The Local Skank
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The Local Skank

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF
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May
20
The Local Skank @ Banks Street Bar & Grill

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

May
16
The Local Skank @ The Dragon's Den

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Apr
28
The Local Skank @ Shamrock

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

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Posted by Brett

It's time to end the sausage party, New Orleans.

Seriously, how many women are there involved in local rock bands? Besides A Hanging, Maddie Ruthless, Rougarou, We Need to Talk, Terranova, and one or two others, I can't think of that many.

This Friday, December 19th, you can check out a rare performance from The Local Skank at the Banks Street Bar. The Local Skank is an all-female ska ensemble who've been around for awhile now, but their shows have been somewhat sporadic. I actually can't even name another all-female ska band, locally or nationally, so these ladies are fairly unique in that regard.

Showtime is 10pm. Admission is free. Short people may be able to attend. Behave yourselves, kids.
- http://nopunks.blogspot.com


Arcade picks: SKA

By Andrew Pelesh | Section: Nov 13th, 2009 Arcade, Issues, November 13th Print Edition ShareThis

If you think that ska is dead, there’s a crew of ladies (and one gentleman) who are more than happy to prove you wrong. The Local Skank, a New Orleans-based ska band, is committed to resurrecting the genre by not giving a damn about pleasing scenesters, making their music accessible to all audiences and just having a good time.

The Local Skank formed in the summer of 2008 after the current members responded to an ad on Craigslist for an all-girl rock band. While their sound, according to bassist/guitarist Melissa Crory, is certainly “fun and drinkable,” it is also eclectic and fresh. The band attributes this to the fact that the members come from very different backgrounds and musical upbringings. Trumpet player and vocalist Hannah Kreiger is completely new to ska. Ashley Shabankareh, who plays trombone and sings, is known to bust out her ukulele on stage. Guitarist Dani Maurice occasionally employs the kazoo and drummer Darryl DiMaggio loves heavy metal, which could possibly be the musical opposite of the band’s poppy, ska-influenced sound.

At their show Nov. 11 at the Circle Bar, The Local Skank played in front of a sparse crowd. This didn’t stop the band from playing their hearts out and filling the venue with their infectious enthusiasm. Clearly, ska is alive and well. How else could this be so much fun?

The Local Skank is just one of many young ska bands playing their way through the bars and clubs of New Orleans. Though “the scene can be pretty insular,” Crory said, “it’s pretty easy to start up and land gigs.” The secret is to cater to all crowds. Take Fatter Than Albert, which is one of the city’s most well known third-wave ska acts. While the band employs ska-style brass and guitar strokes on the upbeats, you can easily hear the hardcore, punk-rock edge in their music. Other rising bands, like Stereohype and Angry Banana, use similar techniques to garner a broader audience for their music. The audience is indeed broad. From hyper teenagers clad in checkered Vans to 20-somethings looking to get drunk and skank, the crowd at a ska show is extremely diverse.

“There is no typical ska fan, just like there’s no typical ska musician,” Crory said. Though the fans are a heterogeneous mix, they are always friendly, very enthusiastic and loyal. At an Angry Banana show at the House of Blues in September, a girl slipped and fell in the midst of an intense mosh pit. Every single person in the pit immediately froze as two young men helped her to her feet. She smiled and thanked them before resuming her frenzied dancing.

The girls from The Local Skank believe that there is an element of that famous Southern hospitality in the New Orleans ska scene. Maurice, however, jokingly says that this might have something to do with “the fact that everyone is drinking.” Whatever it is, the local ska scene is distinctly warm, welcoming and simply fun.

For a taste of New Orleans ska, check out Fatter Than Albert tonight at Vintage Uptown, located at 4523 Magazine Street. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. and costs $6. - Tulane University Hullabaloo


The Local Skank
Circle Bar
October 21, 2009

BY JASON SONGE


Ahhhh, ska. How I've missed you. Remember back in '97 when you were popular and your bands were on magazine covers? Did I ever tell you I bought a Mighty Mighty Bosstones record? Whatever happened to them? Reel Big Fish?

Ska, I don't mean to upset you. The fate of The Urge is meaningless to me. What's important is that we're back together, thanks to The Local Skank. What? You've never heard of them? I know you've been down on yourself, but how do you create something without knowing? I mean...ska! Don't run away! Please sit back down. Be still, my ska. Have some biscotti. Take a sip of my tea.

