US Prog/Psych band Caustic Casanova announce hiatus and drummer Stefanie Zaenker leaves band. The band states on their official Facebook page:
“Hello, Francis here.
Stefanie has decided to leave Caustic Casanova, permanently and effective immediately. There will be no final shows or goodbye tours or anything like that, unfortunately.
For 18 amazing years, she was the beating heart and belting soul of this eclectic music machine that went from college dorm room band to a nationally touring heavy rock behemoth. She is an elite level drummer, masterful composer, and all-around fantastic musician. She became an outstanding co-vocalist and, most recently, keyboardist. She booked tours, handled logistics, drove the van, and did anything and everything to help this band succeed. In many ways, she was the leader of Caustic Casanova. She put everything she had into it. The amount of times she resolutely kept us going when things looked bleak: you have no idea. CC wouldn’t have made it five years, much less eighteen, without her strength and vision, determination and grit. Eventually, all truly great things do come to an end. Honestly, more important than the music is the bond that Stefanie and I shared since 2005, that Andrew and her shared since 2012 (and before that, too, as friends), and that Jake and her shared since 2019. Touring that much, writing that much, practicing that much, hanging out that much (24/7 on the road) — it’s a kind of closeness with another human being few will ever know. It’s so sad to lose it, to know that it’s over. It doesn’t just feel like a part of me is gone — a major part of me IS gone. 18 years is a long time to be a rhythm section.
Her first show was April 20th, 2005 at Lodge One, Williamsburg, VA, The College of William and Mary. Her final show was December 19th, 2022 at Highlands Tap Room, Louisville, KY, for Metal Monday. In between that time we played in almost every state in the lower 48, as well as in three provinces of Canada.
Where this leaves the band I simply cannot say. The idea of Stef taking a break, or bowing out, had been bandied about since the winter. I hoped she might reconsider. Later I thought there might be some transition over to another drummer with her help and blessing. I even fantasized about getting in a farewell show or two. I hoped to play “Bull Moose Against the Sky” live, at least once, with J Robbins and Howard Parker on stage and a guest on keyboards. Many nights I fell asleep imagining a packed house at Pie Shop in DC erupting as we kicked into the 22 minute song with the acapella intro. Unfortunately, none of that can happen anymore.
Part of me thinks this is the natural end of Caustic Casanova. Part of me thinks, considering all our successes in 2022, that the band should continue, if the right drummer can be found, though that’s an extremely tall order. Part of me thinks an indefinite hiatus is the way to go, so I can process all of this. If you’ve got thoughts, advice, encouragement, feel free to share. Also, feel free to share your favorite Zaenker memories from shows, records, couchsurfing, hanging out, etc! Let’s celebrate Stef’s indelible contributions to CC, the DC music scene, and the larger heavy rock/stoner/doom scene.
Regardless of what happens with the band, there will be additional recordings released digitally this summer, all featuring Stef on drums and vocals. The live version of Filth Castle / Poor Wigs from Sky Stage and the EPPPCOT EP will go on all streaming services, and we’ll have Pantheon: Vol. 4 after that, and then a live recording will follow. I am not anticipating anything physical for these but you never know.
I ask that you please not speculate about or discuss the band members’ personal lives in the comments. If you do, it will be deleted. Please reach out to one of us individually if you want clarification. The social media accounts are entirely run by me (Fran) now.
One final time, thank you to Stefanie Zaenker for eighteen amazing years of bringing the thunder behind the kit and being such a wonderful part of our lives! I know I speak for the band and all of CC Nation when we loudly proclaim: WE WILL MISS YOU SO MUCH! THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!“