By Alisa Levi-D’Ancona
Abner Who? No really, that’s the name of one of the Fox Valley’s very own bands that’s breaking out into the music industry big leagues. If the “Who?” part is still tripping you up, fear not; I’m here to explain.
They might’ve slipped under your radar, since they currently reside in L.A., but Abner Who? is comprised of four friends: Tyler Polzin on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Jake Kaukola on drums, Skel on lead guitar and background vocals, and Mitch Rassman on bass and background vocals. The group describes their sound as groove rock, blending classical rock (Led Zeppelin, Black Crows) and modern rock influences (Radiohead, Raconteurs).
“Each song is its own entity instead of whitewashing an album for the purpose of unifying it,” Skel explained. “We make a point to change it up in our songs. We like to keep our fans on their toes.”
This isn’t your neighbor’s garage band. Each member of Abner Who? graduated with a B.A. in music. Skel and Rassman started jamming in high school in the Fox Valley, while Minnesotans Polzin and Kaukola met Skel and began playing together in college. Skel graduated and moved out to L.A., and when the other members graduated a year later, they hopped on the first plane westward. They’ve been rocking together ever since.
Even though Abner Who? enjoys its camaraderie, the members take their music and their fans’ experiences very seriously. Skel commented, “If you hear a song of ours on the radio, we want you to feel like you can’t turn to a different station, like you can’t move past the song. We want our fans to feel emotion, and a variety of them, and it’s up to them which ones they experience.”
Though Abner Who? has relished its budding music career thus far, the band wants to take it to the next level. After sending out their self-titled album to a big name producer, the group is thrilled to be talking about signing with a studio.
“It was a combination of our persistence to move forward and sheer luck,” Skel said.
However, this promising business venture hasn’t stopped Abner Who? from moving forward with its newest project: a second album with the aim to push the boundaries of the groove rock genre.
“The album is going to be half new songs we’re writing now through winter and half songs of ideas we’ve been toying with since before we released our first album,” Skel described enthusiastically. “We had a lot of sound ideas that never got solidified. It took time recording the songs and being able to find the right grooves and riffs, but we’re happy with the results. It was worth the wait.”
The album will be diverse, from a three-minute hard rock song to a drawn out groove-base song in odd time signatures. Abner Who? fans can look forward to keeping up with the unexpected.
But why wait? Abner Who? will be in the Fox Valley this New Year’s Eve, performing at Sidelines Sports Pub & Grill in Neenah with friends Red Light Saints. It’s their first chance to play in front of their hometown, and the show will preview five or six brand new songs that will feature on their new album.
“There’s a special place in all of our hearts for musicians,” Skel said. “If you appreciate that kind of music, the real bands, and enjoy people getting up there and playing it for you, then I think you’d enjoy the concert.”
What better way to ring in the New Year than by discovering new music with familiar friends?
For more information on Abner Who?, visit their website www.abnerwho.com.