Stacy Guess

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A trumpeter and guitarist with a succession of North Carolina bands, Stacy Guess never quite made a national breakthrough. In fact, he was thrown out of his best-known band, the Squirrel Nut Zippers,…
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A trumpeter and guitarist with a succession of North Carolina bands, Stacy Guess never quite made a national breakthrough. In fact, he was thrown out of his best-known band, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, just before they hit pay dirt with their second album. However, Guess was much loved on the Chapel Hill music scene, and when he died of a heroin overdose in March 1998, a number of local musicians compiled an album of Guess' songs called Legacy, with the proceeds going to a scholarship for young musicians at Guess' alma mater, Chapel Hill High School.

Born in 1966, Guess learned to play trumpet at the age of 13. By high school, he was already playing in a series of local bands. One of these, the ska-influenced Pressure Boys, released three albums in the mid-'80s before breaking up in 1988. Guess and several other members went on to form the short-lived Sex Police. In the early '90s, Guess taught himself guitar and bass and played with a number of local bands, including SOMA and the Venus Flytrap Girls, before joining the nascent Squirrel Nut Zippers in 1994. Guess played trumpet on the group's first album, 1995's The Inevitable, but when he missed a show due to his worsening heroin addiction, the band and Guess' family staged an intervention that got the trumpeter into rehab. Although Guess played and recorded with various artists after leaving his rehab program, he hadn't stopped using and he died, age 32, on March 11, 1998.