Everything is a story
Kurt Vonnegut one said that he chose to study Cultural Anthropology because it “offered the greatest opportunity to write high-minded balderdash.” I love music journalism, but how we view the history and culture of music is no less a series of sculpted tales strung together to make sense of this otherwise senseless art where humans express their deepest emotions and greatest truths.
I’ve played music all my life and became a music journalist in 2010. One of the biggest disappointments I encountered was the unequivocal dismissal and mockery of ska music—one of my favorite genres—among critics and writers. This became the topic of my first book, In Defense of Ska. Not only did I literally defend the genre, but I took the opportunity to tell stories and provide narratives that contradicted popular culture’s stereotypes about the music and its fans. And because these anti-ska stories have been accepted as truth, lots of people miss out on some great music and interesting stories. You can pre-order In Defense of Ska here.
This evolved into the topic of this newsletter. I sometimes post stories and pieces of criticism about ska. And I consistently post episodes of my podcast In Defense of Ska, with my co-host Adam Davis (Link 80, Omnigone). Our goal with the podcast is to showcase the wide lens that is ska. We chat with people from ska of different eras and locations, and sometimes with people that are simply ska adjacent. We also love talking to people not known for playing ska, but have a history with the genre. Ska is everywhere, and we’re determined to make that abundantly clear.
My intention as a music journalist has been to challenge popular notions, tell others’ stories and to have people rethink their notions about music. In Defense of Ska (The book, newsletter and podcast) does this ska music, a genre that use challenging in most people’s minds.