Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Rocktober Deep Cut Artist #8: The Why Store

For the criteria for bands and artists to be considered "deep cut artists," click here.

Band or artist:  The Why Store
Where from:  USA (Indiana)
Years active: 1988–2000, 2005, 2007–present
Number of studio albums:  6
Highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100:  N/A
Highest-charting studio album on the Billboard 200:  N/A

If you were a college or high school student in Indiana or the lower Midwest in the mid '90s, chances are, you know who The Why Store is.  Founded in the late '80s by a few Ball State students, The Why Store gained a following in Indiana and surrounding states during the early to mid '90s.  Their self-titled major label debut in 1996 was definitely a staple for IU students when I was there.  Lead singer Chris Shaffer has a deep, sometimes ethereal voice, and the band's sound is probably best classified as alternative rock.  It was a nice mix of grungy '90s rock and acoustic/electric songs.

The band opened for fellow Hoosier John Mellencamp on his Mr. Happy Go Lucky Tour in 1997.  Two songs off of their 1996 self-titled album had some minor success on the charts.  "Lack of Water" hit #27 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and #37 on the Alternative Rock Tracks chart, and "Father" got to #32 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.  Unfortunately, the band broke up in 2000, although Shaffer continued on the college circuit with his own band called Shaffer Street.  They played a show at my fraternity at some point my senior year.  The main thing I remember was that he tacked an oriental rug up on the wall and had some candles on stage.  It was very intimate.  A couple years later, he was playing a show in the tailgating fields at IU before a football game.  While he was warming up, he ripped through a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Out on the Tiles," which was pretty badass.

The group did a reunion tour in 2005, and then Shaffer reformed the band in 2007, although he is the only original member.

But anyway, when I think of The Why Store, I immediately think of that catchy riff that starts off "Lack of Water," and I'm transported back to Bloomington in 1996.  Good fucking times.

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