Ska

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Why did it sound so right? And where did it all go wrong?

Tom, Monday, 15 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

damn thomas, quit stealing my thread ideas.

i have no idea when it started to go wrong. probably about the time it started to mate with punk? (operation ivy and its bastard spawn rancid are probably responsible for a fair number of sub-sub-sub-sub skacore bands currently choking the vfw hall circuit.) i used to love it. now i couldn't be arsed to put a ska record on (possible exceptions, the first specials alb, madness if you really think of them as ska) if you paid me.

search: early 60s ska from the motherland...most of the great reggae and dub artists have their roots in ska (pun unintended.) soul jazz has been putting out fabulous comps. of various jamaican music for a while now. also, two tone - specials, madness, english beat, selecter.

destroy: everything from 1983 on.

jess, Monday, 15 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Fishbone makes really inspiring ska still.

chaki, Monday, 15 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Why did it sound so right?

Because it was made by party-loving West Indians in the Sixties and pissed off British proles in the late seventies/early eighties.

And where did it all go wrong?

Because it started being made by Boston frat-boy assholes (here's lookin' at you, Mighty Mighty Lame Butt-tones) and spoiled-brat Orange County, California skateboard-chickenshits (ahem! Sublime).

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Monday, 15 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I'd like to think Fishbone transcend "ska".. their best songs weren't even within the genre (Bonin' in the Boneyard, well actually, most of Truth and Soul..)

Bobby D. Gray, Monday, 15 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

yeah, i think tad's actually more on point than i am. (somehow, thankfully, i had blocked the mighty mighty bosstones out of my memory. bastard.) ;) the frat-boy angle is not to be overlooked. as practiced by bands like the bosstones this sound becomes the PERFECT soundtrack to a kegger...those burly, up-tempo horns and basic rock-skiffle-shuffle delivery make it slot in just fine next to, say, wooly bully. gah.

jess, Monday, 15 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Search: The 100-200-300-400-500% Dynamite comps that come out every so often. Great mix of all reggeae genres (Ska, Dub, Roots, Dancehall).

I tend to think ska (and reggae in general) all went wrong when it fell into the hands of the US-based white middle class college fratboy set. Reggae/Ska's dancable accessability+association with gettin' high makes it an easy target for watered down rip off white rasta trustafarians who watch 'half-baked' after band practice.

turner, Tuesday, 16 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Ska is a type of music which I believe has reached its limits in terms of new ideas and development of the music. Ska quickly sounds the same, because of the limitations of the style itself - form restrains content considerably in this case. Ska bands now are always intense, but often too repetitive and tiresome after 3 songs. Some of the skateboard punk/ska association was good, like the 77 ska-dipped punk, but face it: it's always the same thing, the same pattern of a shouty all trombones out! Bones Brigade advert music. Fucking skater punk bastards.

Simon, Tuesday, 16 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

There's still some fun ska-bands out there: Hepcat and The Slackers manage to keep it fresh within the tradional parameters. Both bands are on Epitaph though, so you know they're catering to snotfaced tattooladen punkito's.

It went wrong with Madness.

Alacrán, Tuesday, 16 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

surely Ska got stale in 66/67, hence the development of Rocksteady (which got stale in 68/69, hence the development of Reggae... etc)

m jemmeson, Tuesday, 16 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I'm not sure it ever "went wrong." I think bands like the Slackers, the Toasters, The Pietasters, and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones are terrific bands. If nothing else, ska shows are FUN! People dancing and smiling and laughing and being goofy. It's a joyous celebration. When was the last time you saw that at a rock show?

Mark M, Tuesday, 16 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

how come england produced inspiring 2 tone ska, and america only producted the no doubt style college dirge thats around at the moment?
not enough jamaicans?

jk, Wednesday, 17 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Fratboys sometimes have good taste. (And sometimes listen to Dave Matthews, so go figure). Anyway, the first good ska band = operation ivy. The beginning of the end = skanking pickle. (ha!).

