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Hub City Stompers Jenny Whiskey spills on her life as a 20 year veteran of the ska-punk skinhead scene

Jenny Whiskey has been playing the saxophone and singing in Ska/Punk bands for over 20 years and has garnered a reputation as one of the most accomplished and sought after sax players in the scene today. Here we were able catch up with her a little and hear about her beginnings, and what got her into her local ska/punk and skinhead scene.

Read her story below.



DS Exclusive: They’re Still Alive in Chicago & Their Record Release Party Proves It!

Still Alive

July 14, 2018, found Chicago’s Still Alive hosting their record release show at GMan Tavern, just a few yards down from the legendary Metro Chicago, and almost directly across the street the Wrigley Field. The iconic baseball stadium had Def Leppard and Journey co-headlining at the Friendly Confines. For those who chose the more intimate setting of Gman Tavern, they witnessed some raw punk rock served up sans the glitz and frills afforded to stadium rockers. I’m betting none of those in attendance at the smaller show would have traded locations.

Chicago’s Still Alive at its record release show at GMan Tavern

The group’s new record, “Assemble,” is made up of 7 tracks including Schedule One. The band’s description of the tune: “This song is about cannabis being categorized as a schedule one substance. A schedule one drug is one that has no medicinal value and is highly addictive, yet the American government holds the THC patent as medicine. We call bullshit.”

Still Alive’s current lineup is made up of Dan Alfonsi on guitar/vocals, Dom Burdi on guitar/vocals, Mikey Cervenka on drums, and Bryan Schroth on bass. I caught up with Alfonsi a few days later and we discussed the band’s formation 9 years ago, their history thus far, and plans for the future as far as he can see from now.

Still Alive

Alfonsi describes the band’s founding, “Still Alive started in 2009 with 3 other friends from other bands that I liked.  We all played in some variation of a punk/ska band so we took that and made it a little heavier. From there we just wanted to play fast and heavy while maintaining the ska roots.”

Cervanka and Alfonsi got their musical start early while Burdi “his own way,” and Bryan seems to have grabbed musical influences from just about everywhere.”

Still Alive

Alfonsi recalls a few of the issues they faced and why he characterizes the band’s start as slow. “We played our first show in 2009 once we were able to hold down a line up long enough practice a full set. Things were definitely slow going for a while. We even played a few songs from my old band Young Til We die to fill in the gaps. 2012 was when we really started to play more often and out of the city.”

Still Alive

Getting to play on bills with many of their favorite bands from growing up has been a highlight in itself. Amongst those Alfonsi and his bandmates feel fortunate for having the chance to share a stage with include Suicide Machines, Choking Victim; and Leftover Crack.

However, Alfonsi is quick to point out that the camaraderie experienced by being in a band and a part of the punk rock community, both local and nationwide, is his favorite part  “Jumping in the van with some of my best buds and playing out of town is always a blast. Another awesome aspect has been getting to know so many rad people along the way. Meeting other bands and like-minded individuals have made any hard work well worth it.”

The name Still Alive was partially inspired by the name of Alfonsi’s previous band, Young til We Die. The other half came down to the band members picking it out of a hat. Alfonsi tells me he believes the other options were: “Bloodied Up” and “Drink the Punch.”

Alfonsi describes who the group is at its core: “We are a DIY band. We gave the label thing a spin and it wasn’t for us. We write and produce all of our music with the help of our buddy Justin Yates who keeps us in check when recording.”

“Every member that has played in Still Alive is a Chicago area native minus Chuck Vroom who played bass for a bit before moving back to Detroit. There he’s played with The A Gang, Bastardous, For Dire Life Sake and a bunch more,” says Alfonsi

Still Alive

“Mikey works as a Warehouse Manager in the western ‘burbs. Bryan works at Bandago renting vans to touring bands. In addition to Bandago, he is the merchman extraordinaire for Lagwagon, Me First, Less Than Jake and whoever else needs him haha. Dom works as an office manager with insurance dealings. Dom has another band called Beat The Smart Kids that that is pretty killer. Fun ska stuff. I work as an Interior Painter in the city and I also do some festival work when it’s in season. Besides Still Alive I play bass in a hardcore band called The Ox King, drums in The Ridgelands and also drums in rarely active Brick Assassin. All Chicago bands.”