Let me tell you about local group The Local Skank. They consist of four women(bass, trumpet, trombone, guitar, vox) and one man--the drummer. They get that party started, ya herd me? No, I know you can hear me--it's an expression we use now. Anyway, The Local Skank played fun and silly originals("Pants," "Stalker Ex-Girlfriend") and awesome covers(The Anti-Nowhere League's "So What" and Reel Big Fish's "She's Got a Girlfriend Now") at The Circle Bar Wednesday night, and they brought a doggone decent crowd with them. Things are looking up.

Ska, if you puke on my silk sheets... - www.liveneworleans.com


The most important thing to know about The Local Skank
is that they’re tight. The local ska/punk/pop group
of four women and one man is really tight. During
an interview at Z’otz, bassist Melissa Crory’s eyes
began welling up with tears when she talked about how being in
the band has been one of the few times in her life that she’s felt
“really honestly pretty” and how it’s because the band makes her
feel really good about herself. The moment was as real as it was
unexpected. But not altogether surprising. The Local Skank women
go shopping with gig money, they drop into a cuddle pile at the
drop of a hat, they’ve created a language of symbols to differentiate
setlist songs, and their upcoming summer tour is being scheduled
around the wedding of guitarist Dani Maurice. To top it off, since
the cupcake is the band’s main adopted symbol, the whole group is
getting tattoos of the delicious confection during the tour. They like
each other. A lot.
Which is interesting considering the band started in 2008 through
Craigslist. Maurice put an ad out for two female horn players, and
Shabankareh and trumpeter Hannah Kreiger-Benson answered the
call. Rounding out the quintet was Crory and their original drummer,
a woman who didn’t mesh well with the band. The Local Skank
was supposed to be an all-woman affair, but after striking out with
female drummers, they called on their friend Darryl DiMaggio.
Since solidifying their lineup, The Local Skank has, by their
estimation, played with over twenty-five different local bands,
including Clint Maedgen’s Firealarm, Flow Tribe, and Consortium
of Genius. They’ve become known for their onstage energy and
costumes, along with their deft promotion. They sent Christmas
cards to venues last year and also released a 2010 calendar that has
them striking funny poses at various places across town. They’re
finishing up their first album, which was recorded by C.O.G.
frontman Lewis D’Aubin and includes songs about a stalker ex-
girlfriend, a ska fan named Pants, a dead-end relationship, and a
common whore. Amazingly (for a band, at least), they were
all waiting for me when I arrived a few minutes early at Z’otz.
ANTIGRAVITY: You all have a sense of humor that’s
reflected in your songs and calendar, and it reminds me of
Madness and The Aquabats.
Ashley Shabankareh: [Under her breath] I love Madness.
Dani Maurice: I love The Aquabats.
do you think ska music has always had that sense of
humor?
DM: I think so. I was listening to The Specials and they had
silly songs. I don’t know if they meant to do it silly, but some
of the things they talk about, you’re like, “What? Really?”
Darryl DiMaggio: If you take it seriously, it kinda eliminates the
point of it.
AS: It has that spark of humor, that one little glimmer so you don’t
take yourself so seriously. It’s not pretentious music.
Hannah Kreiger-Benson: It’s irreverent.
DM: Streetlight Manifesto that has a song about suicide. It’s so emo,
but you gotta dance to it.
The Specials have a song called “Ghost Town,” where they’re
talking about kids being violent and clubs closing down and
people losing jobs, and the music is foreboding but at the same
time there’s a carefree feel to it, like they’re brushing the dirt
off their shoulder.
DD: Did you see that Dani branded herself?
[Dani proceeds to uncover her left shoulder, where there’s a
fresh tattoo of “The Local Skank” written in the Futurama Alien
Alphabet.]
AG: That is awesome.
HKB: We’re all gonna get cupcake tattoos on tour.
DM: With band money, again.
You’re all really devoted. I’d imagine it’d be fun to be one of the
torchbearers of a genre in a city, to feel like you’re introducing
people to something new, but at the same it seems like it could
be an uphill battle, whether it’s finding bands to play with or
pushing your way into an established scene.
Melissa Crory: [Nods her head in agreement]
HKB: We just play our music, and we’ve never worried about image
or scenes or any of that, and I think that speaks to us individually
and to what we’ve created as a band. We haven’t been concerned
with expectations or followed normal arcs for new ska bands, and it
hasn’t always been well received.
MC: But that’s refreshing for me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
AS: We’re working on Gwar’s “Sick of You” and Oingo Boingo’s
“Dead Man’s Party.”
I saw on your facebook page you have a soft spot for dio. Would
you cover “Holy diver”?
MC: We would love to cover that song. Can you imagine the horn
line?
DD: Or “Rainbow in the Dark.”
AS: [Sings Tenacious D] Dio has rocked for a long, long time. But
now it’s time for him to pass the torch.
MC: By the way, Dio will be passing the torch to The Local Skank.
That’s on the record.
DD: We’re still waiting for Lemmy approval.
do you think it’s been easier for you to have gotten recognition
- Antigravity Magazine


