By Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
Before the Goo Goo Dolls, there was another Buffalo, NY based band that was poised to breakout and become a dominant force in the music scene. That band was called Rockcandy, a glam-metal band that consisted of: Stephen Shaw – lead guitar, Joey Anes – vocals, Jeff Powell- bass, David Joel- drums, and Johnny Angel ( who previously played in Talas with Billy Sheehan) -lead guitar.
Rockcandy was originally formed in Boston, Massachusetts. The band was called LA Twist, but changed the name to Rockcandy, when Angel, who lived in Buffalo, NY, joined the band on the recommendation of guitar guru Mike Varney, founder of the Shrapnel Records. The entire band then moved to Buffalo NY, making the queen city their home base.
Rockcandy dominated the Western New York club scene during 1985-1988, selling out shows and creating a big buzz on local rock radio stations. The band mainly played headlining shows, but they did open for a few major artists such as The Ramones, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and The Romantics (in Detroit, MI).
In 1987, Rockcandy released their debut record, “Sucker For A Pretty Face. ” This 10 track record was filled with great melodic hooks, catchy choruses and infectious lyrics. The record was critically acclaimed and many insiders predicted that Rockcandy would soon become international superstars.
But shockingly, in 1988, Johnny Angel suddenly decided to leave the band. RockCandy soldiered on for awhile, but as a wave of sleazier rock (Guns n’ Roses, Jane’s Addiction) become the new trend, the band saw the writing on the wall and decided to call it a day in 1989.
After the break-up of the band, Stephen Shaw returned back to his hometown of Providence, RI. He joined up with his brother, Dave Shaw and formed the band Bittersweet. Stephen only remained in the band for a year, but a great 2 CD compilation of Bittersweet was released years later in 2004 by Retrospect Records entitled, “Loaded Up.”
During the 90’s, Stephen started working on the other side of the stage, doing sound for many national artists that played in his hometown. He quickly built up a reputation as a hard working, very talented, reliable and professional sound man.
In the 2000’s, Stephen hit the road as a tour manager, managing bands such as Drowning Pool, Memento (Ozzfest 2003) and Buckcherry.
Recently, Stephen has worked as the tour manager for Stone Sour, Cage the Elephant and Amon Amarth. He will be hitting the road again when Slipknot singer, Corey Taylor starts a short 2021 solo tour in March.
What follows is an exclusive interview with Stephen Shaw!