Steel Train

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Steel Train

Steel Train is an indie rock band which formed in 1999 in New Jersey, United States. They consist of Jack Antonoff (vocals, guitar), Daniel Silbert (guitar), Evan Winiker (bass, vocals), Justin Huey (keyboards, vocals) and Jon Shiffman (drums) The band began when two friends, Jack Antonoff and Scott Irby-Ranniar, sharing a common love of music, began playing together. They busked in subways and alleyways in New York, and in 1999/2000 recorded a demo that garnered a large degree of record label interest. Despite the array of offers, the guys, now called Steel Train (after lyric in a Sublime song) eventually chose to sign with Drive Thru Records particularly drawn by the support but also artistic freedom the label offered. In 2002, the band recorded their debut ep entitled 'For You My Dear,' recruiting Evan Winiker (formerly of NJ emo band Random Task) and Matthias Gruber to help with recording and touring. The two later became full members of the band, first Winiker (who was presented as a full member in the promotional pieces for that same ep, released in January 2003) and later Gruber, who joined with second guitarist Matthew Goldman to complete the band and create Steel Train. Together the band went on to record the '1969' ep (a CD of cover versions of songs from that year that inspired the band and their sound), and a year later their debut album 'Twilight Tales From The Prairies Of The Sun,' released in 2005. In December of 2006 the band announced that they would be departing ways with Matthias Gruber (drums) and Matt Goldman (guitar) who chose to pursue other interests. The positions were filled by tour manager Daniel Silbert on guitar and Jon Shiffman on drums. The band often polarizes opinions, mainly based around the fact that the style of rock they play is more 'classic' (Jack often jokes the band was "30 years too late"), yet people see them as very much a part of the emo/pop-punk scene (mainly due to their Drive Thru Records connections). They are well noted for their impressive live shows and 'jamming' ability. The lead singer, Jack, also used to date Scarlett Johansson and the song Better Love off of Twilight Tales from the Prairies of the Sun is about/makes reference to her [1] [2]. Though Better Love is a song strictly about her, he also references her in "2 O'clock'" and "Dig". "Josie smiles and laughs, while me and Scarlett will smoke our hash." [3]and "oh, my scarlet you had a real friend in me."Lyrics [edit] Current Members * Jack Antonoff - Vocals, Guitar, Piano * Evan Winiker - Bass, Backing Vocals * Daniel Silbert - Guitar, Backing Vocals * John Shiffman - Drums, Percussion [edit] Past Members * Matthias Gruber - Drums, Percussion * Matthew Goldman - Guitar, Backing Vocals * Scott Irby-Ranniar - Vocals, Percussion [edit] Listen at Last.fm


Early in 2000, Jack was busy writing songs that he would play on the commons of his high school, and while Scott was making his career as a singer. The two of them met and started playing together. Steel Train was born. Raised in Harlem, Scott Irby-Rannier had been singing professionally since the age of two, and had more recently played "Young Simba" in the original Broadway production of Disney's "The Lion King." Jack, who grew up in New Jersey, names his biggest influences as Bob Dylan, Crosby Stills and Nash, and what he calls "the greatest band of all time", The Beatles. His eclectic taste in music is as evident in his songwriting as Scott's is in his singing. Jack's laid-back, soulful songs are easy on the ears, and when combined with Scott's rich, melodic tone, the product is something truly unique. The two quickly became friends and practiced whenever they could. They laid down a few tracks at a friend's studio, and before long, record labels were talking about this duo. "It was the obvious choice. Drive-Thru was the only label that told us if we were making the music we loved, they would put out our records. They stand for everything in music that we do." Evan Winiker, a childhood friend of Jack's, then joined the band. Evan, a skilled bassist, brought a real sense of completion to the project. The three complemented each other perfectly. They were finally a band.

"Each of us has something different to bring to the table," Evan says. "Jack envisions a melody, and then Scott makes it his own with his voice, and by the time we have added all of the music, it sounds nothing like it did in the beginning. It's a constantly evolving process." Scott's feeling about the band is simple. "Three people coming together, each doing what they love more than anything else in the world, is just an amazing thing." This sentiment perfectly categorizes everything that the boys in Steel Train stand for, that is, a genuine love of music. "I think it all really comes down to your definition of success," says singer Jack Antonoff. "If success to you equals magazine covers then you may be searching for a long time. We are really lucky in that we're just three guys who love to play music."

The band has managed to produce a collection of beautiful, poignant melodies that will stick in your head and stir your soul. The effect of Steel Train's music is as complex as it is innocent. This past summer, Steel Train had the honor of adding to the wide range of sounds on the Vans' "Warped Tour," kick starting their live performance career.
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