Lance Stack: 2012 MasterMind award winner

Lance Stack, a 2012 MasterMind award winner.
Jim Wills

While there's nothing new about taping — you can bet there's a bootleg recording floating around somewhere that was secretly taped when Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount — Lance Stack's efforts with Flat Response are incredibly noteworthy. Unlike other tapers who are devoted to archiving the shows of a certain batch of jam-oriented outfits, for example, Stack focuses primarily on local music — capturing fleeting sound snapshots of the Denver music scene that would otherwise be relegated to the memories of those who were there, or lost entirely.

"I always kept hearing people over the years talking about a certain show or trying to remember it, and there was never any documentation," Stack says, recalling how he first got into recording shows. "So I think that's kind of what really got me started, is the fans talking and trying to remember old shows and that type of thing. And it was like, 'What better way to remember that stuff and reminisce about it than recording it?' Now we've got it forever, and we can go back and revisit that."

Born and raised in a small town on the northern edge of the Ozarks in Missouri, Stack left his home state for the sunnier confines of Colorado in 2001, after earning a degree in computer science at the University of Missouri-Rolla. By then, he'd already been exposed to the practice of taping through fans of the jam bands that came through Cicero's in St. Louis. His own early recordings were primitive, captured on a handheld recorder.

When he moved to Denver, Stack took a more focused approach to his hobby, and he started taping local shows that he later distributed through the mail or various file-sharing avenues. But in 2007, after he returned from the Athens PopFest, where he'd recorded more than thirty acts, he finally launched his website,, out of necessity. "I needed a better way to share the gems I was collecting," he explains.

After that, Stack went on to acquire much better gear and continued to amass recordings. Today he has dozens of hard drives stacked on shelves with scores of shows saved on them; last year alone, he recorded nearly 200 shows. That's not counting last summer's Underground Music Showcase, where Stack says he recorded sets by around 125 different artists. "Counting festivals and everything," he notes, "I'd say over a thousand performances by different artists, just last year. That's kind of a heavy year, but I'd say easily a hundred shows a year over ten years. That's nearly a thousand shows."

Not only does Stack donate all of his time to the mission of recording local music — a mission that sometimes requires days to record the shows, then do post-process and post the recordings — but he also offers all of this for download at the Flat Response free of charge. For hardworking musicians and underpaid fans alike, this is a true public service...and the work of a real MasterMind.

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