A brutish cudgel forged in Algaroth’s shrine....or the humble creation of a few baked Hoosier teens who crossed Mace Road en route to the racetrack? The latter, although the petrified wallop of ancient weaponry was a weighty undercurrent for Attica, Indiana, hard rockers Stoned Mace. Its bedrock lay in power trio Solid Lead: bassist John Mullins, drummer Rob Dilltz, and guitarist Greg Eller. But practicing in Mullins’ farmhouse coal chute did little to alchemize Solid Lead into more precious metal. Enter guitar player and Attica High classmate Dan Markley. Solid Lead was covers-only, but Mullins and Markley set about writing originals and recording, then dissolved following Dilltz’s defection to Mattoon, Illinois. Drum major Steve Barnhart caught their attention at a local football game and was added to the forge.
Stoned Mace, Attica’s only all-originals act, made decent money playing them. They graced every high school, local venue Stage One, keg blow-outs thrown by friends, and opening slots for seasoned Indiana groups Blanche Talley and Roadmaster. Promo shots were snapped at Falls Creek Gorge, while funds disappeared into gas tanks, girlfriends, and the pockets of small-time engineer Dave Tipton, his Macintosh gear run to a tape machine. Stoned Mace pummeled through their 20-some originals in one marathon session. To up fidelity, they followed a lead to Nashville, Tennessee, hiring engineer Jack Boles to cut two songs in 1973. Studio hanger-on Johnny Dollar promised a Mercury contract, but nothing ever materialized, other than Mace Records 1001/1002, with “C-147” (named confusingly for a particular girl) and the medieval soldier’s tale “Tasmania” on opposing sides.
In ’74, a trusted Attica inmate read Stoned Mace the riot act. Barnhart, tired of hosting rehearsals for a band that refused membership to his live-in girlfriend, issued a 2 a.m. eviction by phone, marking Stoned Mace’s deathknell. Mullins and Markley moved to Colorado and to several never-completed synthesizer experiments. By the time Mullins re- Hoosiered himself back to Indiana in pursuit of his estranged son, the Stoned Mace he’d wielded was a rubble of broken, scattered parts.