Caustic Casanova is a hard rock power trio operating out of America’s proud capital city (of rock!), Washington D.C. Consisting of virtuoso thunder drummer Stefanie Zaenker, electric guitar shredmaster/vocalist Michael Wollitz, and bowel shaking bass baron/vocalist Francis Beringer, The CC (as they are affectionately known by their devoted fans) has been tearing up stages and studios alike with their unique brand of diverse, heavy music since their inception on the campus of The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia in 2005.
Beginning as a group holding their rehearsals in the deserted 13X11 bedroom space of an unfurnished apartment, The CC quickly became renowned throughout the Tidewater Virginia area for their electrifying and exhilarating live shows. To this day, seeing a CC live gig is nothing short of an enlightening experience; the band never plays the same set twice, and rarely leaves the stage without shedding at least a little blood and a few layers of clothes. So impressive in the Hampton Roads area were these early live performances that the CC’s initial two year burst of activity culminated in being named “Williamsburg’s Finest Band” by Submission Magazine, and in the recording of Caustic Casanova’s first ever professional studio album, the six song effort Dichotomies, released in spring 2006 to glowing reviews.
Sadly for true music enthusiasts everywhere, the summer of 2006 saw the band go on an extended hiatus to pursue other interests. Is it a coincidence that the music industry’s malaise worsened and its decline accelerated during this time period? Probably not—dark days indeed.
However, Caustic Casanova was to return once more to music, and they returned with a vengeance—better than ever. On April 1, 2008 the reunited CC released their first ever full-length studio album on their own imprint Mad Love Records, a fourteen song, seventy-two minute tour de force entitled Imminent Eminence. Running the musical gauntlet from alternative anthems and post-rock processionals to bossanova beats and stoner rock sludgefests (with the occasional finger picked classical piece, for good measure), and featuring insightful and striking lyrical ruminations on various subjects ranging from the romantic lives of 16th Century Venetian painters to the complexities of 21st Century zoning ordinances in Pensacola, Florida, Imminent Eminence is in every possible way a remarkable album.
As always, to the uninitiated the question must surely then become: with a plethora of musical options at hand, why care about this particular band? The answer is quite simple: because this band cares about their craft in a fashion rarely seen in the modern musical landscape. Their passion is palpable. How many live shows do you see where the singer alternately croons like Morrissey, struts like Toby Keith, and wails to the heavens like Robert Plant? Where the guitar and bass take turns sounding like Joey Santiago jamming with Geddy Lee, and Kevin Shields melting faces with Nick Oliveri? Not many, my friends, not many.
****Caustic Casanova has gigged in DC, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina and Georgia since returning to live performances in summer 2008. They have been described as “riff royalty” (Submission Magazine) who possess “…an air of optimism and freshness…that's been lacking from the music scene for well over a decade now. (Voltcase)." Caustic Casanova has been critically compared to many diverse groups, ranging from the B-52s and Black Sabbath to Pixies and Primus. Their numerous influences span the rock and roll spectrum, from post punk pioneers The Smiths to heavy blues rock revivalists Clutch.
Caustic Casanova released their second full length album, Someday You Will Be Proven Correct, on February 7th, 2012. It was recorded and produced at Magpie Cage Studio in Baltimore, MD by J. Robbins of Jawbox fame, who has produced records for such luminaries as Clutch, Against Me!, Wino, and Jawbreaker, and mastered by the legendary Bob Weston. Caustic Casanova will tour the American South extensively in March 2012 following a date at Austin's yearly South By Southwest music festival.
