The Heat Machine
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The Heat Machine


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"The Heat Machine: Nebraska's own bubblegum ska punk band"

Bubblegum ska punk

The Lincoln ska septet describe themselves mathematically on their MySpace page: “’50s pop + modern ska + 2 girls + 5 boys = Us!!”

“Our music is bubble-gummy,” Creager says. “It just makes you smile. I call it bubblegum ska punk.”

If you attended any of the No Coast Derby Girls home games last season, you’re probably familiar with The Heat Machine’s infectious brand of Nebra(ska). They were the team’s house band for the majority of the season after they won a battle of the bands.

There aren’t many ska bands in Lincoln. In fact, there aren’t many ska bands period, compared to other genres.

So what drew this group of Lincoln and Omaha natives to the bouncy music style?

“There’s not too much ska right now,” Hovanec says. “There’s so many sad and so many angry songs. We wanted to make something positive, something you can enjoy without feeling like you need to hit something when you listen to it.”

The first LP

With one EP and a fairly recent change of a few members behind them, The Heat Machine will release its first LP early this summer. The band is forgoing CDs and just releasing the album on vinyl.

But, you know, not everyone has a turntable. So with each record comes a digital download code so buyers can put the tracks on their computer as well.

What’s the ultimate goal for the band?

Hovanec: “I want us to have our own brand of toothpaste in Japan.”

Creager: “I want to have a tour bus big enough to bring my Great Dane on tour.”

Cady: “I’d like to make enough money to have a place to live and eat.”

Hovanec: “Right now, we’re living a self-sufficient musician party life. The dream would be to not have to work at another job.”

Five Facts about The Heat Machine

1. Collectively, they have 35 years’ experience in being in a band.

2. Feuerbach has had five vans call it quits while on tour.

3. Tarlowski’s nickname is “Hot Dog” because he eats a free hot dog at every gas station he walks into. His method: Gesture to the hot dogs and ask the clerk, “How long have those been in there?” They’re usually a few hours old, spurring the clerk to give Tarlowski one free of charge.

4. Feuerbach’s nickname is Mitts because of his huge hands.

5. Cady has a tastebud-abusing hot sauce called “Insanity Sauce” that the band gets out every so often when bored. - Lincoln Journal-Star

"Killing the stigma, starting the party"

While ska music was conceived in the late 1950s, most music fans recall its late ‘90s resurgence, when bands like No Doubt, Sublime, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Reel Big Fish reintroduced the genre to a new generation.

But as quickly as it became popular, it faded from the mainstream. So plenty of people look at ska music as a fad. A trend. A phase you eventually grew out of.

But here’s the thing. Nobody ever told the members of The Heat Machine that, and the band is creating ska while trying to alter some musical perceptions.

“It seems like there is a stigma against ska bands,” says drummer Mitch Cady. “What we’re trying to do is hopefully change people’s mind on that.”

The Heat Machine came together two years ago to play sunny, upbeat ska music in the unlikely locale of Lincoln, Neb., where the members met while attending the University of Nebraska Lincoln. The members shared more than a college; they shared a common appreciation for ska and its influence.

“It’s kind of like rootsy rock ‘n’ roll stuff. It’s just timeless,” Cady says. “Having seen how it affects all these other types of music, maybe people don’t recognize the impact that it has had.”

The Heat Machine does execute the straight-up classic ska sound with a few unique elements.

First off, with seven members, featuring Cady, John Feuerbach (bass) Nick Tarlowski (guitar), Alex Rock (trombone/keyboards), Matthew Hovanec (keyboard) and Meg Mahannah and Christina Creager as lead vocalists, the band is a modest size by ska standards. And with only one horn player, lots of the melodic focus goes to the keyboards and Mahannah and Creager trading vocal leads and harmonies.

That’s another thing. With two female lead vocalists, it gives the band an immediate visual advantage, as Hovanec points out.

“I almost feel like we’re cheating. We almost get this instant attention for doing that,” he says. “But I also feel we have the sound to back it up.”

The Heat Machine’s sound is ska most of the time, but as the songs on its latest EP “Limited Edition” prove, the band is not afraid to throw in some other styles, like the galloping disco beat of “It Only Takes Time,” the garage rock swing of “Overdrive” or the full throttle punk of “Bottlerockets.”

“It’s really cool being able to hit whatever tempo and whatever genre we want to,” Hovanec says.

But in the end, the band’s mission is pretty simple.

“I can say the vibe of our band could be summed up with that first song (off of ‘Limited Edition’),” Hovanec says.

The song’s title: “I Just Want To Have A Good Time.” Enough said. - St Joe News Press

"Album Review: Putting the Ska back into NebraSKA!"

