Judd Stone is a lifelong drummer and keyboard player based in Boston. He started playing in cover bands in the 1960’s- British Invasion, garage, psychedelic, and later, funk and rock. In the late 70s he joined the hard rock band Johnny Barnes Group, playing and writing music full-time. With New Wave breaking up old conventions in the late 70s, Stone was inspired by bands like The B52’s, Gary Numan, and Bow Wow Wow. Flooded with new ideas, he found musicians around him didn’t think the way he did. For a while he played drums in a metal band, then in 1981 formed Onyx, an innovative new wave duo with British vocalist/model Beveur. This short but wildly ambitious project was all talent, vigor and vision. Nu-Age Records released two of their singles on 45s and cassette, which were well-received, in Boston and New York, but quickly faded into oblivion. In 2012 Onyx was re-discovered and valued as an artifact- but pirated- by crate diggers. Then in 2018 their Complete Works from 1981-1983 were released on Japanese/French label Mind Records, who treasure it as a missing link and “...comprehensive view into the pair’s unique mutant punk-wave universe”.
We’re glad to release Magic Spells, Judd Stone’s latest album with Korean vocalist Jayde Lee. Magic Spells, in a sense, is Stone’s second chapter to Onyx. Stemming from similar musical intent, this could be music from a dream sequence. Stone’s chord progressions, keyboard bass lines and four-on-the floor drum beats are layered with Lee’s incantational spoken lyrics and ethereal noises, creating a trancelike vibe that is both ambient and persistent.
Judd Stone is fiercely loyal to his vintage setup. As well as making music, he worked many years at ARP in electronics manufacturing, so knows his equipment well and sticks to what has worked for him. Whereas Onyx was all live drums, all but two drum tracks on Magic Spells are played on his 1985 Roland TR-505 drum machine. Also on the record are two vintage synths, an ARP Pro/DGX from the late 70s and a Korg Poly 800 II from 1985, as well as a Hammond XK1 organ from the early 2000s.