North Jersey Notes: KrashKarma

Last year I wrote about a band from Long Island called Chiba-Ken, and it turns out, these guys ended up doing exactly what I’ve dreamed about doing—moving my band to Los Angeles and becoming part of their music scene! Well, they did it, and I didn’t! Along the way they’ve made some friends, including one band called KrashKarma, who happens to have landed a few residencies in NJ, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. That’s why I am featuring them this week on North Jersey Notes. Oh, and the fact that they rock, too! They remind of another local band that I wrote about called Forever Oeuvre, which featured Ronnie Paige from Fuel and Chad Szeliga from Breaking Benjamins. On the national front, they remind me of Lacuna Coil.

KrashKarma formed under the name Suicide Holiday in 2005. They’ve independently booked 12 national tours on their own, played in Germany, they’ve produced two EPs, and have sold over 5,000 units out of the back of their ‘78 Dodge Van since their inception. KrashKarma’s hard work did not go unnoticed in the Hollywood scene, though, as they won the Rock City News award for Best Independent Touring Band of 2007. Singer and guitarist Ralf Dietel formed KrashKarma after his 30-day career as Nine Inch Nails’ guitar player came to an end. On the drums and vocals is New Jersey native, Niki Skistimas, who’s not just a pretty girl who doesn’t just play the drums, she destroys them! Rounding out KrashKarma is Zak Bowman on lead guitar and Said Gamha on the bass.

In January 2009, KrashKarma released their new EP, Seven Deadly Sounds, which features the catchy “Fall Asleep,” the anthemic “Fists Don’t Fail Me,” and the biographical “No One.” They have been on the road supporting the EP since it was released and they’re not done yet. You can catch them here in Jersey, Brooklyn, and Philly for the whole month of October! Give them a listen at or


Looks like former Serin singer Billy Ruggles has finally found a new band. I recently got a text from him saying that he was playing in a new band called Dummy Jar. I did go to their site to give them a listen, but there were no vocals on the songs yet. I guess they’re still working on them. Anyway, keep an eye out for Billy Ruggles and his new band Dummy Jar by logging onto

The Compulsions recently performed an industry showcase down at The Bowery Electric in NYC. Why was this showcase so special? Well, for this performance only, The Compulsions featured founder and singer Rob Carlyle, Richard Fortus and Frank Ferrer from the new Guns ‘N Roses, and the legendary Sami Yaffa from The New York Dolls. What a sick line-up! Find out more about The Compulsions—“The Coolest Band in the World”—at

And finally, did one of my favorite bands in the area, Hello Eden, break up? I only ask this because I noticed that my brother and drummer Eric “E-Rock” Cohen was playing in a touring band called Just Kait. After further investigation, it turns out, the band did not break up. According to their MySpace page,, they are taking a much-needed break from the music thing. Of course, Eric, the ever-loving music lover, couldn’t take a break and took a gig playing drums for a Jersey touring band called Just Kait. You can give them a listen at

That’s all for now! And remember, if your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your demos and press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140 Little Falls, NJ 07424. No cover bands, please!

Just remember….We’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts!

NJN Concert Calendar:

10/2—Milan—The Old Bay, New Brunswick, NJ

10/2—Black Water Rising/Cycle of Pain—Crocodile Rock, Allentown, PA

10/2—Mercury Morning/Marcy Playground—The Chance, Poughkeepsie, NY

10/3—Christine Martucci and the Ladies of Rock ‘N’ Roll—The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

10/3—Daylow—Festival in the Borough, Washington, NJ

10/3—Our Black Friday—The Cup, Linden, NJ

10/3—Split Point—The Court Tavern, New Brunswick, NJ

10/6—KrashKarma—The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ

10/7—KrashKarma—The Trash Bar, Brooklyn, NY

10/8—Steel Panther—Mexicali Café, Teaneck, NJ

10/9—Rahway/Mean Venus/Infernophonic/UFO—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

10/9—Our Black Friday—The Bitter End, NYC

10/10—Saint Caine/The Dirty Stayouts—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

10/11—KrashKarma—J.D. McGillicuddy’s, Philadelphia, PA

10/11—Split Point—The Crossroads, Garwood, NJ

10/13—KrashKarma—The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ

10/14—KrashKarma—The Trash Bar, Brooklyn, NY

10/15—KrashKarma—Sweeny’s, Philadelphia, PA

10/17—Diablo Royale—Crash Mansion, NYC

10/17—Crawl 2 Chaos—Uncle Mike’s, NYC

10/18—KrashKarma—J.D. McGillicuddy’s, Philadelphia, PA