Skath (Ska-Goth) Band GRAVE DANGER Release Debut EP ‘Let ‘er RIP’
Formed one year ago, Ska-Goth (“skath”) band Grave Danger have just released their debut EP ‘Let ‘er RIP.’
The EP streaming on the following digital platforms:
As high school students in Chicago’s suburbs, David Schwantes and Dane Erbach spent the bulk of their gym class brainstorming fake bands with their friends in an attempt to avoid whatever physical despair their PE teachers had in store for them that day. These bands—which included a death metal band called Throbbing Reaper and ’80s hair metal project Live Wire—never truly coalesced outside of their imaginations despite complete lineups and exhaustive discographies.
The idea of a “skath” band didn’t occur to Schwantes and Erbach until fifteen years later, but it stems from the same strange place: What would a goth ska band sound like, if one combined the Misfits’s aesthetic with Reel Big Fish’s goofball schtick? The idea died quickly, another quirky idea that could have fun if there were enough hours in the day
Neither Schwantes nor Erbach were strangers to ska and punk music—both were in a ska band in college and worked together on an online database for midwest ska bands in the early 2000s. Both also played pop-punk together until Erbach turned toward other creative endeavors and Schwantes moved to San Francisco. That’s when the whole skath idea crawled out of its tomb and stumbled zombie-like back into their imaginations. Schwantes started writing songs while Erbach put together a team of family and friends to fill in vocals, horns, and organs. They sent recordings and ideas back and forth halfway across the continental United States, intent on seeing this idea through.
Thus, Grave Danger was born. Full of eerie organs and thick horns, their debut Let ‘er RIP! fulfills their initial vision with surprising ease. The EP’s eponymous opener “Grave Danger” sets the tone for the band—a steady, tomb-stomping riot that showcases Alan Erbach’s gutsy vocals, Schwantes’s blistering guitars, and Emily Erbach’s ominous synth. On “Escape From Skull City,” the band’s horn section, led by saxophonist Schwantes and rounded out by siblings Andrew and Margaret Miller on trumpet and trombone respectively, is on full display. Taking cues from bands like Streetlight Manifesto and Less Than Jake, “Skull City” churns with vim and vigor, lamenting the trials of adulthood with a ghoulish smirk. Closer “Too Ghoul For School,” with it’s bari sax and Dane Erbach’s thudding drumbeat, takes a more rock ’n’ roll approach, channeling Rocket From the Crypt’s swagger or the Gadjit’s soul.
It might be easy to write Grave Danger off as a novelty because, well, maybe it is. But it’s also a daydream realized—or possibly a nightmare. It’s what would happen is Bobby “Boris” Pickett and his Crypt Kickers were still alive and listened to the BossTones: fun and furious music intended to make listeners laugh and dance. Most importantly, Grave Danger is a passion project created by dads and moms, aunts and uncles, software engineers and IT professionals, managers and entrepreneurs, people who work in breweries and nonprofits and public schools—regular people who, every once in a while, want to don corpse paint, pick up their instruments, shake off some dust, and blow the audience away.
1. Grave Danger
2. Escape From Skull City
3. Too Ghoul For School
Grave Danger is:
Dave Schwantes: guitars, bass, keys, tenor sax, bari sax, backing vocals
Dane Erbach: drums
Alan Erbach: lead vocals
Margret Miller: trombone
Andy Miller: trumpet
Emily Erbach: synth
Chris Marcanti: backing vocals
Josh Marcanti: backing vocals
Elliot Schwantes: backing vocals
Eileen Hays-Schwantes: backing vocals