It seems like every day we hear about another unknown band that strums their first notes in a garage and scores a record deal six months later. This new cash heavy indie music scene has led to a paradigm shift regarding qualifications for obtaining a record deal where the standard prerequisite for securing a deal seem to be entirely focused on connections as opposed to track records, prior efforts and often talent. It's 2005 and the primary goal on every band's want list seems to be getting a record deal, but if a band isn't in the right industry clic or doesn't know the right people to hob knob with then watching new well connected bands get signed can be unnerving. The continual frustration of being ignored can either cause a band to call it quits or forge a resolve within a group to succeed on determination alone without anyone's help.
In the case of the four road weary individuals known as The Skeptics, their lives have been centered squarely on the latter for the past two years. They have pushed on undaunted by their situation in their pursuit to bring their music to as many people as possible. Although the band has been around in some form or fashion since early 2000 the past two years can be regarded as the most trying. The transition from a recreational band to a band with driven defined goals resulted in half the band cashing in their chips and calling it quits. While this may be a crippling blow to some, principle songwriters Rob Kapitsky and Tony DiSanto pushed forth undaunted. In their minds there was too much to lose.
The year before they had traveled thousands of miles playing over one hundred shows and selling over 4,000 copies of their self- released 'Lock & Key' EP. Kapitsky's dedication to the band had become so absolute that he got a letter on tour from his college saying that he wasn't welcome to return. In early 2005 when DiSanto and Kapitsky had finally gathered a new lineup of members, they immediately began writing new songs and quickly headed into the studio to create the album 'Hearts & Spades'.
While the band's speed and aggression on 'Hearts & Spades' can be attributed to DiSanto's heavy diet of late 90's punk, their acute attention to melody can be attributed to Kaptisky's love of classic rock. The influence of groups like 'Through Being Cool' -era Saves The Day are extremely unmistakable as The Skeptics take infectious hooks and melodies and lace them with dark venomous lyrics. The end result being break neck pace songs with choruses so infectious that you'll spend hours singing them in your head, but wouldn't dare sing them aloud. You can only imagine the shock of an onlooker overhearing you singing lyrics like "As we open up this chest and show you love, just what I'm made of / And we'll start dissecting me / Spread skin across the leather carefully / Make sure I'm not to bleed / Cause' we know the stain will remind you so please," but for some perverse reason The Skeptics want you to push those boundaries. What's worse, they'll make it so easy that you won't realize what you've done until its too late.
In a move that demonstrated The Skeptics' total dedication to fans and their defiance to industry codes of conduct, the band decided to jump the gun on their album's November 8th release date to bring the 'Hearts & Spades' to the public ahead of time. In their mind the record was in the can so why should people have to wait to hear it? They struck out on the road with the Warped Tour for the entire summer selling over 3,000 copies of 'Hearts & Spades' in less than two months to music fans all across the country. The Skeptics regard release dates, publicity campaigns, and even this bio as things for businessmen to deal with; their responsibility is to themselves, their music, and their fans.
A cursory glance at the band's past makes it exceedingly apparent that they are staunch believers the DIY existence and lifestyle. To cut down on rent, bass player Kevin Vance lives in the band's van when they aren't on tour. This set of values and ideals obtained from countless miles traveled and hours logged has crafted who they are as artists and people. In the same way that bands in the early days of the underground rock scene like the Minutemen and Husker Du hit the road purely because of a love for performing music, The Skeptics also continue to push forward bringing their music to the masses without ever dwelling on all the things that their well connected peers might have.
With the proper label release of 'Hearts & Spades' on Chicago based upstart label Third World Industries looming; the group stands poised to continue finding floors across the country to sleep on in new towns every night while journeying forth to foster genuine connections with other dedicated music fans.