Interview by JOEY T. GERM
Hey everybody! According to my calendar (which is usually six months behind) 1997 is officially over. But what went with it you may ask? Well, Alternative Music for one thing. If you could please refer to that particular genre as Modern Rock from here on out it would be appreciated by the Music Industry. (It was a sly takeover, I know). Electronica, despite the nifty moniker, never really got a break in '97, unfortunately for everyone (it was the future of music, you know). Prodigy had to shock consumers into submission, but how long will that last we wonder? And then there was ska. Oh my skad. What with ska being the shit that's "moving units" these days and what with ska bands bein' a friggin' dime a dozen and all, we here at the Reglar Wiglar figured we better send a correspondent out to Southern California to cover one of them up and comin' ska bands.
RW: Hey, sorry about that guys, who'd I hit? Hey, are you guys perchance, a ska band?
Donny: Yeah, we're Skatastrophe. We're a touring ska band.
RW: Where are you guys from?
Fish: Rapid City, South Dakota.
RW: Aren't you supposed to be from Southern California?
Joe: Technically, I think we are.
John: To be a legitimate ska band, I think we are supposed to be from Southern California.
Mike: Someplace where the sun shines for at least 50% of the
Michael: We got the heart and soul of a Southern California ska band though.
Paul: We're actually thinking of moving here when we get enough money saved up.
RW: You guys are making some good money touring though, right?
Roger: Yeah, but once we get paid for a gig, buy food, buy gas for the fleet of tour vans, pay for lodging and then divvy up the rest for miscellaneous travel expenses, souvenirs, etc.
Brenden: Souvenirs can get expensive.
Fitzy: Occasionally we'll have to send a van or two back to Rapid City to drop off all the junk we buy.
Peter: I collect magnets from all the different states.
Frankie: But once you pay for all the essentials and necessities, divide that up between all the members of the band, that doesn't leave much left over.
RW: I guess not. How many guys are in this band anyway?
Patrick: Quite a few.
Jason: Yeah, it's hard to say really.
RW: You got an approximate number you could give me?
Jason L: Not really. We used to do a head count before we got into the vans after every show but we kind of fell out of the habit after a while.
Jackie: I'm sure we lost a couple guys on the road somewhere.
Lonnie: I know there was another was another trumpet player that used to stand next to me at some point in the tour.
Rodrick: Was his name Spiffy? Something like that?
Chris: I think so. Yeah, that sounds right. Tall guy?
Ralphie: Wore two-toned shoes.
Lonnie: Yeah, that was him.
Sam: I haven't seen that cat since Kansas City, man.
RW: I don't think my high school graduating class was as big as this band, in fact, I'm sure of it.
Stevie: Yeah, it's a big party, but that's what ska is, man, it's a big party.
RW: Yeah, but you guys are more than a band, you're a scene. How'd you guys form, did you have a recruiting office or something, The Ska Corp, or what?
Bennett: Ska Corp. Wow, somebody write this shit down back there?
Little Petey: Ska Corp, got it!
Mumpy: You know the scene in Rapid City was so tight knit. It used to be divided, you know, there'd be maybe five or six ska bands all competing to get on the same bill when an out of town band would play. It seemed pointless and cut throat so we decided to unite and form one giant ska band to reach a common goal and bring our brand of ska to the world.
Karl: The only problem was once we got everybody in the band, that was it, there was no fan base. There was no one left tp come see the shows so we had to take it on the road.
RW: How'd you guys get signed? Did your label send somebody out to check you guys out or did you send them a demo or what?
Bigsby: Naw, it wasn't anything as complicated as that, we just called up the label office and got signed.
RW: No shit? How does that work?
Jimmy: I was the one that called actually. I talked to one of the secretaries at the label's front office and I said, "Hey, we're a ska band from Rapid City," and I was about to, you know, throw out some facts at her, like how long we've been playing together and how many songs we got, which was just two at the time, but I heard her shout to somebody in the background, "Ska band on the phone! Ska band on the phone!" Then she takes down our address and we get FedExed a record contract the next day.
RW: I guess they hadn't signed a ska band yet, huh?
Robbie: Apparently not.
RW: What was your particular brand of ska?
Stan: Just good time ska ska, you know.
Ralphie: Life affirming, feel good, get happy ska?
Bryce: Yeah, and glad to be alive, not taking anything for granted, knock on wood ska, too.
Greg: With a little bit of life's a party, don't worry about a thing, enjoy life ska thrown in for good measure.
RW: Why ska, why now?
Rod: The time is ripe for ska.
Burt: Alternative music was so boring and depressing. The whole "Why me? Poor, poor, little old me" outlook of alternative was such a bummer. Ska is the antithesis of that defeatist attitude.
Dougie: Ska is about being positive.
RW: It's still about conformity and acceptance though, right?
Dougie: Oh, of course, I mean, it is a trend after all, we are still subject to certain requirements and restrictions.
RW: What do you guys think when people say that ska is just male, testosterone-fueled frat boy wanna-be's and pumped up jocks who are just as into partying and being sexist and macho as they are into music.
Willy: I'd just like to say that I'll kick the fuckin' ass of the next faggot that says we have a jock or frat mentality. That's completely not true.
RW: Wow, you sure silenced those critics.
Willy: Fuckin' a right. Fuckin' sissies.
Willy: But it's all about having a good time so fuck it. I love everybody.
RW: You guys got a video on MTV now, right? I got to admit it's pretty silly in a bad '80s video kind of way. Do you think that kind of turns the entire ska music scene into one giant laughable cartoon?
Wilson: It might, yeah, it probably does.
Fred: People are going to remember the end of the '90s for a lot longer than the beginning until people go back to the early '90s in the mid aughties? I guess is what you would call those years. It sounds so silly to say.
RW: It does when you say it anyway.
Max: At least we're not a hair band.
RW: Where'd that come from?
Max: I don't know.
RW: So, anyway, hypothetically speaking, when the whole ska thing blows over, like next month for example, what're you guys gonna do?
Louie: We'll, we've been taking about starting a small town in Iowa. We just need to meet the right female ska band.
RW: With the time ska has left, brothers, I don't think there's time for one to form. I gotta go, but thanks for the interview. Good luck with the ska thing.
Bobo: Thanks, man.