In looking up recent Project 421 guest singer Travis McKenzie's past music work, I came across a website for one of his old bands, so what should you know? We technically already have this band linked on the site under their last name 20 Pack of Marshmallows, but among short lived stints under the Manganese and Warning names, they were first called Wanko Twist from their 2008 inception until around mid-2009. Travis sang lead and played guitar in this era of the band, and at the time, he was joined by his older brother Curtis (of Haggith & Project 421 fame) on guitar, Darren Vlasoff on drums, and while Wanko Twist didn't have a bassist, Curtis' long time bandmate Daniel Horton served as their manager. There's obvious Haggith connections to their sound and set, with Haggith originals such as "Wanko" (naturally) and "Loverbeam" starting in this project, but their sound didn't attain a direct grunge influence until their brief run as Manganese. An album named "Battle Royale" was once planned, while they did play some Dunnplugged gigs at the former Sir James Dunn Collegiate under this name.
It's interesting to read up on Curt's past band work, which had a lot of ambition and effort. and while none of the Wanko Twist videos linked on their site survive, songs played by this band under their later 20 Pack of Marshmallows incarnation can be seen on his YouTube channel. From what is currently available, you can see the talent and promise from the McKenzie brothers and their collaborators, so give them a look at the above links, and read more about this band's eventful run via Curt's solo Facebook page!
Finally for today, here's nine assorted shorter updates from the last while, as we clear out many recent items! As usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist, event, or website name:
- A post on local goregrind label Blood Shed Productions' Facebook page on May 11th by Brutaly Fatal frontman Austin McCrae indicated that the label was "planning on having a show at The Oddfellows (Hall)", and were seeking performers and sorting through details, though a date wasn't announced there. Whether this is connected to Heavy North Entertainment or will be an independent show is yet uncertain, but stay tuned for potential details!
- Sault Michigan metal band Chained Memories have announced that they are "a failed project" & "no longer a band", as per a post by drummer/founder Mike Rynberg on their Facebook page on Sunday, which cites various personal differences for their breakup. Chained Memories had been active off & on since 2009, but never managed to fully get off the ground, or even post live material during their run. Original Eastern U.P. metal bands haven't had an easy go lately, but hopefully everyone stays active in music, and best of luck to Mike, Ryan, Sean, Chris, and other former members in the future!
- Though local goregrind solo project Crucify The Whore won't be playing live again until next month, they're still busy, as leader Tyler Gibson announced on their Facebook page on Sunday that their upcoming demo album "Welcome To Earth" is complete! Whether that refers to the sessions or full pressing isn't clear yet, but keep an eye out for it this summer!
- The Jack Spades EP release show at The Rockstar Bar on Friday was covered by SooToday's Donna Hopper for this article (entitled "Jack the planet!") that was posted online the next day. Solid write-up, and there's also very nice photos of the bands, though they're all in black and white, and none are from Johnny Belanger & Jesse Cook's acoustic set. Click here to see 7 photos of Jack Spades, 5 of Project 421, and 3 of The Elements!
- On Friday, organizers of the annual Sault Michigan benefit concert festival LemmaFest updated this year's Facebook event page to clarify some recent news, including that bands will be confirmed this coming week, other events and themes are in the works, and that fans shouldn't worry about a recent minor setback, with weather the only pressing concern this year. I didn't hear any negative rumours, but good to know things are going alright, and stay tuned for more!
- I have read recent Facebook personal postings concerning a new Sault Michigan band named Nose Dive that has been playing live gigs in the area recently, and their lineup features singer/guitarist Fran Blackwood (Electric Motor Fish), ex-Clownsack bassist Tony Rogers (most recently of No Decision), and Power Slug drummer Bob Helsten. The lineup is promising, but I have yet to find an online page for them, nor confirmation of their sound/genre. If we hear anything, we'll let you know!
- Local/St. Catharine's death metal trio Shit Liver will head back to Cochrane, Ontario in late June for another set at their annual Touch of Death Metal & Punk Fest, as per the event's Facebook page. Awesome to see them back this year, so keep it in mind for next month if you're in the area! For reference, London death metal band D3athcharg3r (featuring the Soo's own Steve Rhodes & Andrew Angelic) have also been confirmed, which is awesome too!
- SooToday's current poll on their website poses this question: "Would you listen regularly to a local Internet radio station?", with choices including variations of "Yes" relating to where you'd be listening, along with "Nope, not interested." It's not clear yet whether this is an early feeler towards a Village Media-launched station, but over 55% of voters have chosen "Nope" as of this writing. If you want to show your support either way, vote above, as this could work well if it's a serious thought!
- According to posts on their Facebook page over the weekend, local hard rock band The Suicide Kings were joined by Wishbone drummer Brent Royer on temporary vocals for most of their weekend at The Rednecks Saloon, after Mike Gaetano bowed out due to strep throat complications. Brent has lead vocal experience from bands like Settle For Silver and the original Turner Up, so hopefully he was a solid fill-in, and I wonder if anyone got any footage?
That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes soon, plus this month's YouTube Channel Profile on Thursday! Thanks everyone!