Exclusive: Southern Rock Band Stone Senate

Interview with Stone Senate frontman Clint Woolsey

Today on What On What’s Good with Jovin Tardif, I am here with Stone Senate.  Stone Senate is a five-piece rock band based in Nashville, TN.  The frontman of the group is lead vocalist/guitarist Clint Woolsey.  Other band members include Clinton Woolsey (lead vocals, guitar), James Edwards (lead guitar), Ted Hennington (lead guitar).  We also have Paul Zettler (bass, vocals) and David Zettler (drums, vocals).  The band has been together since 2012.   Their latest single is Slow Crusade that is available now.  Their previous release is Whiskey Helps.

Stone Senate Clinton Woolsey - lead vocals, guitar James Edwards - lead Guitar Ted Hennington - Lead Guitar Paul Zettler - Bass, vocals David Zettler - Drums, Vocals
Stone Senate Clinton Woolsey (lead vocals, guitar), James Edwards (lead guitar), Ted Hennington (lead guitar), Paul Zettler (bass, vocals) and David Zettler (drums, vocals)

1. Can we get an introduction to the different members of the group and how they started in music?

We have all been playing music since we were very young. Paul and David are brothers, and the two of them and James all group up together in Meridian MS, and had played in different bands through the years. I met Paul while I was playing in a band called Hotel Coral Essex, back in 2006. We would play a cool bar in Nashville called Losers, and Paul would come in and hang out and we got to be buddies.

It’s a funny story, after Paul and I met, the other guys that I was playing in a band with, called The Shakes, put an ad on Craigslist, looking for a bass player. We had never used Craigslist or anything like that, and Paul called me and asked if that was the same band that I was in. He said he had never checked Craigslist for bands looking for players, but he did that day, so it must have been “meant to be”. It was really bizarre how I hooked up with Paul, and then Paul brought in David, James and Ted, as they had all grown up together.

Ted has played with James in a couple of bands and would sit in with us when we were playing in his neck of the woods around Georgia and Mississippi, so when we needed to replace one of our lead guitars, he was the obvious choice. The way we all grew up and ended up together is really crazy, but everyone had been in Nashville at some point, and Nashville brought us all together really. We all listened to and like the same music, from classic country and classic rock to hard rock and singer-songwriter stuff, to 90’s grunge and 80’s hair metal. Haha, it’s interesting to hear what gets played in our van when we are together, and we sure are blessed to be doing what we are doing together.

2. How was the group formed?

Clint and Paul started playing together around 2008, and then we added David Zettler (Drums), who is Paul’s younger brother, then James (lead guitar), and finally Ted (Lead Guitar). With a band, it has always seemed like the hardest thing to do was to keep your band together, but guys leave for different reasons and we are lucky that it all worked out as it did for us. We played around Nashville mostly for the first few years and then in 2013 we did our first tour as Stone Senate, opening for the Bulletboys for 16 dates.

This took us around the northeast, down to Texas and ended in Las Vegas, and was the first of many tours we would do, and was an absolute blast! Our first record, “1”, was written with our first 2 guitar players, Mike Thompson and Marcus “Merlot” Brown, and we still play every song from that album live.  We also still keep in touch and are very dear friends with both of those guys, and still do some writing with them as well.

Stone Senate Clinton Woolsey - lead vocals, guitar James Edwards - lead Guitar Ted Hennington - Lead Guitar Paul Zettler - Bass, vocals David Zettler - Drums, Vocals
Stone Senate Clinton Woolsey (lead vocals, guitar), James Edwards (lead guitar), Ted Hennington (lead guitar), Paul Zettler (bass, vocals) and David Zettler (drums, vocals)

3. You are fans of Waylon Jennings, ZZ Top, Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead, George Strait, The Band, The Doors, and The Stones. Can you tell us your favourite song from each artist and why?

I know that’s a wide variety of influences, but we all love each of those bands/artists for different reasons. We play songs from each of these artists/bands live, along with our originals.

4. What was it like working with Vance Powell and Eddie Spear on your first studio record?

Working with Vance and Eddie on our first record was an absolute blast! We actually recorded and mixed it in about a week. We had been playing those songs live and in rehearsal for a few years. It was easy to get in there and play them a few times and keep the best take. Vance and Eddie are amazing guys.  They had some really cool ideas to add to the music.

5. You have performed over 500 shows throughout the US in the last few years. What would you say was your favourite moment and why?

It’s tough to choose one moment or show, all of them have been very special to us all. I guess the bigger shows and stages are always a treat to play. We played the Whiskey A GoGo in LA.

In 2019, we opened for Styx and Collective Soul at The Buffalo Chip in Sturgis SD during bike week. That was pretty Rockin!

We started travelling out west back in 2016 and booked a few nights in Sturgis for bike week.

Then we stayed on the road for about a month, doing California, Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas, and a few other states.

We are all big history guys and love the “old west”, so we stopped and saw a bunch of cool sights on the way- Billy the Kid’s Grave, Buffalo Bill Cody’s Grave, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer’s Last Stand, Deadwood SD, The Coors Brewery (David is a big Coors guy, haha) and tons of cool stuff in California.

I know that sounds hard to believe that every show has been special, but that’s the truth.

Thank you Stone Senate for the fun interview!

“Slow Crusade”

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Jovin Tardif
Jovin Tardif is a freelance writer, storyteller, interviewer, reviewer and conversation starter.