Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cassette Store Day 2017: Interview with Danny Rebel (of Danny Rebel and the KGB)

Editor's note: For the third straight year in a row, Jump Up Records is participating in Cassette Store Day--which is today, Saturday, October 14, 2017. Jump Up is issuing twelve cassettes (!) from acts like The Toasters, The Slackers, Mephiskapheles, Green Room Rockers, Roger Rivas, Danny Rebel (of Danny Rebel and the KGB), CeANNE (of The Mighty Fishers and Pannonia Ska Orchestra), Flying Vipers, The Drastics, as well as a Jump Up compilation titled "Pressure Hop" (a detailed list of Jump Up CSD releases can be found here).

Thanks to Danny Rebel for taking the time to do this interview so quickly!

The Duff Guide to Ska: This is your second cassette-only release of acoustic ska and reggae songs that were recorded on your boombox. What inspired you to do this and what has been the reaction from your fans?

Danny Rebel: "Listening to old acoustic Bob Marley and Dennis Brown recordings. As far as recording it on a boombox, most artists of today concentrate too much on the sound and not so much on the music itself. I wanted to show everyone that you can make music without going through the machine, like Autotune and this and that. I think doing it through the box makes it sound more gritty, interesting, and punk rock. Fuck the rules! A good example is Daniel Johnston's Hi How Are You, that album was recorded on a cassette player and the sound quality is not so great, but the song writing is fucking amazing. I also want to big up the great Chris Murray for 'nuff inspiration!"

DGTS: Did you grow up listening to your favorite music on cassettes or are you a more recent convert to this format?

DR: "When I was younger, my dad hooked up our TV to his boombox to have a better sound. And everytime a music video would come up, I'd hit the play and record button. That's how I made my mixtapes back then, along with songs I heard on the radio. I used to bike around town with my huge yellow sports Walkman, you know which one I'm talking about."

DGTS: Are tapes (becoming more) popular in the Montreal music scene?

DR: "I'm actually seeing more and more local bands coming up with tapes. They're coming back!"

DGTS: Do you collect tapes from your favorite musicians--and, if so, which ones are some of your most treasured?

DR: "I consider myself a music nerd. So, yes I do have a tape collection. From hip-hop to reggae to jazz to punk! I'd have to say Yellowman's One in a Million, Half Pint's In Fine Style, and Rancid's classic Let's Go.

DGTS: If you could have any boombox ever made, is there a particular model you'd want?

DR: "I already have the Clairtone 7980 along with 13 other boomboxes at home, so I think I'm good, ha ha." 

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cassette Store Day 2017: Interview with CeANNE (of The Mighty Fishers and Pannonia Ska Orchestra)

Editor's note: For the third straight year in a row, Jump Up Records is participating in Cassette Store Day--which is this coming Saturday, October 14, 2017. Jump Up is issuing twelve cassettes (!) from acts like The Toasters, The Slackers, Mephiskapheles, Green Room Rockers, Roger Rivas, Danny Rebel, CeANNE (of The Mighty Fishers and Pannonia Ska Orchestra--interviewed here), Flying Vipers, The Drastics, as well as a Jump Up compilation titled "Pressure Hop" (a detailed list of Jump Up CSD releases can be found here).

Much thanks to CeANNE for agreeing to do this interview so quickly--and for conducting it in English!

The Duff Guide to Ska: Is the title of your "Ukesteady" cassette release a nod to Chris Murray's somewhat similar lo-fi/acoustic "Rocksteady" album?

CeANNE: "Well, absolutely not. I had a rocksteady band here in Hungary called The Mighty Fishers. And I love the genre, I love ukulele. So, it's a mixture of things I love and I wanted to show my admiration for--ukulele and rocksteady. But you made me curious, I will definitely listen to it!

DGTS: What inspired you to record all of these songs only using a ukulele for accompaniment? 

CeANNE: "I have always sung, but never played an instrument properly. I always thought,  'that's not for me, I am an amateur, I can never handle it.' It has turned since I found the ukulele--it made me change my thinking about playing music itself. Because it has so much power, though it's little--and has so many secrets, though it seems very simple. What I mean is that it was the first intrument which made me feel quick success while I played it, which made me feel like playing and playing and practicing on it. And I want to be a better and better ukulele player. Last year, I also bought a guitar, which I never thought I could be good at. I am not, but I don't care, I play it. It's all about self-esteem and consciousness, and being daring. Instuments make you a better singer and songwriter. And I can thank the ukulele for all of this. So, I thought it deserves a whole album. Maybe others will realize as well how great the ukulele is."

