December 3, 2016

What’s in a name? The Skashank Redemption










So it’s been a while since the last installment of “What’s in a name,” and for that I apologize. As they say, sometimes life gets in the way, and that seems to be exactly that happened to me. That, and I suppose I lacked inspiration for a while. Playing in three bands while holding down a full time job can suck a little out of anyone, and I was in a rut of only leaving the house to play shows and see the handful of local bands that I’ve come accustomed to seeing regularly.

Well, I had the chance to see the Skashank Redemption, and here I sit, a new man.  Thanks to them, “What’s in a name” will be published with more regularity from here on out, and I think I’ve been born again into local music, so the acts featured here will be varied in style. Here we go again!

The Skashank Redemption. How’s that for a name? It tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the band. Obviously, these guys play ska, and they’re unapologetic about it.  The name also tells you that the band is fun. They’re Skashank, and dammit, they are fun!

From the first note, it feels like someone took a ska band in the verge of making it in the summer of 1999, threw them in a chest freezer, trombones and all, then thawed them out last weekend and sent then to a gig.

The boys of Skashank were kind enough to share with me their 4 song EP, and I was happy to take a listen. This shit is authentic 90’s ska, and it’s awesome. The drums go seamlessly in and out of double time punk beats and relaxed near reggae feels , the horns are tight as all-get-out, and the vocals have that unrelenting swagger that make you think just maybe these boys could take The Mighty Mighty Bosstones in an Anchorman style back alley brawl.

The EP is good, but seeing these guys live is where it’s at. No, they don’t have that guy on stage who just skanks for a solid hour, but I’ll bet if you ask Jake if you can do it, they’ll let you. Simply put, if you can go to a Skashank show and make it through the first song without breaking into a Cheshire grin, you’re either just too young, too damn old, or an asshole.

So I asked Joe to fill out the classic “What’s in a name” questionnaire, but I wanted to give a little more ink to the band that gave me a musical second wind. Enjoy their responses below, and for christ’s sake, so see them. They’re playing the Comfest Main Stage on Friday at 1:50P.M and on Saturday at Scarlet and Grey at 11:30P.M. If you want to hear their music, head to When you realize it’s fantastic, go ahead and vote for them on that very page and we’ll see if we can’t get them playing the Warped Tour.
Also, stay tuned in the coming months for blues, rock, hip hop, and all sorts of acts letting you know what they’re about and why they’re called what they’re called.

The Skashank Redemption
(Joe Brenneman answering)

Band name
The Skashank Redemption

Band Members
Jake Huffstetler – Lead Vox, Trombone
Joe Brenneman – Backing Vox, Saxophones
Neil Stackhouse – Trombones
James Johan Olaya – Guitar
Trent Sampson – Bass
Evan Wanous – Drums
And everyone shouts. On occasion.

What’s the story behind the band name?
First and foremost: we are a ska band. Ska is one of those genres that is completely allowed (and often times encouraged) to make fun of itself. The natural progression of things ends with having a lot of bands with “ska” in their name to showcase the ridiculous nature of the genre. Our first band name was “Ska Band (Soon To Be Named)” and we eventually had an “official” discussion specifically on the name. We have a list of about 50 names saved somewhere with great names such as “Skadzilla” and “Skanktrophy” came up but we eventually settled unanimously on “The Skashank Redemption.” Now, about one year ago we were seriously considering a name change before we hit the road on our first tour. The bands lineup had changed so much and we had only played 2 shows prior to that so we weren’t known yet. This isn’t even mentioning the potential legal issues from such a name. We had a lot of ideas like “The Morning After” and about 100 others. It had a lot to do with direction and where we wanted the band to go, namely how “serious” we wanted to be. Quite obviously, we decided to stick with the ska pun. The rest, as they say, was history.

Who came up with the name?
It was a band decision, but I (Joe) put he name out there initially. Jake is just now starting to buy into the name, and the rest of the band has fallen in and out of love with it about a million times each. We have ideas on where to go if we have to change it, but for now our friends and fans love it so I guess it’s sticking around!

What’s your all time favorite actual band name?
I think it’s a three way tie between Streetlight Manifesto, The Aquabats!, and The Cat Empire. There are good reasons,  mind you. Streetlight is simply because when you go to see them live, and their giant stage banner unfurls infront of you dramatically with nothing but a simple streetlight on canvas, the crowd goes wild. There’s really not much else like it. The Aquabats! because they are so iconic in the ska scene. They pose as super heroes and actually fight bad guys in their live shows and in their music videos. Fans are called “Aquadets” and they have a hand signal and everything. Almost every major ska band today are all Aquadets. You even get a card. How cool is that? And The Cat Empire? Seriously? That’s amazing.

Have you been in any bands in the past with great names?
Well I was in The Super Desserts (or am I still in The Super Desserts? I’ll have to get back to you on that), and I’ve always thought (think?) the name reflected the music we played (play?) perfectly. The DewDroppers are the same way. I love it when a bands name reflects the music they play. I was in a band briefly in college named “Lucked in Fife”, for instance. Jake was in The Asthetics (RIP)- another Ska Band in Columbus. A few of us have moonlighted with The Get-Ups, and a lot of other bands.

Whats your Favorite local band name?
I would have to say I really dig the name “Phantods”. Wow.. that was a short answer. I don’t know of many bands in Columbus where I don’t like their name. Maybe I’m a bad person to answer this question?

Do the members of your band have nicknames?
Jake “Ska” Huffstetler
Joe “Ska” Brenneman
Neil “Ska” Stackhouse
James “Ska” Olaya
Trent “Ska” Sampson
Evan “Ska” Wanous

What was your band almost called?
5 Gentlemen and Joe.


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  1. […] it. So, things only look up when I go trawling for ska bands and come across a quote like this from The Hot 17 in Columbus, Ohio: “just maybe these boys could take The Mighty Mighty Bosstones in an […]

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