Music & Clubs

Whiskey Avengers

SKANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: The Whiskey Avengers move away from ska toward rocksteady and soul on their new album.

LOCAL SKA BAND Whiskey Avengers aren't really a ska band anymore. On their third album, Dead Man Rockin,' they've slowed down a bit and have come into their own, producing their best, most concise record to date.

"I've been describing the new album as 'rocksteady and rock & soul.' We focused on rocksteady a lot on this album because it allows us to convey our attitude and musical integrity all in one," says singer/guitarist Stefan Meissner. Unlike most ska bands, the Whiskey Avengers' roots are firmly planted in hip-hop; it was originally a side project of two members of the rap group Language Arts Crew. They learned how to make albums from their days as rappers—they wrote, recorded and piecemealed songs together in the studio first before playing them live, often with one or two members writing all the parts. Five years later, they had evolved into the more traditional rock process of playing their songs at concerts before recording them.

What came out of that were smoother, mellower rocksteady songs. And thanks to extra time spent in the studio and the band's interest in singers like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, their vocals (and harmonies) developed an element of soul that wasn't there before. Between recording their last album and this one, they lost their horn section. Rather than try to re-create the group that they were, they adjusted—hastening their move away from ska. "Since becoming a four-piece, the role of Lee, super keyboard boy, has become a lot more prominent. Guess he's our lead guitarist now," says bass player Clint Sobolik.

Since they spent so much time before recording the album getting the songs just right, it only made sense to spend plenty of time and money actually recording the album. They even hired a producer, Michael S. Rosen, who has produced records for AFI, Rancid, Papa Roach, Santana and more. They hope the release of Dead Man Rockin' will be the first step toward greater national success. "We're going to give it a college try this time around. If our hard work and investments pay off, we'll be gone on that open road by the spring," says Sobolik.

Blank Club

Friday, Oct. 28

9pm; $8

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