Still Alive

Alfonsi tells me that he cannot nail down his favorite bands long enough to set a list of them in stone. “Personally, my list of favorite bands is too long and constantly changing so I’ll list my top three local bands. There are so many to choose from, but these are my favorites. All three work super hard and put a lot of time and effort into their music. It shows in the recordings and it really shows live: La Armada, Kali Masi, and Blood People. Honorable mention: Bomblower, Turnspit, and Counterpunch.”   

Still Alive

As for the future for Still Alive? Dan Alfonsi tells me the band is brewing some exciting things up. Some they can announce and some they are not quite ready to do so.

“Moving forward we just recorded five songs with Justin Yates at A Million Yen Studio. The recordings are for a split with Rebel Spies from Detroit and Justin Shwier of Underground Comminque is putting it out.  Aside from that, we have some cool shows coming up to round out the year that aren’t announced yet, stay tuned.”

Of course, we turned the topic to, as must be done, to the role of punk rock in the era of the Trump Presidency:

“Life is becoming more surreal every day under this administration to the point that we as a people are almost used to it. It’s crazy. There is certainly no shortage of topic to write about, but the toll it’s taking in the meantime is frightening to say the least. The best we can do at this point is to treat each other well and hope that closed minds will start to open.”

As great as the record release party was, however, the night did end with a bummer as Alfonsi explains:

“A few hours following our release show 7/14 I was involved in a collision with a motorist while on my bicycle. I can’t get into too much detail because it’s an ongoing thing, but I urge everyone to pay better attention to your surroundings.”

Needless to say Alfonsi, his friends, his family; and the band’s fans are relieved that Dan is Still Alive and on the road to recovery.

We at Dying Scene wish Dan a speedy and full recovery as well so he can be back onstage as soon as possible.

 

https://stillalive.bandcamp.com/



Nothington announce split/indefinite hiatus after 2018 and the breaking of my heart

Nothington has announced that they’re calling it good after this year. The band made the announcement on their Facebook page this morning.

The split appears to be amicable, with the announcement stating that came to the decision “simply because we have other musical, artistic, and career-related aspirations to pursue as individuals.”

This year will be the band’s final appearances at The Fest and Punk Rock Bowling. They will be playing their last tours in the second half of 2018 with “a few select dates leading into spring of 2019.”

You can find the full announcement below.

The band’s most recent album, “In the End” was released April 2017 and was one of my top albums of the year. You should definitely try to catch them if they tour near you before the split. I haven’t caught them since a 2007 or so basement show with Off With Their Heads in Minneapolis, and it was easily one of the best shows I’ve been to.

Despite the sting of probably not getting any more material from Nothington, I am definitely looking forward to any projects that will come out of the split.



DS Editorial: Crusades—A Eulogy

Photo courtesy of Laura Collins

Fest has been announced, and with that, so have Crusades’ last shows. Here at Dying Scene, we love Crusades and wanted to give them a proper send-off. Read below for a career retrospective and click here for more information regarding Crusades and Fest. And if you’re local to them, expect a hometown goodbye at Ottawa Explosion Weekend Festival in June!

Following in the footsteps of Refused, Fugazi, Jawbreaker, and a thousand other greats, Ontario punk act Crusades have decided to join the long list of good ones in the sky. That’s right, after eight years of activity, Crusades is fucking dead. The split comes amicably; and realistically, is inevitable. It’s the difference between opening act and classic, between living and (fucking) dead.



10 Songs to Jumpstart Your Week (curated by DS editor Bizarro Dustin)

Ever wonder what the folks who run Dying Scene have been listening to lately?  We’re going to pretend you said “yes” to that question and feature a curated playlist from a different DS editor each week with the intent of exposing you to some new kickass punk bands.  This week’s playlist is brought to you by DS editor Bizarro Dustin.

Discover some great tunes, and get your shuffle on with Dustin’s playlist below.