A sampling of the praise for Imminent Eminence:
"An accomplished trio - Caustic Casanova play a winning and almost conversational brand of indie prog [on Imminent Eminence]. As varied as their subject matter, their aural attack [includes] jazzy hard rock, crunchy pop, ethereal acoustica... straight up funk, dreamy metal, [and] hard edged blues...A splendid debut." - CAUGHT IN THE CAROUSEL
"[Imminent Eminence] is somewhat of an enigma, in that it defies easy categorization. It has moments of heaviness, moments of hippiness, and moments of greatness." - FAZER MAGAZINE
"Caustic Casanova are a band that stand out to me because I can honestly say I’ve never heard anything quite like them before." - RAY'S REALM
"[Imminent Eminence] is a very short 72 minutes...a ridiculously varied mixture of sounds...a very satisfying album. 4/5" - PEACEDOGMAN.COM
"[Caustic Casanova] will gladly provide you with a catchy riff, but don’t get too comfortable because this band is going to send your ears on a far more interesting journey." - FREDZINE
"Intelligent lyrics and a diverse musical style make Caustic Casanova's Imminent Eminence incomparable." - LOOSEYLUCY
"...A big album with lots of sound...Caustic Casanova’s Imminent Eminence was an emotionally charged 72 minutes of experimental rock, the likes of which I have never experienced." - MUSIC SHE BLOGGED
"...Obscure titles would be nothing but pretentious rhetoric had they not the meat of good music to support the ambiguity. Caustic Casanova have ensured the ‘clothes make the man’ with incredible panache and it’s a really good album to boot." - SUBBA-CULTCHA.COM
"On the humorously-titled Imminent Eminence [Caustic Casanova] presents fourteen rock songs in which lyrics are an integral part of the equation...and their words are strikingly poignant. These folks display great potential. Their energy is real and undiluted." (Rating: 4++++) - LMNOP
"Blazing through 14 tracks [on Imminent Eminence], DC's Caustic Casanova cover styles ranging from Pixies punk to Sabbath riffage, brimming with fizzy and ragged drums...stirring guitars, and fuzzed out bass." - WLUR FM WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY RADIO
"We really enjoyed [Imminent Eminence]. This band has mucho talent! Check them out!" - SLUDGE SWAMP
"An intriguing listen...Majestically morose proto-grunge...tunneling through the turgid corpse of rock and punk in a similar direction [as] Pixies and Sonic Youth." - THE DREADED PRESS
Francis Beringer - Bass/Vocals
Michael Wollitz - Guitar/Vocals
Stefanie Zaenker - Drums/Percussion/Vocals
Someday You Will Be Proven Correct (2012)
1) The Space Needle
2) Hail Fellow Well Met
4) You Spirit Festooned On The Bedposts
5) Short Commute, Live Forever
6) Infinite Happiness
7) There Is No Need For Grammar On The Moon
8) Snake In The Grass
9) A Campfire Of Your Own Awe
12) The Unfathomable Heart
Imminent Eminence (2008)
1) Are We Doing This?
2) I Hate Everyone I Want To Like
3) Little White Lie
4) Titian Titillation
7) Mythical July
8) This Milieu Of Effete Weaponry
9) The Town Crier
10) Five Flag Forest
11) Regolithic Rachel
12) The Soft Machinery Of Success
13) The March To The Sky (Softshell)
14) Baby Fat
1) Seward's Folly
3) Fool for the Cool
4) Gypsy Space & Rhythm Earth
5) Squid Pro Quo
6) I Keep Having This Same Dream
Review of Imminent Eminence
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Namechecking James Joyce, Stonewall Jackson and Facebook, Caustic Casanova’s Imminent Eminence takes...Namechecking James Joyce, Stonewall Jackson and Facebook, Caustic Casanova’s Imminent Eminence takes a long, mistrustful look at the modern world and its inhabitants, resulting in singer Michael Wollitz declaring, “I hate everyone I want to like.” An innovative trio from Washington D.C., Caustic Casanova’s debut is rife with youthful frustration about everything from technology to artificial relationships to Florida’s zoning ordinances. As varied as their subject matter, their aural attack is just as varied: for starters, there’s the jazzy hard rock of “I Hate Everyone I Want To Like”; the crunchy pop of “Titian Titillation” and the ethereal acoustica of “Mythical July.” An accomplished trio—drummer Stefanie Zaenker is just marvelous and bassist Francis Beringer is refreshingly innovative—Caustic Casanova play a winning and almost conversational brand of indie prog rock. Take for example, “The Town Crier” which finds Wollitz railing against superficiality of friends: “But in reality, you could outline in bullet point form the extent of my interest in these matters with the blunt tip of a permanent marker on the rim of a shot glass.” Elsewhere, the straight up funk of “Five Flag Forest” brings to mind Suck On This-era Primus; “Regolithic Rachel” has a dreamy start that morphs into a metal jam and “The Soft Machinery Of Success” is a hard-edged bluesy number that urges: “...let’s swim in blood and money together,” as if to suggest you can’t sell out without getting your hands a bit dirty. A splendid debut.
