Streetlight Manifesto
Streetlight Manifesto
Background Information
Origin East Brunswick, New Jersey
Genre Ska Punk
Third Wave Ska
Years active 2002-present
Label(s) Victory
Associated Acts Catch 22
Bandits of the Acoustic Revoltion
One Cool Guy
Mike Brown
Jim Conti
Tomas Kalnoky
Pete McCullough
Mike Soprano
Matt Stewart
Chris Thatcher
Former Members
Stuart Karmatz
Pete Sibilia
Paul Lowndes
Josh Ansley
Jamie Egan
Dan Ross
Chris Paszik
Delano Bonner

Streetlight Manifesto is an American ska punk band from East Brunswick Township, New Jersey under the creative leadership of Tomas Kalnoky.

They released their first album, Everything Goes Numb, which was distributed by Victory Records, on August 26, 2003. The band headlined and sold out their first concert at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey on December 9, 2003. Several of Streetlight Manifesto's members were well known in the New Jersey third wave ska community for their roles in past ska punk bands from that area, primarily Kalnoky's Catch 22 and fellow New Jersey band One Cool Guy. As of 2007, the lineup consists of Mike Brown on alto and baritone sax, Jim Conti on alto and tenor sax, songwriter Tomas Kalnoky on guitar and lead vocals, bassist Peter McCullough, trombonist Mike Soprano, trumpet player Matt Stewart, and Chris Thatcher on drums.

History Edit

Before Streetlight: Catch 22 and B.O.T.A.R.Edit

Kalnoky's first band was a 3 person punk band called Gimp; they released a tape. Kalnoky, Ansley, and Egan first gained fame as one half of fellow New Jersey band Catch 22. Kalnoky became particularly notable as he was responsible for writing all of their debut album Keasbey Nights, which is regarded as one of the top albums of the third wave of ska. After Keasbey, all three left at separate times and for their own reasons. When Catch 22 recorded their second album, Alone in a Crowd, it was with a considerably different line-up; without Kalnoky, the band had a different sound.

In 2001, Kalnoky gathered a large number of musicians—including Ansley and Egan, several members of One Cool Guy, his brother Achilles, and several of Achilles' orchestra friends—to perform on the Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution EP, A Call to Arms. Included on the five track, independently released CD is "Here's to Life", a song which Streetlight Manifesto reworked and included on Everything Goes Numb, and a new version of Catch 22's "Dear Sergio", which includes a new verse and a minor renaming to "Dear Sergio:". Both Streetlight and the Bandits are members of The RISC Group, a collaboration of artists to self produce and retain rights to their music.

Recording to touring Edit

Streetlight's first recording consisted of a four-track demo EP, featuring the songs "Everything Went Numb", "Point/Counterpoint", "The Saddest Song" and "We Are the Few", all of which were re-recorded for their debut album. The line-up that recorded the demo consisted almost entirely of musicians from Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution: Josh Ansley (bass guitar), Jamie Egan (trombone & trumpet), Tomas Kalnoky (guitar & vocals), Stuart Karmatz (drums), Dan Ross (alto & baritone saxophone) and Pete Sibilia (tenor saxophone). On the strength of this recording the band was signed to Victory Records, the same label as Catch 22.[1]

After the demo was recorded Stuart Karmatz left and was replaced by Paul Lowndes and Jim Conti took the place of Pete Sibilia. This line-up then recorded Everything Goes Numb, but changed again before the band could perform any live shows, Jamie Egan played both trumpet and trombone, but as he would not be able to do this live Mike Soprano joined on trombone. Paul Lowndes had no intention to tour and was replaced by Chris Thatcher.

