The Final Scene

When first tasked with writing about the musical 90’s, I was a little depressed to realize that I could no longer speak of The Clash. And then I remembered, I began the 90’s in Okinawa. And in Okinawa was where I first heard this:

The Blue Hearts were termed by many as “the Japanese Clash,”and while they’ll have no further say in this post, I just couldn’t leave the 90’s – or Okinawa – without a shout out to them.

As we discovered last week, not all were part of the club kid scene of the decade. But there were others to choose from, and it could be safely said that there wasn’t one singular breathing person on the planet’s face – sans a certain Richard and Judy Stover – who did not at least dip a toe into a little known scene coming out of the Seattle…

Now did I just use the same band there twice? I believe I did. But in all honesty, I never felt as if the Mother Love Bone end of their existence received its proper due. So there.

Of course, if that scene didn’t tickle your musical funny bone (or if you simply preferred over-sized rain gear and floppy hats, to flannel and torn jeans), you only needed to look to Manchester, England to find a slightly more refined sound…

The “Madchester scene” as it came to be known, opened the door just enough to allow for yet another British invasion of sorts. An invasion that. also never really received its proper due…

Of course, telling people in the U.S. to kill their television is akin to going to India and asking for a cheeseburger. So while all this madness was being thrown at us from without, we were busy at work creating a bit of it from within as well. In addition to grunge, the indie scene kicked it up a notch in the 90’s, with the aid of some pixies and a chick named Jane…

“So t, did you actually get into all these scenes?” You bet your sweet parachute pant-wearing booty I did! And then some!  But as the 90’s drew to a close, I was back in the states, and I was busy making babies. Babies that would quickly eat up my time, my attention, my love, and – sure as hell – any budget I had previously had in place for new music. As such, I had just one last scene to attend to, before the decade drew to a close.

It was a scene that incorrectly gave the credit to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. It was scene that would throw its creator, Fishbone, firmly under history’s bus one last time. It was a scene that would eventually die under No Doubt’s steadfast removal of any semblance to what made it fun in the first place. And it was a scene that would give birth to the SKAturday’s I still occasionally make my babies suffer through till today. It was a scene that followed two others like it, (Jamaican and Two Tone), and it was as a result called simply “3rd Wave…”

It would prove to be my final scene, but no worries. It was a good place to hang up my hat of music snobbery, especially when considering what the next decade would eventually bring – or more succinctly – take away from us.

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Another Tuesday over at Jen’s Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday, and yes, I did take full advantage of the “two for Tuesday” clause buried deep within the contract. So this week saw a total of (5) scenes, (2) songs per. Plus a helping of Blue Hearts to help make the whole thing go down real smooth-like. Next week we walk into the 00’s, so you’ll be able to see my knowledge of the topic drop to levels lower than the IQ of the average Kei$ha fan… See you then!

7/28 SKAturday!

The first time i heard Ska music, what i heard wasn’t actually Ska.

Well, i mean it was – just not the type that the traditionalists would have you believe Ska should be thought of as.

Now, i’m Quite sure that every single person on the planet knows full well what Ska music is, but just in case there are a couple of stragglers out there, a brief description follows:

Ska music was invented in Jamaica during the late 1950’s in an effort to provide local fans and musicians with a homegrown version of American R&B. The genre got it’s name supposedly from the sound made to describe the back beat associated with it. And for many, The Skatalites are credited with inventing it, or at least bringing this form of music to national attention, with hits such as “Guns of Navarone”. Though many (including The Beatles and Blondie) have dabbled in it, there are usually three main “waves” considered when discussing its history – “Jamaican” (or First Wave), 2 Tone (part of the 70’s punk movement) and Third Wave (also known as Skacore). Ska was the precursor to Reggae music, and like many other musical genres, the child has grown to be much bigger than the father ever was.

OK? Good, now back to my story.

My first time hearing it was with a little known band called Fishbone. In my mind, these cats pretty much invented Skacore (thought they never received much credit for it), and their brand of Ska was fast, obnoxious, angry, loud and overall – delightful.

i can’t remember what song i heard first (i have narrowed it down to “Wonderful Life” and “Party At Ground Zero” though), but i do remember the impact it had on me. It was the first time i ever heard something of its kind. All the elements that i loved about punk rock – the anger, the cool hair, the bad fashion, the indignation and the pride – but with a beat. An actual, honest-to-Jesus beat!

Piss and vinegar and the ability to dance – cool!

As is with most things, my addictive personality pushed me onward to discovering more about Ska and experiencing more of the music it had to offer. i became quite the aficionado of all three “waves” and now have (2) binders worth of the genre (that’s right, i keep my CD’s in a series of binders. But THAT is a whole other story to be told…).

Ska has helped me to get through some pretty tough times in my life – both because of it’s happy beat and the way in which it can be used to totally bitch about something and get it off your chest without demoralizing you in the process. And based on what i’ve heard from those who enjoy the genre along with me (there’s more of us out there than you’d think) – it has had the same positive impact for many. In fact, a good friend just told me yesterday “Ska is also very good to listen to when painting.” And i can attest – while not to be confused with one of the “tough times” i speak of above – it also helps in making the chore of ironing almost a breeze.

On rare occasion (and by “rare occasion”, i mean once every couple of weeks) i will get it into my head, upon waking up on a Saturday, to open one of my Ska binders and slide 5 choice discs into the carousel.

i hit play, and wait for the first “ska-ska-ska’s” to come gently strolling out from the speakers, knowing that when they do, i will shortly thereafter hear at least four people shout in unison “Oh NO!  Not ANOTHER flippin’ Skaturday!