Yes, "Stoner" is his real name. Born "Gall" Stoner in Passaic, New Jersey and the third son of Frank and Myrtle Stoner, Dan was almost immediately a challenge for his parents. Diagnosed early on with ADDD i.e. attention deficit dis-order & dat-order (it's a Jersey thing), Dan was subjected to a barrage of mind bending drugs, psychiatric counseling and even aroma therapy. Finally, at age 9, it was thought best that he be sent to a little-known clinic in upstate New York that specialized not only in children's mental problems but in the experimental treatment of premature male pattern baldness. As fate would have it though, he was accidentally boarded on the wrong flight and ended up at Tibet's Dalai Madi-San Memorial Municipal Airport / Carpet Emporium. For 10 days he roamed the streets, surviving on discarded figs and goat road-kill, until taken in by a Tibetan monk named "Dave" who nursed him back to health. Soon Dan came to embrace the ways of the monastery and even became a student of the Dalai Par-Tan, who helped him overcome his tri-polar condition through prayer, meditation, self discipline and an obscure daily ritual called "Scaling the Himalaya". It was this inner peace that inspired Dan to take up writing. Here is an excerpt from his first prolific and insightful prose written over 2 decades ago :
"I am unto the Creator as the goat is unto the mighty Llama, in awe of His cloven prowess; humbled by His majestic aroma. And as the Llama spits upon the goat, so I shall aspire to be spit upon by the Creator." and so on...
If you didn't already know how long ago this was written, you would swear it was a line from a new Big Richard song. Over the years Dan wrote many, many more profound pieces like the politically motivated "Too Many Chinese", and the beautiful yet haunting "Cows are People too", but it wasn't until the whimsical poem "Karma Korn" was featured in Peking's popular "Rape & Pillage Weekly" that he was finally located by his long lost parents, who by now had moved to Quincy, IL as the result of a tip that their son had possibly been transformed into some sort of woodland animal by a clan of shape-shifting cave bears known to live in the area.
Although happy to be reunited with his family, Dan missed his friends from the monastery, and took a job as a bus boy at a local oriental restaurant, mainly for the unlimited free goat cheese. It was there he met Tina, who worked as a veterinarian next door and made frequent deliveries to the restaurant. Through their love of art and culture, and their mutual hatred of the Chinese government, Dan and Tina hit it off almost immediately and after a very short courtship became husband and wife. Coincidentally, the restaurant and the veterinary clinic closed at the same time, and Dan decided it was time to put his writing to work. Tina was able to pay the rent and keep plenty of goat cheese on the table by drawing caricatures at county fairs, carnivals and other predominantly white events where she could save both time and chalk by not having to shade in the faces. Dan continued to write, worked on his "Buddha Dan" stage persona, and took aggressive singing lessons at the nationally franchised Peter Falk School of Voice. He too then found work performing at the same fairs and festivals as his wife (which was perfect since they had only one car), and by the late 80's became the best Zen Polka singer in the area. However, the band's only original, "Polka Out Your Third Eye", lost momentum in it's Nirvana-Bavarian quest up the charts and quickly became just another "novelty" song. Disillusioned, Dan left the band and, for the first time, began to question his faith. Having heard about the mysterious cave bears from his parents (Frank & Myrtle), he started making inquires in the hope of finding them and learning their ways. As fate would have it again (oops! I mean "karma"), Dan met Jamie Fenton having his caricature drawn at an Arian rally. This was not only an easy 10 bucks for Tina since Jamie was both white and bald, but was the perfect opportunity to meet Jamie's drummer Randy Williams, one of the few cave bears left still in human form. Through Randy, Dan regained his faith by coming to understand how all living creatures on Earth are merely shape-shifted manifestations of God. They would talk for hours about how to express these philosophies through their music, but like all ideas thought up by musicians it was soon forgotten about and was not realized again until years later when Big Richard singer Lee Whittaker decided to take his booming sidewalk kitchenwares business on the road. Lee left some big shoes to fill, and Dan agreed to take on the challenge. Other singers in the area who were jealous of this insisted that he was only hired because those "non-materialistic spiritual types" work really cheap. There may be a lot of truth to this, but whatever the reason Dan Stoner is now an integral part of the current Big Richard lineup. He still maintains his "Buddha Dan" stage persona and is so much a dead ringer for his alter-ego that people actually bring offerings to him at their shows, which are appreciated and enjoyed by the whole band.