10 Punk Songs to Jumpstart Your Week (Curated by DS Editor Daron)

Ever wonder what the folks who run Dying Scene have been listening to lately?  We’re going to pretend you said “yes” to that question and feature a curated playlist from a different DS editor each week with the intent of exposing you to some new kickass punk bands. This week we go to Minnesota, the land of 10,000 ways to pass off passive/aggressiveness as “being nice,” with Daron.

Discover some great new tunes, and find out what makes him tick by streaming Daron’s personal picks below.



Behind The Album: Big D and the Kids Table – “How It Goes 2004”

Words by Big D And The Kids Table front man David McWane

It was now 2004 and Big D was a writing machine. Dissimilar to many other bands we were not writing our new songs to impress gatekeepers outside of the our unit in the woeful hope to make it into punk royalty. Instead, we were stirred by everyone in the band’s different inspirations, thus having How It Goes become an eclectic album of musical genres and topical emotions. Every musician was encouraged to write and every idea was worked on with encouragement. Receptivity.

From L.A.X to Safe Haven, Girls Against Drunk Bitches to Burn Something, you can pickup that Big D wasn’t, isn’t and will never be easy to identify. After a colleague of mine implored that the album must start with L.A.X, because of his music business reasoning, I intentionally put The Sounds Of Allston Village before said track to set those who play by his rule book to judge and dismiss the album. Big D does not want to live by any hyperactive music business rules.

People will tell you, “music is a business”. Those people have lost what music is. Sure music takes work; Sure music is more than simply singing a song. Love takes work, being in a relationship takes work, but neither is a business. Music is your heart. Music is your soul. Music is the fire inside you. Music is comfort. Music is a friend. Music is you sharing time with the one you love most. Consider never saying “music is a business” or better, go ahead and say it, but stay away from me. Like I often say, love and music are the last two things you can hold onto after you become an adult and I’m not looking to taint either. Music is a business to business men. Music is life to musicians.

Sophomaniacs told us to start How It Goes with L.A.X, sophomaniacs told us to have 10 songs and not 20, sophomaniacs told us not to do that cover, because logos and art were in, sophomaniacs go on and on and on and on. But in Big D fashion we just did what we collectively wanted to do and we are very proud of How It Goes. You’re Me Now is so weird.

Big D saved up the money needed to record with Jim Siegel at The Outpost by playing shows. Up to this point and beyond Big D members never got paid for playing music or selling albums/t-shirts, we always saved the money to record, buy a van, print shirts, pin, patches or to pay bills (rehearsal space rent, van/trailer insurance, copies of our albums, etc.). And Big D wouldn’t get paid for many years to come. “That’s just how it goes”…we would always say. Being an orphan to the scene, “Well…that’s just how it goes”, was often said to make sense of the always punctual struggles of life.

The cover photo was taken outside 76 Franklin St. (Trash House) in Allston Massachusetts where I lived with Todd (lyrics from Breaking The Bottle) & Johnny Trouble (lyrics from Shining On). The rest of the guys lived walking distance, down the streets of lower Allston. If you can, it’s best to live walking distance from your band mates. Brotherhood. All the lyrics are in that book between my feet. The L.A.X video was shot at this location as well by Dan Dobi. Thanks Dan! Let’s do another video again someday.

Some of my favorite songs from How It Goes are You’re Me Now, Flashlight, Burn Something, Girls Against Drunk Bitches, L.A.X & My Girlfriends On Drugs. People often ask who sang on My Girl Friends On Drugs & Girls Against Drunk Bitches. MGFOD is my good friend Hillary, who is a wonderful light inside an often times dark humanity and she has a wicked fun laugh. GADB is my friend Marz or Mariam (prob not spelled how she prefers). We went to college together; She sang in the sludge-core band Mancain. She would have taken over the world, if the world had been something she wanted.

The tours that followed How It Goes were some of Big D’s favorites. The lot of us still didn’t feel like we were in a real band, more, we felt like a bunch of guys that were somehow allowed to play on the bill and get free beer. We had a beautiful time being too SKA for the punk bands and too punk for the SKA bands. Not many, maybe none, of the successful bands ever chose to make friends with us. But you know, that’s just how it goes and it was always fine by us. Being ugly is underrated.

