In Defense of Ska September 2021 Newsletter

Did you know that Steve Douglas, ie “Balsac The Jaws Of Death” from the band GWAR, currently plays guitar in Australian ska/punk band The Resignators? Well, now you do know thanks to Brent Friedman and this month’s “Ska Fact Of The Day.”

So much happened this month. For starters, Angelo Moore told me that my facial birthmark was a “Beauty Mark.” That was very sweet of you, Mr. Greatest Frontman Of All Time. But before we catch up on September’s episodes of “In Defense of Ska,” I want to invite you to a very special livestream event!

I am joining forces with two other ska book authors, Marc Wasserman and Kenneth Partridge. We will have a panel discussion on Brooklyn Vegan called Ska Lives! The Continued Legacy of American Ska. Check it out live on the Brooklyn Vegan YouTube Channel on October 4th at 7pm EST. Also, look at this cool flyer Adam Davis created! Tag him on social media and tell him how cool it is!

We started the month off with a great conversation with author Jessica Lipsky, whose book It Ain’t Retro: Daptone Records and the 21st Century Soul Revolution, tells the story of one of the coolest record labels in recent memory. Daptone brought us Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, and rocksteady masters The Frightnrs. We also discuss Jessica’s ska roots and dig through some of her thoughtful articles about the genre.

Our interview with Angelo Moore has been our most download episode to date. Angelo gives us not only great Fishbone stories, but he gives us an in-depth discussion about the meaning behind the lyrics for their beautiful song “Unyielding Conditioning.” What a deep and mindblowing conversation that was! Every once and a while, I think about how cool it would have been if “Unyielding Conditioning” was the big hit ska song in the 90s. Ska’s perception in culture would have been much different.

Kenneth Partridge went and wrote his own damn ska book! Fortunately for both of us, it’s quite different than the one I wrote, which means we get to stay friends and not sworn enemies. His book, Hell of a Hat: The Rise of 90s Ska and Swing focuses on ska as a mainstream phenomenon. Also, swing, which I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of back in the day. So we brought him on the podcast and demanded he defend swing, and by golly, he mounted quite the defense.

It’s taken us 36 episodes to get here, but the interviewee we always needed to have on this podcast was Mike Park, and this month we got him! Mike Park is the legend behind the bands Skankin Pickle, Bruce Lee Band, Chinkees, and the owner of Asian Man Records. But he’s also a fantastic human being and has been good friends with both Adam and me for over two decades. Listen to us jump back and forth between personal stories with Mike and a detailed account of his compelling history in music.

And lastly, we took a hard left turn and interviewed Homer Flynn, the president of the Cryptic Corporation and public relations representative for avant-garde collective The Residents. Since high school, Adam and I have been obsessed with The Residents. Not only do they produce extremely weird music, but they are pioneers in multimedia, and have been highly innovative in the realm of bridging visual art forms with music. And their live shows are like terrifying musical theater. Listen to the entire episode to hear us ask Homer if The Residents liked ska.

Be sure to check grab tickets for the In Defense of Ska west coast 10-day tour this January featuring Mustard Plug, Buck-O-Nine, and Adam’s band Omnigone. For more information go here.

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