North Jersey Notes: Scottish Widows, Skunk Daze, Audio Empire and More!

I don’t usually write about bands from Staten Island, but when I do, they have to be somewhat interesting. Okay, who am I kidding? Nothing interesting ever comes out of Staten Italy. Cashmier might have been the only band who interested me from the Island of Staten until now. I noticed that these cats, Scottish Widows, are playing Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ on July 25 with my bros Dead Fish Handshake and Knucklebone. So, I decided to check them out and listened to the songs “Drive Me Crazy” and “Threw It All Away” off of their CD, Drive Me Crazy, and while these songs didn’t “drive me crazy,” they also didn’t make me want to “throw them all away” either. Their music was just a little dated for my taste, but that’s not to say they’re a bad band. There’s some great musicianship here in Scottish Widows and much respect for what they’re doing.

Scottish Widows formed in November of 2010 by native Staten Islanders drummer Mikey Vee and guitarist Carl Rizzo, who were only looking to form a classic rock and progressive blues cover band. It was through this process that they found singer Steve Visconti, who some might remember from the band Rahway, and bass player Al Russo, who according to Mike and Carl, really gave “Mike’s hard charging drumming and Carl’s solid melodic riffs an even more progressive edge.” Playing covers wasn’t enough for the Scottish Widows because the creative energy between them was undeniable, and so the road to becoming an original band had begun, which was no surprise to their fans, who wanted to hear original material. This past January, singer Eric Suky replaced Visconti on vocals. Eric brought with him a hard rock and alternative and even country influence, making Scottish Widows even more diverse.

Scottish Widows have often been compared to bands like Buckcherry, Black Crowes, Stone Temple Pilot, and even The Allman Brothers. They currently have three songs available for download—“Drive Me Crazy,” “Threw It All Away,” and “Can Ya Feel It”—on their website, Now, I’m sure that what I wrote earlier will be taken the wrong way, but I will say it again: Scottish Widows are a pretty good band. As for me, I would love to see what they can do live. I’m sure they have plenty of fans who are into what they are doing and for that I have nothing but respect for them. In fact, I urge you to check them out at Dingbatz on July 25 with Dead Fish Handshake and Knucklebone!



How about that Johnny Knollwood from Skunk Daze? I just featured them a couple of months ago and Johnny has been no stranger to this column. Anyway, Johnny won the opportunity to perform a 15-minute acoustic set opening for Foreigner and Styx at the Prudential Center in Newark a couple of weeks ago. He won the chance through radio station Q104.3’s “Next Jukebox Hero” contest. He says that all he did was send in his solo song “Flashing Light” and the station asked for two more songs, which landed him the gig of a lifetime. So, a huge congrats go out to him on the gig! Johnny also says that he and Skunk Daze hope to have their as-yet-untitled CD out before the end of the summer. For more on Skunk Daze, log onto

I know that I just mentioned my bros from Audio Empire last week, but this week I have to mention the departure of guitarist Abe Ruiz, who had a huge presence in the band with his guitar work. Abe was Audio Empire’s guitarist for the past year, but has decided to leave the band to pursue his own musical endeavors. So, good luck to Abe! That being said, Audio Empire welcome new axe-slinger, Dan Neary, from Edison, NJ, whom I’ve gotten to see some video of and I have to admit is very impressive. Dan spent some time with Shawn Mars and Derailer. Catch Dan with Audio Empire on July 18 at Tenth Street Live in Kenilworth, NJ and give him a proper welcoming (shots)! Then log onto Audio Empire’s Facebook page,, to welcome him in a nicer way!

And finally, after a little bit of a hiatus, Tommy London and his boys The Dirty Pearls are ready to return to action. According to their Facebook page, they’re in the middle of lining up a slew of dates with a kickoff on August 21 at The Bowery Ballroom in NYC for an event being called “Barnstorming The Bowery,” and the lineup is killer! Not only will The Dirty Pearls be playing, but they’ll be joined by Killcode, Mother, Ten Ton Mojo, The Threads, The Liza Colby Sound, J And The 9s, and DJ Ian El Dorado. What a way to get the party started, huh? Check it out on August 21 at the Bowery Ballroom and check out The Dirty Pearls by logging onto

That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140, Little Falls, NJ 07424, or you can email me at, where you can also let me know where you’re performing next!


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

Tim Louie is the Author of S**t Happens.

NJN Concert Calendar:

7/11—Starcazt/Murder League All Stars/Off Top/Loc Ness/This Time Counts/Phillo$ophy—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ

7/11—October 31/RattleheaD/Solace Of Requiem/Midnite Hellion/Paralysis/We…Our War— Championship Sports Bar and Grill, Trenton, NJ

7/13—Farewell My Love/Jamie’s Elsewhere/Famous Last Words/Lionfight/The Blessing Of This Curse/That Of A Lion/My Finest Regards—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

7/13—Coldsteel/Gothic Knights/Sanitarius/Shitkill—The Emporium, Patchogue, NY

7/16—Blacklite District/Another Lost Day/Lullwater—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

7/17—Blameshift/Dive/New Day Dawn/Brendan Starr/Coreplay—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

7/18—Another Distraction/Spider Rockets/Audio Empire/Modern Suits/Local Hero/VIV – Views Into Vastness—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ

7/18—Blameshift/Dive—The Legendary Dobbs, Philadelphia, PA

7/18—Rave La Kill—The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY

7/19—Dr. Chud X-Ward/Sinners/Sonic Creeps—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

7/19—Burnout Star—Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA

7/25—Deadfish Handshake/Scottish Widows/Knucklebone—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

7/25—Pedestrian Knock Down/Revel 9/Killcode/Craving Strange—Revolution Bar and Music Hall, Amityville, NY

7/29—Counterparts/Young Graves/Years End/Illusionist/Provenance—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

7/31—Dying Eyes Of Sloth/Cannibal Corpse—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

8/2—Syrens Calling/Leeds/Driven Mad/Sinsanity/Beyond Visible/Four Nights Gone—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

8/2—John Corabi—The Legendary Dobbs, Philadelphia, PA

8/3—Landon Tewers/I Am King/It Lives, It Breathes—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

8/8—TNA/King’s X—Stage 48, NYC

8/9—Thanatotic Desire/Seas Of Wake/This Is A Lifetime/Die A Hero/Framework—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

8/9—Ixion Lux/Stagger/Negative Sky/Scars Of Envy/Ashes Of Your Enemy/Ketosis/Xero Gravity—The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ

8/9—Knucklebone—Vasa Park, Budd Lake, NJ

8/9—The Bullet Boys/Flowers To Flames—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ

8/10—Black Tongue/Villains/Lifeforms/Dealey Plaza/Beyond Treachery/Spawned/Depreciator—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

8/11—Forevermore/Restless Streets—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

8/14—Stickup Kid/Seaway/Candy Hearts/Driver Friendly/McCalister/Legends—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

8/20—Everyone Dies In Utah/The Paramedic/Sirena/Illuminate Me—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

8/21—The Dirty Pearls/Killcode/Mother/Ten Ton Mojo/The Threads/The Liza Colby Sound/J And The 9s/DJ Ian El Dorado—The Bowery Ballroom, NYC