Having forgotten to double-check my interviewees’ physical appearances, I felt slightly awkward wandering around Zotz Coffeehouse loudly whispering, “skank… skank…” to tables of laptop-wielding strangers. I was quickly put at ease when the five members of locally ascending ska band The Local Skank waved me over.
“People scream that out of cars at us now,” said trombonist Ashley Shebankareh. “We used to be offended, but now we kinda like it.”
The band name’s double-entendre (Note: “Skank” is the name of the dance often performed to ska music), while endless fun, also aptly captures the spirit and personality of the group’s music and lyrics: hapless dancing—generally vertical—and dry, edgy humor.
Bright, catchy horn melodies, groovin’ bass lines and drum beats, and snappy upstrum guitar riffs accompany frank and funny lyrics about stalker ex-girlfriends, favorite foods, instructions on how to “skank,” lame day jobs and loyal fans named Pants on their debut EP Songs for a Bromance, and their full-length album Collect all 5, released this past July.
Their fun, energetic live shows are full of wit, risqué humor, cupcakes and costumes, from Japanese school girls to different colors of the rainbow for Decadence Fest to a moustache party featuring Tom Selleck, Freddie Mercury and The Big Lebowski’s “The Dude.” They’ve also been known to pass around their favorite treat, cupcakes, to hungry, enthusiastic fans during their performance, including a diabetic fan who once handed them a $10 bill and said simply, “Hand ‘em out.”
But before giant birthday cupcakes and fabric-crafted genitalia protruding under tight white pants, this motley crew of Louisianians and transplants first banded together in the name of skank with a little nudge from Craigslist.
“[The ad] said, ‘Female guitarist looking to start a band,’ and then I had a couple of girls get a hold of me,” said guitarist Dani Maurice of the ad she posted a couple months after moving to New Orleans from Ohio. “I thought, ‘Ok, let’s do this.’ So then I put, ‘Female horn players and bass player needed,’ and that’s how I found all these girls.”
“Dani’s the ska fan, and so it was her objective to do a ska band,” said bassist Melissa Crory. “I think when we all came in and we all listened to different things that we all added different influences to the band, and that’s why we think we have a really unique thing.”
Now embarking on their third year in the local scene and armed with national tour dates, a full-length debut album and upcoming Voodoo Fest performance, The Local Skank can smile on the trials overcome in their early days as a fledgling all-female ska group. A few member changes early on meant a rockier start at first, but would eventually strengthen the group’s relationship and improve the quality and innovation of their overall sound.
“Our first gig was a Christmas show at Banks St. Bar, and we had lost our original singer a week before the show, so everybody had to split up the vocals on the songs,” said Crory. “That’s how we got the idea of everybody lending vocals to it so we don’t have one singer. Everybody writes their own songs and that adds a different flavor too.”
Originally an all-female group, The Local Skank soon found themselves without a permanent drummer, and after an arduous search, they found a unique fit with drummer Darryl DiMaggio.
“Darryl added a lot. He hears a lot of things stylistically that I wouldn’t hear,” said Crory. “We’ll be playing something, and in my head it sounds one way, but then he’ll say, “Well, how about this?” And he starts in on something, and it completely changes the feel of the song for the better. So he’s got a really good ear for what’s gonna make a song really click.”
“I just wanted to be in a band with four girls,” said DiMaggio, grinning. He continued amidst fawning, high-pitched “awwww”’s from his bandmates: “But really, the first time I saw them perform, I thought, ‘I kinda wanna be in this band, I see this band actually doing something.’”
A ska band with four female instrumentalists is in fact still an anomaly in a music business world where women continue to fight for both equal treatment and equal perception as musicians based solely on their talent and performance.
“I don’t think being a mostly female group affects the sound ‘cause we’re all very talented musicians,” said Skebankareh, “and we’re proving that females can rock just as hard as men.”
“I think it takes a certain kind of girl too,” said Maurice. “We’re all girls, but we’re not…”
“I think we’re a little thicker-skinned,” Shebankareh finished. “We can take what the music business throws at us and spit out a product like it’s nobody’s business. We know what we’re going for and we’re trying to prove that it’s not just a male-dominated industry.”
“I think it’s important that when we come up against opposition, we’re not gonna back down,” said Crory. “In fact, it’s a motivation to work harder, and we turn it into something positive. - Where Y'At Magazine


