In Defense of Ska

Aaron Carnes

Ska no longer needs to be the butt of every joke. IDOS is flipping the narrative on this style of music that they love dearly.

Hosts Aaron Carnes (author of "In Defense of Ska") and Adam Davis (Link 80, Omingone) chat with people in and outside of the ska scene to tell its stories, show its pervasiveness in culture, and defend it to their last dying breath.


In Defense of Ska Ep 94: Chris Gethard (New Jersey is the World, Beautiful Anonymous, The Chris Gethard Show)
Nov 2 2022
In Defense of Ska Ep 94: Chris Gethard (New Jersey is the World, Beautiful Anonymous, The Chris Gethard Show)
The Chris Gethard Show was supposed to start like normal, but the audience had their own idea. They shouted "Eat More Butts" at Chris to a degree that he couldn't start his show. The musical guest, Jeff Rosenstock, even gave them a musical accompaniment. For 15 minutes, the show descended into madness. But Chris also didn't fight it because he knew that this would be great TV. Having grown up in the DIY punk scene, he was aware that this type of chaos was where a show's best moments would be. Today, we speak to Chris Gethard about his punk roots. His first show ever was in a Jersey church basement with all local bands. His 2nd was in a friend's backyard. A young, Less Than Jake was also on the bill. Less Than Jake became Chris's favorite band for a while. During this time, he also saw Slapstick, Skankin' Pickle, Mephiskapheles, Catch 22, and was a fan of other ska bands like Mustard Plug and MU330. We also talk about Chris's recent experience hitching a ride with Catbite. He also talks about bringing on Take Today to play his live "New Jersey is the World" show a few times. (He loves, "Do You Still Hate Me?," their Jawbreaker cover and their ska song, SKAdiving.). He talks about his recent interview with Bigger Thomas singer Roger Apollon. And we also talk about his passion for all things New Jersey...he tells us where we can get REAL Italian Ice! Plus Chris tells us how surreal it was recently to see Jeff Rosenstock play a huge show opening for Gaslight Anthem.  Support the show
In Defense of Ska Ep 91: Obi Fernandez (Westbound Train, The Inevitables, Day 19)
Oct 12 2022
In Defense of Ska Ep 91: Obi Fernandez (Westbound Train, The Inevitables, Day 19)
In 2006, Boston ska band Westbound Train played the Summer of Ska tour, followed by the Fall of Ska tour. Between the two tours, they played with Suburban Legends, Big D & The Kids Table, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Reel Big Fish and Streetlight Manifesto--all ska-punk bands. Westbound Train plays traditional ska, rocksteady and early reggae, with a hint of soul.The group, which formed in 2001 in Boston, has always been a ska band out of time. Not only did they form after the 90s ska boom, but they were often alone on an island, the only band on a bill playing overtly 60s-influenced ska. And somehow became one of the most popular US ska bands to form after the 90s. Now, the group just surprise-dropped their first record in 13 years, called Dedication. Lead singer Obi Fernandez sat down with us to talk about the new album and the band's history. We talk about their formation at Berklee College of Music and learn that one of their classmates, comedian Eric André roadied for the band (when he wasn't putting on strange shows at All Asia Bar.) Obi also tells us the influential role that country music plays on all Westbound Train songs. And he tells us how Bucket let him use The Toasters touring van to move to college. We also discuss their time on Warped tour 2009, how the Mighty Mighty Bosstones gave the group their first big shot, and how they rushed the recording of their sophomore album Five to Two in order to have something to show Tim Armstrong in hopes of getting signed to Hellcat (Which they did). Obi also tells us why the band ended shortly after that Warped Tour run when they were seemingly at the height of their popularity. He also tells us what it took to get the band back together again.  Support the show
In Defense of Ska Ep 90: Eugene Hütz (Gogol Bordello, Everything is Illuminated)
Oct 5 2022
In Defense of Ska Ep 90: Eugene Hütz (Gogol Bordello, Everything is Illuminated)
