“Pop punk rock, with a hint of power slop, with an edge. We call it Scuz,” says Mitch Koehler, bass player with Scuzbot, in trying to describe the music that emanates from the band. Mitch is joined in Scuzbot by Jon Lucas on drums, Ryan Rispo on guitar and vocals, and Tyler Marie on guitar and vocals. “Ryan and Tyler were in the punk ska band Home School Drop Outs,” he continues. “Me, Jon, and Ryan were in the pop punk band Social Giants. The band started when Ryan wanted to try to jam with Jon and Tyler, and then we ended up writing the song ‘Perfect’ at our first practice. And the rest is history.”
The group cites Saves The Day as its biggest influence, but each member of the group has their own favorites, and they all have very different tastes in music and thus very different influences. Those influences range from Oingo Boingo and Devo to Jawbreaker, Title Fight, Blink-182, Wes Borland, and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. “The list could go on forever,” laughs Mitch.
Together, the group has played at venues throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, The Trocadero, The Fire, and The Note in Philly, My Parent’s House and The New Button in Westchester, PA, and Boneyard in Atlantic City. They’ve also been on the Philadelphia radio station 104.5’s Live At Five show and made an appearance on punkbandpromotions.com.
Tyler, Ryan and Mitch all bring material into the band, and usually come in with the entire song completed, including the lyrics and the music. When the rest of the band is added, they are free to fill in the gaps to finish the song. “Ryan usually sings most of the songs he writes and Tyler will usually sing his songs, and they switch back and forth between choruses and verses. And then Ryan and Tyler fight over who sings my songs,” laughs Mitch.
One of the most popular songs they do is called “Send In The Clowns,” which seems to be one that everyone wants to hear at live shows. Musically, they’ve been compared to old school punk bands, who one might have heard on Lookout! Records 15 years ago rather than the current crop of radio ready, commercial bands who are punk in attitude and attire only. Vocally, some of the tracks have drawn comparisons to the type of harmonies Weezer will often feature, with parts that easily weave in and out of each other. Others have compared them to R.E.M. and Lit, with melodies that are distressed yet easy to hum, and guitar riffs that linger in your head after the song has dissipated.
While most young up-and-coming bands have delusions of grandeur, and visions of superstardom dancing in their heads, the boys in Scuzbot have a more basic approach to where they see themselves headed. “To write some badass songs, go on tour, hang out with our friends, eat pizza, and have as much fun as possible,” Mitch exclaims. “Maybe make some fans and some friends on the way.”
And they seem to be accomplishing that goal, with more than their fair share of fun times ensuing during their various travels. “We were booked to play a basement show in West Chester; and when we got there we found out that they didn’t have a P.A. and we had to wire our microphones through some 10-watt amps and play to a crowd of 14 year olds,” recalls Mitch of one memorable gig. “At some point during the show, these girls got in front of where the band was playing and started tying each other up with belts and hitting each other. I ended up being tied up and whipped as well. And there was another show where Tyler forgot to wear a belt and in the middle of a song, his pants fell down. He continued the rest of the show in his underwear!”
You can find out more about Scuzbot, whose name, for the uninitiated, comes from an episode of Futurama, at scuzbot.com and facebook.com/scuzlife, and connect with them at scuzlife@gmail,com and @scuzbot_band on Twitter.