Toasters Celebrate Three Decades of Ska and Counting

Categories: Ska

Garyn Klasek
The Toasters

Not many bands get the privilege of working alongside musicians and producers they love. The Toasters are one such band to have done so (creating record labels Moon Ska Records in the '80s and Megalith in the 2000s), and they've been doing it that way for going on 35 years. Born in 1981, they were developing a sound straight out of the British ska persuasion of the late '70s and early '80s -- bands like The English Beat and The Selecter.

Guitarist and singer Robert "Bucket" Hingley tells New Times that of the two two-tone acts, "[The] Selecter was [his] favourite as they were more on the reggae tip, wrote more of their own songs and had an awesome guitar player: Neol Davies."

At the same time, Hingley was adding a twist of soul/rhythm and blues flavor -- Chuck Berry, Motown artists, and the like -- that he had been listening to since childhood.

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English Beat's Dave Wakeling Starts All Over Again With New Album

Categories: Ska

Eugenio Iglesias
English Beat

It is not every day an international music legend gets a second chance at making a first impression on the ever-changing landscape of popular music. And yet for Dave Wakeling, that is precisely what he is getting in 2015.

After three decades, The English Beat is releasing a new album.

It has been nearly 33 years since Wakeling, the founder, singer and main songwriter of The English Beat, recorded the last of three albums that put them on the international music map.

Wakeling's lyrics protested the faltering Thatcher-era economics, but did so with an undeniably catchy dance beat.

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Ska Vet Dan Potthast of MU330 Returns to the Living Room

Categories: Q&A, Ska

Image courtesy of Dan Potthast and Asian Man Records
Dan Potthast brings his living room tour to Scottsdale this Friday, August 8

Over a career spanning two-plus decades, Dan Potthast has never been short on new ideas. From six full-lengths with "psycho-ska" outfit MU330, to two full-lengths with indie-rock group The Stitch Up, five (soon to be six) solo records, an album leading the California traditional ska collective The Bricks, and an upcoming rock record alongside Rick Johnson of Mustard Plug, Potthast knows how to keep busy.

After separate tours in 2013 with ska-punk royalty Reel Big Fish and Streetlight Manifesto, Potthast was looking for a change of pace, and thus the living room tour was born. What began as an open call on social media for hosts has turned into a 66-date nationwide tour in two legs, which arrives at a Scottsdale-area home this Friday, August 8.

In-between lengthy solo drives, Potthast found the time to catch up with Up on the Sun to detail the tour, and this year's three (!) full-length releases.

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Voodoo Glow Skulls Keep It All in the Family

Categories: Ska

Dana Krashin Photography
Voodoo Glow Skulls

They say that family is the strongest bond and, when it comes to 25-year-old ska-punk veterans Voodoo Glow Skulls, a band which contains three brothers, the proof is in the pudding.

"The plus side is that family can communicate like no one else can usually; the downside is that there is less of a filter with family communication," says guitarist Eddie Casillas, when asked about the family aspect of the band.

His claim to their survival "is that the three brothers are just that, brothers, and [they] still like playing live. [They] can easily get away from each other for several weeks then regroup."

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Whether You Have a Date, Ska Prom Will Go On

Categories: Ska

Courtesy of Be Like Max
Be Like Max

Skalloween, Ska Prom, Ska-turday, Skanksgiving. For at least the duration of its third wave, the upbeat-heavy, horn-driven sound of ska has enjoyed giving its own spin to holidays and special occasions. This Sunday, after a three-year hiatus, Ska Prom returns to Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale.

Headlined by rising Las Vegas ska-punk upstarts Be Like Max, the show is a co-production of local ska DJs Beat Betty and Full Stop, and online radio station KUKQ Phoenix. But what is Ska Prom, you ask?

In the words of Steven DeRosia, also known as DJ Full Stop, it's an opportunity for rudeboys, mods, skinheads, and punks to embrace their fashion to the fullest. Whether that includes your best vest, suit, boots and braces, or Fred Perry shirt is up to you.

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Mustard Plug's Dave Kirchgessner: "Ska Is Still Kicking"

Categories: Q&A, Ska

Courtesy Photo
Mustard Plug is scheduled to perform Thursday, April 3, at Crescent Ballroom.

Not many bands have attained popularity and commercial success outside the mainstream music industry box the way that Mustard Plug has done. While they can't claim to be most famous ska-punk band in existence, the septet have amassed a sizable cult following, as well as radio-friendly songs and music videos, like "You" and "Everything Girl."

After forming in 1991 and, a year later, releasing a full-length tape on Dashiki Clout, Skapocalypse Now!, Mustard Plug released the popular Evildoers Beware! in 1997 via punk label Hopeless Records. This was the beginning of their zenith, coinciding with the mid-'90s ska craze, which would continue for roughly five years until their breakup in 2002.

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The Toasters - Crescent Ballroom - 2/12/14

Categories: Last Night, Ska

Photos by Benjamin Leatherman
The Toasters perform at Crescent Ballroom on Wednesday.

The Toasters
Crescent Ballroom

It's often said that good things come to those who wait. So after a decade of waiting, I finally got a chance Wednesday night to once again catch one of the oldest ska bands in the United States in concert: The Toasters.

And despite having fewer members these days than during its heyday of the '80s and '90s, the band still puts on an impressive show.

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