Submerge Magazine - July 2009

Sacramento will soon lose one of its stalwart blues singers-and a talented one at that.  Stacie Eakes and her band The Superfreakes have been performing their sultry brand of blues rock at the Torch Club every Sunday for around seven years.  However, Eakes is set to make a move cross-country to Dover, Del.  While this may be a big loss for the City of Trees, it may be exactly what Eakes needs to grow as a songwriter.    Eakes's Sacramento roots run deeper than just a beloved local singer/songwriter.  She's also the co-owner of an Italian restaurant - Sofia on 11th, where she bartends on Monday nights.  She also helps people work off those big bowls of pasta at 24 Hour Fitness where she has worked as a teacher and trainer for the past 14 years.  Eakes's history as a personal trainer dates back to 1992 and she has even competed in the ESPN Fitness America Pageant.    "It was crazy because that was your whole life," Eakes says of the experience. "You wake up, and you have to eat a certain times, and you have to do cardio and lift weights and tan and practice your routine.  It's actually pretty grueling.  It's like training for anything athletic, like if you were training for a triathlon or something.  There's a daily regimen.    She acknowledges that apart from the amount of dedication required, her life as a fitness competitor is far removed from her life as a musician.  However, she does see parallels between her musical life, and her work as a trainer.    "For me, the teaching classes part of it is really more like performing," Eakes says.  "Everything is coreographed to music, and I grew up dancing, and I was a cheerleader.  It all revolves around music.  I don't teach any classes without music, and I enjoy picking out the music for my classes, because I find it really inspiring.  Music and movement are very one in the same.  Teaching classes and personal training, that's more like performing music, because you're inspiring people, and that is what music is all about to me; inspiring people.    As far as the dedication goes, Eakes has been devoted to music for some time.  She says that she has been singing since the age of 3.  She recalls that Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" was her first record which she played on a small "close-and-play record player" with a built-in speaker.  She even remembers the first song she'd ever written.    "I wrote my first song in the second grade," Eakes says.  "It was published in this book our teacher put together.  We all had to write Valentine's songs...It was about Valentine's candy, if I remember correctly.    Eakes began fronting her band, The Superfreakes, in 2001 and soon became a permanent fixture at the Torch Club.  The night before our interview, they played their last Sunday night at the downtown venue.  The club holds a lot of memories for Eakes, including crazy stuff like the "one night a guy stripped down to his underwear and ran around the bar," or the bizarre patrons who'd file into the club between 12 and 1a.m. on Sunday nights; people who have insipired Eakes and the band to nickname the night "Psycho Sunday.    Musically, Eakes came into her own at the Torch Club.  It's where she spent most of her time performing with the Superfreakes.  The band includes Jimmy Pailer on guitar, Joe Lev on bass, Kevin Burton on keys and Phil Jackson on drums.  Eakes says each band member brings something special to the group, whether it's Pailer's creativity or Jackson's professionalism.     "I'm somewhere in-between," Eakes says of her place in the band.  "I'm in the middle trying to keep the peace.    Eakes credits Pailer with helping her grow as a songwriter and a perfromer.  She says the two have a sort of symbiotic relationship when it comes to their music.    "It was a natural thing for us to work together, because he's this dynamic guitar player who is seasoned, and I'm a dynamic vocalist," Eakes says of their chemistry.  "Bringing us together made big fireworks.  I can sing an idea to him, and he can immediately play it.  We understand each other very well.    On a personal level, the Torch Club has also been the place where Eakes threw a surprise 60th birthday party for her mother, became best friends with owner Marina Texeira and even mourned at Texeira's father's wake.  It's also where she met her boyfriend (the love of my life," she says), who's the impetus behind the move to Delaware.  Her boyfriend is a pilot in the Air Force, and he's been stationed in Dover.    "It's a big deal for me, because I've been here a long time," Eakes explains.  "I'm pretty rooted in Sacramento, but I did write a song for him.  It's called "Take me Down." some of the lyrics say, "I'd fly with you anywhere / Where we wake up, I don't care / 'Cause if I'm next to you, then I'm already home."  I had to follow the song and move, because I'd already put it in writing.    Eakes says she will continue writing and performing on the East Coast.  In fact, she hopes this will be a great opportunity to hone her craft.    "I would love to bring some of the musicains that I play with here out there for shows," says Eakes, who is eager to play in big cities like Washington D.C., and New York.  "Instead of making it a separate thing, like 'I'm there and I have this band, and when I'm here I play with another band,' I really wnat to bring everything together and have a whole new experience.  I think of it more as a growing thing, not that the Superfreakes are ending.    She believes that getting out of her element may be a catalyst for growth.    "I don't want to call playing at the Torch Club all these years being in a rut, because it's been an amazing experience, and I love it," Eakes says.  "I mean, I may never have left.  I may have been doing the same thing forever, so this is kind of an opportunity to experience new things that I might never have and enhance my music and get better.    Leaving a city and a club that have meant so much to her was not a decision she entered into lightly. Life-changing decisions are rarely ever easy; however, they're often the most rewarding.    Feel free to stop by the Torch Club on July 31, when Eakes and the Superfreakes will take the stage they know best for the last time, and wish a Sacramento mainstay a fond farewell.  When asked what she'd miss most about the Torch Club, Eakes answered with a typical, "Everything," but considering all the plae has meant to her over the years, it's not a surprising one.  She said she'd even miss the colorful late-night Sunday psychos.      "They keep it interesting," she says with a laugh.    Though Eakes is moving on, it won't be long before she makes a Sacramento appearance.  She will MC the Blues for Life cancer benefit on Oct. 4 and reunite with the Superfreakes at (where else?) the Torch Club for a special New Year's Eve performance.