Many Catch 22 fans, disappointed with Catch's post-Kalnoky recordings, not viewing them as up to the same standard as Keasbey, awaited Streetlight's debut with anticipation, hoping for a return to standard of Keasbey. Upon its release in 2003, it received various positive reviews and numerous comparisons to Keasbey.[2] It even received some good reviews from people who otherwise thoroughly disliked ska.[3] Their first few shows at Rutgers and The Stone Pony not only sold out, but had fans coming from as far away as Minnesota and Canada.[1] They also played several other shows before the year ended, and in 2004 embarked upon the TNT (They'll Never Tour) Tour. Streetlight's largely positive welcome when they appeared on the music scene despite little to no promotion or advertising has been attributed to the legacies of the bands from which it evolved (notably Catch 22 and One Cool Guy), and their reputation for strong live performances led to a fanbase that rapidly expanded.[4]

More lineup changes and continued touring Edit

Streetlight had grown more successful than they had anticipated, and in September 2004, Josh Ansley announced his departure to pursue an acting career but is still playing music in the rock band HURT on Capitol Records with fellow New Jersey guitarist Paul Spatola.[5] Although a September 19, 2004 concert was listed to be his last, he was not at the show. Chris Paszik performed in his place. The concert, held at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey, is notable for being the first live performance of the BOTAR version of Catch 22's song "Dear Sergio:".

The next departure was Jamie Egan, who left on January 22, 2005; right before Streetlight Manifesto began the Ska is Dead 2 tour, headlining alongside MU330 and the Voodoo Glow Skulls. Egan left to spend more time with his family and concentrate on his music teaching job at North Brunswick High School in North Brunswick, New Jersey.[6] Delano Bonner came in to play trumpet starting on January 25, 2005, performing at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. Dan Ross had planned to leave after the Ska Is Dead 2 to pursue a business career, and was forced to leave early just before the end of the tour due to a family crisis.[7] He has been replaced by Mike Brown, whose first concert was at the start of the European tour. Brown's first concert in the United States was on May 31, 2005 in Baltimore.

In April 2005, the band headed overseas to Europe for their first tour outside North America, however they were to be wrought with personnel difficulties. Before the tour had even started they were a man down as Delano Bonner was unable to fly out due to not being able to attain a valid Visa. He was eventually able to obtain a Visa from the British Embassy and fly out to perform the last few UK dates, however just after he got there Jim Conti had to return to America due to a family emergency. This meant that Streetlight only played one date with the complete line-up, and after they had finished the UK portion and headed over to mainland Europe had to make do with a 2-man brass section as Delano's Visa was only valid for the UK. The band also mentioned having received no label support for the tour, and that it had therefore set them back financially.[8] Chris Thatcher said in a post on the unofficial forum that it might be due to the fact that Streetlight were doing things by themselves. Despite these setbacks the band said they had thoroughly enjoyed the tour and vowed to return later that same year.

On the night of October 2, 2005, (in Orlando, Florida) while the band slept in their hotel rooms, their van was broken into and emptied by burglars. The thieves then proceeded to detach the band's trailer—containing their instruments and merchandise—and drove away with it. In total around $80,000 worth of instruments, merchandise, and personal belongings were stolen.[9] Following the burglary and theft, the band was forced to cancel their following four shows. At their show in Washington DC on October 7, 2005 they announced that they were basically “starting at square one again”. On their website, they announced that they were probably going to have to get “real jobs” to work off the cost of the stolen belongings.

On the night of November 9, 2005 Streetlight Manifesto were robbed again while on tour in Paris, France. This time only their rental car was broken into and about $4,000 worth was stolen, including "the one expensive piece of equipment that wasn't stolen in last month's debacle, a 24 track hard drive recorder we've been using to document our live shows". This robbery had nothing to do with the riots taking place in Paris at the time.[10] Sometime between December 3, 2006 and July 3, 2007, Delano Bonner left the band. Sometime before the recording of Streetlight's new album Somewhere in the Between, Matt Stewart took over Delano's spot at trumpet.

Somewhere in the Between Edit

In an Alternative Press article about the most anticipated albums of 2007, Streetlight's new CD was shown with a release date of January 23rd; however, a post to their website dismissed these rumors. In the article, Kalnoky said "We try not to work on any deadlines. We're just trying to make it as good as possible, letting it grow more organically." The new album was also said to be darker than the last album. The band's main site was updated on the supposed release date of their new album, stating that nearing release the band would upload snippets of songs for download, and they made a cryptic comment about revealing the identity of "bunny's kidnappers," a comment referencing the movie The Big Lebowski.

