From start-up to signed

Neon Warship at Blind Bob’s

By Allyson Crawford

Photo: [l to r] Kevin Shindel, Matt Tackett and Jay Bird of Neon Warship; photo: Tim Anderl 

“The band is kind of like my dream idea of what I want to do,” Neon Warship vocalist/guitarist Kevin Schindel told the Dayton City Paper. “I’ve always been in bands where I screamed my head off and never actually sang, so this is a kind of different feel.”

You can classify Neon Warship as stoner metal or even doom, but for Schindel, their sound is just a mix of his favorites: classic rock and heavy metal.

“I always liked the sound of classic rock, but I’ve always played in heavier bands, so I guess that’s how it comes across,” Schindel said. “When we started this band, I just wanted to play hard rock. I didn’t think about where it would take us.”

The band formed back in 2010 as a bit of fluke, because Schindel wasn’t necessarily looking to build a formal project like Neon Warship. Instead, he was looking for a more casual arrangement, maybe just “some guys to jam with” – but fate intervened.

“I was looking for someone to jam with for a while and nothing was working out,” he said. “Then bass player Matt Tackett, from our old band Twelve Tribes, contacted me. He wanted me to get together with drummer Jay Bird just to see if I wanted to play. Matt and Jay and I have known each other since the ’90s. We’ve been playing in bands with each other, or in other bands that I’ve gone to see them play in. It was cool how it all came back around. Matt and Jay were actually getting together to kind of reform their old band, Waking Kills the Dream. They were going to do a reunion show and it didn’t happen. Instead, Matt called me up and asked me to jam.”

The trio quickly went from “just jamming” to playing actual gigs around town and in other cities. In an exceptionally short amount of time, Neon Warship went from start-up to signed, recently inking a deal with Detroit-based Small Stone Recordings. Sure, the band submitted a demo to Small Stone the old-fashioned way and their songs were ignored. It wasn’t until Neon Warship put some of their music up on Bandcamp the label got interested. Things really heated up when the members of Columbus-based Lo Pan, also on Small Stone, mentioned Neon Warship to the label owner. After that, things changed. Suddenly, Neon Warship was signed and in need of more songs. The band is currently in the process of recording an official full-length debut and four songs are “basically” finished. “Basically,” because Schindel will noodle on songs long after the rest of the guys think they’ve got a finished product.

“Things kind of go one direction for a while and sometimes I’ll go back even after a song is finished and then rework some parts,” Schindel said. “Things are loose as recording goes. I try to keep an open mind and hope my guys don’t mind when I change things on them so often!”

Most of the four songs ready for recording are already part of Neon Warship’s live set, and according to Schindel, they’ve been received well. In fact, the band overall has been embraced warmly by local rock and metal fans.

“I feel very lucky,” Shindel said. “I think Dayton has a tight-knit scene. If someone likes your band, they’ll keep coming out to your shows and people seem willing to go out and check out new bands they don’t know because it’s something to do.”

There are plenty of chances to see Neon Warship live over the next few months. The band will play a big show at Blind Bob’s on Friday, March 21. Fellow rockers Borracho, Valley of the Sun and Imbroglio are also on the bill. Borracho is from the Washington, D.C. area and Cincinnati’s own Valley of the Sun is new to Fuzzorama Records, a label owned by the Truckfighters. If you like to add a little travel to your live music fun, you might consider grabbing some friends for a spring road trip. Neon Warship will participate in the Small Stone Showcase and hit cities like Boston and New York. On May 3-4, the band will play the Eye of the Stoned Goat Festival in Worcester, Mass. as well. That festival boats 20 bands for 20 bucks.

With all the travel, Schindel admitted the band will definitely be busy, but it’s all part of a plan.

“Basically, we’re trying to get our name out there until we drop our CD and then we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we’ll get some cool offers for tours in the future,” he said.

In addition to more stateside touring, the guys in Neon Warship hope to take advantage of Small Stone’s European distribution and get hooked up to play some overseas gigs.
“It’s great to get out of town and tour, but it’s hard to do that,” Schindel said. “You have to be lucky. You need to have people have your back.”

Neon Warship performs on Friday, March 21 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Also on the bill are Borracho, Valley of the Sun and Imbroglio. Admission is $5 for 21 and up. Doors at 9 p.m. For more information, please visit

Allyson B. Crawford lives in Kettering and writes about ’80s metal bands on her daily blog. You can usually find her at all sorts of metal shows around Ohio and across the country. Allyson can be reached at

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About Allyson B. Crawford

View all posts by Allyson B. Crawford
Allyson B. Crawford lives in Kettering and writes about ’80s metal bands on her daily blog You can usually find her at all sorts of metal shows around Ohio and across the country. Allyson can be reached at

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