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In Defense of Ska

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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.

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.


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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.




In Defense of Ska Ep 78: Dunia Best (Agent 99, Dunia and Aram, Brave New Girl, Dubistry, Rude Girl Revue)

Dunia Best was a member of the very first incarnation of The Slackers. And after she left the band, she took a song she'd hope would be a Slackers song, "Walk," and started playing it acoustically. A friend suggested she could start her own band. That band, Agent 99 (1993-1995) played all over New York with No Commercial Value (Scott Sturgeon's first band), The Slackers, as well as punk and funk bands. Though Agent 99 was short-lived, many great musicians came through, like Ara Babajian...


In Defense of Ska Ep 77: Jon Daly (Those Who Can't, Kroll Show, Bob's Burgers, Big Mouth, Family Guy)

Recently, comedian Jon Daly noticed there was a cruise line with some 90s ska bands as its entertainment. It got him thinking...what if ska came back, and it was from a ska cruise. This silly thought inspired him to write the song, "Bring Back Ska," which is featured on his new musical comedy album, Ding Dong Delicious. This isn't Jon's only run-in with ska. He also played Skaat, the lead singer of Skaffirmative Action, on the TV show Those Who Can't. His band is played by members of The...


In Defense of Ska Ep 76: Josh Jurk (School Drugs, Awful Waffle, Uncle Peckerhead, The Jurks)

Earlier this year, when New Jersey ska band Awful Waffle decided to reunite for the Ska Mom Memorial show, they needed a drummer. So they called up School Drugs frontman Josh Jurk to see if he'd fill those shoes. He was reluctant to play ska drums--he didn't have a lot of experience. But paying tribute to Leslie Brown (ie Ska Mom) was important to him so he said yes. Today we talk with Josh, whose ska credits also include playing bass on one Best of the Worst tour, starring in the...


In Defense of Ska Behind The Curtain: Interviewing the Ska Kids

What's it like to be raised by a ska parent? We ask co-host Adam Davis' kids and find out. Give a listen to this month's bonus episode with Thomas and James Davis. This is only a teaser though. If you want to hear the entire episode, sign up for our Patreon. You will have access to the entire episode and a bunch of additional Patreon-exclusive content. Support the show


In Defense of Ska Ep 75: Brandie Posey (Lady to Lady Podcast, The Worst Year In My Life, Pick It Up - Ska in the '90s)

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...


In Defense of Ska Ep 74: Mephiskapheles (Andre A. Worrell, Michael Bitz, Greg Robinson)

Last year, Loudwire published an article with the headline, "Satanic Ska is a Real Thing That Actually Exists." The satanic ska band they were referring to was New York-based Mephiskapheles. And the band has existed for over thirty years. But mixing ska music and tongue-in-cheek Satanic imagery is only one attribute that distinguished the group from their 90s ska peers. Their music was unlike any other group. On their debut album, God Bless Satan, they mixed traditional ska drums &...


In Defense of Ska Ep 73: Dane Roberts (Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival)

In the summer of 2000, ska was on the decline in the US, but up in Victoria, Canada, it was as popular as ever. Local promoter Dane Roberts--who'd been throwing ska shows for a few years--decided to throw a full-on ska festival. It was in part a tribute to Mathew Bishop, the man that introduced him to ska (he'd died from a mountain climbing accident two years earlier), and it was Dane's final college assignment. If the festival made money, he passed. If it didn't, he failed. The first year...


In Defense of Ska Ep 72: John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats, The Extra Lens, The Comedians, The Bloody Hawaiians)

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...


In Defense of Ska Ep 71: Bruce Lee Band (Mike Park, Jeff Rosenstock)

During Skankin' Pickle's run, Mike Park had so many songs, he tapped Less Than Jake to record an album with him. He called it The Bruce Lee Band. This record was released in 1995. A decade later, The Bruce Lee Band returned with Beautiful World, this time backed by RX Bandits. But then, nearly a decade later, The Bruce Lee Band became a solid group with Mike Park, Jeff Rosenstock, Dan Potthast and Kevin Higuchi (Though Mike Huguenor was involved in the two 2014 records). They've put out...


In Defense of Ska Behind The Curtain: Live Shows During Covid

On May 13, Adam performed a killer set inside the Ivy Room in Albany, CA, main support for Voodoo Glow Skulls. He brought me up on stage to dance for the duration of one song (The only time I was mask-free inside the venue). The next day I found out I was exposed to Covid a few days earlier. On this very special episode, I take a Covid test and read the results LIVE as they come in. Also Adam and I talk about the Voodoo show show and the complexities of playing live music in the era of...


In Defense of Ska Ep 70: Blue Meanies (Billy Spunke, Sean Dolan)

In the late '90s, someone asked Blink-182's Tom DeLonge if he wanted to go see The Blue Meanies perform. Both bands happened to be in Australia at the same time. His response: "Are they still scaring kids?" The answer was obviously yes, so Tom passed. The Blue Meanies formed in 1989 in Carbondale, Illinois by Jay Vance, who would later start the avant-garde project Captured By Robots. The Blue Meanies started as a Fishbone-style party band, but when they relocated to Chicago a few years...