Gogol Bordello plays a mix of different genres (Punk, Romani folk, Latin rock, polka), though hints of ska can be found all over their songs. Frontman Eugene Hütz calls it "ska without doing ska" and says he almost doesn't think about the ska elements since he sees ska as so closely linked to punk music.  But on Gogol Bordello's latest album, Solidaritine, the ska elements are more overt than ever before. The reason: their new drummer Korey "Kingston" Horn has an impressive ska resume (Aggrolites, Tim Armstrong, See Spot, Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra, Rhythm Doctors) and we all know that the heart of ska is in those drum beats. Today we talk to the legend, Eugene Hutz about Gogol Bordello's relationship with ska. We also talk a lot about Ukraine--Eugene is a Ukrainian political refugee and has done much to support them against Russia's attack, including playing a recent secret show for Ukrainian troops at an undisclosed location. We also talk about his childhood growing up in Kyiv and going to super DIY punk shows and trading tapes with other local punks. Some favorites include Dead Kennedys, Devo, The Selecter, P.I.L., Bad Manners, Murphy's Law, The Specials, G.B.H.On this episode, we also talk about the immigrant experience that often comes up in Gogol Bordello's lyrics. It is often the product of necessity through displacement or economics. Eugene has talked at length about the idea of worldwide citizenship, so he squares this ideal with the global issue of anti-immigrant sentiments that have increased in recent years. Of course, we talk a lot about interesting music too including Sonic youth, Mano Negra, Russkaja, Cuatro Pesos de Propina and The Specials.  Support the show
In Defense of Ska Ep 89: Shawn Harris (The Matches, The Locals)
Sep 28 2022
In Defense of Ska Ep 89: Shawn Harris (The Matches, The Locals)
The Matches played catchy pop-punk in the 2000s, a time when catchy pop-punk bands could be top 40 pop stars. They worked their asses off, were courted by major labels, but never reached pop stardom. Though the band did mean a lot to a ton of people. They built community around their music and made sincere connections with their fans. And they have ska roots. The band formed in 1997 as The Locals. Inspired by Rancid, they originally played a blend of punk rock and ska-punk. They also looked up to fellow east bay band Link 80. And in fact, even went to high school with Link 80's original guitarist Matt Bettinelli-Olpin. The Locals even played Link 80s final show! Today we talk to The Matches' lead singer/guitarist Shawn Harris about the bands roots and dig into several stories throughout the band's career. We discuss their years building a scene at East Bay venue iMusicast, where bands like My Chemical Romance, Zebrahead and RX Bandits would play on tour. We also talk about The Matches first major tour--which was with Reel Big Fish. Shawn tells us about two mind-blowing shows from that tour. We also talk about why Gilman would never book the band, what is was like working with some famous producers (Tim Armstrong, John Feldmann), how The Locals ended up touring in Bosnia while they were still in high school, and Shawn talks a bit about his new life as a children's book cartoonist, book author and Dave Eggers collaborator. Shawn even tells us about the time he sneaked a peak into Dave's CD collection to see what kind of music he listened to.  And it was exactly the bands you think it was!  Support the show
In Defense of Ska Ep 88: Folly (Arben Colaku and Jon Tummillo)
Sep 21 2022
In Defense of Ska Ep 88: Folly (Arben Colaku and Jon Tummillo)
After the '90s, skacore got a lot heavier. One of the reasons for this was Sussex, New Jersey band Folly, who took the heaviest elements of hardcore, metalcore and mixed it with ska. They also did so in a way that emphasized the genres similarities, as opposed to their differences. Though the band struggled to find a significant audience in the 2000s, they would find that years after they broke up, not only did they have an obvious impact on newer, younger bands, but they suddenly fit in with this scene in a way unlike when they were a heavy touring, active band.This week, we talk to Folly members Arben Colaku and Jon Tummillo. We discuss the band's history, their unique philosophy to songwriting and talk about what it's been like for them years after their initial breakup in 2008. We also talk about what a big influence Converge was on them, and conclude that, therefore, Converge played an important role on the development of ska!We also discuss Anthony Fantano name-dropping the group when he interviewed me, Folly signing to Triple Crown Records, local DIY shows at The Phone Booth, and how "Hey!" by The Suicide Machines was a life-changing song for the group. We talk about how they turned disastrous shows into fun adventures. We also break down some of their songs, and we talk about a time they ate so many meatballs before a show in Connecticut that they had to play with the meat sweats.  Support the show