From Rochester, New York, Mrs. Skannotto is a six-piece ska-rock band that has been making music and evolving together for 15 years! In our interview, the guys tell us what has kept them together all these years and how they help each other to deal with stress while on tour. Get to know the band and other random tidbits they shared with us.
Mrs. Skannotto’s new album All These Evolutions is out now. You can get it through the band’s official website.
Considering there is no Mrs. in the band, where does the name Mrs. Skannotto come from?
The band had no name when it formed back in '98. The founder, Mark Annotto, had a notoriously large collection of ska and reggae CDs, which earned him the "Skannotto" nickname. At one point, they wanted to compete in a "battle of the bands" sort of thing, and were told they needed a name to play. Mrs. (SK)Annotto, Mark's mom, had just taken everyone out to dinner, so they named the band after her as a placeholder until they could think of a real one. We're still trying to decide what to call ourselves officially.
You’ve been around since 1998 – 15 years is quite a long time! What has kept the band strong and together all these years?
There have been some lineup changes here and there over the years. It's really Justin, our trumpet player and relative founding member, who's kept this thing going all this time. Also, every six months we switch who's having sex with who- keeps things fresh.
You’re releasing a brand new 14-track full length album called All These Evolutions. Is there a song off the new album that had the most meaning for you?
We all have different favorites. Joe loves Every Day and Free Speech Zone. Justin's favorites are New Belief, Lost & Found and Fair Weather Foe. Mike also likes Every Day, as well as The Hired Gun and Just As Well. We all put a lot into this record. Even when one member would write a song, there's enough that's new and fresh put into it by the other guys to make everything interesting for us.
The band is currently out on the road for 40+ tour dates with The Toasters. You also spent a chunk of 2012 on the Less Than Jake's 20th Anniversary Tour with Reel Big Fish, Mad Caddies, Flatfoot 56, and A Wilhelm Scream. Do you have a favourite moment from these tours so far?
Too many to name. It's been an honor and a thrill to tour with so many of the bands we've grown up with, and to meet newer bands like Flatfoot and Wilhelm on the way. This past year has been crazy, and we're just getting started.
How about a memorable story about a fan?
There was a guy who saw us in Rochester, our hometown, on the 4th show of the tour. He came up to all of us after the gig and said "remember this face!" About a month later, down in Albuquerque, he showed up again. He bought us all drinks, knew all of the lyrics, told us all his favorite moments on the record. Turns out he's from New Mexico, was visiting his brother up in Rochester, and we and The Toasters were his first ska show.
Do any of you ever get home sick? How do you deal with being away from home for so long?
Mike would like to answer this one personally: "Sometimes I dump garbage all over the hotel room and pay one of the maids to yell at me in spanish while I take a cold shower with all my clothes on. It reminds me of home . . ."
How do you deal with stress while on tour? Or what helps you relax and get through tough times in general?
We all know each other well enough to know when someone needs to be left alone. All of us deal with road stress differently. Alex will set up his kit and drum for a while, Joe will go for a walk around whatever town we're in, Mike and Dan exercise, Justin reads. It also helps to eat lots of crappy hotel pastries in the morning and drink all of The Toasters' beer each night.
Have you found a favourite place to eat out of all the cities you’ve toured?
Joe is on a mission each tour to find the best nachos in the country. This past tour it was the nachos at Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix AZ. There was a great Thai place called Blue Orchid in Lincoln. We made a random stop in Laytonville while driving through northern California and found our favorite restaurant of the tour, Casona Del Cielo.
What’s the best piece of advice someone’s ever given you?
"Don't use that bathroom for a while . . ." Other than that, we've all been told by various people over the years to treat every show like it's the most important show in your career. We try and bring that mentality on stage with us each night. Even for the most poorly promoted, poorly attended shows…whether you're booked with a bunch of metal bands or playing to an empty room…if you half-ass it, it comes across. We'd rather blow the mind of the sound guy than be forgotten the second we walk off stage.
One random fun fact about each band member?
Evan - all knowing chicken wing connoisseur. Justin - can put his palms flat on the ground w/out bending his knees. Alex - has a chihuahua with a giant cock…seriously, it's off-putting. Mike- is a figment of your imaginations. Joe - 1st CD he ever owned was a Vangelis compilation Dan - plays the bass with his mind