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Sounds of Buffalo: Surrender The Hope

Surrender The Hope (STH) is a southern-fried hardcore scrap metal five piece. Hailing from West Coast New York STH is composed of:

Amber Kogut- Guitar

Erik Kogut- Guitar

Michael “Toes” Toczek – Guitar/Vocals

Steven “Drac” Drachenberg – Bass/Vocals

Steven Keicher – Drums

What led to the naming of the band?

Drac: Besides the desire for an obligatory bad-ass name, we relate “surrendering the hope” to being the last thing you do before you cash in your chips. We were never ones for giving up and giving in and that’s exactly why this band is being resurrected 10 years later.

Toes: I believe we all collectively at the time were looking to do something deeper musically and needed a name that would correctly represent the music and emotions we were trying to put across. Surrender the hope is a feeling and a state of mind that we just want to share with anyone who can relate to our form of expression.

When was the band formed?

The band was formed in the summer of 2006.

Who writes the music?

Toes: In the summer of 2006 we practiced at a spot we’ve come to know now simply as “St.Ritas”. I introduced a collection of riffs I had been working on that would eventually go on to become our song titled “Rotting Pony Show”. We all felt a collective chemistry from the get-go and I was given the freedom as the guitarist to write what I felt. Going forward the writing process became me showing the band the riffs I had written, Drac providing the support with heavy bass lines that tracked away from the guitar parts, but ultimately made the songs more dynamic and Steve K was the backbone giving us the groove and rhythmic structure to organize the chaos unfolding. 2007 marked the release of “Arm The Children” and the addition of Amber to the band. Her riffs inspired us and really shined on the tracks “Big Time Stuff” and “The Crystal Methodist” taking Surrender the Hope to the next level.

How would you describe the sound of the band? 

Toes: A whirlwind of emotions that takes you down a dark narrow path to the small light at the end of the tunnel.

Drac: Riding a motorcycle through a nightmarish, post apocalyptic hellscape; a real mad max vibe. It’s the soundtrack to the end of days.

We are you from? if not from Buffalo why are you here?

We are all born an raised in West Coast New York.

What are some of the bands influences?

Toes: Pain, anguish and raw feelings/emotions.

Drac: The ever looming fear of the unknown and Alice Cooper.

Are you schooled in music? If so where?

Steve K: No, even though my damn Aunt was a music teacher!

Toes: Yes, I started guitar at 13 and took lessons right away for about 5 years at Kenmore Music.

Drac: I went to E.C.C. north for a few semesters, took a remedial music course, hit the theory of the circle of 5ths, quit showing up to skip and watch Maury in the student union.

What is/was your favorite place to play in buffalo?

Collectively we loved playing at Club Diablo and The Icon when they existed. RIP.

What is your day job?

Toes: Hospitality Management

Drac: Free lance artist

Steve K: Radio personality, Edge Underground with Steve K

Erik K: Tradesman

Amber: Tattoo Artist

What was the last live performance you caught?

Drac: Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, Testament, Napalm Death

Toes: Warped Tour 2018, Dropout Kings

Do you play covers or all originals or a combination?

All originals but we have covered songs in the past including: Something in the way – Nirvana and Memphis will be laid to waste – Norma Jean.

If you could play with any one musician or band in history, who would it be? 

Toes: Korn

Steve K: The Doors

Drac: Alice Cooper

If you were stranded on a deserted with a hand crank phonograph and one album, what would that album be?

Toes: Korn: Self-Titled

Drac: Alice Cooper – Welcome to my Nightmare

Steve K: The Doors – Waiting for the sun

Do you have a label or recording studio? Have you recorded a CD?

Our music was recorded at Mark Studios in Clarence, New York for our first demo and Arm the Children. The Regret One Thing E.P and Arm the children were both recorded and produced by our dear friend Fred Betschen. Mark Morette in preparation for our full length release, not only funded the creation of the album, he went on to buy time for a promotional radio commercial on 103.3 the edge for an entire month which really helped propel Surrender the Hope in the beginning stages.

P.S. Mark Morette also provided unlimited Jagermeister and a Mighty Taco buffet with 100 plus tacos and endless jalapeno poppers and empanadas.

Where and when is your next gig in the city?

Surrender The Hope 10 year reunion show

Stamps the bar | 98 Main St. Tonawanda, N.Y. 14150

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Surrender The Hope | Revival | Allegiant | Short Attention Span Theatre | Rockpile

Doors at 6.p.m. Show at 7.p.m

$10.00 at the door $8.00 in costume

Ages 18 and up with I.D.

Drac: We’ve been in a coma for 10 years and we’ve had 1 foot in the grave the entire time. People that know us, were there from the beginning and experienced it one time, but carried it the rest of their lives will agree… This is the show they all said could never happen. Halloween was always prime time for us and we were additionally known for our holiday spectaculars! We want everyone to come out, grab the day by the dick and dress up; together we’ll exercise the demons and wipe the slate clean. If this was going to happen, the time is now. You haven’t seen anything yet.

Where do you think the band would be if you never broke up?

Toes: Gone and forgotten, Too much, too quick.

Drac: Dead. We walked a long hard road to hell and fed Cerberus a couple treats before taking the river styx back to purgatory. And hell followed with…

Steve K: I’d still be a resident of West Coast New York playing drums.

Facebook :

Instagram: @surrenderthehope

If you would like your band featured on Buffalo Rising, please send an email to The only caveat is that you must have an upcoming live performance scheduled in a public venue.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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