DGTS: Did you always plan for this set of songs to be released on cassette--and how did Chuck Wren and Jump Up Records come to release it?

CeANNE: "Not in my dreams! Ha ha! I had an LP with my former band The Mighty Fishers titled Soul Garden, which Jump Up Records in Chicago distributed. Then I started to spread my short ukulele videos on Instagram. Chuck saw them and we linked. He asked me if I felt like making a whole album of acoustic ukulele reggae/rocksteady songs on casette. I was very surprised and happy at the same time."

DGTS: How popular are cassettes in Hungary? Is a lot of music--particularly ska and reggae--released in this format in your country?

CeANNE: "Unfortunately, I have to say no. We are a little country, so subcultures are really "sub" and weak. There are some reggae and ska bands--great ones I would say--but I think cassettes vanished in the early 2000s. But when I announced that my new material will be released only on cassette, my audience was surprised, but in a very good way. It's a curiosity."

DGTS: Why do you like cassettes?

CeANNE: "Because I have some very good memories with them. I am of the young generation who started with cassettes, continued with CDs, then digital releases--and now are turning back to vinyl. I had my copied Spice Girls cassettes, I also had Destiny's Child, and many more, ha ha! I asked for cassettes for every birthday and Christmas. I stole my father's rock cassettes. I also did a cassette with children's songs for my grandmather as a birthday gift. I liked the Walkman times--it's my childhood and now we bring them back. It's more than cool. It's coolsteady ha ha!"

DGTS: If there's a question that I didn't ask here, but that you'd like to answer, please go ahead and include it.

CeANNE: "Everyone! Play the ukulele, 'cause uke'n do it!"

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The Duff Guide to Ska NYC Fall/Winter 2017 Ska Calendar #54


Thursday, October 12, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

The Steady 45s, The California Honeydrops

The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancy Street
New York, NY
$15-$20
18+

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Saturday, October 14, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

DJ Gorilla Fest 2 with Beat Brigade, The Padrones, Raise the Kicks, The Upfux, Rebushchaos, Scarboro

Sabor Norteno
102-06 43rd Avenue
Corona, NY
(7 train to 103rd Street, Corona Plaza)
$10/all ages

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Friday, October 24, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

The Frightnrs present "More To Say Versions" Release Party w/Carlton Livingston, Jonny GoFigure and selections by Maddie Ruthless, Rata, and E's E

Our Wicked Lady
153 Morgan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017 @ 10:00 pm

Lee "Scratch" Perry and Subatomic Sound System, Francois K

Output
74 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$20/$25
21+

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Saturday, October 28, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

Rude Boy George, Tatanka, Lovely Budz

Sounds of Brazil
204 Varick Street
New York, NY
$12 in advance/$15 day of show

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Saturday, October 28, 2017 @ 6:30 pm

6th Annual Devil's Night Danse w/Mephiskapheles, Hub City Stompers, 45 Adapters

Bowery Electric
327 Bowery
New York, NY
$20/21+

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Saturday, November 11, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

The English Beat

Highline Ballroom
431 West 16th Street
New York, NY
Tix: $30-$50

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Saturday, December 9, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

The Pandemics, Mad Conductor, Freya Wilcox, MJT, Love is a Fist

The Gateway
1272 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY
$10

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Friday, December 22, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

The Slackers (playing the "Red Light" album in its entirety)

The Bell House
149 7th Street
Brooklyn, NY
Tix: $20 in advance/$25 day of show/$32 two-day pass
21+

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Saturday, December 23, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

The Slackers (playing the "Peculiar" album in its entirety)

The Bell House
149 7th Street
Brooklyn, NY
Tix: $20 in advance/$25 day of show/$32 two-day pass
21+

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Cassette Store Day 2017: Interview with Bucket of The Toasters

For the third straight year in a row, Jump Up Records is participating in Cassette Store Day--which is this coming Saturday, October 14, 2017. Jump Up is issuing twelve cassettes (!) from acts like The Toasters, The Slackers, Mephiskapheles, Green Room Rockers, Roger Rivas, Danny Rebel, CeANNE (of Mighty Fishers and Pannonia Ska Orchestra), Flying Vipers, The Drastics, as well as a Jump Up compilation titled Pressure Hop (a detailed list of Jump Up CSD releases can be found at the bottom of this post).

