Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Stencil Forest: Bio

SF Rev 4.0

Frank Cassella - Guitar, keyboards, vocals, songwriter

Frank was born in Hudson Falls, NY, and moved to Elkhart, IN when he was 10. At 7 years old, while in Herkimer, he was influenced by his cousin, who was living with Franks family while in college. In this way Frank was introduced to the British Invasion, The Beach Boys, The Dave Clark 5, and many other bands that were to shape his musical pursuits. At first Frank was relegated to piano by his parents, but eventually found himself with a guitar in his hands with which he wrote his first song within days of learning his first 2 or 3 chords. Franks songwriting was greatly influenced by The Moody Blues & The Beatles. That influence is still evident to this day.

Frank met Ron Perron through a mutual friend in early summer of 1973, and they started their first band shortly after. The band was called Vision, and played school dances, parties and the like. Frank played with various bands in the Elkhart area and in 1979 played in Surai, with Stan Swaim on drums. Surai was not long together, so Frank and Stan, along with Rick Cassella on keyboards started looking for a singer and a bass player. Ron suggested Doug Andresen, who he had met in auditions for another local band. Shortly thereafter, Frank was introduced to a band of youngsters called Mother Goose. The bassist, Scott Noyes, and guitarist, Rob Nilsen, were added to the line up and Stencil Forest was born.

Stencil Forest toured relentlessly throughout Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin for 4 years, playing clubs, writing, performing, and performing in opening slots for Huey Lewis, Head East, Wishbone Ash, Night Ranger, and 3 Dog Night. In that time an album was recorded in Indianapolis entitled Opening Act.

A 2nd iteration of Stencil Forest existed for a short time in 1990-1992, playing local clubs and recording one song for a local radio compilation entitled Five by Five. This line up included Jim Cassella on drums, and Bill Stout on bass along with Doug Andresen on vocals, and Rick Cassella on keyboards.

In 1985 Frank started a new band, Alter Ego, and recorded a self-titled LP, no longer in print.

Frank has continued to write and record, along with limited performance, until 2004, when Ron and Frank decided that it was time for another musical venture and the 3rd incarnation of Stencil Forest was born.

Ron Perron - Bassist

Ron grew up in Elkhart, IN, the band instrument capital of the world. As a result, he had the opportunity to perform with world-renowned jazz musicians as a part of the high school jazz band. He also performed with numerous local rock and progressive rock bands during this time including years of work with Frank and Rick Cassella, who later formed Stencil Forest. Convinced that fame and fortune were not to be found in Elkhart, he eventually moved to Chicago and played with a power trio, Infinity, which performed in the Chicago area concert clubs, as well as promoting their own outdoor concerts in Northern Indiana, Southern Michigan and Chicago.

After 3 years, the band broke up and Ron moved to Colorado in pursuit of change. In 1982 Ron and a friend, Tim Keegan, decided to check out Dallas, TX as the Denver music scene was barren. Again, a change of scenery and surroundings. After several months beating the bushes in Dallas, the two met a prolific singer / songwriter-Darby Tipple. They put together a band and rehearsed for months, crafting Darby’s material for performance. The band never performed publicly. Darby can still be heard in the Dallas area.

In 1983, Ron returned to Denver again, having some roots in the area. In 1987, Ron met a guitarist/songwriter named Jeff Paxton. Jeff was from LA, and had a great demo. Ron suggested a drummer he had recently met, Chuck Hohn. The trio searched and found a singer and keyboardist, Steve Curto, to flesh out the band. In September of 1988, an event occurred which would alter the course of their futures. Ron was in Aspen for a weekend away and met Paul Ahern, former manager of the one of the 70’s most successful bands, Boston. Paul listened to the demo, titled Empire, and suggested that they contact music attorney Brian Rohan. Brian agreed to represent the band and encouraged them to relocate to the LA area. Within a short period the entire band had moved. They practiced and performed at showcase clubs in LA and Orange County. Capitol records had a good deal of interest in the band at one time, however, the A & R rep handling them left the label, and they were back to ground zero. Shortly after, the band broke up.

Ron auditioned and networked endlessly over the next year and a half, and was eventually contacted by Frank Rogala, the singer for NC-17. Frank sent Ron a copy of the first NC-17 recording, “The Happiest Place on Earth”. He was immediately taken with the bands sound and songwriting, and was working with them in short order. Over the next years, the band worked to get the attention of record labels, and was repeatedly thwarted by the lack of access to A & R representatives from the major record labels. NC-17 went on to make several recordings, and collaborated with director Dov Kelemer on the critically acclaimed movie “Won’t Anybody Listen” a documentary of the bands trials in LA. The movie can be seen on The Sundance Channel on satellite and cable and will be available on DVD through Netflix starting February 22, 2005.

On New Years Eve of 1994, Ron and his wife Blair decided that they could no longer tolerate life in Southern California and made arrangements to move back to Denver. They left in April of that year and started a manufacturer’s representative firm, Momentum Group, Inc. that represents Audio, Video, and Car Stereo manufacturers throughout the Rocky Mountains. Ron has built a studio in his home and performs occasionally in the Denver area, as well as maintaining his relationship with the members of NC-17.

In early 2004, Ron and Frank Cassella, having maintained their friendship over 20+ years, decided to recreate Stencil Forest, with the goals of releasing a new CD by the end of 2004, and re-mixing, re-mastering, and re-releasing the Stencil Forest disc “Opening Act”.

Links: The NC-17 Music Site The NC-17 Movie Site Ron & Blair’s business in Denver (along with partner David Thomas) The new Stencil Forest website Ron’s email address

Jamie McGregor - Drummer guy

Gretchen Kunz - All things melodic