Sterling Clover, Wednesday, 17 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

i sort of agree with mark m. i mean, theres a lot of slagging of 'skater punk' kids having killed this sort of music, but i think thats unfair. went to some ska punk gigs in russia and their probably some of the most fun gigs ive ever been to. i wouldnt buy anything on record, but live it was well.....fun. i saw the skatalites supported by said russian skapunk band. nothing so surreal as 70 yr jamaicans jamming with russian kids with dreds...

ambrose, Wednesday, 17 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

jk: all forms of reggae were/are much bigger in the UK than US (many number 1's etc), despite the numbers of Jamaicans moving to US and UK being surprisingly close.

m jemmeson, Wednesday, 17 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

went to some ska punk gigs in russia and their probably some of the most fun gigs ive ever been to.

ska = Jamaican polka. And polka = Slovak rock. Hence, its attraction to Slavs (such as my relatives in Poland I visited six years ago, though the Poles seem to have snapped outta it and are recently responsible for a good batch of death metal -- Sto Lat! ).

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Ska = Jamaican R'n'B

Ska only started being made when the supply of decent US R'n'B records dried up. you can play US R'n'B and early Ska back to back with no noticeable difference

m jemmeson, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

If nothing else, ska shows are FUN! People dancing and smiling and laughing and being goofy. It's a joyous celebration. When was the last time you saw that at a rock show?

Come to one of the beer-soaked jock-rock fests passed off as ska around here and you'll never find a more joyless, sad experience. Especially when those fuckers in the Bosstones are involved.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

"Sell Out" by Reel Big Fish = anthem of '97?

Sterling Clover, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

eight years pass...

There are only like 5 references to Bim Skala Bim on ILX, but I've heard one of their songs twice as background music for cable tv shows. First in an emeril green segment on salads, then last night on a travel channel segment about the world's largest halloween store in worcester, ma.

I haven't listened to it in ages, but I used to rep pretty heavily for their live album.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Monday, 19 October 2009 10:32 (twelve years ago) link

three years pass...

fsr photo of my hs ska band in this buzzfeed article 23 things that totally made you ska kid in high school http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/23-things-that-totally-made-you-ska-kid-in-high-school

flopson, Monday, 25 February 2013 05:14 (nine years ago) link

seven years pass...

oh we postin about our hs ska bands here?

I went to my folks house in February to look at the Super Bowl with them, and my mom had put the contents of their VHS/DVD collection into a box and tasked me with reviewing it and choosing what wouldn't be destroyed for eternity. I couldn't not save a professionally-reproduced DVD that our Peruvian Mormon Trumpet Player's mom had made of our rad Aquabats-style anti-communist multi-racial themed ska-core band that took 2nd place at the 1998 Battle of the Bands and I'm proud to say FIRST PLACE at the 1999 Battle of the Bands, an honor legitimized by a $200 cash reward and a formal opportunity for us to play on the campus's outdoor stage during lunch a few weeks before graduation (we covered Less Than Jake, it was 1999).

anyway here's the back of the DVD (thumbs 1-3 are the ska band's opening band, which was the Peruvian Mormon Trumpet Player's sub-band consisting of three members of the main band, where he played piano and the ska band's drummer and singer backed him up on drums and bass, respectively. We covered Ben Folds, it was 1999)

https://i.imgur.com/N5zSHEN.jpg

the burrito that defined a generation, Thursday, 27 August 2020 05:10 (one year ago) link

i was playing a pearl export kit with cheap paiste cymbals in a 7-piece HS ska band around those years. i salute you!

davey, Thursday, 27 August 2020 09:01 (one year ago) link

i played trumpet in a ska band in HS too, we were called the 'skaskank redemption'. gawd. the best day of the band's life was when streetlight manifesto played in our small town in wisconsin for some reason

i always associate wisconsin and new jersey with high school ska bands

global tetrahedron, Thursday, 27 August 2020 16:19 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

do I wanna go see Less Than Jake and Bowling For Soup when they're touring together here pretty soon?

seems kinda fun, right? or ...

note: i have never been a fan of either band or ska, but am feeling open to this.

alpine static, Tuesday, 2 August 2022 19:40 (two weeks ago) link


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