Sep 072011
 
Authors: Justin Hill

Superheroes, video games and coffee are what drive the Greeley band Ska Skank Redeption, according to its newest member and guitarist Sara LeFevre.

LeFevre is the seventh member of the band, having joined just over a year ago, after they started in fall of 2007. The band has performed at some of Fort Collins’ most popular venues, such as the Aggie, the Marquis and what used to be Spotlight Music Store.

Conversations quickly turned to topics like Batman, Star Trek, and 80s superhero TV series with LeFevre and Mark Kinz, the band’s trombone player and one of the vocalists, during their interview.

They said these topics, along with anything that strikes them at the time, greatly influence their lyrical themes. Their newest EP released earlier this year titled “Spadankadank” contains two songs like this.

“Warm Up My Soul,” is a song about the band’s love for coffee and contains a refrain with the words, “Starbucks is the worst coffee shop in the world.” Then the song “Not About Batman” is, in fact, a song about Batman.

A fan and friend of the band, Benjamin Feliciano, confirmed the band’s nerdy image.

“I first heard Ska Skank at an April Fool’s show at the Marquis Theater about a year ago,” Feliciano said. “All of the bands that night were great but Ska Skank Redemption was the only one that made me laugh. Their song topics, which range from Star Fox 64 to coffee and then a toss of political/religious commentary, are hilarious and lyrically reminiscent of early Aquabats.”

“’Warm Up My Soul’ is another favorite and has a great section at the end where everything speeds up and becomes a hyperactive final run of the chorus,” Feliciano added.

“Spadankadank,” along with the band’s other merchandise including patches, stickers and t-shirts, which are available for free upon request on the band’s Facebook page or website, skaskankredemption.com.

The band first started playing shows in 2008. They have played mostly with other local bands but did get the chance to play with ska legends, the Toasters, at The Aggie.

The Toasters, the Red Elvises, Streetlight Manifesto and the Dendrites are a few of the band’s influences.

“We love the Dendrites,” LeFevre and Kinz both said.

The band financed a tour of the West Coast this past summer hitting roughly 15 cities such as Portland, Stockton, and Phoenix. They packed up all their gear into a big yellow moving truck and set out alone to play shows they had started booking a year prior.

“Portland was the best show,” Kinz said.

“We were in Portland, checking out the town before sound check, and we started to see all these kids with Dropkick shirts on. So our roadie Spike followed some of them across the street, and it turned out Dropkick Murphy’s were playing a block away from our venue,” LeFevre said. “So we’re freaking out, there goes our crowd. But it was OK, because it turned out Dropkick is too mainstream or something and we had our biggest crowd on the entire tour that night.”

The pair said they really enjoyed hanging out in Portland and that it was a great town to play in. They were surprised by the quantity and the quality of the ska scene there. Their trip then took them to Stockton.

“In Stockton, CA, outside the Plea for Peace Center, this guy was doing laps around us in the parking lot on his bike. He was hauling this big, red Slurpee,” LeFevre said. “Now, understand we had a huge, bright yellow moving truck with us. Out of nowhere, without slowing down he slammed right into the side of our truck. His Slurpee went flying. The guy was OK, it turned out.”

LeFevre and Kinz said their video game vice followed them on their tour, and they used their laptops to play together using local Internet. In Phoenix, they played at a venue called Cosmic Soup Recording, which is also a recording studio.

“They had some recording rooms and a stage in the middle area,” LeFevre said. “Mark and I (played) Warcraft Three right before our set. We got creamed.”

“We really love all the people we met on tour,” LeFevre said. “The day after we got back we started to plan the next tour and realized it might be too soon.”

The band’s next big project is working on a full length album that the pair hopes will be more professionally recorded than their last EP. They said it will have 10 to 12 songs themed mostly about video games and comics, and they hope to have it out by February.

They brainstormed song ideas after their interview and talked about doing ska renditions of theme songs to shows like Start Trek and Thunder Cats.
The band wants people to keep an eye out for their upcoming September shows on their Facebook page and said they are looking for a road crew.

“Just people to wear our merchandise and promote the band,” LeFevre said.

LeFevre and Kinz both live in Greeley and say they are the only two members of the band no longer in school. The other five members live all over Colorado in places like Westminster, Boulder and Golden, and they have almost all played in jazz bands at their colleges.

Kyle Etges, the band’s bari-sax player, is in the top jazz band at UNC, and Kinz said he played in the jazz band when he was in school as well.

After joking, “There’s a life outside band?” Kinz, who is in another local ska band called the ContraBand, said they really leave all the drama at the door and just go play.

Ska Skank Redemption really just loves doing what they do and are having a lot of fun with it, especially when there is coffee involved.

“Did we mention we really love coffee?” said LeFerve.

Collegian writer Justin Hill can be reached at verve@collegian.com

What: Ska Skank Redemption.

Genre: Ska.

Most recent album: “Spadankadank.”

Popular songs: “Warm up my Soul,” “Not About Batman”

More information: www.skaskankredemption.com

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