Wrapping up 2020

More to come in 2021

Hi everyone, I started this newsletter a month and a half ago, and I'm honored so many of you signed up for it, commented on it, and shared my posts. I’ll be taking next week off, but I’ll be back on January 6th. I'm excited about how it's going to evolve in 2021.

When the pandemic hit last March, my freelance writing work dropped significantly. My wife sensed opportunity and argued it was finally time to buy the Playstation she’d been threatening. Even though I’d been highly resistant to the whole idea of videogames (my wife would tell you I’m a sore loser) I acquiesced. We played Uncharted 4 first, and then Last of Us. We were hooked. Between gaming and long walks along the river by our house, we managed to get by without too much self-destruction. Now, with book promotion gaining speed and a slow but steady uptick in freelance gigs, my free time has begun to slowly dry up, and playing Spider-Man has to be penciled in like everything else.

My book launched in mid-September. I've been putting everything into promotion and getting advanced copies into the hands of the media. I genuinely believe that the subject and quality of writing in my book has the potential to reach an audience beyond just hardcore ska fans (Though I greatly appreciate how passionate ska fans have been about my project). When I pitched this book to different publishers and agents in 2018, CLASH was the only one interested. Now "In Defense of Ska" is one of their best sellers as far as pre-sales go. They told me that the other publishers "made a mistake."

“Yeah for Ska” sign made by my mom—my Christmas present! Photo by Amy Bee.

This newsletter has given me the chance to contribute content directly to readers and explore topics that other publications may have no interest in. Currently, my focus is to share ska stories from my book and ones that didn't make the cut. I've also begun reporting entirely new stories for 2021 to be exclusively shared here, with you.

Some of these new stories are:

Repo Man director Alex Cox talks about The Untouchables' cameo as the scooter gang.

A deep journalistic dive on the viral hit, "Jesus is a Friend of Mine."

How the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina launched a vibrant ska scene in New Orleans.

I'm also working with Adam Davis (Link 80, Omnigone) to produce a ska podcast distributed through this newsletter. We have some great guests and topics planned.

If you want to read more posts, sign up for my newsletter!

Next year will also see the official release of my book In Defense of Ska (May 4, 2021). If you haven't already, you can pre-order it directly from my publisher, on Amazon, or through other book retailers. If you'd like a sample of what's inside, two publications have released chapter excerpts. Check them out here:

"Ska is Dead" (Brooklyn Vegan)

"Ska Sucks" (Punknews)

I hope your holidays are peaceful and relaxing. I'll be staying at home with my wife. She’ll be kicking ass on Ghost of Tsushima while I take on God of War or perhaps Little Nightmares. Pie will be eaten.

Like what you’re reading? Feel free to share!


Thank you for joining me in defending one of the most misunderstood music genres: ska. I’ve already convinced a few podcast hosts to reconsider their anti-ska bias. And I’ve gotten in a few spats with ska-haters on Twitter. We’re just getting started!

I would love to hear your feedback on what you think of the newsletter so far. Anything you're enjoying in particular? Anything missing you'd like to see? Comment below or email me! I'm all ears.

Happy Holidays, Aaron Carnes, Ska Defender