Band names new album after WTOP’s Glass Enclosed Nerve Center, tours newsroom

Local band Caustic Casanova visits WTOP
You can usually tell a lot about a band’s sound and musical influences by what they listened to on the radio when they were younger.

But not always.

“I didn’t really grow up listening to music at all, and my parents didn’t really listen to music — ever,” said Francis Beringer, who plays bass and sings with D.C. based Caustic Casanova. “They only listened to WTOP.”

Why name an album after the WTOP newsroom? Caustic Casanova explains.


“What do you mean you didn’t listen to music,” I asked incredulously.

“We really didn’t listen to music in our house, we just didn’t — we listened to the news, constantly, as a family,” said Beringer. “It’s funny that someone who grew up to be a musician would have had such a music-less childhood.”

So, maybe it’s not surprising that Caustic Casanova’s upcoming album is called “Glass Enclosed Nerve Center,” the nickname WTOP’s longtime boss, Jim Farley, bestowed upon the newsroom in the early 2000s.

When we read on Twitter that a D.C.-area band was set to release an album named for the #GENC, we had to invite them in to learn more.

Thursday morning, Francis, drummer and singer Stefanie Zaenker, and new guitarist Jake Kimberley stopped by for a tour of the newsroom. Guitarist Andrew Yonki wasn’t able to make it.

With a first stop at the coffee machine, we got the go-ahead from morning show producer Teddy Gelman to drop in on Joan Jones and Bruce Alan.

With its years of experience in recording studios, Caustic Casanova knew to observe the ‘On Air’ light, which comes on when an anchor turns on a microphone in a studio.

What’s still not clear is why the band would want to name its new album after a news station whose former promotional liner included the phrase, “Your favorite radio station doesn’t play songs?”

What was it about the phrase “Glass Enclosed Nerve Center?”

“Ever since I was a little kid, I loved that string of words together, even devoid of its meaning,” said Beringer. “I just thought it sounded awesome, and always had this idea that someday I wanted to have an album called ‘Glass Enclosed Nerve Center.'”

“You didn’t have many friends in school, did you?” I asked. He and his bandmates laughed.



Zaenker grew up in Charlottesville, and went to William & Mary with Beringer. Kimberley was raised in Pennsylvania.

Zaenker and Kimberley liked Beringer’s idea for the album title.

“I think it sounds very mysterious, ‘Glass Enclosed Nerve Center,'” said Zaenker. “What’s in there — I want to go on a mission to figure it out, so that’s why I think it sounds super cool.”

Beringer describes the band’s music as “heavy, progressive rock,” while its Bandcamp page includes a range from “sardonic noise rock to proggy sludge” and “a kaleidoscope of progressive heavy rock exuberance.”

“Lodestar,” the first single from their upcoming album, which will be released Oct. 7, on Magnetic Eye Records, is their first recording with Kimberley.

Caustic Casanova's 'Glass Enclosed Nerve Center' comes out Oct. 7
Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up