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Roving Scallywags get punk fans Irish up

Band review

By Chris Rugowski

The Roving Scallywags made some new discoveries while apart during the pandemic year.

When people think of punk rock, they don’t often associate sea shanties and Celtic roots with the genre. Still the Roving Scallywags lean on their Irish heritage, using it to inspire their brand of punk for nearly eight years now.

The band earned a 2020 WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) award in the Folk/Celtic Artist genre. Don’t let the ‘Folk’ in the title of the award fool you, these lads are as raucous as a basement punk band gets.

This band thrives in a live setting, including engaging their audience. From the moment they hit the drums and the guitar strums, the audience becomes part of their act. Their energy is addictive, their songs are funny, and the camaraderie within the group as they joke around on stage and poke fun at one another makes the show all the more amusing.

The Roving Scallywags combine Celtic roos with punk sound.

Discoveries during the pandemic

During 2021, the band was able to start on their new album, following up their 2020 LP, Live and Sober…Ish. The new album is currently seven songs strong, with some new material to be road-tested in front of crowds. The band said it was able to hone in on some new inspirations, and come together in new ways during the pandemic year.

Bassist, Craig Ladewaig, said they were able to create individual playlists so everyone could continue to think about new material and hear where their individual inspirations came from.

Vocalist and lead guitar player, Mark Wisneski said, although they jam together, each of them still has their own sound to bring to the group as a whole.

“It’s kind of neat because there’s not too many songs that overlap between us (band members) either. It’s pretty much everyone has their own flavor,” said Wisneski.

“You listen to some of the guitar parts and you understand where their thought process was when he was writing that,” said Vocalist Kevin Huss. “They know that I’m going to bring them a three-chord punk song, and they’re the ones that make it into something that’s not just ‘oh another three-chord or four-chord song…’”

The newest release entitled “St. Patrick’s Biggest Fan” is an ode to St. Patrick himself.

“It’s a tongue and cheek reference to people that go out and drink like crazy on St. Patrick’s Day,” said Huss.

Fans of the band can catch up with them at one of their four shows this month just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. They are also opening up for The Tossers at the Lyric Room on Saturday, March 19.

“We are really excited for this show,” Huss said. “We’ve been following this band for years!”

Chris Rugowski is a photojournalist from Green Bay, Wisconsin. He mainly focuses on event photography, with an emphasis on bands and music. When he’s not doing live event photography, he focuses on landscapes and macro as well as writing narrative pieces to accompany photos. His work can be found here.

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