By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)
After floating in and out of various projects, guitarist and singer Drew Johnson formed Skull’Rz Bane in 2005 with the intent of taking his brand of leather-clad, soaring heavy metal up a notch. However, it wasn’t until a year later that Drew’s daughter, Roxanne, sat behind the drum kit by complete chance, that the band’s line-up was solidified. And what began as a simple jam between a father and daughter, sparked something far beyond what either of them could have ever fathomed.
“And from that moment on, I was the drummer,” said Roxanne.
Skull’Rz Bane then took on a bit of a heavy metal White Stripes vibe, when the father-daughter team began charging forward. And after a slew of bassists that came and went, the band realized that remaining a duo was the perfect route.
“After going through several bass players, Rox and I decided to just move forward as a duo. And it’s been great, we know what to expect from each other and we have a great time doing this!” said Drew.
Skull’Rz Bane have quickly risen to become one of Northeast Ohio’s premiere hard rock/heavy metal acts, continually playing gigs and leaving their mark.
“We’ll play anywhere that lets us and to anyone who’ll want to see us,” said Roxanne. “We also keep a list of every show we’ve ever played.”
It’s this exact mentality, along with innovative promotional tactics, that have propelled the band from a local, to regional, to a quickly blooming national act.
“We’re always looking for new ways to push ourselves and our music and reach new people,” added Drew. “Social media is very important these days and we take advantage of every outlet we can.”
Over the past six years, they have embarked on a handful of tours along the east coast, building a buzz and leaving a lasting impression along the way.
“We have fans in central Massachusetts that are asking when we’re going to come back. It’s a really cool thing,” said Drew.
Despite the increasing success, Skull’Rz Bane remain extremely humbled and focused. They play every gig they possibly can and reach as many fans as possible too. Their determination is unbridled, as they never cancel gigs, not even when one of their own has a serious injury.
“I had a sprained ankle and had to finish the show,” said Roxanne. “My foot was killing me afterward and we had a show the next night. So I kept it iced and wrapped and tried to stay off it as much as possible so I could get through the next night’s show.”
After being stabbed in 2010 and having his wrists broken in a separate instance, Drew remained completely optimistic claiming that good karma had worked in his favor in both of the unfortunate events.
“I was born with some organs out of place. But after the stabbing, I noticed I was able to sing better and harder because I could better control my breathing,” said Drew. “Before I broke my wrists, I was suffering from arthritis in my hands and it would’ve eventually affected my guitar playing. But having the bones broken, it released the arthritis and I haven’t had a problem since.
Not only are the members of Skull’Rz Bane extremely driven individuals, they have killer music that has blown fans away across the region. The crushing thrash-like riffs of “White Crosses” and “Run For Your Life” can appease even the most jaded metal fan, while others like “Welcome to My Prison” and “Masterpiece” showcase their incredibly tight musicality as a two-piece heavy metal band, with the latter also showcasing Roxanne’s unique vocal ability. Cuts from their latest offering, 2012, can be streamed via their ReverbNation page.
Since 2008, Skull’Rz Bane have been the masterminds behind the annual ROXfEST. What started as a birthday celebration for Roxanne with a handful of their peers rocking and partying hard, has now spawned into an annual festival featuring over 40 bands, two stages and an endless supply of ass-kicking, loud rock and roll!
“It’s really cool to be a part of something like this and the people just love it! We can’t wait to do it again this year!” said Roxanne.
ROXfEST 2013 will again take place at Buffalo Hollow, just outside of East Palestine, Ohio on Aug. 23, 24 and 25. Pre-sale tickets as well as submissions for bands and vendors are available at www.roxfest.com.