Let’s turn the dial back to the late 90’s, when New Jersey ska punks Catch 22 released Keasbey Nights. This album would become a staple for me throughout high school. I can’t count the amount of times I listened to it on the ol’ #10 bus to and from school. It’s super fun and catchy and usually makes me want to dance around a bit. It’s still one of my favorite albums and I’m pretty sure it’ll never get old for me. I mean, it’s been over a decade already. How could it?
These days, I listen to Streetlight Manifesto’s re-recorded version more. That statement may be a little confusing if you don’t know anything about Catch 22. You see, soon after Keasbey Nights was released, lead singer and guitarist, Tomas Kalnoky, left the band. To me (and probably some other fans), Catch 22 really wasn’t as good after that. Anyway, later on down the line, Kalnoky formed another band called, you guessed it, Streetlight Manifesto. The re-recorded version was a response to Victory Records’ plans to re-release Keasbey Nights. This explanation was offered:
We wanted to get it right for once. Plus it helps me sleep at night knowing blood, sweat, and tears were put into a record as opposed to making people pay thirteen bucks for a record and they only get flashy new cover art. This release is a preemptive strike, I guess. Whatever you want to call it, it’ll piss people off, and that, at the end of the day, is all that really matters.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s when a CD is re-released untouched sonically, with a new cover and maybe a live video, and kids are duped into buying this new edition of something they already have. I was upset when I was told the guys were going to do this for Keasbey, so I offered to re-record it because I’ve always thought it sounded like pure garbage sound-wise. Plus the budgets we get are laughable, particularly for a band with seven musicians to record. So we used some of our own money and took our time with this one. I’ll tell you right now, we have no intent on hiding our intentions. We wanted to prevent the re-release of Keasbey untouched as well as get the record to sound how it should have sounded originally. For that we sacrificed months of our time and our money, and now we feel what we have is worth paying for. Although, truth be told, I don’t care if a single record is sold, as it is indeed old music, and kids have a right to know what it is and to decide whether or not they’ll pay for it. Do I think it’s worth thirteen dollars? Yes, very much so, but that’s my opinion. What other people decide, that’s their own opinion. We’re going to keep doing what we do whether or not a single record is sold.
The re-recording is, without a doubt, much cleaner and polished than the original. There are some subtle changes like an extra verse in “Dear Sergio” and other tweaks in the music. If you’ve listened to the original, which I had many times, you can instantly tell the difference in the recording. The drums and horns are a whole lot tighter than the original. And I like it! Don’t get me wrong, the original was with me for a long time (and still is), but you can’t deny how much better the re-recording sounds. I say, it’s an awesome album either way, so listen to whichever version you like.
And now, just like every week, I’d like to share with you some of my favorites. So, sit back and have a taste of the awesome that is Keasbey Nights.