Our Story

Meeting in High School, in a small farming community, the group quickly became friends through a shared passion for music.
Following high school, Kristine Spielmann and the band formerly known as “Strange on Display,” quickly became a favorite at the local bar scene in the Greater Cincinnati area. The summer of 2009 they lost their drummer, Matt “Skinny,” McIntosh to the H1N1 virus. So the band decided to make a fresh start and rename the group The Skallywags.
The group then went off to college, playing out every weekend and touring regionally on their summer breaks. During these years they honed their craft not only as musicians, but as sound engineers and businessmen. After graduating in the summer of 2011, they were gigging 3 to 4 days a week in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. So a year later in September of 2012 they decided to take a giant leap of faith and move to Nashville.

The Skallywags consist of very multifaceted and multitalented musicians. They put on an entertaining array of musical genres, and the impressive powerful vocals of Kristine, has a way of engulfing so much power and attitude that truly makes any song she sings, that of her own. But Kristine is not the only one whose voice fills the room. Mike and James also share on the vocals, along with their spectacular guitar playing skills. The Skallywags is a melodic collaboration that manifests passion into beautiful, compelling live performances.

The group keeps busy touring, working on various projects, gigging, and constantly writing. They have shared the stage with The Cadillac Three, Parmalee, Diamond Rio, Casey James, Clint Black, Wynonna Judd, Lorrie Morgan, Collin Raye, and many others. They also frequent Writers Rounds, Jam Nights, and are a favorite in Nashville.

Kristine Speilmann/ The Skallywags performing "The Farmer In Me."

Posted by Women of Music Row on Sunday, January 10, 2016

Kristine Spielmann grew up in the small farm town of Aurora, IN. At an early age her parents quickly became aware of her talent and started her with voice lessons at 7 years old. She began singing with her church choir and was encouraged to pursue her talent by auditioning for local theatre groups. Throughout grade school and high school Kristine was immensely involved in Show Choir and Musicals throughout the Greater Cincinnati Area. Also performing the National Anthem for Air Shows, Festivals, and other events countless times. After high school Kristine moved to Chicago to further her education at Columbia College. She graduated in 2011 with a Bachelors Degree in Music Business and Vocal Performance. For a school project she recorded a solo album using the then, “Strange On Display,” band as her session players. That went so well she decided to have them as her backing band for live performances.  They quickly unified becoming The Skallywags. When she is not performing, Kristine enjoys being outside. Hiking and running wooded trails are some of her favorite things to do, along with spending time with family and friends.

Mike Dittmer was raised in the river town of Aurora, IN. Born into a musical family, some of Mike’s earliest memories are being enthralled with the country music videos played on CMT. At a young age Mike tried playing many different instruments, but when he picked up a bass he just knew it felt right. Mike started his own band at the age of 14, forming Strange on Display. In High School, not only did Mike have his own band, but he was involved in every musical outlet he could be in, including pep band, show choir,  jazz band, and hosting an under 21 jam for the Cincinnati Blues Society. After graduating High School, Mike decided to attend Vincennes University studying Audio Engineering, where he participated in Blues Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble all while still gigging with his own band. It was there that Mike came up with the name, The Skallywag’s, and formed this new band in the fall of 2009.  Mike graduated in 2011 with an Associates Degree in Audio Engineering and also proficiency in Pro Tools. After graduating Mike began playing more frequently and decided to make the move to Nashville to further his career. He often does session work for different projects in town and plays for multiple artists. When Mike is not, “slappin dah bass,” he loves to ride motorcycles, and to sit around a campfire while hanging out with friends and family.

James Wenstrup grew up in an environment enveloped in music, and was exposed to the guitar at a very young age. He literally teethed on a guitar. Music was play time, and Guitars were toys. He began playing by the age of 6 and was sure it was what He wanted to do with his life by 8. Through school he played with every group possible, as well as performing with his own band, Strange on Display, and hosting an under 21 jam for the Cincinnati Blues Society. While gaining success and attention locally, in July of 2009, He suffered the loss of his best friend and drummer Matt “Skinny” McIntosh. Losing Skinny was a huge turning point that forced James to push on even more fiercely.

As the only member of the group with kids, James deals with a different set of challenges. “Balancing My time between, my two sons Jameson and Jude, as well as rehearsals, gigs, and still finding time for myself can get to be quite a full schedule. I love this band, and I love being “Daddy” to my boys. As difficult as it can be sometimes, I wouldn’t trade my family for anything. They are the force that inspires me and keeps me fighting for this dream.”

“Through good times and bad, big stages and smokey bars, death and birth, this is the core that has stood the test. These are my best friends, my family, and a huge part of my life.  I’m proud to be a part of The Skallywags. I plan to bring organic, emotional, REAL music, back to your ears. I extend a hand shake and big thanks to all of you that have supported me along the way, and those of you just now joining me on this adventure. I thank God for my family and the opportunities I’ve been presented with and the blessings and talents I’ve been given.”

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. -Phil 4:13