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In Defense of Ska
Ska no longer needs to be the butt of every joke. IDOS is flipping the narrative on this style of music that they love dearly.
Hosts Aaron Carnes (author of "In Defense of Ska") and Adam Davis (Link 80, Omingone) chat with people in and outside of the ska scene to tell its stories, show its pervasiveness in culture, and defend it to their last dying breath.
#46 in the Top 100 Music History All time chart
Top 10 In Defense of Ska Episodes
Best episodes ranked by Goodpods Users most listened
The Chris Gethard Show was supposed to start like normal, but the audience had their own idea. They shouted "Eat More Butts" at Chris to a degree that he couldn't start his show. The musical guest, Jeff Rosenstock, even gave them a musical accompaniment. For 15 minutes, the show descended into madness. But Chris also didn't fight it because he knew that this would be great TV. Having grown up in the DIY punk scene, he was aware that this type of chaos was where a show's best moments would be.
Today, we speak to Chris Gethard about his punk roots. His first show ever was in a Jersey church basement with all local bands. His 2nd was in a friend's backyard. A young, Less Than Jake was also on the bill. Less Than Jake became Chris's favorite band for a while. During this time, he also saw Slapstick, Skankin' Pickle, Mephiskapheles, Catch 22, and was a fan of other ska bands like Mustard Plug and MU330.
We also talk about Chris's recent experience hitching a ride with Catbite. He also talks about bringing on Take Today to play his live "New Jersey is the World" show a few times. (He loves, "Do You Still Hate Me?," their Jawbreaker cover and their ska song, SKAdiving.). He talks about his recent interview with Bigger Thomas singer Roger Apollon. And we also talk about his passion for all things New Jersey...he tells us where we can get REAL Italian Ice!
Plus Chris tells us how surreal it was recently to see Jeff Rosenstock play a huge show opening for Gaslight Anthem.
Comedian Brandie Posey has been evangelizing about ska as long as people have been listening to her speak. In fact, some of her earliest comedy influences came from watching Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake goof around during their shows. The comedian, who is celebrating her 14th year in comedy, regularly performs at Fest, co-hosts the popular Lady to Lady podcast, and has an album out on cassette called Opinion Cave.
On today's episode we discuss Ronald Reggae, the ska playlist she made for comedian Jackie Kashian, why ska musicians are similar to comedians, and the time she got to open for Against Me and The Interrupters, and what it was like to be one of the only non-musicians to be interviewed in Pick It Up - Ska in the '90s.
Brandie lists several non-ska things that are ska, like Andrew W.K., The rhino scene in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, and those 12 foot skeletons from Home Depot. But most importantly, we try to figure out who is the ultimate ska comedian: Her or Ian Fidance.
When ska band Sad Snack recorded a ska version of The Mountain Goats' beloved "No Children," Mountain Goats singer-songwriter John Darnielle got so excited, that he invited the group to open for them at their San Francisco show. It was all hands on deck for Ska No Children. And during Sad Snack's performance, John and other members of the group got on stage and skanked. It was clear that it wasn't his first time skanking.
And indeed, he went to many ska shows and skanked during his formative years in Southern California, even though he was an artsy goth kid that made fun of the ska kids. Now as an adult, he can admit that he has a particular love for classic Jamaican ska and the 2 Tone bands like The Selecter, The Specials, Madness and The English Beat.
On this episode, we talk about all things ska with John Darnielle. He compares Lee "Scratch" Perry to Tolstoy, he explains why The Specials' "Ghost Town" is one of the greatest songs of all time, and he tells us about the "Fuck Art, Let's Dance" buttons that all the ska kids at his high school would wear.
But we talk about so much more, including Propagandhi, pro-wrestling, "Superman" by Goldfinger, Desmond Dekker, King Tubby's sound system, the beauty of heavy metal and why everyone wrongfully associates ska with horns.
In Defense of Ska Ep 88: Folly (Arben Colaku and Jon Tummillo)
In Defense of Ska
09/21/22 • 97 min
After the '90s, skacore got a lot heavier. One of the reasons for this was Sussex, New Jersey band Folly, who took the heaviest elements of hardcore, metalcore and mixed it with ska. They also did so in a way that emphasized the genres similarities, as opposed to their differences. Though the band struggled to find a significant audience in the 2000s, they would find that years after they broke up, not only did they have an obvious impact on newer, younger bands, but they suddenly fit in with this scene in a way unlike when they were a heavy touring, active band.
This week, we talk to Folly members Arben Colaku and Jon Tummillo. We discuss the band's history, their unique philosophy to songwriting and talk about what it's been like for them years after their initial breakup in 2008. We also talk about what a big influence Converge was on them, and conclude that, therefore, Converge played an important role on the development of ska!
We also discuss Anthony Fantano name-dropping the group when he interviewed me, Folly signing to Triple Crown Records, local DIY shows at The Phone Booth, and how "Hey!" by The Suicide Machines was a life-changing song for the group.
We talk about how they turned disastrous shows into fun adventures. We also break down some of their songs, and we talk about a time they ate so many meatballs before a show in Connecticut that they had to play with the meat sweats.
John DeDomenici has played the bass in many bands. But most notably Jeff Rosenstock's solo band and Bomb the Music Industry. He also played a whole variety of instruments in Arrogant Sons of Bitches.
