Thursday, April 5, 2012

Geek Music: Ska

It should be noted that I love music.  I mean, love music.  I didn't always love music but eventually as I stepped outside of my comfort zone I found some great music I didn't know I'd enjoy.  Geeks generally speaking tend to stay within their comfort zones.  But if you stay inside your comfort zone, like I did, you'll never become aware of some great tunes!

What is Ska?
I'd like to share a kind of music that I like called Ska.  Ska started off as a Jamaican jazz in the '50s and '60s.  It's actually where Reggae comes from.  Jamaicans listened to the radio shortly after World War II and loved the Jazz they were hearing.  So they started to incorporate their own stuff and thus Ska was born.

In the 1970's, Ska came to England.  The British adapted what they heard to the native punk scene and 2 Tone Ska was born.  Some notable bands from this time would have been The Specials and Madness.  (Trust me when I say that you've heard of madness before.)  2 Tone ska later set the ground work for the birth of Ska Punk in the United States.

In the 1980's, Ska bands started forming in the United States.  A lot of these bands also incorporated punk into their styles.  Some of the bands that came from this type of ska would be The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Save Ferris, Sublime, Reel Big Fish, and No Doubt.  That's right kids.  No Doubt started off as a Ska band!

Ska has a very real and rich history that I've only just scratched the surface of.  For this reason, it has a ton of appeal to nerds and geeks like us.

Ska and Mormons
Some really notable bands have some members of the church as members.  Anyone ever heard of the Aquabats?  The Aquabats started off as a fun YSA band.  The lead singer, Christian Jacobs, got the idea from his younger brothers who formed the band GOGO13.  These bands in particular would appeal to the geek crowd for their zany nature and pop culture references.

This style has caught on to another little band I've come to like known as The Beam Me Up Ska-t's.  The great thing about the Aquabats style is that it's good music, fun, and clean.  I can play their stuff without having to worry about the ears of my nephews or offending the spirit.  Unfortunately, the same can't be said for all Ska bands.  Generally speaking, you will find some great stuff in the ska world.

Where do I start?
Getting to know good music can be a bit daunting.  Really, it's not too difficult as long as you know where good resources are.  I'd recommend using Spotify or Pandora to explore the rich world of Ska.  Look up some of the bands mentioned and you may find you like what you enjoy.  Also, GOGO13 is releasing a new album here soon!

-Stephen

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