Interview: Chuck Shaffer Picture Show


you guys ready to quit your jobs and go fulltime?”

That’s a question that most truly passionate musicians would probably love to hear.

When members of the Chuck Schaffer Picture Show were asked that after entering the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands, it was pretty obvious how they felt about it.

“Well, yeah, duh. That would be awesome,” said Ryan Johnson, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist for the band.

Last November Johnson received news that the Chuck Shaffer Picture Show had won the online competition and would be going on tour with the Rockstar Uproar Festival alongside major headliners like Coheed and Cambria, Circa Survive, Jane’s Addiction and Alice in Chains.

Alongside members David Stiefel on bass and Adam Gilbert on drums, the three-piece rock band said the experience they’ve had on tour has been nothing short of genuine.

“You might think sleeping in this van sucks,” Johnson said, “but I think we kind of look forward to it. We can call it home.”

Part of winning the battle of the bands meant flying to L.A. in January of this year to start recording their EP with record-producer Jay Baumgarnder, whose shared the studio with past Uproar attendees like Sevendust, Godsmack, Three Days Grace and P.O.D.

The EP, titled Temporary Fix, was released on June 25. Inspiration for the songs comes from different emotional battles, Johnson said. And their current single “Nobody Remembers Fame,” is a sarcastic poke at the way the rock-star mentality gets pushed on everyone through lyrics and themes in the industry.

Johnson said he hears a lot of musicians singing about going to the club, partying and money, but CSPS isn’t really about that.

“It’s because we like music,” said Stiefel.

“All the songs—it’s almost like rap lyrics in rock songs,” Stiefel added, “but realistically, that’s not the way that it is—that’s our take.”

The tone of the industry represents something beyond fame and fortune to CSPS. It represents having fun and making music.

“It’s good to meet these artists, because we’re all people and we’re all getting along and it gels and it feels right,” said Gilbert. “So, this is probably the best tour we could have had as a first huge opportunity to come out together. The chemistry feels good and the people have been reacting well.”

Audience member, Matt Brooks, said CSPS wasn’t like the “generic bullshit” that he hears on the radio. They were, in fact, “pretty rad.”

One unique aspect about Uproar is the chance for up-and-coming bands to meet and mingle with artists that have been hitting the stage for over 25 years like Jane’s Addiction and Alice in Chains.  Or collaborating and getting to know a newer scene with Circa Survive front man, Anthony Green.

CSPS has been absorbing tips from the seasoned veterans of the stage to get the most out of experiencing life as musicians on the road, while trying to learn from those who already have.

“You’ve got guys that were in Thin Lizzy, White Snake, Guns N’ Roses. A lot of these guys are older, they’ve lived that rock-star life and have kind of learned their lessons,” Stiefel said.

The band also played Warped Tour in St. Louis this year to jumpstart their festival-vibe, but had a much different experience. They compared Warped to more of a popularity contest as far

as crowd response goes.

This tour, however, is perfect for them. They said Uproar is more family-oriented and provides an opportunity to get to know other bands, production managers and (quite importantly) the catering crew.

Their plans after Uproar are to rest, reboot and record some more music.


By Bailey Heinzerling