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Tune in next week for another Big D “Behind The Album” piece. They’ll continue weekly until all 34+ Big D albums have been covered!



10 Punk Songs To Jumpstart Your Week (curated by DS founder Dave Buck)

Ever wonder what the folks who run Dying Scene have been listening to lately?  We’re going to pretend you said “yes” to that question and feature a curated playlist from a different DS editor each week with the intent of exposing you to some new kickass punk bands.  This week we’re kicking things off with Dying Scene founder and head honcho Dave Buck.

Discover some great new tunes, and find out what makes him tick by streaming Dave’s personal picks below.



DS Staff Picks – Jerry’s Top 10 albums of 2017

2017 was a year filled with things I had been looking forward to for a long time as well as some surprises in life, movies, TV (Twin Peaks Season 3 anyone?), and of course in music.  Aside from multiple honorable mentions, which you can see at the bottom, this years list of favorite albums was surprisingly easy to narrow down for me.  Check out what caught my ear this year below!



DS Staff Picks: AnarchoPunk’s Top Ten Albums of 2017

I’m not going to bore you with a bunch of pleasantries because I don’t have time for it, so we’re gonna just hop right into this.  If you wanna know what I’m busy with, check out the Featured Stream section to the right hand section of this page, over there >>> yea, that’s me. Or you could listen to Dying Scene Radio, (The Official Podcast of DyingScene.com) to hear my silky smooth, baritone voice. Or you could go check out out my Instagram page which features pictures from the 125+ sets I shot this year. Damn….I need a break. In between all of that, I also managed to listen to some pretty fantastic albums! Peep my top ten favorites from the year that was, below!



DS Staff Picks – Dylan’s Top 10 Albums of 2017

Hello, I’m Dylan and I write for Dying Scene. You probably clicked on this because you’d like to know what my Top 10 Albums of 2017 are. Check out my list below.



DS Exclusive: 2017 A Year in Pictures (AnarchoPunk – Los Angeles)

2017 was an awfully busy year for me! I shot four festivals and an uncountable amount of local shows here in The City of Angeles. But for as frantic as it was there was also some pretty big payoffs. My year was filled with multiple life goals like getting to shoot Rancid, Bad Religion and Propagandhi all for the first time. And through it all, I got to meet tons of great folks, all of which deserve thanks in one way or another but would take too much time to acknowledge here. So, I’ll instead just say thanks to the incredible bands that allowed me to take their pictures while most likely being uncomfortably close to them! Keep up all of the great work and I can’t wait to see you all again in 2018! Check out my personal favorite shots from almost every set I shot this year, below!

*For more pics, follow Dying Scene and my personal page over at Instagram!



Dying Scene Founder Dave Buck’s Top 10 Punk Albums of 2017

Sup punk fans. I’m Dave, the super punk looking mofo in the above pic, and I founded this here website 7 or 8 years ago. I won’t waste your time telling you about the trials and tribulations of 2017 or how much the punk scene means to me. That’s not why you’re here. You’re here because you’re curious what an a-hole like me might have selected for his Top 10 Releases of 2017. You want to know if any of my selections overlap with your own or if you’ll discover an unknown gem or two. Well, find my list below, and I encourage you to stream tracks as you go.



DS Show Review: FEST 16 Gainesville – Day 3

As I soaked in all of the sights, sounds and smells of FEST 16 in days 1 and 2, I purposely tried to keep day 3 out of my mind.  Day 3 had some great bands that I couldn’t wait to check out, but I knew that getting to day 3 meant that FEST was coming to a close.

