Artist Spotlight: Panic on Panic, Devils Teeth
An exciting indie rock night occurred at Cactus Club, featuring Milwaukee bands Panic on Panic and Devils Teeth along with Kansas City emo legends Giants Chair. The show celebrated Devils Teeth drummer Chuck Engel’s birthday – happy birthday Chuck!
Panic on Panic is made up of vocalist/guitarist Greg Steffke, bassist Ryan Larsh, keyboardist/trumpeter Jenna Morin, and drummer Kevin J. Frank. The band is three quarters Milwaukee and a quarter Chicago. They have gone through different drummers but their current lineup has existed for about three years.
The band is working on their first EP.
“Ryan and I had started this project quite a while ago,” Steffke said. “It’s been morphing into what everyone saw tonight. We play very infrequently and don’t get a whole lotta time because Kevin is in Chicago. We just finished recording four songs for the EP with Shane Hochstetler…he’s a really old friend of ours. These songs came from me having a really hard time and Ryan brought up playing together, so these songs are basically walking through that time in life. The four that we’re releasing really fit the canopy of a story; they’re about grief, anxiety, addiction…one’s about a cancer survivor too…so a lot of really heavy topics.”
With their drummer living across the state line, the band only gets to practice so often.
“With making the record we spent a lot of time just concentrating on those songs,” Steffke explained. “We were off for about six months and rehearse maybe once every two months as a group, and then we rehearse independently together in the times that we’re off. We have a lot of vocal harmonies so there’s a lot of extra work to be done that we do separate from the whole band.”
Panic on Panic’s EP is now entering the mastering process; they hope to have it out around January time. They are working on a separate single to release later in 2020 as well.
Devils Teeth consists of vocalist/guitarist Jon Hanusa, bassist Eric Arsnow, drummer Chuck Engel, and saxophonist Caleb Westphal. Formed in April 2016, the high-energy quartet take influences of surf, punk, and garage rock while writing largely narrative-based songs. Their debut record “Suki Yaki Hot!” came out in 2018 and they dropped an EP “Jet Jaguar” this past June. They are known for their matching boat outfits.
“We just liked the idea of a band uniform,” Hanusa said about their look. “We just love a good time and good camaraderie.”
Like Panic on Panic, the boys have an EP on the way.
“It’s done,” Arsnow said. “We actually recorded it a month before the first album came out, and then we’ve been slowly piecing it together ever since.”
“It’s gonna be like a spaghetti western concept album,” Hanusa added. “We recorded in a barn in Cedarburg and took our time with it. I’m not a huge fan of the extended recording process myself, so the next one’s gonna be quick and dirty. We’ve got like three plus albums worth of music.”
“Tonight we played two songs off the first album, one off the EP, and seven songs that are unreleased,” Westphal explained.
They also dropped a single “Mondo Lucha” in September.
“We’ve known the Mondo Lucha guys for a long time,” Hanusa said. “I actually wrote that song years ago and we just kinda brought it back to life. We played Mondo Lucha back in September, so we figured we’d bring back the theme song.”
“When we did the barn recording we just recorded a bunch of stuff we already had written just for fun,” Arsnow added. “That song was one of them; technically a lot of the Jet Jaguar EP we were just out there seeing what we could get done. When they asked us to do the show we knew we had to finish it up.”
Devils Teeth are playing a February show in Minneapolis, which will be their first time out of state.
“Who knows…we might change our outfits again,” Hanusa laughed.