Kiss the Fish wins Battle of the Bands

Reigning champs take on Clark Hall Pub 

Kiss the Fish will be Clark Hall's 2018-2019 house band.
Photo supplied by band

Clark Hall house band Kiss The Fish’s dedication to each other and their music keeps them afloat in the Kingston music scene.

Having won the Clark Battle of the Bands on Sept. 20, they’ll now be the first band the bar calls when they need some live entertainment.

It’s a nice sense of security compared to the uncertainty of trying to get booked at local bars—or getting to know each other.

In 2015, the first members of the band—rhythm guitarist Cory Scholtz, lead singer Sam Skolrood and trumpet player Mattveeko Hrushewsky—met as first-years in Brant Hall.

Hrushewsky then met lead guitarist, Evan Khodeir, during Frosh Week, before Khodeir ran across Kelby Gutz, a St. Lawrence College student and bass player, while working together in a kitchen.

Then, on one drunken night at a stranger’s party, Scholtz, Skolrood, and Khodeir met drummer Misko McGregor and found the missing piece. Granted, they have no recollection of this happening.

Scholtz woke up to a text from McGregor, asking to start a band.

“We don’t remember meeting him,” Skolrood told The Journal, “We were like, ‘Shit we found someone.’”

Despite their good fortune, the band members weren’t all friends from the start. Skolrood and Hrushewsky didn’t like Gutz at first, saying his size and muscles intimidated them.

When Kiss the Fish played their first show at Clark’s January 2018 Battle of the Bands, they weren’t all friends, but they were getting more comfortable. It was the first time many of them saw their own potential and what they could accomplish in the future.

Their more recent winning outing with Battle of the Bands was a more enjoyable experience—not only because they finally liked each other, but they also had more experience playing in front of a crowd.

It came with time. Since the band’s inception, they’ve had some luck playing at local bars and a few large house parties, including one standout on William Street they can’t even remember outside of the “dancing and grooving.”

Though they all had previous experience playing instruments and singing, they never expected to get to this level of local success. If they hadn’t ever formed Kiss the Fish, the band said they wouldn’t have ever thought of music. It felt like luck.

For one, while Skolrood always sang, his musical success is more recent. He started singing for an audience in high school, with a first outing as Mike Mooney in Paint Your Wagon—and as Khodeir humbly reminded him—a tree.

“I was the only lead part that didn’t have a solo singing because I used to suck at singing,” Skolrood said.

He’s improved since and appreciates his past run-ins with high school theatre critics. Without that play, he may never have found his way to Kiss the Fish.

“The goal would be to stick around Kingston probably, I assume, at least for a bit and then try to make Misko drop out early and go to Toronto,” Skolrood said.

Being reigning champs—and the returning house band—they only hope to keep improving and getting to practice their respective skills.

They have no intention of letting this opportunity pass. They know how lucky they’ve been.

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