The lead singer and guitarist for MU330 Dan Potthast announced in August 2007 that his new band The Stitch Up would be touring with Streetlight during the next tour and that Streetlight's new album would have been released by then.[11] On August 13, the official Streetlight Manifesto website underwent a major redesign and update. It stated that their new album, to be titled Somewhere in the Between, was finished recording and packaging. During the months approaching the album's release, sample clips of the upcoming songs were released sporadically through the site. The site also outlined information on the first official Streetlight Manifesto video, an upcoming headlining US tour, and overseas tours including previously unvisited continents, with further details forthcoming.[12] A second update on August 22 revealed that the new album would officially be titled Somewhere in the Between.[13] On August 31, Streetlight Manifesto officially announced that their headlining US winter 2007 tour would begin on November 7 and "[s]urely it would make no sense to play songs that no one has ever heard...".[14] The post also stated that the Shout It Loud Tour line-up of Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish and themselves would be "reuniting somewhere on the planet for a tour before year's end", which had been revealed to be Australia by a posting the day before.[15]

On September 7, SitB was officially announced to be released on November 13, 2007. Included on the album was the single "We Will Fall Together," which became the subject of Streetlight Manifesto's first official music video. The album was made available to fans on November 9 four days prior to the official release date, at their concert at Sayreville's Starland Ballroom. With the album came a poster, signed by the whole band.

99 Songs of Revolution Edit

On September 9, 2008, The 99 Songs of Revolution Project was announced on the Pentimento Music Company's website. Previously thought to be only a Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution project (as stated in the liner notes for their EP, A Call to Arms), the project will consist of two full-length CDs by Streetlight Manifesto, and two full-length CDs by the Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution. In addition, four other albums will be performed; two each by two other Streelight-related artist, with each artist getting two CDs. It was rumored that the first release date of these albums was to be October 28, 2008, a date that Victory Records posted as the release date for the next Streetlight Manifesto album. However, the first two CDs of the project are slated to be released sometime in early 2009, with one performed by Streetlight Manifesto and the other by one of the unnamed artists. Exact release dates of the eight CDs are to be determined.

Musical influences and style Edit

Since Kalnoky is responsible for writing most of the music, his influences are most evident in their songs. He first writes them on an acoustic guitar and then fleshes out the song structure on the computer and hums basic hornlines, after which the rest of the band comes in and adds their parts to the song, e.g. the horn section refines their part and adds harmonies.[1] In an interview he called the Stand By Me soundtrack his biggest musical influence, and says when writing songs that he looks to the 50s and 60s for inspiration. He also mentioned that Nirvana was a big influence.[16] In an earlier interview conducted in 2002 he mentioned the 50s and 60s, in particular specifying The Drifters as one of his favourite bands. He also describes the Squirrel Nut Zippers and The Martino Latino Experience as a big influence.[17]

In an interview with Alternative Press, Kalnoky remarked that their next CD (later announced to be Somewhere in the Between) would "branch out in different directions. It'll have more of a world influence running through it, namely eastern European and gypsy sounds."[18]

Rivalry with Catch 22 Edit

Due to Kalnoky's history with Catch 22 and Streetlight's rapid rise to success many fans have speculated that there may be some animosity and rivalry between the two bands. In fact, both bands have lyrics on their albums (Everything Goes Numb and Dinosaur Sounds that were both released in late 2003) that could be interpreted as hostile messages to one another. In Streetlight's "A Moment of Silence", Kalnoky sings:

Don't forget
I connect and I read every word you said
Like a child who believes he was wronged
If you hate me so much then stop singing my songs
which many fans took to be a reference to Catch 22 still performing songs which Kalnoky wrote on Keasbey Nights. Similarly the Catch 22 song "So Cold" contains several lines, in particular
I can't believe you're still mad about that.
I can't believe you're still living in the past.
which many believe to be directed at Kalnoky in reference to his departure from the band.

