TMT-My Punk Side

TMT-My Punk Side

February 25, 2014 Writing 15

I have a confession. While there are plenty of songs on my playlist that any one person could take issue with, overall anyone who happens to be riding along with me would find a song or two to sing along with. It’s just that my music taste is so varied, it’s easy to please. I know a lot of people have issue with some of the younger female singers (and I don’t know why. I’m not ashamed to admit that several of the emerging stars my daughter likes are actually talented!), and I could fill this post with songs from the likes of Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, or Taylor Swift, for example but I won’t.

Instead, I want to share a musical guilty pleasure I have. I’m not ashamed to admit to it, and I really should put some on my playlist, but I’ve been disappointed overall with what I have found in the recent past.

My guilty pleasure? Ska. It’s a blend of Caribbean music with calypso, American jazz, and R&B. It was the kind of music the skinheads listened to when I was in my mid-20s, which meant the 90’s (not the Bob Marley kind, though I love me some Marley too). No, this type of ska is sometimes considered punk music, though its different from what most people consider punk music (The Cure comes to mind).  Some of my best memories come from finding a free ska concert somewhere and having fun with my mostly male skinhead friends. Also, on that? There’s more than one type of skinhead. There’s the nazi, which are deplorable, and then there’s the regular head-shaving, flight jacket wearing, Doc Maarten footed kind (the SHARPs–Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice) that I called friends. They have a special kind of loyalty that continues even to this day. In fact, I gave my almost 25 year old flight jacket to my oldest for his 17th birthday. They introduced me to a lot of things I felt a kinship with, but ska music is probably the best.

I will be adding these songs to my playlist soon (I just need to clear out some space!)…

Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town? 
We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown 

Life was getting hectic
And things were unexpected
When I first received your call

Sublime is probably the most famous “Ska” band around. Here is one of their best.

Tell Sanchito that if he knows what is good for him he best go run and hide,
Daddy’s got a new .45,
And I won’t think twice to stick that barrel straight down sancho’s throat,
Believe me when I say that I got somethin’ for his punk ass.

Bet you didn’t know No Doubt is considered “ska” too? I did, though I have doubters (snort) in my midst. Here’s one of my favorites:

I really feel
That I’m losing my best friend
I can’t believe
This could be the end

The saddest part of this post is that here where I grew up, in the metro DC area, we had our own brand of SKA. DC Ska consisted of such great groups like The Ratchet Boys, The Skunks, Eastern Standard Time, and my personal favorite (Man I have been looking for years for songs from this band!). Checkered Cabs. Its sad because the music isn’t widely sold, CDs are hard to come by, and it’s rare to find a ska performance, even in DC, anymore. Because the music catered to skinheads, mods, and such, fights often broke out and clubs stopped letting the ska bands play. I wish I had opportunity to spend more time listening to these bands play.

I did have the privilege of hearing Checkered Cabs live and to this day, I wish I had a CD. I fell in love with them that much.

“You Told Me.” by Checkered Cabs (PS. No fights broke out at the show I attended.)

Here’s another DC Ska band that, along with Checkered Cabs, opened for other ska bands, primarily The Toasters. With Miss understood, here’s The Allstonians.

To close out today’s mixtape, I leave you with a song that is not particularly ska, and I’m not even sure how many hits they had beyond this song. I just know that its a guilty pleasure, mostly because I love watching my kids jam out to it. In closing, I give you…

I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world
Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!
You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere

And that is another Twisted Mixtape Tuesday hosted by Jen Kehl of My Skewed View.

What’s YOUR musical guilty pleasure?


15 Responses

  1. Dana says:

    I’ve never heard of ska, but I knew a few songs on this list (Don’t Speak and Santeria) Thanks for expanding my musical horizons!

  2. katybrandes says:

    I saw the word, “Sanchito,” and knew you had to be talking about Sublime – love them & love that song. You probably know all the words, too, eh?

  3. Quickstepp says:

    Yeah, don’t ever feel guilty about Sublime or No Doubt. Actually, until you hit Barbie Girl, you were in the clear.

  4. May be my favorite post of the day! I was never part of the ska “scene” but I always liked hearing it… I like the rhythm, and the crazy way they dance to it. Sublime is one of my favorites. Also I remember knowing about SHARP, I think because I asked a skinhead if he was racist and he explained to me the difference.

  5. Marcy says:

    Really interesting post! I only knew “Santeria,” which I’ve always really liked, but I didn’t even know it would be considered ska.

    • SAM says:

      I have found in trying to find some Ska music to add to my playlist that Sublime is the one that usually comes up. No Doubt is supposed to be ska punk, but there’s the haters who say they aren’t. They seem very ska-ish to me!

  6. Jen says:

    You have no idea how timely this post is for me. A very important person to me, whose story I plan to tell in the form of a memoir or short story, was in a semi-famous Ska band in the 90’s. The Blue Meanies. They were at the beginning, before any Ska went mainstream and were really good. If you don’t know them, search youtube there is a lot of their live footage!
    Great list, nothing to feel guilty for for sure!

  7. Kir Piccini says:

    I love learning about all the facets of YOU. It’s like you’re telling me the story of yourself with this music and I like it (and you, of course!)

It's YOUR write side, too! Let's hear it!

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