Student melds hard work with ‘hardcore’

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Chris Stotler is a history for secondary education senior who balances his academic pursuits with three Michigan-based bands.

No Class Assassins is a hard metal band that won the Battle of the Bands ‘14 and performed at the Vans Warped Tour in 2010. The band also won an award for best metal/hardcore song in 2012 at the 11th annual Independent Music Awards.

Stotler is also a member of Desolation Alley, a hard rock and metal band, and I’m With Molly, which plays interpretive blues covers.

Stotler began playing music at an early age, and his love for performing led him to become the bass player for his first band.

“I’ve been playing music for over 20 years,” Stotler said. “When I was in grade school, I played the alto saxophone, and I did that until I graduated. My senior year is when I first picked up the bass, but it wasn’t until nine years ago, when I joined No Class Assassins, that I really took the initiative to become a good bass player.”

Now, Stotler plays bass for three bands that play in three diverse genres.

“I like my heavy and aggressive music because it’s always a challenge to me,” Stotler said. “At the same time, I love my blues. Blues has so many odd timings. It’s very fascinating and off-the-wall. When I listen to it, I’m driven to try to learn it, imitate it and come up with my own.”

As a Warren native, Stotler has played many venues in Detroit and Port Huron, and, in 2010, No Class Assassins had the opportunity to play at Comerica Park.

“As part of the Warped Tour, we played with over 30 signed bands that traveled all over the country,” Stotler said. “It is one of my top two favorite performances because it was the biggest venue the band ever played.”

Stotler’s second favorite performance came when the band opened for Eye Hate God.

“Eye Hate God is one of my favorite bands,” Stotler said. “The experience stands out because the band members were really down to earth, and they didn’t act like the typical rock star. They were personable, and they cared about the fans, which was really cool.”

In the future, Stotler aims to create more music and play at international venues.

“I want to release as much music as I can, and I would like to take it all over the world,” Stotler said. “I know that’s a very daunting goal, because I would have to make sure that everyone else in the band would want to go on the road, but I’d love to take my original band members with me.”

Stotler has been working diligently with each project to finish some EPs, which will make Stotler’s goal a reality.

“Desolation Alley just recorded an EP, which we are going to release in March or April,” Stotler said. “My blues band is also in the process of writing some original material. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we will have a demo or EP with them too.”

Stotler admits that balancing school and his music commitments can be challenging.

“It can be hard sometimes,” Stotler said. “We get offers to play shows, and if I have a lot of things going on, I have to turn them down because I’m busy with school or another band, but even though it makes me busy, I find that music keeps me grounded.”

Stotler’s love of music comes not from the possibility of wealth but from the pursuit of passion.

“I don’t necessarily want to be rich or famous, “Stotler said, “but if it ever happens to take off and I could just do that, I think I would be living my dream.”

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