Punch Cabbie is:
Skylar Jenson – Vocals
Ronnie Selinko – Guitar
Frank Pecoraro – Guitar
Ryan Wagner – Bass/Vocals
Mike Sather – Drums/Vocals
We had a chat with Skylar, Ronny and Ryan. Unfortunately Frank couldn’t make it.
Flynn: Hey What’s Up Man!
Ryan: Hey man! We Just finished writing a new song!
Flynn: That’s Awesome man!
Ryan: Yeah so that’s what we’re doing right now! Just fucking around!
Ronnie: My Brain Hurts, although that probably has little to do with the music!
Flynn: Let’s do a little introduction. Let’s go around and give your name, what you do in the band, and an interesting fact about yourself.
Ryan: I’m Ryan, I play bass, and I like to pick on Skylar.
Mike: I’m mike, I like to play drums, and I like to pick on Frankie
Ronnie: I’m Ronnie, I play tambourine. I like to pick on Frank.
Skylar: I’m Skylar, I do vocals, and I hate everyone in this band.
Mike: And this isn’t fair because Frank isn’t here, we were picking on him too much, but he plays guitar.
Flynn: you guys have a new single out right now, tell us about the meaning behind the song and how the response has been so far.
Skylar: Undying is kind of one of those F-You songs to the Nay Sayers. This song came from frustration, because the producer we were working with shot down my original idea so I kind of took out some built up rage and anger, and wanted to show off my talents as a lyricist and a singer. So I laid it all out there to show everyone that my passion for music isn’t going away any time soon. It’s about holding on to your dreams and your passions and moving forward no matter how many people say you can’t make it. As far as the response goes I think we have had about 95% positive, and very little negative. I think most of that comes from the lineup change.
Flynn: That’s awesome Its got to be one of my favorite songs you guys have put out. I love the song. Can we expect some more new sings in the future?
Ryan: ABSOLUTLY! We actually just booked some time with Jordan Pop at Glass Ball Studios so we are going to go back to writing now and the next one is going to be a full length. After this were going to go out and destroy. But like any process it takes time.
Flynn: Sick! So you guys went through a lineup change recently, your old vocalist departed and Skylar has come in to replace him. Why the change? And what is the difficulty with having a lineup change especially in such a pivotal position in the band?
Ryan: Jerry left on good terms, we still talk, he just had another project that got in the way and he couldn’t do both. Some financial and time issues but he couldn’t give 100% so he decided on his own that is was time to go.
It was defiantly hard to find a new singer, it’s not just talent, there’s a lot of factors involved. Personality, work ethic, availability. But number 1 was talent. A lot of people couldn’t get past that. But I’m glad we picked Skylar up, and I’m glad it worked out.
Skylar: I feel special!
Flynn: you guys had the opportunity to play the Chicago date for mayhem fest. What was that like and how did that happen?
Mike: We hooked up with Cold Cock whiskey, were sponsored by the. They’re becoming a new household name as far as liquor goes. They’re becoming the new Jager. About 2 years ago our guitarist Frankie got in contact with them and since then we’ve had an amazing relationship with them.. When the opportunity came for the opening slot for Mayhem. They asked us. Our first response was like “Ooh yeah that’s way too good to be true” but sure enough it was awesome and a great appearance. Especially back stage getting to meet all the bands and Kerry King from Slayer and all that fun stuff. The response from the crowd, there were a couple thousand people. It was the smallest stage we have every played on, cramming our gear on the stage with all the gear form the other bands. Blacklining for 10 other bands. But it was an amazing experience. Were grateful to Coldcock for giving us that chance.
Flynn: Who would you say your top 3 influences are?
Mike: Stained, Alter bridge, and Mudvayne.
Ryan: I started on guitar, so Metallica early in the day. But early 2000’s is when I grew a lot so like Static X was a big one for me, Mudvayne, and actually another would be Red Hot Chili Peppers with flea, I love incorporating funk style in my music.
Skylar: for me for vocals it’s hard, but the first band that really got me into the rock and metal scene was the band H.I.M with their gothic rock, he can go super low to his secondary head voice on the flip of a switch. The next would be Corey Taylor from Stone Sour and Slipknot. After that everything went downhill. Over the years listening to so many different bands I would have to say Soil work. He is amazing with how he can go from singing to screaming on the flip of a switch.
Ronnie: I was big into early 90’s music. Manson and Alice in chains. A lot into the newer stuff like Kill switch engaged and soil work. Also A Day to remember is one of my favorite bands right now with how they use the guitar.
Ryan: Frankie would probably just say Van Halen since he’s old.
Flynn: You guys have a killer live show with TONS of energy. What drives that? Do you mainly feed off the crowd or do you just come out ready to give it everything you got?
Ryan: we have the motto, “you practice like you play” and we go out there knowing were going to put a lot of energy into it, and we do feed off the crowd it goes back and forth giving our energy to them and them giving it right back and it’s a huge cycle.
Flynn: You guys come out of the Chicago area. What is the scene like there and what are the challenges of the area?
Mike: The scene here is not like how it was 15 years ago. It’s weird because Chicago is the 3rd largest radio market in the US but there is No rock station on FM radio, and it disheartening because there are a lot of good bands in the area but there’s no radio station to showcase them. It can be hard to get people out to shows. Obviously friends and family are easy but if you play a lot it can be hard to get them to keep coming out. So it’s a lot about getting new people out but with how the internet has changed things, back 15 years ago the local scene was great. Some great bands like disturbed and Chevelle came from Chicago. You could go to a local show on a weekday and it would be packed. Now that’s not the case and you’re lucky to get anyone out there. The internet has defiantly created a virtual divide and now it’s become so over saturated that most people don’t notice. The street team work isn’t there. Like it was 15 years ago. National shows will still sell out, but the divide between national shows and local shows has gotten worse. People who aren’t in the music industry don’t understand that every big band had to start at the local level. They don’t give local bands a shot. That seems to be the mindset of most people now.
Flynn: What kind of tips would you give local bands starting out to help them?
Mike: It’s all about networking and finding the right people. Confide and trust in the local bands who have made a name for themselves and let them mentor you. Ask them questions and take some constructive criticism. People can be sensitive but you have to be able to take criticism. I’ve played drums my whole life. And Make sure your music is good, them worry about everything else later. Don’t worry about the lights, focus on the music first.
Flynn: If you could choose any 3 bands to tour with what would it be?
Mike: Alter bridge, Stained, and Korn, it would be cool to tour with them
Ryan: Mundvayne. Cold chamber, like from back in the day, and Devin Driver.
Skylar: Slipknot, Lamb of god, and Buller for My valentine like they did last summer.
Ronnie: A Day to Remember, Manson, and Alice in Chains, it would sell out in seconds with such a weird line up.
Flynn: What new things can we expect from Punch Cabbie in 2016?
Ryan: Alright guys be sure to take your meds and don’t stare into the light! Basically we have a shit ton of shows, new music, and getting far out of the Chicago area. Hitting regional cities. With our new manager submitting us to play some big festivals. Keeping ourselves busy and welcoming a new era of punch cabbie. And of course Writing, writing, and writing.
Flynn: Awesome guys well unless there’s anything else it’s been a pleasure interviewing you guys!
Ryan: nah man, thanks for the interview and thanks for driving me back that one night from Another hole in the Wall. That was awesome!
Flynn: Anytime man!