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Why Ska Is Very Much Alive
by Lord Skoochie
September 8, 2000

After reading "Why Ska is Dead", I felt compelled to offer another side to the story. Let me first say that I have been a member of Inspecter 7 since its creation in 1992. Let me also say that I do like "true" Ska music and have bee attending shows for the better part of 19 years. With that said, let me turn up the Skatalites cd that is currently in my stereo and get down to business.

I could end this response right now simply by mentioning the name Skatalites which represents 30 plus years of Jamaican Ska but I won't.....I will say that I agree with Chris in that the scene is at an all time low. It is due mostly in part to spoiled, self-centered little brats who have such a strong need to belong that they follow anything that is dangled in front of them. The perverbial carrot on a string in the hands of MTV and Hot Topic. In order to have a scene, you need people who love the music that they are supporting. You need open minded people that will attend shows and let local clubs know that they have support, and most importantly a monetary base to justify having these shows. I still attend all ages shows, the lone old fart in the crowd who still gives a damn about all-ages shows surrounded by herds of Manic Panic stained "scenesters" who could care less what the band on stage has to say. In my younger days I would go to City Gardens in Trenton for the Sunday Matinee shows where people came to support the scene regardless of what anyone else represented. Skins, Punks, Mods and Metalheads all throwing down in the pit having a blast and more importantly, giving the club a reason to book more and more shows. Now we are faced with a plague of kids who say that there is no scene as they spend yet another friday night at the mall instead of in the clubs. I have grown tired of listening to the ranting of these kids who want everything handed to them. What happened to the DIY spirit that drove the scene in the 80's? Instead of complaining about having no shows why not book your own at the local VFW or Firehouse?

Instead of crying that Ska is dead, why not learn to play an instrument and form your own band? These concepts seem a bit too much like work for these brats whose "punk" wardrobe is courtesy of mommies credit card. After eight years, Inspecter 7 is still here, haunting the scene like a bad dream. When you love what you are doing, you don't quit. Playing Tenor Sax is as vital to my existance as eating and sleeping and i'll be damned if anyone is going to tell me that the music that I love is dead, especially someone who has been on the "scene" for two years! I have watched the Ska scene rise and fall like a great musical ocean. It peaks when a band gets popular and sinks again when Hot Topic tells the kids that something else is hip. With all of that said, Ska is no where near dead, in fact it is quite alive because just like punk, it is in your heart and beliefs.

Ska music will not fall off of the face of the earth because Chris Grosek says its "dead". The Ska scene is kind of like an old house in need of repair, still standing and best of all the property is owned by people who will not allow it to be torn down. Tomorrow night Inspecter 7 will play yet another packed show at the Melody Bar in New Brunswick. A 21+ show full of dancing, drinking college kids and elder members of the scene. Ska Core seemed like a good idea at the time didn't it? Kind of like the Swing revival that went from BillBoard success to TV jingles in less than a year.... A band needs more than chart success to stay in business...

Let me close this out by saying that the world will not end if Spring Heel Jack breaks up. If they love what they are doing they will make it through the tough times and I wish them all the luck in the world. The Ska scene is not dead, even as people like Chris attempt to murder it. As I am writing this, somewhere in the world some kids are putting together a band, others are listening to Ska on there radios, and the Skatalites are preparing to Tour again. If the Ska scene truly is dead, I am proud to call myself a Necrophiliac.

Lord Skoochie is Saxophonist for Inspecter 7. Contact him at Erik_Schroeder@shi.com.

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