Today, we bring on John and throw every random and obscure question we can think at him. We talk about catching Covid in England, getting his own dressing room at the Gaslight Anthem Jersey show, drunkenly cutting his hand trying to open a bottle of wine, and joining Chris Gethard at Fest in a Smiths cover band.
We also talk about green-screening his bass performance to Late Night With Seth Meyers, the time he almost joined Every Time I Die, and why he likes to listen to a punishing amount of 311 and Metallica cover songs.
Plus he even tells us about the time in 2004 he did live sound for Donald Trump. Spoiler Alert, Trump was not a good guy.
This month, Grand Rapids’ Mustard Plug celebrates 30 years of playing ska-punk. Though they often get associated with the late ’90s “third-wave” ska-punk boom, there is so much more to the group. We aimed to explore this in our interview with lead singer Dave Kirchgessner and guitarist Colin Clive.
For starters, before ska was on the tongue of MTV VJs, Mustard Plug was blowing minds in their hometown with their blend of punk rock and ska. And to top that off, they brought a bunch of out-of-town ska bands like Skankin Pickle and Let’s Go Bowling to Grand Rapids before anyone in their midwest town had heard of them.
During the late 90s, Mustard Plug nearly scored a hit with their cover of The Verve Pipe’s “The Freshman,” but ended up staying in the indie category on Hopeless Records. During the 2000s, when ska was declared dead, Dave started the “Ska is Dead” tour, proving that ska was in fact not dead. The band even released one of their best albums during this era, the political In Black and White.
Even today, as a new crop of ska bands revive the genre, Mustard Plug has seamlessly blended into the scene. At this year’s Fest, they shared the stage with a whole bunch of Bad Time Records bands. New bands and Mustard Plug.
We discuss this important history and also touch on some other fun stuff like opening for Weird Al, getting in food fights with Green Day, and just how much mustard they poured on Craig DeYoung’s face for the Big Daddy Multitude album cover shoot.
In 2020, Chicago indie-pop group Beach Bunny released their debut LP Honeymoon to much acclaim. One of the people that fell in love with the album, was Jeremy Hunter, ie Skatune Network. It was one of their favorite records of the year. Just a month earlier, they’d recorded a cover of an earlier Beach Bunny tune, “Prom Queen.” After Honeymoon was released, they considered covering another Beach Bunny song. Instead, they recorded the entire album.
Jer did this project in secrecy, not even telling Beach Bunny’s singer/songwriter Lili Trifilio until it was nearly finished, earlier this year. And then on Valentine’s Day, they surprise-released it to the world—Beach Bunny’s record in its entirety, but all ska, and titled Honeyrude and complete with some delightful ska easter eggs that reference The English Beat, Bob Marley, and The Specials.
On this episode, we bring on Jeremy Hunter and Lili Trifilio to talk about Honeyrude. We talk to Lili about what inspired the original record, learn about Jer’s process of transposing the album to ska, and get her reaction to the record. We analyze this album from all angles to understand what makes ska unique, and why a ska cover of a non-ska song is so infectious when it’s done right.Support the show
In Los Angeles, in the early ’80s, you would see rows of scooters on the street outside of ska shows. Inside the clubs, kids would be dressed in their best suits. And there was a full-on mod revival happening. At the heart of this local scene was The Untouchables, one of the best bands in the US ska scene at the time. And one of LA’s biggest bands in the ’80s. Unfortunately, they never made it to that next level. But in the DIY world at that time, they were huge.
The Untouchables played a unique blend of 2 Tone inspired ska, poppy reggae, and upbeat Northern soul. Their love for scooter and mod fashion was front and center, so much that they wrote an early song called “Ska mods.” Their history is particularly interesting. They appeared in several low-budget films, most notably Repo Man. At one point they were managed by Ramon Estevez (Emilio and Charlie Sheen’s younger brother) and even played some birthday shows at Martin Sheen’s house in Malibu. And while they could not get any interest from any US label despite incredible success in the indie world, UK label Stiff Records showed up at one of their shows and signed them.
On the episode, we chat with The Untouchables lead singer Chuck Askerneese. We dig into The Untouchables’ unique history as part of the American DIY musical landscape in the ’80s. He tells us all the crazy twists and turns of their career. And we also discuss Chuck’s post-Untouchables career as a Hollywood property master. He’s worked on several Adam Sandler films and currently works on the TV show This Is Us. He even plays in a band with Adam Sandler. But the real question is...does Adam Sandler like ska?
Many of us collected action figures as kids. And guess what, it’s OK to keep on collecting them, especially if you’re buying the offbeat variety that you can't find at Toys r us: Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze’s Chippendales dancers. Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, Will Forte’s SNL character Macgruber, or Bill Burr’s Star Wars character, but with a heavy emphasis on his Boston accent (Wicked Awesome!) These unique and creative custom action figures are the work of Nick LaVallee (Wicked Joyful). They are awesome! Some even go to absurd lengths, like Eminem’s “Mom’s Spaghetti.”
On this episode of In Defense of Ska, Nick walks us through his life as a ska musician turned comedian turned custom one-of-a-kind toy designer. Wicked Joyful has gotten a lot of attention in the past year, with several celebrities purchasing or even specifically requesting Nick’s figures. If you follow him on Instagram, you can easily see why. We also talk about his weird contribution to the Big D and the Kids Table universe, how he got Adam to start wearing shirts that were too tight, and what pro-ska joke he used to tell on stage back when he did comedy.