I don’t think I was the only one with the aforementioned sentiment, people were going after it hard Saturday night.  I could hear them outside singing and reveling into the wee hours.  I felt ok Sunday morning.  Got some food and coffee in me, and got ready to face the day.  T shirt game was not as important today as the forecast called for unseasonably cool temps.  High of 65 meant that I would don the only sweatshirt I brought.  It has the Chicago flag on the front of it, which prompted a shout of “Oh Calcutta!!” from an apparent Lawrence Arms fan.  After three nights of mayhem, we were delayed getting out the door.  I wanted to catch After the Fall, but we actually arrived too late for that and went straight to High Dive to catch Squirtgun doing a retrospective of all the bands they had been in.  If you don’t know Squirtgun, they are fronted by Mass Giorgini who is probably best known as owner and resident producer at Sonic Iguana.  Some major punk royalty has recorded at SI with Mass at the boards.  Squirtgun broke out some of those tunes in a solid set which included The Riverdales and Screeching Weasel.

Next we grabbed a bite at Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille.  We could’ve heard Apologies I have none, but it was too cold to sit outside.  Sitting in a chain restaurant on Sunday afternoon did not do much to lift me out of the depression of FEST coming to an end.  After lunch, we cruised over to Bo Diddley to catch The Movielife.  I’ve been following these guys for a while and I real wanted to see them at Riot Fest, but a conflict messed that up.  Although they played in a tough spot, Sunday, Outdoors, afternoon, cool day, they represented.  Not my standout set of the FEST, but not bad.

After Movielife, we had some tough conflicts.  Mean Jeans, Toyguitar, Hiccup, and Ray Rocket (Teenage Bottlerocket).  My wife wanted to catch Ray, so we cruised over to Big Lou’s pizza for the show.  I grabbed a couple of beers to perk us up and we sat on the patio there sipping our brews as Ray got set up.  I’m so glad we caught this show, because he conveyed the hungover depressed malaise that everyone was feeling.  Ray asked us to bear with him as he had spent the previous night going door to door at Holiday Inn with The Dopamines.  Paint your own picture there.  As the cool breeze blew through, Ray gave us a solid but chill set, the perfect cure to what ailed us.  He played “Do you wanna go to Tijuana,” dedicated to his twin brother Brandon who passed away in 2015, and covered The Ramones “Pet Sematary.”

The Ray Rocket set definitely perked us up.  We cruised over to Tall Paul’s and caught some of Makewar’s set.  We bellied up to the bar and threw down some of their brewed-in-house craft beer.  The habanero-spiced pale ale stole the show.  It brought the heat!!  We had to cut out of Makewar to get a good spot for Smoking Popes.  Being from Chicago, my wife and I are both big Popes fans.  The Popes never disappoint.  They’ve been around a long time and they know what people want to hear.  They bring the hits one after the other.  They played my fave “No More Smiles” as well as “Megan,” “Paul,” “Rubella.”  One of the many highlights of this set was their cover of MC5’s “Ramblin’ Rose.”  And of course they played “Need You Around.”  When it came to playing Bo Diddley, some bands sounded better than others, but the Popes really rocked this stage.  Safe to say, this set was up there in the top 5 of FEST.

Iron Chic hit the Bo Diddley stage next, so we hung around for that.  IC had a very lively crowd and their brand of punk rock really got the people moving and singing along.  You could tell people were amped for this band.  We watched the set from afar, but we already had tickets to see them in Chicago in December, so we cut out to check some other sets.  We caught Kamikaze Girls at the Wooly.  I have no recollection of it.  I remember bouncing across the street to The Atlantic where Machinist! was playing.  I only caught the last song, wish I had seen more.  This mad dash ended at Rockey’s where we caught the last few songs from The Raging Nathans.  We must’ve been in the right place as a few dignitaries were on hand such as OWTH’s Ryan Young.

One of the reasons I broke the bank and travelled down to FEST this year was Superchunk.  I’ve seen them a handful of times; the first time in 1993.  At one point I remember thinking to myself, “I’m going to buy every Superchunk album that ever comes out.”  Well who knew they would put out like 40 records!?!  I don’t have them all, but I have a lot of them.  So we trekked over to Bo Diddley to catch Sunday’s headliner, Superchunk.  For one, they sounded great.  I’ll give them that.  They didn’t play the full 90 minutes, which was a bit of a bummer.  They also threw in some random tunes like “Hello Hawk” and “I Got Cut.”  Deep cuts aside, they also dropped some fan favorites like: “Slack Motherfucker, Sick to Move, Driveway to Driveway, Hyper Enough, Precision Auto, and Seed Toss.”  The ‘Chunk brought the goods and sent the main stage out in grand fashion.

