Sky White is Addicted to Crowd Surfing
The Audience Inspires His Daredevil Theatrics
Foxy Shazam has been making a name for itself since 2004, touring constantly and releasing four albums to date. With a keyboardist who is sometimes referred to as the “Evel Knievel of rock and roll” and having openly admitted their ambition “to be the biggest, most ostentatious band on the planet,” the Cincinnati-based quintet delivers heavy, keyboard-driven pop/rock with a ‘70s glam flare. Their last album, The Church of Rock and Roll, was released in 2012 on I.R.S. Records with the single “I Like It” reaching the top five of Billboard’s mainstream rock chart.
Playing Chops + Showmanship…
Keyboardist Sky White, an accomplished player with a classical and jazz background, anchors Foxy Shazam’s powerful sound with the RD-700NX Digital Piano. The band is known for its intense live shows, and Sky White plays every show like it’s his last. On stage, he’s a rare and refreshing combination of chops and over-the-top showmanship, taking risks that few keyboard players would ever consider. It’s not uncommon for Sky White to stand on his stage piano, or to literally toss it into the audience (with the audio and power chords heavily taped to the instrument), stage dive and surf the crowd as they hold him and the piano aloft.
Sky White’s theatrics and playing skill have gotten him noticed, not only by Foxy’s intensely loyal fans, but by the music press as well. In Rolling Stone, a photo of him stage diving with the RD-700NX, was voted by readers as one of the best live concert shots of 2012. Despite this serial torture, Sky’s one RD-700 NX has made it through 450 shows and counting.
Sky White’s Take on His Stage Persona…
As an artist, as a musician, you’re trying to put yourself, your art, into the crowd. I know if I go to a show, I want to see a show. I want to see someone putting their lifeblood into what I’m witnessing. So, literally, if I don’t feel like I’m about to die after a set, I feel like I’ve let people down. After a set, if you see me, I can’t talk right. I can’t converse with people. I’m probably bleeding out of somewhere in my body. I have scars all over my body from things that have happened on stage.
On Playing with Foxy Shazam…
For me, the Foxy Shazam keyboard/piano style is whatever it takes to get the sound out. On stage, a lot of that is uncontrolled violence and insanity and throwing the instrument and stomping on it and lots of slides going into chords, lots of very strong hitting of notes. In the studio, I have to tame that back a little bit. But still, on every record there’s screaming into a piano or the smashing of a keyboard or things that are just used to get the full intensity out of the instrument.
I also try and play in ways that I haven’t heard before, or pull out voicings that I wouldn’t think normal piano players or keyboard players would come up with. So I try and come up with stuff that’s just a little bit outside of the box. And then if that doesn’t work, I’ll go back to basics and just do chords. But I also try to go with something that’s more creative, more personal, because you know, it’s art. You’re supposed to do something that’s unique for you.
Keyboard Magazine’s Video…
We’re not the only ones impressed by Foxy Shazam’s theatrics. Check out this video posted by Keyboard magazine. It was taken at the infamous Roxy on the Sunset Strip in LA. What are your thoughts on the band’s showmanship? Is there another performer or band with an over-the-top performing style that we should know about? Share with us! Drop us a comment with a link to a video or website.
Published by Keyboardmag1
August 6, 2013 @ 9:52 pm
Crochetcatpause is a pretty wild synth punk band from Detroit. Total weirdos!
July 18, 2013 @ 2:48 pm
Truly the most exciting, energetic, and true rock and roll experience I have ever seen. The band I have been awaiting my entire life has finally arrived.
June 23, 2013 @ 9:11 am
Ive seen some huge bands including Aerosmith, KISS, Foo Fighters, Rolling Stones, etc… and Its tough to say if Ive ever seen better stage presence at a concert than at a Foxy Shazam. If theyre near you, seeing them is a must. you will be wowed. Laughing and dancing is easy with them.
June 20, 2013 @ 8:16 pm
I’ve been to three Foxy shows including the first time I saw them opening for Panic! at the Disco (they stole the show, with ease, in terms of stage presence) . It was Sky White who stood out to me as I’m watching their set. He was doing spinning leg kicks over his roland as he played and culminated his performance by jumping onto the piano and screaming back at the audience. Foxy’s stage presence is incredible and I would recommend seeing them if you can.