About C Fish

Aging skater and punk rock historian. No bands to speak of, just a writer. read my stuff at punxinsolidarity.com

An explanation of ska waves

There’s a lot of discussion and questions concerning what is ska kids mean when we talk about waves in ska music. This isn’t meant to be THE answer on all that as there is much disagreement, th following is just my answer.

To start, ska has been existing and evolving since its inception in early 1960’s or late 1950’s Jamaica. The wave simply represents a period of time when the genre enjoyed extreme popularity and seeped into mainstream culture.

The first wave was from the early 60’s until around 66 came along. In 66 there was an extraordinarily hot summer in which the rudies couldn’t dance at the standard pace. So the music got slowed down and reggae came out of this. Reggae is also where to social change politics made their way into ska.

2nd wave was roughly 3 years in the UK when 2Tone happened. This was the first blending of punk and ska. Also you had The Clash who were thoroughly blurring those lines.

In the early 1980’s ska was building in America at a slow pace, but gaining popularity. The genre wasn’t dead as Dick Lucas (prior to Subhumans) had Culture Shock who were blending the Anarcho punk of the time with ska music. I mark the 3rd wave as starting in 87 with Operation Ivy. Though the mass popularity didn’t fully hit until around 95 when ska bands from all over the country started getting signed to Epitaph or major labels. They were gaining radio and MTV rotation. This was the Skaboom. Most of these bands were ska punk, basically the children of what Op Ivy did. This lasted until about 2000.

From 2000 till about 2018 we’d been in post wave. There’s been many amazing bands and evolutions in ska such as crack rock steady and some solid soul ska acts.

2018 through now is presently weird as we’re not sure if it’s a slight crest of the post wave, or if we’re coming into a true 4th wave. This is being led by Skatune Network and Bad Times Records. I know some people point to The Interrupters for this. Gonna say no there. They’re a great band, but what sounds like female fronted Rancid is neither innovative nor particularly interesting from a musical standpoint. Jer did a better cover of Bad Guy. Also, Aimee is not our ska queen. That’s Reade Wolcott from We Are The Union.

– C Fish

A Defense Of Ska

So those of us who were into ska in the early to mid 2000’s (I got into it in 1998 off of Bosstones Let’s Face It) have had to suffer through countless hipsters and supposed punks telling us we’re not cool. First off, who the fuck is cool in the underground scene? We’re all the weirdos, nerds and freaks to begin with, so spike your hair and check yourself. Next, fuck everyone one of those magazines. People who clearly can’t songwrite (why else are they music critics?) Have absolutely no business telling anyone what is or isn’t cool since they’re not creators. Ska is honestly the most interesting thing to happen to a guitar since Robert Johnson. Fuck old rock, that’s a bunch of white boys ripping off black artists. Ska started as the outlet for disparate people in Jamaica putting their on spin of mixing American R&B with Mento. In the UK it was the ultimate for black and white working class to come together. In America it’s an outlet for weird kids of all orientations to come together and have fun while thinking about more. Ska is the revolution we can dance to! And if you think ska is a goofy joke, you’re fuckin wrong. So pick up your head out of your ass and get over yourself. None of us are cool kids, or we wouldn’t be living those underground life.

– C Fish

Punk Politics #53

Juneteenth has become an official holiday which is a good thing. But there are some very deep problems. This is simply a cookie from the oppressors as slavery never actually ended. The plantations became prisons and slavery is still legal under the 13th amendment. Furthermore, Republicans and mainline Democrats keep the slave machine fed by insisting that the drug war keep going which disproportionately jails black and brown bodies. Also their continuation of broken treaties to have black snakes stretch across native lands ensures that indigenous are fed to this machine as they continue to defend themselves and our planet against these poisons. The 1% are the only criminals here, yet way too many Americans practically beg the masters to send those of is who engage in direct resistance or underground economy to these tax funded plantations
– C Fish

Punk Politics #51

As a reminder, the mainstreaming and growth we’ve seen in hate and right wing extremism isn’t over. The frequency and severity of incidents will likely increase. A large part of that is an irresponsibility to address Nazis in the underground. Over the past decade I’ve seen more punks seeming to have no problem with em at shows and seem more interested in partying than addressing racism and racists in the scene. There’s plenty who still do the work, but not enough to send these fuckers scuttling to the darkest corners of ideological existence. So as they’re able to gain increasing passive existence, they’re now free of the leash of Trump acceptance and they’re angry at any progressive victories. Also the extreme right has evolved from the standard swastika and shaved heads. We have the Proud Boys who were a complete joke now being the flagship as they’ve been able to become a multiethnic hate group. Ideologically they are white supremacists as they fight for the supremacy of the white male dominant paradigm that has ruled America since its inception. They proudly wish to be colonizers, sexists, racists and classists. The fact that Tucker Carlson (Q Anon/ Infowars light) is the most popular news show in America lets us know that these viewpoints are no longer underground. I’ve gotten stared down plenty by proud and boog boys at the grocery store. If we don’t take sides and actions, I believe the right will be paving over culture from the underground to main street. This is the call to action, this is the line in the sand.

– C Fish

Punk Politics #50

Wow the pigs are fucking rioting. In Virginia a black man in uniform on active duty was pulled over with guns put to his head and a young black man in Minneapolis was killed over a fucking air freshener. Then when we protest this final solution level injustice, the bacon patrol shows up dressed to riot and abuse. I wonder what the conservatives are gonna do as they now have to choose between the cops and the troops. At present, I do not believe that police can be reformed without wiping the slate clean. This isn’t bad apples, this is a blighted grove that is unable to bear good fruit. The police go out of their way to be at odds with the people. They are not protectors, they are captors just waiting for an opportunity to be executioners. The blue line only cares for itself.

– C Fish

Punk Politics #49

So the Biden administration is of course the same shit as Trump. We’re illegally occupying Iraq, bombing Syria just because, continuing the strange cold war with China and hoarding vaccines. None of this is surprising. In fact I spent the last election season saying that Biden was no different. It’s not that I’m that greatly intelligent, it was just that obvious. We’re still putting kids in cages and feeding America’s kink for mass incarceration. I know, some are crying about how the “left” is tearing itself apart. No, we’re not! A faction of us is just sick if the bullshit. A large portion of it began under Obama who kept getting a pass from the DNC who got up in arms when the GOP simply modeled the same behavior during Trump. Mainstream democrats don’t give a single fuck about freedom or rights. They only want their fascism to be the dominant paradigm. To be clear, there is 100% no difference between the 2 major parties and any support of them is either naive of problematic. This is gonna be a long 4 years.

– C Fish