Rock It: Taste first-timers Shiny Penny ready to rock

Posted on November 14, 2013


Rock It: Taste first-timers Shiny Penny ready to rock

By: Rachael Mattice

Shiny Penny, of Kokomo, will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday on the Depot Stage during the Taste of Tippecanoe. / Photo Provided

Shiny Penny, of Kokomo, will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday on the Depot Stage during the Taste of Tippecanoe. / Photo Provided

Grit and guts are often tested when new bands perform their first shows at places like graduations, dive bars, rainy fairgrounds (at 2 p.m.) and streets with only passersby as an audience. But those seemingly undesirable “stages” for a band with no name are sometimes a rite of passage in the ascension to stardom.

For Kokomo-based rock band Shiny Penny, this Saturday’s Taste of Tippecanoe is a local festival of dreams, handing the first-timers a pivotal slot of 7 p.m. on the Depot Stage.

Founded in 2009 while working on a class project, the four-man band took its name from the German translation of vocalist Dean Schimmelpfennig’s last name, meaning “shiny penny.”

The daunting task of establishing a band in a small town is a tireless battle with never-ending work, especially if the music scene isn’t lush there, either.

“There wasn’t a whole lot going on in the scene in Kokomo when we started; it was pretty dead,” Schimmelpfennig said. “We’ve had to work our butts off so much with promoting and playing as many shows as possible just to get where we are today.”

Shiny Penny gained momentum after their first original song, “Mr. Welker,” became a fan favorite, enough to help define their sound – heavy riff rock, modern pop with funk and blues elements – and allow them to write their EP and eventually their debut album, “The Anti-Boondoggling Movement,” released May 1.

“You can really tell with bands sometimes if all the songs were written by the same person or if it was a collaborative effort,” Schimmelpfennig said. “When you are in a band, to me, it means that everyone contributes which then gives you a truly original sound.”

The contribution from all members delivers a complexity that makes Shiny Penny stand out from other young bands. With tempo changes, second verse alterations, various instrumental solos and breakdowns, their format is similar to Them Crooked Vultures with more pop influence, yet maintains smooth stylistic

A “boondoggler” is described as a person doing useless work and exerting energy that is ultimately pointless. “Boondoggler’s Anthem” contradicts that definition with groovy funk guitar and an enlivened solo.

“Red Stone” starts off acoustic with an intro similar to a Western movie theme before breaking into a hard rock song with pounding bass and synth-like guitar solos.

“Curse of the Elephant” plays like ’90s Pearl Jam, but redeems itself with a chorus that brings to mind Anthrax’s “Anti-Social,” chanting “it’s a curse” with a pleasantly instrumental breakdown near the bridge.

To learn more about Shiny Penny, see future tour dates and buy “The Anti-Boondoggling Movement,” visit

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached on Twitter @RachaelM_JC.

Posted in: "Rock It" Column