Philly brothers start Snake Sustaine

For Doug and Mike Sabolick, music runs in the family. The two are collaborating on their newest venture as they record in a Port Richmond studio.

For Doug and Mike Sabolick, music runs in the family. The two are collaborating on their newest venture as they record in a Port Richmond studio.

Courtesy Snake Sustaine The four members of Snake Sustaine play shows at venues from Fishtown to Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest festival. The founding members hail from Philadelphia.

The Sabolick brothers took the stage Monday night at the Barbary with their father, a fellow professional musician, at stage right. A family night out for the Sabolicks included heavy riffs, dual leads reminiscent of Thin Lizzy’s “Bad Reputation” and soloing inspired as much by Jimi Hendrix as by David Gilmour.

Doug Sabolick, singer and guitarist, described the music of Snake Sustaine – the band he and his brother, Mike, perform in – as “classic rock with a modern edge.” The live show was complete with back-to-back solos and vocals howled by both Sabolicks into the same microphone.

But Snake Sustaine’s stage presence is no accident. Although the band is little more than a year old, its members recently played South by Southwest, in Austin, Texas.

Half the band comes from another local band, A Life Once Lost. Both drummer Justin Graves and guitarist Doug Sabolick pull double duty to make Snake Sustaine a reality. The remaining half of the band is Mike Sabolick on guitar and former School-of-Rock student, bassist Mike Connor.

The band’s name comes from two sources. In high school, a teacher asked Doug Sabolick what he would like to be called; he responded, “Snake,” which became his nickname for the entire year. The second part is a play on the name of the lead guitarist-vocalist from Megadeth, Dave Mustaine.

“It was all a joke basically, so that’s why it’s spelled like it is,” Doug Sabolick said.

All joking about its name aside, Snake Sustaine is a serious venture for these four musicians. Doug Sabolick said the decision to start a band with his brother was an easy one.

“I felt the draw to want to play with my brother, who is, to me, a really great guitar player,” Doug Sabolick said. “We’d always jam together, so one day he was just like, ‘Let’s get this thing going.’ I had some down time from my other band, so we got it going.”

Making music with a different sound than A Life Once Lost was easy, he said.

“I started getting into a lot of classic music a few years ago. That music was where my heart was at,” he added.

The Sabolick brothers are also partners in a recording studio they are starting out of Mike Sabolick’s Port Richmond home.

“We bought all of the gear together and have a lot invested in it,” Doug said. All upcoming Snake Sustaine recording will take place at the new studio, along with the demos for the forthcoming A Life Once Lost album.

There is about to be a brief lull in Snake Sustaine activity, though, because of A Life Once Lost’s new album, but that doesn’t worry Doug.

“Snake Sustaine will be something that we grow between tours,” he said, “and grow it grassroots style.”

Thomas Dougherty can be reached at

1 Comment

  1. I have a cousin named Michael sabolick, his mothers name was jean our grandmothers name was ella donavon olkus are either of you related? My phone is area code 619 749-8300

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