by Mike Breen
New York City Ska legends The Toasters were the bridge
from the late ’70s 2 Tone Records-fueled Ska revival in the U.K. to the one that
brought Ska into the American mainstream in the ’90s. Easily one of the most
influential Ska acts of all time, The Toasters were formed in 1981 by
Robert “Bucket” Hingley, a U.K. native (and the group’s lone constant
member) who had just moved to The States, taking inspiration from the 2 Tone Ska
being created in his homeland (The Beat, The Specials, The
The Toasters, in turn, helped inspire multitudes of Ska bands to
form, something that ultimately led to the development of so-called Ska
Punk. Having a hard time finding a label, Hingley formed his own, Moon
Ska Records, which grew to become the major American Ska indie
imprint, releasing music (via albums or the label’s popular
compilations) by The Slackers, Dance Hall Crashers, Mustard Plug, Less
Than Jake and No Doubt, among many others. The Moon label was a road-map
to quality American Ska when the music was more underground; the imprint,
which was artist- and consumer-friendly (like Punk label Dischord, Moon
always kept prices low), experienced its greatest success during the
’90s Ska boom, but when the music fell out of mainstream favor, the
label faded away. Hingley moved to Spain,
where he formed another label, Megalith, to continue releasing Toasters albums.
The Toasters were the cool elder statesmen of the Ska
scene and they’ve survived the fickleness of musical trends and an
ever-changing music industry for over 30 years now by doing things on their own terms and keeping true to their vision.
The Toasters play a free show tonight at MOTR Pub in
Over-the-Rhine. Northern Kentucky’s great Ska/Reggae/Punk ensemble
Newport Secret Six opens the show around 9 p.m.
Click here for more live music options in Greater Cincinnati tonight.
by Mike Breen
Legendary NYC Ska group brings 30th anniversary tour to Cincy for free show
American Ska legends The Toasters perform a free show tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. Showtime is 10 p.m. and — sorry, kids — you must be 21 or older to get in.The band was one of the leading inspirations behind the "third-wave" Ska explosion of the ’90s, but the band actually began 30 years ago, influenced by the 2-Tone Ska movement in the U.K. The Toasters blend of NYC Rock and 2-Tone made them cult heroes in the Ska underground, as did the band's D.I.Y. approach; founding member (the sole one in the current lineup) Robert "Bucket" Hingley formed the influential Moon Ska Records in 1983 to release his own albums, as well as those by acts like Mustard Plug, The Slackers and Hepcat. The label's various compilations also gave a boost to up-and-coming, non-Moon acts like Less Than Jake and No Doubt.Here's The Toasters' first music video, for the tune "Radiation Skank" off of the band's debut release, 1985's Recriminations EP (which was produced by British singer/songwriter Joe Jackson; he is to The Toasters what Elvis Costello was to The Specials). And here is "Modern World America" off The Toasters' 2002 release, Enemy of the System.