Sick City searches for a new singer

‘We’re definitely not going to make any quick decisions,’ guitarist says

  • No, that isn’t Moby: Paszkowski, Neufeld, Grabowski and Stevenson are looking for someone to replace the singer they parted ways with in August.

A local band that gained notoriety with the release of its debut full-length in 2007 is searching for a new lead singer.

Sick City announced early last week that they will be seeking a replacement for Josh Youngson, who parted ways with the band in August.

The band – formed in 2005 by guitarists Dave Grabowski and Dorian Paszkowski, bassist T.J. Stevenson and drummer Joel Neufeld – is asking interested individuals to go to to download an instrumental track from their 2007 Smallman Records release Nightlife.

People can record a vocal over top and submit their renditions by e-mailing them to the band or by uploading a video clip of their performance to the band’s YouTube channel,

“The response has been pretty awesome so far,” Grabowski said this past Friday, Oct. 9. He added that in the first five days after making the announcement, the band had received close to 100 submissions, most of which are from the U.S.

“We’ve definitely got some people’s attention, so we’re pretty excited.”

Sick City is currently writing the follow up to Nightlife, an album they recorded with producers Kenneth Mount and Zach Odom (Jimmy Eat World, Death Cab for Cutie).

Throwing pop, metal and punk into an extremely melodic mix, the band’s music earned it spots opening for the likes of Comeback Kid, Protest the Hero and Papa Roach.

Grabowski said Youngson was asked to leave when it became apparent that he could no longer give Sick City his full attention.

“For the last year or so we just kind of felt Josh was maybe a little disconnected from the rest of the band and we felt like his heart wasn’t really in it,” he says. “We weren’t willing to go forward with another record with Josh.”

It was a hard decision to make.

“I’m probably the guy that was the biggest cheerleader for Josh being in the band, because I loved what he brought to it vocally and in terms of songwriting. But, it was inevitable, it seemed.”

Youngson, for his part, doesn’t harbour any ill will toward his former bandmates.

“I still respect them and care about those guys, and I wish them the best in the future,” Youngson said. “I’m pretty proud of what we accomplished together.”

He acknowledges that, while he was still interested in making music with Sick City, it was difficult to make the band a priority over his solo pursuits.

“Personally, it feels great,” Youngson said of the situation. “I feel I have the time to finally do what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.”

Youngson has plans to debut his solo material, under the moniker Owen and the Sea, before the end of the year. He describes the music as more straight-forward pop.

Currently working with two managers, Youngson will most likely release a digital EP through Smallman Records before Christmas, with a full-length to follow in the new year.

“By no means is leaving Sick City a stoppage for me, musically,” he said. “I’m going to keep making records, always.”

Grabowski, meanwhile, would like to see the next Sick City record come out before summer 2010. Still, the guys in the band don’t want to rush things and have not set any deadlines for themselves.

“We’ve been happy with the response so far, but we’re definitely not going to make any quick decisions, and we’re not going to settle.”

Published in Volume 64, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 15, 2009)

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