Fri. Dec 9th, 2022

After touring nonstop for nearly 10 years, seven-piece third-wave ska band, Streetlight Manifesto ,will finally put their feet up. They are currently performing their End of the Beginning tour, most recently playing at the Baltimore Soundstage on Nov. 10; the tour will end in their home state of New Jersey.
Streetlight Manifesto, despite huge critical success and a dedicated fan base, suffered many lineup changes, personnel problems, and touring troubles. While touring in 2005, their van was broken into, losing them tens of thousands of dollars worth of instruments, merchandise, and personal belongings. A few months later in Paris, their van was yet again broken into, and the band lost “the one expensive piece of equipment that wasn’t stolen in (the) debacle, a 24 track hard drive recorder we’ve been using to document our live shows,” lead singer and songwriter Tomas Kalnoky said.
Their sound, based in ska and punk, was known for its diversity, drawing heavily from jazz, latin, and funk. Complex and extremely well-orchestrated layers of horn lines help to flesh out their song structure and overall sound. Kalnoky cites his biggest influences as Louis Jordan, Nirvana, The Drifters, The Dead Milkmen, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and The Martino Latino Experience.
The band formed in 2002 after lead singer and songwriter Tomas Kalnoky left ska-punk band Catch-22 with a few other members in 1998. Streetlight Manifesto was immediately signed to the same label as Catch-22: Victory Records.
After releasing three original full-lengths and one all-covers album on Victory, Streetlight went on a retaliation against Victory, who had withheld the band’s most recent release, The Hands that Thieve. The band called for a boycott against the label, asking fans not to purchase music released on the label, be it directly through them or from online distributors like Amazon and iTunes. They suggested that consumers purchase merchandise through their personal online store, riscstore.com.
Earlier this year, the band released a statement announcing their plans to drastically cut down their touring schedule.
“We’ve solidified plans to tour our well-traveled asses off for one last year, until the end of 2013, at which time we will be not necessarily be moving on from the band, but changing our approach to what we do with the majority of our time. More specifically, we will no longer be touring year round, nor will we be touring much at all anymore.
Streetlight is not actually breaking up, and we have no plans to ever do so, really. As of now, we still plan to play festivals, both in the US and overseas, occasional one-off shows here and there and even sporadic short-run tours. Hell, we may even do an extended tour a few years from now, who can say? One thing is certain, though: we will still make music together. We’ve recently submitted an album (The Hands That Thieve) to the record label we’ve been under contract with since the beginning, and with that, we are now free of a very contentious, very unhappy relationship (you may have heard, ha!) that has caused us much frustration and anguish over the years. We have no plans to ever sign with another label and we will happily continue to release records, on our own and on our own terms.”
While it’s disappointing to hear that such an overwhelmingly talented band must go through hell and back to keep releasing music, it’s comforting to know that, though it’s slowed them down somewhat, they will continue to do what they do best.
Dillon Sweigart is a fouth-year student majoring in Liberal Studies. He can be reached at DS734656@wcupa.edu.
 

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