—Alex Green (author of the 33 1/3 book on The Stone Roses)
review of Imminent Eminence
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"...The band got back together in 2008, recorded Imminent Eminence and have been back on the road to..."...The band got back together in 2008, recorded Imminent Eminence and have been back on the road touring it ever since. The new album (their debut album if you will - as their six song debut Dichotomies is technically an EP) is somewhat of an enigma, in that it defies easy categorization. It has moments of heaviness, moments of hippiness, and moments of greatness. There’s occasional Dandy Warhols, Sabbath and Queens Of The Stone Age coming through in Caustic Casanova’s repertoire of songs, to be sure.
In the long run, Imminent Eminence is an album rife with riffs. Just give the platter a chance to work it’s mojo and win you over."
Review of Imminent Eminence
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Hailing from Washington DC, one of the latest three piece post rock experimental bands, Caustic Casa...Hailing from Washington DC, one of the latest three piece post rock experimental bands, Caustic Casanova has some big shoes to fill. Up against other hometown heroes like Minor Threat, Bad Brains and Fugazi, CC come out strong with their first full length studio album Imminent Eminence.
Although this is an ambitious album, with incorporation of experimental rock, bossanova beats and a dash of classical finger picked guitar, Caustic Casanova put forth a valiant effort. Taking cues from bands like Queens of the Stone Age, CC uses the back and forth play of ominous ambient sounds and crunchy driving bass lines which kept me interested throughout.
It also contains some tracks that take me back to the days of minimalist moody rock (tracks 2, 6..etc), and I can't help but think that these guys had The Cramps on repeat in the studio while recording the vocals. After having a full listen to the album, I can't help but feel a little emotionally unstable. Imminent Eminence was a big album with lots of sound.
All in all Caustic Casanova’s Imminent Eminence was an emotionally charged 72 minutes of experimental rock, the likes of which I have never experienced. Those of you that like Queens Of the Stone Age, The Cure, Pixies.. etc should definitely take a listen, it will be worth your time!
Review of Imminent Eminence
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Washington D.C rock trio Caustic Casanova have created a rather good record here. Imminent Eminence ...Washington D.C rock trio Caustic Casanova have created a rather good record here. Imminent Eminence clocks in at around 70 minutes, a rare thing these days. Within it can be found some great examples of rock music. It bounds from laid back moments of minimalism to very obvious, but very good, crunching, garage rock defiance. Their versatility is conspicuous by its presence on songs like ‘Town Crier’ with its strong poppy type vibe, to ‘Glossolalia’ with that aforementioned stripped back rock and roll vibe. Not only does their music straddle various barriers their song-titles seem determined to stand out from the crowd too, especially the obscurely named ‘This Milieu Of Effete Weaponry’ being the perfect example of such esotericism. But obscure titles would be nothing but pretentious rhetoric had they not the meat of good music to support the ambiguity. Caustic Casanova have ensured the ‘clothes make the man’ with incredible panache and it’s a really good album to boot.
