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Interviews Stop Light Observations

Published on December 1st, 2017 | by Darren Paltrowitz


EXCLUSIVE: Stop Light Observations Premieres “How Did We Get Here” Via The Hype Magazine + Q&A With Guitarist John Keith Culbreth

In 2013, Stop Light Observations was just a new band with Radiation, its debut album, to promote. Within a year, Stop Light Observations had played Bonnaroo and also sold out The Music Farm, the largest club in Charleston, South Carolina. Nowadays, the group holds the record for the most consecutive sold-out shows at The Music Farm, and festival appearances are a regular occurrence, including recent slots at Milwaukee’s Summerfest and Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival.

2017 has brought the release of Vol. 2 — the latest in Stop Light Observations’ “volume” series of digital 45s — and The Hype Magazine is proud to premiere “How Did We Get Here.” Guitarist and principal songwriter John Keith Culbreth answered some questions for Hype about the band’s past, present and future. Culbreth and bandmates — which include vocalist Will Blackburn, pianist/songwriter Cubby, guitarist Louis Duffie and drummer Luke Withers — are currently on the road, including dates in Philadelphia (November 30 at Bourbon & Branch), Washington D.C. (December 1 at U Street Music Hall), New York (December 2 at Mercury Lounge), Atlanta (December 31 at Tabernacle with Moon Taxi) and Charleston (February 17 at Charleston Music Hall).

In the meantime, more info on Stop Light Observations can be found online at

Where did the idea for “How Did We Get Here” come from?

John Keith: It is a two-part meaning for me. Personally, it is a song asking oneself how did we actually, literally get here. God? Star explodes? Even so, what before that? And what before that and that? And what did it all look like? Life is miraculous if we could only see the probability of each one of us actually existing. Science or not, it is a marvelous fact that we are here! But…how did we get here?

The second part is how do we get here politically. The greatest country on the planet being lead by an inexcusable ego-driven personality? How?

How would you describe “How Did We Get Here” to someone who hasn’t heard it yet?

John Keith Culbreth: Cinematic rock & roll.

Is it your favorite song on Vol. 2? Do you have a favorite otherwise?

John Keith Culbreth: “Vanderlight” is maybe my favorite, which is the B-Side. I love them both, though. Hard choice.

What is coming up for the band in the near-future? Lots of touring?

John Keith Culbreth: More and more music. A conscious stream of musical content that is pushing our all and everything. No more holding back. Art. Art is what is next. Touring of course, but most importantly, creation.

Will your next release be Volume 3?

John Keith Culbreth: Thumbs up.

Is there a band accomplishment that you’re still working towards?

John Keith Culbreth: Many, many. Most of all continuing to grow as a group of brothers. Learning how to honestly express deeper and deeper and to selflessly share that light with the world around us. Bonnaroo headliner? Grammy? For sure. Fruit of the action until then.

Is there something you wish more people knew about Stop Light Observations?

John Keith Culbreth: We’re all left-handed and love our mommas.

When not busy with the band, how do you like to spend your free time?

John Keith Culbreth: Making music.

Finally, John, any last words for the kids?

John Keith Culbreth: Enjoy being a kid. It’s the best.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal.Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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