E18: Ryan Stasik: From Notre Dame to Umphrey’s McGee

2000 Percent Raise

Jan 23 2023 • 42 mins

Ryan “Pony” Stasik shares the unique ways his successful 25-year-old band, Umphrey’s McGee, creates an intimate connection with the audience– from the type of music performed to “first-class opportunities” to catch a private concert backstage or letting the fans give input for controlling the experience live.

Ryan also explains why the band chose to have their own record label and other strategies for business success, including dealing with the challenges of Covid that was “a huge asterisk for the music industry.”

Topics include:

  • How John a “football jock” and Ryan “a very smart student” met at Notre Dame and how their paths crossed years later, both successful in their unique ways from following their passions.
  • Ryan’s part in the Chicago-based jam band, Umphrey’s McGee, which started with a homegrown audience built from music presented in innovative ways. In 2022, the latest album, Asking For A Friend, continued to surprise fans: https://dcmusicreview.com/asking-for-a-friend-talking-about-umphreys-mcgees-new-album-with-joel-cummins/
  • The impact of words, which can be a driving force. Ryan has been playing with Brendan Bayliss (who was told by his music teacher in college that he had little chance of making it in the music industry) for more than 30 years.
  • The fork in the road, when Ryan knew he was going to make it after a rough few years. He shares, too, how he was the opening act for Dave Matthews Band (and how down-to-earth Dave Matthews is).
  • A “weekend warrior” approach of priorities as a husband with two kids, the strategy for hitting the financial numbers, and the special ways the band members communicate. Some bands, like The Rolling Stones, make more money on merchandise than performing.

About Ryan Stasik

Ryan Stasik, November 13th, 1976, came into this world bleeding black & gold. His Pittsburgh roots run deep despite moving to Kalamazoo, Michigan at the tender age 12, as Appetite for Destruction, the debut studio album by American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, hit the shelves. Ryan began playing piano at 5, and learned guitar shortly thereafter. After meeting Brendan Bayliss,  an American musician and the founder, a lead guitarist, and primary vocalist for progressive rock band Umphrey's McGee. Ryan offered to switch to bass since the band had no one holding down the bottom end. Even from the beginning, he was a team player.

Against all odds, this plan worked out.

Equal parts trained pianist and self-taught rocker, Ryan Stasik the bassist, is a confluence of musical forces. As a student at the University of Notre Dame, he co-founded Umphrey’s McGee, known as much for their irreverent stage presence as their complex musicality. Ryan is truly a musician knowing no boundaries.

As the toe-tapping backbeat of Umphrey’s legendary live shows, Stasik pulls inspiration from anybody and anything that gets hips ‘a swaying.  Though devoted to studying the likes of Dan Kurtz, Nick Blasky, and Mike Bendy, Ryan leaves plenty of room for Hall & Oates, Iron Maiden, and Sade. In the end, if it takes to a Budweiser and a good laugh, it’s welcome in the web of rhythm Ryan calls his repertoire.

Follow Ryan:

Websites of the three bands he plays for:





Bassik Stasik Merch:

Follow Umphrey’s McGee:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/umphreysmcgee

Twitter: https://twitter.com/umphreysmcgee\

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/umphreysmcgee/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6cl-exv_SHGPpYyLgwYTpw

Itunes: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/umphreys-mcgee/22134818

Mastodon: https://shakedown.social/@umphreys

Follow John:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johncerasani

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@johncerasani

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johncerasani

For More Info on John's Book: https://2000percentraise.com/

More 2000 Percent Raise Episodes and Content: https://linktr.ee/2000percentraise

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