Stag, a three piece rock band from Manchester, England were formed in 2005, although previous collaborations featuring all the current band members date as far back as 1996. The line up consists of two brothers – Guitarist/Vocalist Rob Clayton, Drummer Matt Clayton, and their school-friend – Bassist/Vocalist Jackson Judge.
The trio have been playing in musical projects together in various roles, with several additional band members since high school days, firstly playing Grunge inspired pop-rock under the name of "Euthanasia" from 1996 through to 1998; and re-banding in 2002 playing Heavy Rock with Thrash Metal influences under the guise of "H8" until Stag was came together in 2005.
It wasn't until early 2007 that Stag came into relative prominence; finding a rehearsal space in South Manchester called the "Altrincham recording studios" where the trio jammed and came up with a lot of the material heard on the bands myspace website (myspace.com/stag). A throwback to the earlier Grunge days of Euthanasia with a hint of Heavy Rock (in particular the explosive drumming), Punk-Pop, and a smattering of the earlier Manchester sounds makes for the no-nonsense Rock & Roll Pop style that the trio employ so refreshingly in this day of polished squeaky clean, Indie-Rock; and 2-dimensional Heavy Metal.
This style can be heard particularly in the bands anthem "Urban Splash", a combination of pulsating drums, crunching guitar riffs, a poppy and pumping Bass-line, all concluded with alert vocals that capture the spirit of a generation. Other Stag songs include the anthemic "Rag-Tag" which uses a simple but effective hook throughout the song and features a controversial but tongue-in-cheek chorus sung in a Beatle-esque alternating style; "Tiggy" a straightforward rock and roll song with a catchy, sing-along-chorus; "Cliché" a frantic paced, exhilarating experience - delivering riffs and percussion that seem to travel at a 100 miles an hour, leaving the listeners head spinning; Power-pop anthems "I Want You" and "Styrofoam Feelings" take no-nonsense punk riffs and deliver Clash-like vocal harmonies to great effect. The band also perform a stripped down and speeded up rock version of the Talking Heads "Psycho Killer".
Stag have been gigging since December 2007; this first show taking part in the Xmas "woolfie-fest" where they were relatively unknown at that point they showcased the never heard before material to a live audience. The band progressed rapidly in the new year taking part in the celebrated Jabez Clegg Battle of the Bands competition, and despite only previously played one gig together as Stag – and not having one single proper demo on their myspace website; they managed to progress (via the voting public) three rounds into the Manchester final – beating countless other experienced bands in the process. Although they didn't make it into the national finals they gained a healthy following of fans who consistently appear at Stag's live shows, and a reputation as one of the most exciting live bands in the Manchester today. The band have also played in Bar Fever in Wigan; headlined Joe's Bar in the centre of Manchester; and headlined the Ruby lounge on a Saturday night (one of the top draws in the Manchester unsigned scenes) with many of Stag's fans and followers in attendance that evening.
The band recorded the tracks "Rag-Tag" and "Psycho Killer" with Simon "Wolf" Foster at the Altrincham Recording Studios Enterprise, and recorded "Urban Splash", "Cliché", "Tiggy" and "I WantYou" at the Manchester Midi School, Salford - both in June 2008. Both producers on hand with these sessions remarked on how much they loved Stag's, musical, catchy rock and roll approach, and were astonished by the energy that the band project in their playing style. Stag continues to attract large numbers of fans despite going against the grain of the contemporary rock music scene.