Stay gets going with debut CD

Chris Bergeron

The fame-crazed rockers Patti Smith sings about in "So you wanna be a rock 'n' roll star" have nothing in common with the four local guys spreading the musical word about their hot new band, Stay.

They've been singing and playing since the sixth grade but when they appear at the Civic League on Saturday, none of them will care if their "pants are tight (and) their hair's combed right."

For drummer Anthony Amorelli, Stay is "just about making great music." "I think the audience is gonna see four guys who completely love every second they're on stage," said the band's youngest member at 17. "There's nothing we want except to put on a great show."

The four-member band features lead singer and vocalist Anthony Rainville of Chelmsford, guitarist Steve Ackles of Franklin, bassist and vocalist A.J. Elliott of Acton, and Amorelli of Medway, the only member still in high school.

Since coming together last October, the guys have been forging their own "alternative" sound, playing more than a dozen mostly local shows and developing a fan base. Their MySpace Web site lists 4,766 "friends."

They recorded their first CD at Jay Maas's Getaway Recording Studio in Wakefield.

Titled "Stay: The Hustle EP," it features five songs written by Rainville and one by Elliott.

Carried by an infectious driving beat, their lyrics are funky, brash, sometimes thoughtful mediations about hungry hearts and never-ending parties, broken hearts and hard lonely nights.

In "Coming Home," Rainville sings to his girl, "We'll find the time to love and we'll live each day like we're not coming home." Lamenting lost innocent pleasures in "The Great American Hustle," they sing of "the world I knew as a boy (and) played along to the ballad of the summer."

With their first CD under their belts, the band is planning on a busy summer and already has seven gigs scheduled for July.

Stay will perform a CD release show Saturday, July 19, at Bill's Bar, 5 Lansdowne St., Boston at 3 p.m.

They will appear Saturday, July 12, at the Framingham Civic League at 6 p.m. and again on Aug. 9 along with Change of Pace, Houston Calls and You, Me & Everyone We Knew. They'll be performing July 18 at The Sad Cafe in Plaistow, N.H., July 21 in the Webster Theater in Hartford, Conn., July 25 at the 119 Gallery in Lowell and July 26 at the PFAFF Center in Medfield.

Growing up on the alternative sounds of the 1980s, Ackles has been playing the guitar and drums since the sixth grade in friends' garages, bands and local gigs. A recent graduate of Franklin High, he remembers having "a few guitar lessons" as a kid "and then I taught myself."

Now 18, Ackles said things "just clicked" when he and Amorelli hooked up with Rainville and Elliott last October. "Everyone's been playing for quite a while. All of us have been in different bands trying to make it to this level. Finally we're at a point when we can tell people, 'Hey, come on and check us out,"' he said.

Like many young digital era bands, they've launched a Web site,, to get the word out about their music.

"Right now, we're unsigned, self-promoted and self-funded. We have a lot of work to do. But the Internet is awesome for that. We can invite people to look at our profile and sample our music," said Ackles. In the near future, the band hopes to get some of its hits on the popular Web site iTunes where music can be bought and downloaded.

Before touring, Stay's members want to write and rehearse more songs and "prove our music," said Ackles. He described Stay's sound as "sometimes mellow, sometimes high energy."

"I think we did a fairly good job on the CD. We try to have a happy sound. We can be deep and thoughtful and danceable," said Ackles. "We hope to go as far as possible. And we want our audiences to have fun."

For Amorelli, music is a passion that began when he was 6 years old and won't let him go.

A 17-year-old senior at Medway High this fall, he has taught himself drums, guitar, bass guitar and some piano.

Unlike the mythical band in "So you want to be a rock 'n' roll star," Amorelli vowed never to "sell your soul to the company" or make music that sells like "plastic ware."

"I would rather play in front of one person and love what I'm doing than compromise myself to play in a stadium in front of 25,000 people and not believe in what I'm doing," he said.

That is why Amorelli feels he's found a home with Stay.

"These guys are serious musicians who are focused on their own skills and creating the best music they can," he said. "We've all been through a lot. We all feel we really have a chance to impact people with our music. That's what I love about these guys."

To learn more about Stay, visit Or see them live this Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Framingham Civic League, 214 Concord St., Framingham. Tickets are $10 in advance or at the door.