“As a teenager and young adult, music was my religion. Music to me is personal, passionate, and meaningful .” – Dave Stanley Daoust
In his 1972 classic “Old Man,” Neil Young famously sang the line, “Twenty-four and there’s so much more.” For Dave Stanley, leader of the Canadian rock group The Dave Stanley Band, that fabled age Neil sang about was both nearly the year carved on his headstone and the year that the rest of his life began.
“I had used up a few of my lives by the time I turned 24,” Dave says, looking back on the year his life turned from a ‘live fast, die young’ cycle to a fresh, new beginning. “Up to that point, my life consisted of constant drinking, several close-call car accidents, small time drug dealing, and a few trips to jail for drinking offenses.”
Dave says a string of broken relationships and spotty employment rounded out his dead-end life and would later fuel the lyrics on his recently released cd, Dave Stanley Band.
“I remember sitting around and drinking with a small group of people – a biker, a prostitute, a convicted kidnapper, and me, and I said to myself, ‘What am I doing here? This is not what I planned for my life at 24.’”
As he lay in bed with a hangover hours later, it dawned on Dave that his world was quickly devolving into a dangerous place filled with criminals and drug addicts.
“Some of the people I knew had died or were doing substantial jail time,” he says. “It was only a matter of time before it happened to me.” Dave admits he never had much use for spiritual things or religion, but alone in the darkness, he spoke aloud a simple prayer for the first time in his life. “Help me God” was all that he said.
Two decades later, Dave’s simple, humble prayer signaled the beginning of a personal journey that led Dave from scraping rock bottom to finding redemption and renewal personally and musically. Dave went from hanging out with criminals and drug dealers to marrying his wife, starting a family, going to college and finding fulfillment in working with disabled and mentally ill persons. Dave also shared his life story during speaking engagements at area schools.
Within every chord and lyric of their self-titled debut, Dave Stanley and band members Rob Shmyr, Dale Moore and Lawrence Kirby expertly run through a rollicking, good time of an album as they propel Dave’s down-and-out tales of love, life and recovery through ten amazing rock songs.
Looking back now as a man that’s pulled himself up from the depths and found his place in life, Dave says it was that lonesome, quiet prayer at age 24 that set everything good in his life into motion. Immediately after the words left his mouth, Dave says he joined a 12 step program and found sobriety (and stayed that way).
“My life changed drastically,” Dave says, beaming with pride and optimism. “ I met my Wife, picked up the Guitar and I went to college.”
There certainly was “so much more” ahead for Dave Stanley at 24 years old. In the words of his autobiographical song “When I Get Sober,” Dave sings about that very moment two decades ago: “When I get sober they say it's all over, but I'm gonna rise above it. Right now, gonna change my ways. Right now, on this very day.”