Santi White knows what she wants. She always did. I know because I was there. In the studio, she knows what she wants and she’ll push and push and push until she gets it. She will respect you as a musician with a lifetime’s worth of experience and she’ll work with you. But she’ll nudge and push until the tones land where she wants them to land. Stiffed was just an impulse and she turned it into a pulse. She didn’t just come out of the box. Ten years ago, Mass Appeal ran this piece. She was just building them. Original Mass Appeal heads know what it is. They were always there first. We shared the most powerful ideas with our readers. Ten years later, Santi White is still potent.
- Sacha Jenkins SHR
Santi White went for broke and it paid off.
Remember the A&R from “Protect Ya Neck?” The one who’s “a mountain climber / that plays an electric guitar?” He’d have you believe there’s a place in today’s musical landscape called, quote-unquote, The Urban. A place where black artists are relegated, regardless of what they have to say or what type of music they make. More ‘hood than neighborhood and more of a ghetto than anything else, this is the home/cage of r&b, rap, and any other form of black music that can be contorted to fit into the “urban” category. The Urban is a place where every man sells drugs, every woman sells sex, and the liquor store sells nothing but Cristal and Courvoisier. For a slight change of pace, its denizens sometimes patronize a little coffee shop called neo-soul. And in The Urban, don’t nobody play the guitar or listen to “white people music,” i.e. rock.
Enter Santi White and her band Stiffed, a group that defies musical segregation and bewilders the A&Rs who police The Urban. The 27-year-old Santi is a black woman, her guitarist Matt Schleck (21) and bassist Chris Shar (24) are white men, and the drummer, the legendary Chuck Treece (38), is a black man. The music is unadulterated rock, punk mixed with new wave with the potential to become much more. lt’s not rap-metal or pop-punk and it damn sure ain’t neo-soul–it just is–and according to the heads nod-
ding at a Stiffed show, it’s just dope.