Imminent Eminence Review
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So many twenty-first century artists bury their songs underneath multiple layers of technological so...So many twenty-first century artists bury their songs underneath multiple layers of technological sound. Nowadays when you hear a real artist playing music without all the excessive gloss it tends to sound rather...strange. Caustic Casanova is the Washington, D.C.-based trio consisting of Francis Beringer, Michael Wollitz, and Stefanie Zaenker. On the humorously-titled Imminent Eminence these folks present fourteen rock songs in which lyrics are an integral part of the equation. The band has a real and obvious sense of humor...and their words are strikingly poignant. Musically, the tracks on this album remind us of many of the underground guitar bands from the 1990s who were playing for a very esoteric audience. In some ways, this band's overall sound and ideology reminds us of Redd Kross...but only slightly. Intriguing tracks include "Are We Doing This?", "I Hate Everyone I Want To Like," "Glossolalia," and "Mythical July." These folks display great potential. Their energy is real and undiluted. (Rating: 4++++)
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Imminent Eminence...is a pretty cool little item. Actually, I’m not sure “little” is the word as thi...Imminent Eminence...is a pretty cool little item. Actually, I’m not sure “little” is the word as this thing times in at very close to the max playing time for the 80-minute recordable medium. Oft-times, such album-lengths make me nervous, sometimes they make me weary and too often they bore me to tears. Still, CAUSTIC CASANOVA (from the nation’s capital) have a lot to say and they say it really well. A trio (Francis Beringer – bass / vox, Michael Wolitz – guitar / vox, Stefaine Zaenker – drums), they bring in a slew of influences ranging from the distorted noise-rawk of Sonic Youth to the pop-grunge of Queens Of The Stone Age to the occasional leaden Sabbathy rhythm to vocals that run the gamut from parts country to Brit-pop to even stage-struttin’-Plant-isms. They succeed because they end up bringing ALL that stuff in and, somehow, still not sounding directly like any of them. Listen to a cut like “Anhedonia” or, say, “The Town Crier.” Can you say they sound like anything you’ve really heard before? Another thing CC does that I like is that, while some of their stuff appears to slide by without hooks, a 2nd listen will let that elusive memorable series of notes take hold in your brain. CAUSTIC CASANOVA are a band that stand out to me because I can honestly say I’ve never heard anything quite like them before. Come to think of it, that’s some pretty decent praise and I urge you to give this bunch a real shot. This album may be a lot to take in at once…I’m still getting new stuff out of it each time through. In the long run, I think you’ll be glad you dropped ‘em a line.
A Very Short 72 Minutes
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"Imminent Eminence" starts off with what sounds like a long-lost title theme to some kind of Morrico..."Imminent Eminence" starts off with what sounds like a long-lost title theme to some kind of Morricone-scored cowboy movie and this is just the first example of the ridiculously varied mixture of sounds that this band displays in an equally ridiculous album length of nearly seventy-five minutes! However, even if you're not a patient person the album seems to go by quickly, while at the same time managing to sound like at least three of your favorite bands.
A large chunk this album is very shoegazey - but I don't mean that in a bad way. There's an equal mix of speedy TELEVISION-like songs, too. Overall, these guys (and girl) have created a very satisfying album that for the most part manages to avoid overindulgence, a common and fatal flaw that plagues far too many bands to mention. Rating 4/5
from a review of Imminent Eminence
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"An intriguing listen...majestically morose proto-grunge...tunneling through the turgid corpse of ro..."An intriguing listen...majestically morose proto-grunge...tunneling through the turgid corpse of rock and punk in a similar direction [as] Pixies and Sonic Youth."
Caustic Casanova Review
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Caustic Casanova is a power trio based in Washingto, DC - Michael Wollitz: guitar, keyboard, and voc...Caustic Casanova is a power trio based in Washingto, DC - Michael Wollitz: guitar, keyboard, and vocals; Francis Beringer: bass, harmonica, and vocals; Stefanie Zaenker: drums and vocals.
Their debut album was Old Habits Die Hard met with public and critical acclaim. They have become somewhat famous, not only in the home area but in some other parts of this world. I really don’t know what to make of this “study/history” by a Cambridge professor that has been part of band marketing for some time. But I find “The Town Crier” an interesting piece from Imminent Eminence (January 2008). Ditto for “The March to the Sky.” It might be a bit much to call them giants and say that their thoughts are our thoughts. But it’s a good band, after all.
