Two-tone has gone orange and black, thanks to ska-goth band Grave Danger! Ahead of Halloween, the group wants to get you in the spooky spirit with some help from a paranormal private eye.
What do you do when you’re a ska fan, and you drop your candy while Trick-or-Treating? You pickitup-pickitup-pickitup. All (terrible) joking aside, Chicago’s Grave Danger shows that ska can be as much a part of Halloween as horror movies and full-sized candy bars. The band — Dave Schwantes, Dane Erbach, Chris Marcanti, Margaret Miller, Andy Miller, and Emily Erbach – has delivered a high-powered horn blast of goth-ska (“skath”) goodness on past Halloweens, and this year, they’re getting the party started early. In “Specter Inspector,” premiering on HollywoodLife, the Grave Danger introduces a ghostly gumshoe, an undead detective, a spooky sleuth in search of creepy clues. The band also delivers a massive amount of fun, and if you’re not grinning like a Jack O’Lantern at the end, you might be dead.
“I’ve always enjoyed ‘ska spy songs’ in the tradition of ‘Spy Market’ by Let’s Go Bowling and ‘Seventh Street Gangster’ by Dance Hall Crashers,” says Grave Danger’s David Schwantes, “and I thought the phrase ‘specter inspector’ was just funny. This song was a chance to lean into a driving bass line, a slinky horn part, and lots of organ and build a film noir style detective world full of ghosts and supernatural intrigue.”
“Specter Inspector” marks the band’s first new music since their 2019 EP, Tomb Who It May Concern. The five-track release included tracks like “Give Up The Ghost,” “Bigfoot Beach,” and a devilish version of The Misfits’ “Halloween.” Both Tomb It May Concern and 2018’s Let ‘er RIP! should be added to this year’s playlist (and, if your heart bleeds black and orange 24/7, Grave Danger should be blasting out your speakers well past Thanksgiving and into New Year’s.) Whether or not the recent “ska-nnisance” is true remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Grave Danger is a spooky delight, full of ghoulish charm and monstrously infectious hooks.
Grave Danger was born out of the minds of David Schwantes and Dane Erbach, two high school friends who spent their youth in Chicago’s suburbs by brainstorming fake bands with their friends. Fifteen years later, the two decided to blend Reel Big Fish’s playful attitude with the skulls and zombies you’d find in any Blitzkid record. It helped that both David and Dane played in ska bands before, and thus, were able to recruit a legion of fiends, freaks, and similarly-minded weirdos.
So when you’re two-stepping and skanking along at this year’s Halloween parties, don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing along to a ghost. Just crank up the Grave Danger, pop open a couple of pumpkin-flavored drinks, and have the best “Skalloween” ever!