The main stage might have been done, but we were not!  We popped over to The Wooly, grabbed a brew and caught Meat Wave.  Their new album, “The Incessant” is on my list of the best of 2017.  These guys rock the 3 piece like Alkaline Trio or Husker Du; although their sound is more like Big Black.  I’m definitely going to catch these guys again.  After MW, I made a fatal error.  I decided we should hit Durty Nelly’s to catch Dingus.  For one, I had the complete wrong band.  I guess there are two Dingus’s (Dingi?).  Unfortunately, the one I planned to see was recording an album in Belgium at the time.  I sat there for about a half hour completely confused.  When we came to our senses, I looked my wife in the eye and I could tell she was done.  40 shows over 3 days will tend to wear you out.  I was running on fumes as well.  We decided to call it quits.  I had hoped to catch Night Witch, Teen Agers, and Tiltwheel; but I will have to wait for them to come to town.

We survived FEST 16, and had an amazing time!  One thing is for sure, we will be marking our calendars for the lineup announcement for FEST 17.  We will be back!



Behind The Album: Big D And The Kids Table – “Porch Life” & Melt Banana Split 7-inch (2003)

Words by Big D And The Kids Table front man David McWane

It was now 2003 and Big D’s van wasn’t running, so we had a lot of time off. And what better to do when your band is stranded for the summer than to make a Gangsta Rap version of your tunes? Being a fan of Rap & Hip-Hop and also loving the art of creating music, I wanted to see what it was like to put songs together in these genres. I went back to the old recording model of tempting Lammi with some beer and fun. Lammi and I spent the summer making Porch Life, a hilarious collection of Rap & Hip-hop versions of Big D songs.

However, once completed we learned harshly that not everyone has the same humor. This was the beginning of Big D pissing people off and disappointing listeners to a curiously high level. And we would be sure to continue this trend.

Porch Life got reviewed by well known punk publications. 1-star or 2-stars, that was our professional ratings for this release, followed by angry nail-breaking typed comments like ‘How could they go to Hip-hop?’. This is when it dawned on Big D that people actually took us seriously and that’s not the way to look at this band. Big D never had the goal to be famous or make it in the music industry. I always say that there are people who want to be in a band and then there are musicians. Music itself has always been our payment. People showing up and having a chat with us has always been our payment. Making the band a strict business to which the mission is to write songs for the public and not ourselves hoping to cash in is simply a different person’s goals. For me, music and love are the last pure things you can carry with yourself after childhood and I am not keen on poisoning either. We made this album, for the same reason we make all of our albums – because it’s fun. To reiterate, we have never wanted to construct verses and choruses for mass appeal, rather we do it to impress each other and would rather someone passionately hate our songs than to forfeit our music to the uncreative, the unhumorous, the sophomaniac, deconstuionist, curmudgeons of this world. Yuck.

I mean to be serious for a moment, how can you give Porch Life 1-star when it has Sully B. Nuts prank phone calls sprinkled through it?

Moving on…

It’s no secret that Melt Banana is one of my all time favorite bands and to keep with the trend of pissing the public off we did a split 7” with them. For me this was a dream come true. It was humbling with little sparks of feeling proud flashing in my heart. Our fans didn’t really care for the release and Melt Banana fans showed their canines to us at the show we played together at T. T. The Bears in Cambridge MA. Maybe the public didn’t know that RUN DMC and Slayer played shows together or that The Mighty Mighty Bosstones & Slap Shot were brothers in the scene. However, to be fair not everyone lacked the understanding of why this 7” was neat. A few SKA-Punx’ers and Noise Core’ers knew the score.

My favorite music memory of all time is when I went to the back of T. T.s and Yako the singer of Melt Banana was there and she said to me, “I love your voice.”

And I know my hero would have never said that…if I had decided to cater to the masses.

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Tune in next week for another Big D “Behind The Album” piece. They’ll continue weekly until all 34+ Big D albums have been covered!