In anticipation of Cassette Store Day 2017, Bucket of The Toasters was kind enough to answer a few cassette-related questions for us from San Antonio, Texas, where he was in the midst of getting a new diesel engine installed in one of his vehicles and keeping a sharp eye on some mechanics who were attempting to scam him by sneaking in some old parts amongst the new...

The Duff Guide to Ska: Back in the 80s and early 90s, cassettes were standard issue for all releases and I remember Moon selling respectable numbers of them--what do think about the resurgence of this format and why do you think it is happening now?

Bucket: "When we debuted the label, the standard release format was 12" vinyl and cassette--starting with the now legendary NY Beat release. The last Moon release to have a cassette format was Dub 56. After that time, distributors wouldn't take them. You may recall that we started that collectors' series of see-through 7" vinyl singles in order to have a different format than just straight CD."

DGTS: Jump Up has released several Toasters releases on cassette--"Dub 56," "2 Tone Army," "Skaboom"--will the rest of the back catalogue be issued on tape eventually (like "NY Fever," "Thrill Me Up," and "One More Bullet")?

Bucket: "That's the plan. I would ideally like to have all releases in all formats. But that's quite an epic task at the moment, given the poor turn around times for vinyl especially. We are increasingly turning our eyes to Eastern Europe in search of vinyl production capacity. For example, we are doing some releases with a Polish label. Expect One More Bullet vinyl from them, a release of Thrill Me Up on digipak, and more.

DGTS: Do Toasters cassettes sell well at the merch table and if so, who's buying them--old timers or the kids?

Bucket: Mostly old timers who drive old trucks! Some kids pick them up. Frankly, they have sold much better than I thought they would. Chuck was pressing me to take them and he has proven to be correct (once again, he he!).

DGTS: Do you still have a working tape deck (or Walkman?!) somewhere?

Bucket: "Actually, I don't. Having moved to Spain and back over the last 12 years, most of my old tech got sold/disposed of as, of course, no US gear works on that voltage grade there. I was thinking of heading over to Goodwill and picking up an old boombox. They have loads there..."

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Jump Up Records 2017 Cassette Store Day Releases:

The Slackers: “Wasted Days” (Limited to 150 copies; includes bonus tracks, never before on cassette.)
The Slackers: “Red Light” (Limited to 150 copies; first time on cassette, includes three rare bonus tracks.)
Mephiskapheles: “God Bless Satan” (Limited to 150 copies; first time on cassette, blood red shell).
The Toasters:  “2 Tone Army” (Limited to 150 copies; on black/white split shell.)
The Toasters “Dub 56” (Limited to 150 copies; back on cassette.)
Various Artists: “Pressure Hop” (Limited to 200 copies.)
Green Room Rockers: “Sweat Steady” (Limited to 100 copies; on clear green shell.)
Roger Rivas: “Last Goodbye"/"Autumn Breeze” (Limited to 100 copies.)
Danny Rebel: “Boombox Sessions Volume 2” (Limited to 100 copies.)
CeANNE: “Ukesteady” (Limited to 100 copies.)
Flying Vipers: “The Shadow Tape” (Limited to 50 copies.)
The Drastics: “MJ A Rocker” (Limited to 75 copies.)

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Skavoovie and the Epitones To Release 20th Anniversary Edition of "Ripe"!

Word has it that beloved '90s ska ensemble Skavoovie and the Epitones will be re-issuing their fantastic second album Ripe with unreleased bonus material. This album featured stellar tracks like "Blood Red Sky," "Japanese Robot," (Jimmy Liggins') "Drunk," (Duke Ellington's) "Bli-Bip," "Latvian Lullaby," "Riverboat," and many more. The album was originally issued on CD by Moon Ska and Moon Ska Europe in 1997; and in a slightly expanded form by its sister label Moon Ska Japan as Super Ripe (which included several tracks from their 1995 debut, Fat Footin'). A vinyl LP was issued a year later on Germany's Grover/V.O.R.

The image to the right appeared on Skavoovie and the Epitones' Facebook page yesterday--which highlights the fact that this will be a 20th anniversary edition of the album. It's hard to believe that it's been that long since this first came out...

If/when more details become available, we'll pass them along.