In Defense of Ska Ep 69: Pook (Pookout Records, Beat the Red Light, Redeemon, Lightyear, The Filaments)

There was a big ska revival in the UK from around 2000 to 2005. Pook was playing music back then, but when the scene started to crater, he kept on playing. He would even fully realize his vision of combining extreme metal with ska, which you can hear in his groups Beat The Red Light and Redeemon. We're talking Sepultura and Lamb of God style metal mixed with ska. Pook also runs a record label called Pookout Records. It started as a means to distribute records into the UK but has since...


In Defense of Ska Ep 68: Coolie Ranx (Pilfers, The Toasters, Grand Theft Auto IV)

In the early '90s, Coolie Ranx had his eyes set on being a dancehall star. That is until a friend dared him to audition to be The Toasters' new vocalist. He got the gig, and off to Europe he went (Though, a little uncomfortable with the Mohawk, spike-studded punks that came to these shows). He quit Toasters, but eventually came back and joined the group just before they did the Skavoovee tour, along with The Special Beat, The Selecter, and The Skatalites. At the time, Coolie was so...


In Defense of Ska Ep 67: Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem, The Horrible Crowes, Lanemeyer, Molly and the Zombies)

Last year, singer/songwriter Brian Fallon tweeted that Slackers lead singer Vic Ruggiero is "one of the greatest songwriters and lyricists of our time." This isn't the only time that Brian tweeted about his love for ska during the pandemic. We've seen him praise Mike Park, Catbite and express his love for New York band The Abruptors' ska cover of his song "Forget Me Not." On today's episode of In Defense of Ska, we dig into Brian's past and learn about how he discovered ska, why Asian Man...


In Defense of Ska Behind The Curtain: The Weirdest Ska Band Ever? with Chris Ruckus (Dissidente) and Duck (Joystick) TEASER

Before Chris Ruckus was in Dissidente...before Duck was in Joystick....they played in the weirdest ska band of all time: Cryptorchid Chipmunk. Listen to our conversation with them about this peculiar ska band, where the performance was just as unhinged as the music. To listen to the complete episode, sign up for the In Defense of Ska Patreon at Support the show


In Defense of Ska Ep 66: Ara Babajian (The Slackers, Leftover Crack, Agent 99, Star Fucking Hipsters, The World/Inferno Friendship Society)

When drummer Ara Babajian joined The Slackers in 2003, Vic Ruggiero and David Hillyard had to teach him how to correctly play a traditional ska beat, which they did by handing him key records to listen to, and by singing ska beats at him. Ara wasn't new to ska. He'd played in several bands like Agent 99 and Leftover Crack. But The Slackers approached ska with a greater emphasis on hitting that Jamaican groove just right, so he had to up his game. He may have come to the band with little...


In Defense of Ska Ep 65: Margaret Cho (Drop Dead Diva, The Flight Attendant, Fire Island)

In the mid-90s, comedian Margaret Cho had a sitcom deal with ABC. She wanted to call it "The Margaret Cho Show" and to have Skankin' Pickle to write its theme song. But, the network wanted it to be called "All-American Girl," and they weren't keen on having a ska-punk band write its theme song. Skankin' Pickle singer/saxophonist Mike Park had already written the delightfully catchy song, "It's Margaret Cho." Since it wouldn't be playing on TV, he included it on Skankin' Pickle's third studio...


In Defense of Ska Ep 64: Stefan Babcock (PUP, Stop Drop N Skank)

It would seem impossible for PUP to top their brilliant, cathartic 2019 record Morbid Stuff. But then, on April 1, they put out The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND, such a fantastic record, even Rivers Cuomo tweeted about it. In celebration of this awesome band releasing an awesome record, we brought on PUP singer Stefan Babcock on the show. But of course, we had to talk about ska. And there was a lot of ground to cover. For one thing, Stefan used to play in the ska band Stop Drop N Skank, who was...


In Defense of Ska Ep 63: Kmoy / Tape Girl

Twenty-five years ago, I would have never guessed that the bedroom recording aesthetic would eventually overlap with the ska scene. But, in 2022, you have Kmoy and Tape Girl, who are referring to their music as "Laptop Ska," which it turns out, is a great descriptor. Their recordings carry the lo-fi, compressed quality of 4-track indie-rock artists, but it somehow blends with these grandiose concepts and overdubs galore. Kmoy and Tape Girl are two separate projects. But they are best...


In Defense of Ska Behind the Curtain: Are The Police Ska? A debate between Middagh Goodwin (This is Ska) and Sean Dolan (Blue Meanies) TEASER!

Are The Police Ska? A heated debate between Middagh Goodwin (This is Ska) and Sean Dolan (The Blue Meanies) To listen to the FULL episode, head over the the In Defense of Ska Patreon Support the show