Having forgotten to double-check my interviewees’ physical appearances, I felt slightly awkward wandering around Zotz Coffeehouse loudly whispering, “skank… skank…” to tables of laptop-wielding strangers. I was quickly put at ease when the five members of locally ascending ska band The Local Skank waved me over.
“People scream that out of cars at us now,” said trombonist Ashley Shebankareh. “We used to be offended, but now we kinda like it.”
The band name’s double-entendre (Note: “Skank” is the name of the dance often performed to ska music), while endless fun, also aptly captures the spirit and personality of the group’s music and lyrics: hapless dancing—generally vertical—and dry, edgy humor.
Bright, catchy horn melodies, groovin’ bass lines and drum beats, and snappy upstrum guitar riffs accompany frank and funny lyrics about stalker ex-girlfriends, favorite foods, instructions on how to “skank,” lame day jobs and loyal fans named Pants on their debut EP Songs for a Bromance, and their full-length album Collect all 5, released this past July.
Their fun, energetic live shows are full of wit, risqué humor, cupcakes and costumes, from Japanese school girls to different colors of the rainbow for Decadence Fest to a moustache party featuring Tom Selleck, Freddie Mercury and The Big Lebowski’s “The Dude.” They’ve also been known to pass around their favorite treat, cupcakes, to hungry, enthusiastic fans during their performance, including a diabetic fan who once handed them a $10 bill and said simply, “Hand ‘em out.”
But before giant birthday cupcakes and fabric-crafted genitalia protruding under tight white pants, this motley crew of Louisianians and transplants first banded together in the name of skank with a little nudge from Craigslist.
“[The ad] said, ‘Female guitarist looking to start a band,’ and then I had a couple of girls get a hold of me,” said guitarist Dani Maurice of the ad she posted a couple months after moving to New Orleans from Ohio. “I thought, ‘Ok, let’s do this.’ So then I put, ‘Female horn players and bass player needed,’ and that’s how I found all these girls.”
“Dani’s the ska fan, and so it was her objective to do a ska band,” said bassist Melissa Crory. “I think when we all came in and we all listened to different things that we all added different influences to the band, and that’s why we think we have a really unique thing.”
Now embarking on their third year in the local scene and armed with national tour dates, a full-length debut album and upcoming Voodoo Fest performance, The Local Skank can smile on the trials overcome in their early days as a fledgling all-female ska group. A few member changes early on meant a rockier start at first, but would eventually strengthen the group’s relationship and improve the quality and innovation of their overall sound.
“Our first gig was a Christmas show at Banks St. Bar, and we had lost our original singer a week before the show, so everybody had to split up the vocals on the songs,” said Crory. “That’s how we got the idea of everybody lending vocals to it so we don’t have one singer. Everybody writes their own songs and that adds a different flavor too.”
Originally an all-female group, The Local Skank soon found themselves without a permanent drummer, and after an arduous search, they found a unique fit with drummer Darryl DiMaggio.
“Darryl added a lot. He hears a lot of things stylistically that I wouldn’t hear,” said Crory. “We’ll be playing something, and in my head it sounds one way, but then he’ll say, “Well, how about this?” And he starts in on something, and it completely changes the feel of the song for the better. So he’s got a really good ear for what’s gonna make a song really click.”
“I just wanted to be in a band with four girls,” said DiMaggio, grinning. He continued amidst fawning, high-pitched “awwww”’s from his bandmates: “But really, the first time I saw them perform, I thought, ‘I kinda wanna be in this band, I see this band actually doing something.’”
A ska band with four female instrumentalists is in fact still an anomaly in a music business world where women continue to fight for both equal treatment and equal perception as musicians based solely on their talent and performance.
“I don’t think being a mostly female group affects the sound ‘cause we’re all very talented musicians,” said Skebankareh, “and we’re proving that females can rock just as hard as men.”
“I think it takes a certain kind of girl too,” said Maurice. “We’re all girls, but we’re not…”
“I think we’re a little thicker-skinned,” Shebankareh finished. “We can take what the music business throws at us and spit out a product like it’s nobody’s business. We know what we’re going for and we’re trying to prove that it’s not just a male-dominated industry.”
“I think it’s important that when we come up against opposition, we’re not gonna back down,” said Crory. “In fact, it’s a motivation to work harder, and we turn it into something positive. - Where Y'At Magazine


Fatter Than Albert and the Local Skank are ska and they’re not. “We definitely don’t stay within the ska scene,” says Local Skank member Melissa Crory. “We want to get our sound out there and see how other people interpret it.”

