The Angst Band Before and After the Angst

Jambar Contributor

Emily Isaac


The Angst Band, a local pop-punk emo cover band is leaving the angst behind them as they pursue future goals of graduation and careers in music.

The band that started as a way for friends to forget the stress of school and life became a life-changing experience the band and fans will never forget.

The group was founded by Justin Randall and Eric Finkelstein, both music students of Youngstown State University.

The band is made up of graduates and students of YSU and other music majors from various universities.

The multi-talented members of The Angst Band have exciting plans for after graduation to add to their list of current accomplishments.

Justin Randall, one of the founders of the band, is a musician and composer. He has a jazz album titled “Prism,” which he recorded with other musicians he met through YSU.

“The album was meant to be a landmark for how far I’ve come musically. I pushed myself to be a 20-year-old with their own jazz record, already recorded made up of entirely original music,” Randall said.

Randall recorded two albums with his old band, Cosmic Lemons, and another album with The Bees Trees, who he said he used to be a part of.

He also recorded a single with his friend and bandmate Frank Toncar.

A few years ago, Randall had the opportunity to play alongside Josh Groban in Pittsburgh on a piece called “Old Devil Moon.”

“It was a pretty great experience getting to play with such a big name,” he said.

Randall said he currently plays for a wedding band called Redline and is currently working on writing music for a new album.

Stephen Spencer, a graduate with a degree in music education from YSU, said he is currently a teacher at Bloomfield High School and had played guitar for The Angst Band.

Spencer was absent for the third Angst night, and that was when Reese Malsen started playing in the group, according to Spencer.

“My future goal is to continue teaching where I am, and eventually pursue a masters degree and make a career as a performing musician,” said Spencer.

Hobie Butcher, a recent YSU graduate of music performance, has been studying drums and percussion most of his life.

He is currently in a band called Alteras and plans to spend the majority of the year touring the country, writing and recording with the band.

Butcher has also spent three of the last four years performing at Cedar Point for their live entertainment department.

During school, he played in multiple bands and projects, but according to Butcher his favorite project was The Angst Band. 

Frank Toncar, a guitarist and vocalist for The Angst Band, said he grew up playing guitar and singing in punk and ska bands. He added he played saxophone all through middle school and high school.

Toncar knew early on he wanted to pursue a career in music and eventually fell in love with studio work as well.

He began recording himself and his bands at his friend’s home studio.

He eventually decided to go to YSU for music recording, where he also studied bass performance. He continued recording different bands and artist, and eventually registered the studio with the state. The studio now operates as Peace of Mind Productions in Cortland, Ohio.

Toncar said the plan, for now, is to “keep doing the studio thing,” while still playing and recording his own music.

Fletcher Dunham, vocalist and guitar player for the group, is currently a vocalist for Model Rockets, an indie rock band from Youngstown.

Dunham has been playing music on and off throughout high school. During his senior year, he started a band with his best friend. Their first show was Boardman High School’s Battle of the Bands.

This is where he met Toncar, which Dunham said is important because “he’s become a very dear friend.”

His band won the Battle of the Bands, which pushed them to continue pursuing music. His future goals are to keep playing with his current bands and record as well.

Dunham said his favorite part of being an Angst member was sharing the stage with such incredible musicians.

“I also love them to death and probably wouldn’t have been able to get as close with them as I have without this band,” he said.

While the fans and band members themselves are sad to see The Angst Band’s time come to an end, it is not the end for the band’s multi-talented members. The best friends are moving onto bigger and better gigs as they leave their teen angst behind them.