I have a confession to make, I honestly thought that the Ska music scene was dead. A victim of all the poser pop-ska bands that really just sucked. Not to mention the fact that one of my all time favorite bands, The Dance Hall Crashers, were no longer together. I thought that I had seen the end of an era. I was never so pleased to be proven wrong.
A couple of months ago, I came across a band that blew me away. The band that I am currently raving about is The Heat Machine. This sextet of Lincoln musicians have come together to make music that is not only clever and sophisticated, but also great to skank to! Oh, that means dance to the uninitiated.
The Incredible Heat Machine's first album, Limited Edition, became available at the beginning of this year, and has stayed in my personal playlist ever since. This album is polished blend of rhythm, harmony and plain old good music. Probably the most striking feature when you pop this disc into your player is the amazing harmonies of The Incredible Heat Machine's two, yes two, lead singers, Genni and Christina. These two ladies belt out harmonies that seem to defy logic. In fact, these two could be the musical reincarnations of Elyse Rogers and Karina Denike, of seemingly-permanently-on-hiatus Dance Hall Crashers. Underlying the amazing vocals, is a sublime mixture of instrumentation that pulls it all together to create a sound that is fresh yet retro and eager to please. Throwing aside the often wrong assumption that a Ska band has to have a horn section, The Heat Machine replaces the horns with an organ and does it very well. Aside from Genni and Christina on the vocals, the band is rounded out by Nick on guitar, Johnny on bass, Matt on the keyboard, and Mitch hitting the skins.
The songs on Limited Edition all have one thing in common, no matter the lyrical content, they all make you want to get out on the dance floor and shake it a bit. A couple of my favorites on this album are Just Like 8th Street, Overdrive, I Just Wanna Have a Good Time, and the amazingly titled, It's Your Steve Perry, You Can Do What You Want.
Just Like 8th Street is a great song about thinking about that someone special, even if you are with someone else. The Incredible Heat Machine doesn't only play ska, which is evident by the song Overdrive, which definately has, at least to my ears, a ting of rockabilly that only adds to a song that makes you want to get out on the streets and do a bit of drag racing. The first song on the album, I Just Wanna Have a Good Time, pretty much sums up this band, they get up there and have the time of their lives and they want you to have a great time too. The award for the Best Title of a Song on an Album, definitely goes to the track, It's Your Steve Perry, You Can Do What You Want. I have listened to this song over and over, listening to lyrics about black holes and a guy in outer space...but I have to confess I have no idea what it is really about, but I love it!
Anyway, if you love the dulcit two-tones of ska, or hell, if you just love great music, you really ought to go out and pick up Limited Edition, and better yet catch The Heat Machine live. You will definitely not be disappointed. You can pick up the album at the shows, or online through the band's MySpace page here and probably a couple other places too. Now get out there and dance!
- Rob Beals (

"MP3 Review: Housewives Homegrown - The Heat Machine"

Holy Nebra-SKA! Who ever thought that the state that is famous for giving us... uhh... corn (and herpes) would produce one hell of a young, unsigned ska band.

The Heat Machine is a female fronted band by two girls whose voices completely complement and harmonize each other. The songs are catchy, skankable, and just all around fun.

Unfortunately one of the vocalists left the band like... today to pursue a college degree. Regardless, any fan of ska should definitely check out this band, definitely a hidden treasure. - Midwestern Housewives (blog)

"The Incredible Heat Machine at The Replay Lounge"

When Darkuary's doldrums sap the life out of otherwise lively bodies, a good ska show can be just what the doctor ordered. The Incredible Heat Machine is one such catalyst, igniting dance parties in its hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, and firing up skads of roller-derby girls at the local rink. The sextet features two female singers — neither of whom sounds like Gwen Stefani — and sports an all-wave sound influenced by the old-school (the Slackers, the Toasters, the Specials) and the new (Dance Hall Crashers, Bosstones). Feel the Incredible Heat when the band brings a new album and an offbeat ska-lution for your eggnog hangover. - The Pitch (Kansas City, MO)

"Live show review: THM at the Replay"

Thanks to a happy glance at the local show calendar, I managed to make it out to a surprise ska show tonight down at the Replay. Lincoln, Nebraska’s the Incredible Heat Machine was playing, and after checking out a couple of tracks on MySpace, I headed down to see if they were any good live.

After an awful opening act I won’t name, because they’re young (two college freshmen and an 8th-grader who actually attends the same junior high as my eldest son), the Incredible Heat Machine took the stage. Rather than playing traditional ska with a horn section and whatnot, they went a little more of the mod-ska route, substituting a keyboard for the horn section. The band also featured two female vocalists, lending the band a sound somewhere between the Siren Six! and Dance Hall Crashers. It was fun, and people seemed to be into it, although the majority of the crowd at the bar was out back knocking back beers and smoking. (the Incredible Heat Machine pictures here)

Too bad for them - the band was great, and had tons of energy and stage presence. In a better world, they’d have gotten a show with some great local ska band (the Norman 360 and Ruskabank, you are sadly missed) rather than playing to a bunch of uninterested drunks. Jesus. I hate drunk people. - Rock Star Journalist (blog)


Limited Edition EP
No Coast Dance Party LP (coming soon on Asbestos Records)



Collectively tired of dreary and inaccessible rock music, The Heat Machine came together in 2006 as a group of friends who wanted to make fun, exciting dance music. After some preliminary line-up changes, a 6-piece band emerged fronted by Christina Creager and Genni Bachinski, a pair of gorgeous, spunky, singer-songwriters. The band took off quickly in the Midwest, touring in 6 surrounding states on the "Limited Edition" EP, and accepted many invitations to play with national touring bands in their hometowns of Lincoln and Omaha, Ne.

In May 2008, the band was featured at the St. Louis Ska Summit, where they were met warmly by ska fans from all over the US. In September 2008, longtime singer Genni Bachinski was accepted to photography school in Chicago. Enter Meg Mahannah, a pint-sized siren with unending energy, and an undeniably ear-catching voice. Together, the Heat Machine added Alex Rock (yes, that's his real name!) on trombone and forged forward touring, writing, and turning venues and houses into raging parties!

July 2009: Christina decided to pursue other interests. Genni rejoins and East Coast tour commences!