Gerry Stanek makes records rooted in his own raw vision of what rock and roll is supposed to be, where things are fast and gritty. “I write and record quickly,” he says, “because you can’t overthink something that already has a certain type of spirit when it shows up.” Stanek earned his musical stripes on the corner stages of VFWs and American Legion halls in Western Pennsylvania’s coal towns. Then he played bass and toured extensively with major label acts in the 90s: The Lost on Epic Records, and Outcry on Eureka/Polygram. There were lots of solo gigs in the city and on the Jersey Shore.
Gerry Stanek left the music business behind around the turn of the millennium and drove a tractor trailer for eight years. He also earned a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction after his final day in the truck. Three daughters showed up along the way, and he’s raising them in Greensboro, North Carolina.
In early 2021, Stanek began to write the songs that make up Heart in Peril: authentic roots rock with smart lyrics and what can only be called kinetic energy, the same type of energy that lives in the music he studies obsessively—Rockpile, Elvis Costello, JD McPherson—records with a clearly defined attitude that remain, somehow, intangible. As a fan and obsessive listener, Gerry Stanek craved music that lived in that same neighborhood. He says, “The only answer, at least for me, was to make my own songs to see if I could capture that thing I love so much.”
“Learned to Love” showed up first, at 4:30 in the morning on March 6, 2021, written at the kitchen table over a cup of coffee. That turned into a template and maybe it explains the swift two-step of “I Got My Wings.” The entirety of Heart in Peril is hopped up on caffeine and fueled by a will to make something real.