Scranton based horror-punk band The Haunting releases new album and gears up to play shows
Just in time for Halloween, Scranton-based horror-punk band The Haunting will release its second full-length CD, “A Day Late, A Dollar Short, and A Penny Dreadful.”
“Basically, we love writing songs, and we’re going to do that until we get sick of each other,” jokes drummer Shawn Modzelewski about his band’s work ethic that bore the new disc. “We know that this is just for fun; we have fun doing it, and we’ll jump on a show if it seems like it’s going to be cool. It’s all very casual.”
Coming together in August of 2014, currently consisting of drummer Modzelewski, who also contributes vocals, guitarist Patrick Mangan, and bassist/vocalist Brian Stritzinger, The Haunting infuses classic Glenn Danzig-led Misfits melodies with a skull-shattering backbeat and inimitable likeability that will easily appeal to fans falling anywhere within the rock realm. It’s music laced with endearing “Whoa-oh” refrains and Johnny Ramone-meets-Steve Jones power-chording that’s as antagonistic as it is appealing. It’s by no coincidence The Haunting will conjure up that Misfits vibe upon a first listen.
“Myself and our old guitar player, Andy, were in a band called Psycho 38,” Modzelewski began, “and our other guitar player, Pat, and bass player, Slug, were in another punk band, Lugosi’s Morphine, from Scranton. None of us were doing anything at the time, so we just decided to get together and play stuff that we liked – which was mostly Misfits covers at first.”
The Haunting’s musical output until now has been of interest due to the manner in which they’ve been releasing music. In true DIY, punk-inspired fashion, the band has released half a dozen singles over the past year since the first self-titled, full-length album in 2014, all via Bandcamp, all with “b-sides,” and on certain singles, as many as four tracks. This has been possible, Modzelewski says, because of the environment in which the band operates.
“We actually record where we practice,” he said. “We’ll just do maybe two or three songs at a time. They’re all written, but how we work it is maybe I’ll go up one night and nail the drums on three songs and build off of that – we’ll get three songs done while we’re working on the next three, until we have an album’s worth.”
The new CD was largely built upon the work of Modzelewski and Mangan, simply out of necessity.
“With the first CD, you brought your songs in pretty much completed and everyone just learned it,” Modzelewski noted. “This time, Pat and I really just kept jamming on ideas, laying things down maybe three or four at a time. Our old bassist and guitarist had left by the time we started this album, so it was just Pat and I – the first half of this CD was just us, until we brought our new bassist in to put basslines down.”
Modzelewski is excited for fans to hear the new material, which actually includes a tempo-trouncing cover of Type O Negative’s “Black No. 1,” although he’s got his own ideas of what stands out on the album.
“There’s a track called ‘She’s a Machine,’ which is actually going to lead off the CD,” he says. “That’s my favorite, and I just can’t wait to play it live. It always sounded more like an album track, which is why we didn’t put it out as a single. The “Cheap Vodka” single, that was very catchy as well. I mention that because it’s a great example of one I love playing, simply because it’s catchy. That’s the one thing about this music – it’s fun to play, and we get all our aggressions out a few nights a week playing it.”
Though Modzelewski says that the new CD will most likely be put up on Bandcamp as the previous singles were, it will also be offered in physical form at the band’s next live dates, which include Oct. 23 at Old Tyme Charley’s in Plains, a gig also featuring The Nonrefundables playing a night of Misfits tunes along with Against The Grain covering a set of Bad Religion music. The Haunting will also participate in Scranton’s Hallowfest on Saturday October 24th at Nay Aug Park.
Modzelewski is happy for the opportunity to showcase the new music, and above all, enjoy the process.
“I guess we’re a little different for this area, from what I’ve heard,” he said lightheartedly. “People call us a punk band, but we just say we’re really a bad metal band, or untalented metal band. The first CD was a little more punk, but this one not as much. As long as people like what they hear, that’s cool.”
Mark is a Northeast Pennsylvania based music journalist who’s enjoyed interviewing legends like members of Iron Maiden, The E-Street Band and Hall & Oates, right down to the garage band next door — intrigued by a great musical story on any level.