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    Caustic Casanova
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    A heavy rock band that formed 10 years ago at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, Caustic Casanova has changed personnel and weathered some serious bad breaks since then, but they have emerged louder and stronger than ever, judging from their aptly named release, "Breaks," out September 25 on Retro Futurist. Opening for fellow rockers and label-owners Kylesa at Zanzabar this Sunday, the three members of CC took some time to talk about the new album and upcoming tour. 

    This is drummer Stefanie Zaenker's first full tour since recovering from two broken wrists, a serious injury that required months of physical therapy and many hours of recovery work on her own. "A lot of the stretching devices my therapists made looked like instruments used for torture, but damn, was it worth it because I got all of my mobility back in both wrists in time to play a show 4 months later! I have metal in both wrists that will stay there forever, but I only really feel it in the form of soreness when the weather changes dramatically. Other than that I feel completely recovered." 

    Zaenker's repaired wrists weren't the only challenge as CC headed into the studio. They were also transitioning between lead guitarists. Andrew Yonki impressed them the most in auditions, and it helps that he was also a familiar face -- a friend, as well as a CC fan, familiar with their music. Bassist Francis Beringer credits Yonki with adding some important elements. "He brought a louder, more demonic edge to our band. We're definitely a heavier band because of his influence, which is where I wanted to go anyway, so it worked out perfectly."

    Putting the new album together was a collaborative effort, weaving together threads of songs for which Beringer and Zaenker had already worked out bass and drum parts with Yonki's guitar wizardry. Beringer also enjoyed the unfamiliar job of putting lyrics and vocals to song structures that Yonki brought to the band. "I had to think as a singer and lyricist as well as a bassist and arranger from the very beginning. It was a fun  challenge and a new way of looking at songwriting. Fitting your words and melodies onto someone else's riff ideas is a puzzle - fun and frustrating in equal measure."

    For Yonki, his first recording experience with CC as lead guitarist was entirely positive. "The fact that we tracked the scratch tracks for Breaks in a live room together as a band with our live performance setups -- it was so much more comfortable." 

    The members of CC agree that taking risks and bending the genre a bit is what keeps them inspired, and it's one of the reasons they are excited about the new record. Beringer likes the niche that CC has carved for itself: "I don't want to sound like other bands, and when you're wholly committed to that aesthetic, categorization is difficult, which creates confusion, which is in turn inherently risky because often bands that don't fit into "scenes" or neat little boxes have a tough time getting on bills and growing their audiences. That commitment to sonic diversity has always been a burden for this band going back many years. Luckily Retro Futurist Records is a home for bands like ours that don't fit into categories."

    Check out two new tracks from the album on SoundCloud. I highly recommend the relentless drive of "Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues" with its dark, churning energy.

    Caustic Casanova opens for Kylesa at Zanzabar this Sunday, September 6. Tickets for this 21 and over show are $12 in advance from Ticketfly and $15 at the door.

    Selena Frye's picture

    About Selena Frye

    I'm a writer and editor living in Louisville since 1996. I'm originally from the Blue Ridge of Virginia.

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