Labels fix them. We get so much love and support from Altercation and our roster of bands, Jukebox Romantics, American Pinup, Two Fisted Law, and Lost In Society (Look for new releases from LIS and JBR this summer, as well as being on Warped Tour!). We love being on this label. We get artistic freedom, one on one support, and attention, that I guarantee from personal experience you do not get from a major label. Travis and JTfrom Altercation have been shepherding our careers, and we love them and the label.


That’s great to hear, and I’m sure inspiring for other musicians. It sounds like it’s about the music and the artists. 

I feel like I’ve taken up a lot of your time, so I’m going to end it with that.


It was a pleasure talking to you, and tell Mike thanks for the great questions also!


Thank you! It was my pleasure. 

The new album is out now! Check it out. Get it if you like what you hear. Catch them on tour soon. Front Row For Life / Straight Edge For Life will have tour updates for you so check back often!

LINKS to some things from the interview that might interest you:

Say Hello To The Angels!/SHTTA

Listening to SHTTA

Watching SHTTA

 “Never Walk Alone” BlankTV Premiere:

“Forsaken” BlankTV Premiere:

Buying ‘Break Your Sword’

Altercation Records

Ehrlich & Laut Festival in Germany {August 16-18, 2012}

Warped Tour

Riddlin’ Kids’_Kids

Chuck Ragan

The Sharks

Kris Roe

The Ataris



Jukebox Romantics

American Pinup

Two Fisted Law

Lost In Society

Thank you,

Karena & Chrissie

Front Row For Life

Straight Edge For Life


Guys, Thank you so much for backing this project. When we had the idea of doing this EP, it started off as an excercise in making music and getting back to the joy, and freedom of writing. It’s been an extraordinary year for us. member changes for one. It always sucks on every level, and if you want it to or not, it derails you. You do everything you can to stay on track, but at the end of the day, it is what it is, and life goes on. You get back to work, and in our case this EP was our medicine. We chose the kickstarter as a platform because it just seemed like fun, which it has been. There’s nothing like getting support from peers, and friends, and strangers. We had no intent on making this an “officicial” SHTTA release. This was going to be more of a DIY small pressing for tour, backers, and put online for downloading. Well, we just got back from NY home of our label Altercation Records, and they believe in this project so much, they want to make it an official release!

This was (is) a huge surprise to us, and in no way were we expecting this because, well, we’re in the middle of writing our next record for a summer release, and wasn’t in our plans. Now with this being an actual Altercation release, expect some more acoustic shows on the road, as well as videos.

What does this mean for you guys? Well the only slight bummer is we’re not (just yet) able to full fill our obligations for the physical release, for the aforementioned reason. At this time, you should all have our debut digital EP, and acoustic EP (if not pa-lease let us know). We should have an official release date around SXSW, but physical releases should be earlier in the new year. When we get them from distro, they will come directly your way. This record will be released world wide, and your beautiful names will be in the packaging for everyone to see, because this would not have happened without you guys. We expected to have this wrapped up, and finished about 6-7 weeks ago when we finished mixing the record, but wave after wave of good fortune has brought us to today. Attached is a photo of rewards going out in the morning. We apologize for the delay, but due to these awesome circumstances, we had to await an outcome, which turned out awesome. :)

Last but not least, this record will contain TWO new tracks! We hit the rehearsal room like mad men as soon as our plane touched down two weeks ago, and we start tracking this week! We also filmed a video while we were in NY for the upcoming single to “Break Your Sword”. You guys will get the first preview of course.

I don’t know what else to say, but thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 

Dustin, Benjie, Ray Ray, TJ

PS. is where you can reach us if you have not received any prior emails, or digital rewards. We don’t want to miss a soul.

Oh, and song rewards….we’re working on them..:D


Awesome time last night in Danbury! Our first ever Mansion show, and what a blast it was. Fare the well to our brothers in Jukebox Romantics, Lost In Society, and Two Fisted Law. We’ll see you guys soon. One last show on our fEast Coast run at Snapper Magees in Kingston, NY!!


Thanksgiving with some friends in NY. All the best to you and yours, and we’ll see you on the road!