While it is not known for certain whether any of these lyrics were messages, there were certainly some bad feelings between Kalnoky and Catch 22 at some point due to his departure. In an early 2002 interview Kalnoky's response to whether or not he kept in touch with Catch 22 was "I tried to keep in touch. Then I read something on the net that surprised/hurt me, so I stopped trying. That's all I'll say, sorry."[16] However, since then both Kalnoky and members of Catch 22 have stated on numerous occasions that they are on good terms; in fact, Kevin Gunther from Catch 22 has aided Streetlight in booking live shows and is also mentioned and thanked in the liner notes of Somewhere in the Between.[19]


Full-length albums
Other releases

Members Edit

Main article: Streetlight Manifesto band members and touring history

Many of Streetlight Manifesto's past and present members were well known in the New Jersey third wave ska community for their roles in past ska punk bands from that area. Since the band's inception, it has included Catch 22's Tomas Kalnoky, Jamie Egan, Mike Soprano, and Josh Ansley, as well as One Cool Guy's Stuart Karmatz, Pete Sibilia, Dan Ross, and Chris Paszik.

The lineup has since gone through several changes, and as of 2008 consists of Matt Stewart on trumpet, Mike Brown on alto and baritone saxophone, Jim Conti on alto and tenor saxophone, Tomas Kalnoky on guitar and vocals, Pete McCullough on the bass guitar, Mike Soprano on trombone, and Chris Thatcher on drums. Kalnoky and Conti are the only remaining members from the original lineup that played on the band's first album, Everything Goes Numb. However because Jamie Egan played both trumpet, and trombone on the album, Mike Soprano joined to play trombone at shows, while Egan played trumpet, and Paul Lowndes who recorded drums on the album never toured with the band. So, in addition to Kalnoky and Conti, Soprano and Thatcher remain from the original touring lineup. Although Delano Bonner had replaced Jamie Egan prior to the release of Keasbey Nights, Egan's parts on the album had already been recorded, and as such Bonner is the only member of the band never to have recorded with the group on any release.

  • Tomas Kalnoky – lead vocals, guitars (2002–present)
  • Pete McCullough – bass, backing vocals (2006–present)
  • Matt Stewart – trumpet, backing vocals (2007–present)
  • Mike Soprano – trombone, backing vocals (2003–present)
  • Mike Brown – alto & baritone saxophone, backing vocals (2005–present)
  • Jim Conti – alto & tenor saxophone, backing vocals (2003–present)
  • Chris Thatcher – drums, percussion (2003–present)
  • Stuart Karmatz – drums, percussion (2002)
  • Pete Sibilia – tenor saxophone (2002)
  • Paul Lowndes – drums, percussion (2003)
  • Josh Ansley – bass, backing vocals (2002–2004)
  • Jamie Egan – trumpet, trombone (2002–2005, 2006)
  • Dan Ross – alto & baritone saxophone (2002–2005)
  • Chris Paszik – bass, backing vocals (2004–2006)
  • Delano Bonner – trumpet (2005–2007)

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Streetlight Manifesto interview
  2. Rate Your Music Reviews
  3. Streetlight Manifesto
  4. Review: Streetlight Manifesto / Big D and the Kids Table - live in Long Island
  5. we made it! (kind of)
  6. 3...2...1...
  7. so then that happened...
  8. Europe update
  9. ROBBED!
  10. ROBBED!
  11. Interviews: Dan Potthast
  12. Prepare the Floodgates!
  13. It Has A Name
  14. Listen, Hear
  15. Tours: Less Than Jake (UK, Japan, Australia)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Tomas Kalnoky Interview
  17. Tomas Kalnoky
  18. Brian Shultz. Alternative Press 02-25-2005. Volume 19 Issue 200 Page 76
  19. !Catch 22!

External links Edit

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