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  • OHara Shipe

Astoria State's Danny Resnick ascends to rockstardom

Astoria State

Now covered in bold tattoos, including a large firebird across his throat, it's hard to imagine 30-year-old Danny Resnick sitting down to play classical piano. But there was a time when classical music played an integral, albeit fleeting, role in Resnick's life.

"When I was super young, maybe four or five, my mom put me in piano lessons. Which I wasn't, you know, necessarily super into as a kid. It was also the Suzuki Method of classical piano, which definitely made my enjoyment much lower," laments Resnick.

While Chopin may not have captivated the youngster, the principles of the Suzuki Method provided Resnick the tools to communicate through music. By high school, he had traded in black piano keys for black clothes as his musical interests refocused towards the budding emo movement.

"Oh, yeah, I was definitely an emo kid by high school. That's actually around the time that I taught myself to play guitar and really started working on my writing. I really never stopped playing music," says Resnick.

Armed with a notebook of songs and newly acquired proficiency at guitar, Resnick played open mic nights around Anchorage. Soon, Resnick caught the attention of fellow musicians Dennis Smith and Jared Navarre, who would go on to play in the internationally recognized band, Static Cycle. Although Resnick was primarily focused on creating his solo acoustic music, Smith and Navarre would eventually be his ticket to stardom.

By the time Resnick graduated from Service High School, he was ready to make the leap to becoming a full-time musician. Little did he know that within a few months, he would find himself touring nationally.

"The Static Cycle guys called me in a pinch because they needed a keyboard player, and I jumped. I think my third show for them was opening for Daughtry in Anchorage, so it was pretty surreal," says Resnick.

Only 19 at the time, it was a massive break for Resnick, who continued to tour with the band for several years. Unfortunately, Resnick came plummeting back to earth in 2011 when Static Cycle decided to go on hiatus. Within a short time, Resnick went from performing on some of the nation's biggest stages and living the rockstar life to working construction back in Alaska.

"I guess I did come back [home] but not in any kind of music or social capacity. I was kind of done with touring, so I picked up roadwork and construction jobs for a couple years. Which eventually led me to a higher paying construction town called Seattle," laughs Resnick.

After a few years of life in Seattle, Resnick moved again, this time to Hawaii.

"I just can't stand to be cold! I've tried to do everything I can just to keep myself in places that are hot and sunny," adds Resnick.

However, Resnick's stint of tropical living didn't last long. In early 2020, he received a call from RIAA Gold and Platinum-certified rockers, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

Danny Resnick of Astoria State and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

"Jumpsuit called and said, 'Hey, we're trying to add a keys player, and we want it to be you,'" explains Resnick. "Obviously, that's not a job you turn down even though I had pretty much sworn off touring and kind of like, looked at my life as a little bit more settled at the time. But I thought about it, and you just can't say no to something like that—so, I took the job with Jumpsuit. Of course, this was right before the dumpster fire that was 2020."

True to its moniker, Resnick's 2020 was mired in a lot of unpleasantness followed by periods of hope.

Resnick's first tour as a newly minted member of Jumpsuit was cut short by COVID-19, but not before he and his bandmates found themselves in the middle of a major car wreck. Making their way back to Los Angeles, the band's sprinter van was rear-ended by a driver going 70 miles per hour in Louisiana. At the time, Louisiana had already entered a state of emergency. Hence, the band could not go to the hospital or even leave the state for several days.

"It was one of those 'wow' kind of moments. Like, we definitely got hit very hard, and the van was completely totaled. It was just crazy," says Resnick.

Miraculously unharmed, Resnick made it back to Los Angeles before returning home to Hawaii. However, things were only going to get stranger. Food and necessities were in short supply as lockdowns across the country interrupted shipping routes to the island. Afraid of the long-term outlook of staying in Hawaii, Resnick returned to Alaska to pass lockdown with his family. When things began to open again, he returned to Hawaii only to discover that his beloved dog, Astoria, was terminally ill.

"For me, losing Astoria was the final thing that made me leave Hawaii for good. I just felt like there wasn't anything left there for me," says Resnick.

Beaten down by circumstance, Resnick turned to the one medium that always helped him express his feelings—music. From the chaos and uncertainty of 2020 bloomed Resnick's dream of fronting his own band.

"All of a sudden, we had nothing to do. Jesse Carroll [Jumpsuit's manager] and I had always talked about making a band, so we kind of said to each other, 'Why don't we like write something and see what happens,'" says Resnick.

Carroll would send Resnick guitar parts to add lyrics to, and they quickly realized that they had hit on something special. Soon, the duo became a trio as Resnick called upon fellow Alaskan Cameron Horst to take over the band's bassist role.

Armed with their core, Resnick, Carroll, and Horst founded Astoria State. Drawing upon resources and friendships gained over 10 years of touring, Resnick's new outlet quickly produced their debut EP, as well as several music videos.

"It's all happening really fast, but we're all seasoned musicians and have spent a long time grinding away. I think this was a long time coming for us, so in a lot of ways, I am not surprised that we have created something kickass for our debut," says Resnick.

Set to be released on Friday, August 27, Astoria State's EP is a delightful mix of everything from melodic riffs to heavy breakdowns replete with the same emo sensibilities that define Resnick's music. But Resnick isn't resting on his laurels. He's already making plans for the band's debut album and subsequent tour.

"Life is a whirlwind. It's constantly moving, swirling, and changing at different speeds. We really don't know what it will bring, what it will take when it will push or pull, where it will go, or when it will end. We're just along for the ride. We keep believing that we are strong enough and going to make it through any storm that comes our way," says Resnick.


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