Former Bandmate of Michael Stanley Pens Song of Closure About the Late Rock Legend
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Marc Lee Shannon was a member of Michael Stanley and the Resonators for 25 years.
During that time, the Akron-based guitarist appeared on 22 albums with Stanley, who was his friend and mentor.
Shannon – like just about everybody – never got to say goodbye to Stanley, who died March 5 of cancer. But as a way to remember him, he will release a song he wrote that reflects on his late friend and carrying on with life through the tough times.
“Steady On” will be released on Shannon’s website and retail sites on Friday. A video made from the song’s recording sessions will also debut that day.
The song was recorded in April at Superior Sound studios in Cleveland, with Ryan Humbert, lead singer of the Americana band The Shootouts, as producer. The musicians include fellow Resonators Jennifer Lee and David Young, as well as Ed Davis of The Vindys and Kevin Martinez of The Speedbumps.
“Steady On” is very personal for Shannon and will be included on his upcoming album, “Lucky 7,” which will be released in November. The song is very much in the style of a Michael Stanley tune.
Shannon, who has been sober for going on a decade, writes a column called Sober Chronicles for Akron art and entertainment newspaper The Devil Strip. He always signs off each column with the phrase “Steady On” as an encouragement to readers.
Shannon sent the title, a snippet of the melody and the lyrics to Stanley and got a quick reaction.
“We’ve written songs together over the years, and if he didn’t like something I sent him, he’d either not reply, or say ‘Keep going, send me more.’ For this one, he waited two or three days and then replied, ‘I love it. Let’s get together and write it.’”
That writing session never happened because Stanley was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in early September and began undergoing treatment. Stanley and the Resonators then had to race to finish up his next album, “Tough Room,” which was released in April, about a month after his death.
Shannon finished “Steady On” by himself, and – at the urging of Humbert – recorded it.
“I really didn’t want to do this song,” Shannon said. “I didn’t want to be seen as that guy using Michael’s death to promote myself. But Ryan said, ‘You have to.’ ”
Shannon is now glad “Steady On” will be released.
“The song is about how you get through the grief,” Shannon said. “It’s been a tough year for all of us in the band. I don’t know what to do with myself. I keep waiting for an email from Michael, saying something like ‘Hey, are you available to go to Denver,’ ” and describing the details of a concert to be played there.
Humbert said the song is about friendship and healing.
“‘Steady On’ isn’t as much a tribute to Michael Stanley as a northeast Ohio music legend as it is an intimate look at the long-standing friendship between him and Marc,” he said. “It’s a powerful message that will help others heal their own wounds just as it’s helping Marc heal his. I’m honored that Marc allowed me to help him usher this important song out into the world.”
Stanley was a rocker of national recognition, but his beloved status in Cleveland, Youngstown and all of northeastern Ohio was practically unparalleled. He produced anthemic rock albums beginning in 1975 as The Michael Stanley Band, and later as Michael Stanley and the Resonators.
There has been talk among the members of the Resonators of getting together to do a show, and it might happen at some point. But Shannon knows that Stanley’s death brought the end of an era. He will always cherish his quarter-century with Michael Stanley and the Resonators.
“It’s been a great ride,” he said.
While “Steady On” might also bring closure for countless Stanley fans, to Shannon it represents the full circle of his life’s journey as a musician.
It’s a journey that started with Michael Stanley.
“I grew up in Akron and the first time I saw [Stanley] was in concert at the Akron Civic Theater,” Shannon said, recalling the awe he felt at that concert as a teenager. “[Stanley] was the first one in northeastern Ohio to make it and we all wanted to make it. If you’d have told that 18-year-old kid then that he’d [become part of Stanley’s band]… It was an honor. I was so lucky.”
Stanley played many shows in Youngstown during his career, but Shannon vividly remembers the final one – a 2019 concert Michael Stanley and the Resonators gave at a sold-out Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre.
“It was the last full-band show we did in Youngstown and it was one of the last big shows we did,” Shannon said, explaining that an acoustic lineup of the Resonators played a few small shows after it.
To stream or download “Steady On,” go to Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music or marcleeshannon.com, beginning Friday.
Pictured: Akron-based musician Marc Lee Shannon, who was a member of Michael Stanley and the Resonators for 25 years (photo by Angelo Merendino).
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.