In Defense of Ska Ep 23: Chuck Askerneese of The Untouchables


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?