Squirt Gun Warriors
Local ska band set to release first full length album
By Savanna RoncoPosted Dec 27, 2012
Baton Rouge ska band Squirt Gun Warriors has been growing up fast, touring the greater part of the east side of the country before any of its four members could legally have a drink.
Mike Crapanzano (19, vocals/keyboard), Aidan Dykes (20, guitar/vocals), Nick Lauve (19, bass), and Chris Bryant (19, drums) formed Squirt Gun Warriors in late 2009 while attending high school together. They were all in the school band. Fun fact: Dykes and Bryant both played the clarinet. The summer after the Warriors’ junior year, their parents drove them around for their first two-week tour.
Since then, the guys of SQW have been working hard to develop a successful, independent name for themselves. Two large tours have led them to perform in cities like Washington, D.C., Miami, Houston, and Chicago, just to name a few.
To put it simply, they’ve grown up. They still can’t resist the urge to point out a brilliant sexual innuendo, or pick up a peanut scoop in a coffee shop and pretend like it’s an instrument, but they’re trying.
And as the guys of SQW grow, so does their music. In fact, according to Dykes, the general “ska” genre that branded the band for its first two years doesn’t quite cover the wide variety of sounds that the band is trying to capture in their first full-length album, set to debut in 2013.
“The new album is different and a lot weirder,” Crapanzano said. “I recently made a flyer and wrote that we’re going to be moving toward a new genre. I thought ‘dream punk/pop ska’ might cover it, but we haven’t agreed on anything yet.”
In April 2012, the band released a double single, featuring two songs from their upcoming first album, “Lucky Hat” and “Give Me Something to Complain About.” Apart from those two singles, the band hasn’t released anything from the new album. They’re a little nervous about changing the name of their genre before releasing the new music.
“The thing is,” Crapanzano said, “if someone reads that we call ourselves ‘dream punk,’ and then go and listen to our old stuff, they’ll think that we don’t know what we’re talking about. But it’s what we’re trying to move towards with the new album.”
So far, SQW has somewhere between 15 and 20 new songs written for the album. It sounds like a lot, Crapanzano acknowledged, but he explained that as a band the guys are picky about what they release, even joking that they’ve turned into hermits lately, slowing down on touring to take the time to carefully plan a full-length album, which they’re hoping to release in June 2013.
In the meantime, the band has been practicing three or four times a week, now that school is out (they’re all sophomores at LSU) and they’re together in Baton Rouge.
“It’s like, why not practice, you know?” Crapanzano said. “We all enjoy playing with each other.”
“Wow, there’s so many innuendos happening there,” Dykes said, unable to control his laughter.
“Yeah,” Bryant agreed, “I was about to say ‘That’s what she said,’ but that’s a little immature.”
“Yeah, Chris, that’s a little immature for the Squirt Gun Warriors,” Crapanzano said sarcastically, adding that the worst part of the band name Squirt Gun Warriors is when he has to explain it to his parents’ friends and other older people, knowing that they probably won’t take him seriously afterward.
The guys of SQW don’t have to worry about being taken seriously by their fans, however, with two large tours under their belts and almost 1,000 likes on their Facebook page. Touring has become second nature to the band, which spent five weeks last summer touring around the Northeast and Southeast in a van. SQW stayed in the homes of people with whom they had played, or with kind locals. They grilled food in parking lots. They also documented their journey by blogging. At least once every couple of days, Dykes would log on to the band’s Tumblr site and update fans across the country about what they had been doing on tour. Spoiler alert: they had a really interesting time.
“I think something to brag about is that we went five weeks on tour and we always had a place to stay,” Bryant said. Notice that he didn’t say they always had an ordinary place to stay.
They stayed at an old home in Alabama that was built in 1832 and owned by a man who wrote an entire song about Shadowfax, the horse from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. When they played in Miami, a guy offered to let them stay in a vacant house that he rents to tenants, the last of which he had kicked out that very same day. In Baltimore, they stayed in the home of a woman who runs a program called “Feed the Seed,” which allows touring bands stay at her three-story house for free.
“You’d be surprised how nice people are,” Dykes said.
“The whole experience definitely made me open up our house in Baton Rouge to touring bands,” Crapanzano added.
The guys of SQW, who haven’t performed in Baton Rouge since July 2012, all said that they have really missed touring. They’ll be playing their first show back in Baton Rouge on Jan. 3 at HTGT Thrift, alongside The Lollies, The Best of the Worst, and Dead Legends. A fifth member, Kenny, from Michigan, will be joining the band for the Baton Rouge show, as well as a show in Tampa, which the guys promise will make the show fun and even more interesting. They’ll also be playing some of their new music.
“Everything we’ve done in the past just feels so rushed,” Bryant said. “This is like the polar opposite.”
“We really tried to take our time with this,” Dykes added. “We think it’s going to be great, though. The fans will actually be able to hear what our sound is going to be like now.”
Squirt Gun Warriors
@ HTGT Thrift