“Gypsy, reggae and punk meld together to make our sound,” says D-Ray of Fatter Than Albert. “Hunter (Miller, FTA’s guitarist) holds down the jazz influence, playing a lot of seventh chords to give it a sound atypical of the more poppy ska from the ’90s.”

“I also grew up watching a lot of horror movies,” says Miller. “The dissonance found on the soundtracks always appealed to me. We’re technically a ska band, but we do what we want.”

Similarly, The Local Skank pulls together many different genres outside of ska, as the new album, Collect All 5!, demonstrates. “We’re a solid ska band, but we have a lot of bizarre influences,” says Crory. “Some of us are into indie rock. I’m big on metal and goth. No matter what we bring to the table, it gets filtered through the ska format.”

Both bands retain one important element typical of modern ska artists: energetic live performances. “After playing so many years, we have to keep it interesting,” says Miller. “We tend to play things faster and challenge ourselves.” On the other hand, the Local Skank’s live shows have a loose, theatrical element, utilizing costumes, themes, and props. “We think that it doesn’t hurt to try anything once,” says trombonist and vocalist Ashley Shabankareh. “That’s why our shows are so zany and fun and always have surprises.”

Fatter Than Albert and the Local Skank embrace—and have been embraced by—the local ska scene, but both bands feel their arms are wide enough to also hold anyone who wishes to join their party. “The thing about New Orleans is that there are so many genres of music, sometimes people get bound down to what they do,” says Shabankareh. “We’re trying to break down those walls and be a little part of everything.”

Fatter Than Albert play Saturday, October 30 at 11:15 a.m. in the Preservation Hall Tent. The Local Skank play Sunday, October 31 at noon in the Bingo! Parlour. - Offbeat Magazine


Usually clad in costumes ranging from pirates to Japanese school girls (the male drummer excepted, of course), the Local Skank is determined to stand out. Guitarist Dani Maurice followed her musical intuition and left Ohio for New Orleans, where she found a singer and trombone player on Craigslist. “After that, I decided to put another ad on Craigslist looking for all girls,” she says. “Hannah (Kreiger-Benson) emailed me at the last minute and Melissa (Crory) joined a couple of weeks later. We all met up and just talked. Eventually we lost our singer, forcing us to sing the songs.”

After months of writing and rehearsing, The Local Skank’s first show was a packed Banks Street Bar gig in December 2008 with the Round Pegs; “Our first show was exciting and nerve-wracking all at once,” says trombone player Ashley Shabankareh. “To keep ourselves less freaked out, we acted like silly dorks.” But the band wasn’t in the clear yet.

Having struggled with the original drummer, the band welcomed Darryl DiMaggio, the only male in the band. “I wanted to play but I was hesitant at first because I was a guy,” he says. “But this works because these girls aren’t ‘girlie girls.’ I’m a little sensitive and they’re a little manly, so we meet in the middle.”

The result is “ska-ish, energetic, effervescent, and drinkable,” jokes trumpet player Kreiger-Benson. “We filter all different types of music through our instrumentation.” For the band, music should do two things. “It should be sincere and evoke powerful emotions,” says Crory.

“We try to spread the disease of fun,” says Kreiger-Benson - Offbeat Magazine


Discography

Collect All 5! - Full Length Album released July 2010

Photos

Bio

New Orleans 80% Female Ska Rock Pop Extravaganza Band!

It was a fateful day when the ladies (and gent) of the Local Skank united in the summer of 2008. Coming from Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, and Louisiana, these ladies (and gent) formed together to create an unique group previously lacking from the New Orleans music scene. With veteran rock musicians to their stylistically different backgrounds, including punk, goth, applachian dance, hip-hop, indie rock, and ska, The Local Skank has worked towards creating their own musical dogma.

Over the last two years, The Local Skank has been taking the New Orleans rock scene by storm, and has released a full length album titled, "Collect All 5!" which has enjoyed radio play from New Orleans, to Texas, to Ohio and beyond! They have been featured in the majority of New Orleans press magazines and papers, have enjoyed success with a pin-up calendar (which they are creating a follow up to now) and are also in the process of releasing a DVD which will include live footage including festival performances, videos, interviews and more. They are also embarking on their second East Coast tour this year and will be completing their first West Coast tour at the end of the summer. Things are looking up and up for The Local Skank. They are certainly ones to watch!