It’s understandable to want to claim, “I was there at the beginning.” It’s another thing to actually do it. Should these folks continue to work as a band, they might last long enough to be the beginning. Are they The Pixies or The B52s? Remains to be seen.
from a Submission magazine feature article
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Caustic Casanova are a welcoming band. They bring new enthusiasm to music at the College, a group m...Caustic Casanova are a welcoming band. They bring new enthusiasm to music at the College, a group more concerned with playing music the way they feel it should be rather than meeting the requests of trends and movements out and away from Williamsburg. The trio of Stefanie Zaenker, Michael Wollitz and Francis Beringer have been together but eight months , and have already recorded two full length albums, have begun working on a third, and continue to perform with staggering frequency. The band is indeed a force that, in a live setting, laces its components into an often blistering fuzz of gloried hard rock.
Despite claims that Caustic Casanova are the campus's heaviest group, accusations of riff abuse are lost on the band. Beringer finds the campus perception of the band to be, "Hilarious. Our sound is pretty varied but we are generally playing "alternative" or blues based rock n roll. Despite this people see us as this unbelievably heavy group. Compared to the rest of the campus music scene, which is either pop rock or acoustic, we are the heaviest band, but in the grand scheme of things we're just hard rock." I myself am very guilty of this association, but it was admittedly my first whiskey-soaked exposure to the band that placed lightning bolts in my brain that had me screaming "Riff Royalty!" Not that this was a base interpretation. It was the idea that no local band had played a song for more the 5 minutes, had succeeded in improvisation and experimentation, and that the group was concerned with themselves and the music more than with anyone's interpretation that had me so alarmed and enthused. For here were Caustic Casanova saving us from the banality of historically derivative William and Mary bands.
The band discussed the quality of music at W&M, citing a lack of interest in new bands and student pretense. Beringer offered a list of problems with music at the College: "First, people don't come out to shows unless they know the band. Second, variety is almost nonexistent. Third, many of the 'music' people on campus don't really seem to care abou cultivating any interest in campus bands, which is a shame." Wollitz expressed similar sentiment, finding problems with "the narrowness of perspective and the lack of emphasis on originality," at the College. Caustic Casanova are doing all they can to change the stagnation. They have just completed their second LP, Official Moustache of Portuguese Cricket, recorded in downtown Ludwell Apartments Studios in sunny Williamsburg. The album, in contrast with their previous Old Habits Die Hard, was recorded in a more open-ended fashion than the last. "This time around instead of choosing a specific week to record all of our songs, we took a more relaxed approach, recording the songs at our leisure as they became perfected," Zaenker said. Wollitz added, "Case in point, 'Con Mi Novio' was, when I brought it to the band, a short punchy tune. But we started playing with the arrangement, including jamming it out some. One day we decided to turn on the tapes and just let the vibe roll and see what would happen, and boom! next thing we know it is a sixteen minute epic." The album offers a new diversity for the band. In addition to improvisation, Beringer said, "The new record has two acoustic songs and an instrumental, so it's got a totally different sound in that respect." He added that the record is strong, emphasizing confidence in the quality of the band's writing - true growth for the group. "We truly love playing together, and it feels like the three of us have been together for even longer than we have been," Wollitz said.
Keeping busy seems to be the key to progress for the band, as they are planning to record their third LP in Virginia Beach later this spring. For all their confidence and commitment, the bands seems afraid of only one thing, stopping. Never stop.
We never do the same set twice. We have played for as little as twenty minutes and as long as two and a half hours, depending on the time we are allotted. We play songs that we have recorded and songs we have not recorded. We have more than forty original songs that we play live. Generally we only do originals but occasionally we'll play a cover. Artists we have covered include Queens of the Stone Age, Pixies, Led Zeppelin, My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, Weezer, Black Sabbath, Coheed and Cambria, Clutch, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.