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If the name of this Hoboken, NJ band sounds instantly familiar, the resemblance is completely intentional. Skanatra, an energetic 11-member ska band, came together for one primary purpose, to perform ska-styled renditions of Frank Sinatra classics and thereby pay homage to the Chairman of the Board in their own unimitable fashion. Members of Skanatra have backgrounds as diverse as their musical concept is unique. There's lead singer Chairman Sunbeam, who tended bar at the local Hoboken pub, O'Niel's, and Senior Toastmaster Willie. These two Jersey allies began putting the band together on what just very well may have been a beer induced whim. In fact, O'Niel's is where the completed band played the first of many performances and where bassist Bass D. String allegedly came up with the band's moniker. Bass D. String, also a Hoboken native, had been the musical director of the city's Salvation Army Band before joining Skanatra. Florida native Swiggin' Higgin' also signed up as did Hungarian Count De Money, a one-time employee at at local blood bank. Skanatra began to take full shape when fork-lift operator/percussionist Case O'Stengel,'white hot' guitarist Fat Hand and organist Ray Bahn came aboard. The missing piece, that of securing the essential horn section, came about during the band's early rehearsals when three janitors were spotted and pegged to become The Got the Tape on Tuesday Horns. The rest, as they say, is history. Skanatra's self-titled debut of Frank Sinatra cover songs was released on P.O.S. records in the spring of 1999. ~ Roxanne Blanford

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