The creators of the Ska kick off their 50th anniversary this year! The Skatalites were inventors and pioneers, crafting the original sound of ska music that would give birth to so many other styles and inspire so many musicians. Still touring, there are but two original band members, Lester Sterling on alto saxophone and vocalist Doreen Shaffer. Only musicians of the highest of caliber become members of this fine institution lest you think this is a tribute act or a spinoff.
It’s a little known fact that the fifth night of Hanukkah is the most important of all the nights, particularly among ska fans. Since medieval times, the festival of lights has been a time to gather, dance, and drink.
Actually that first part is made up and the second part could be true of any holiday. What’s absolutely true is that this year on that fifth night, the Middle East in Cambridge is host to 5 local ska and punk bands: The Takeaways, A Guy Named Guy, and Poor Jeremy from Boston, OFC666 from Turners Falls, MA and RF30 from Concord, NH. (The Stupid Stupid Henchmen were originally on this bill but had to drop off.) Will this evolve into an annual event akin to New Jersey’s Skanksgiving? We’re certainly not opposed to the idea!
Last week we had the great pleasure of sitting down with Ronnie Ragona and Tyler Jones of CT Ska legends Spring Heeled Jack USA. We met up for drinks and falafel at the Middle East where they’ll be playing on Sunday, October 27.
We talked about what the guys have been up to, a bit about how and why they got back together in these last few years, shared stories from the road, and discussed upcoming shows and future recordings!
Here’s part 1 of that interview!