What’s Goin’ Down with Curtis Meacham (Monkey)

As we get more and more excited for next week’s showcase, we thought we toss out some questions to Curtis Meacham, the guy who’s been heading up Monkey for over two decades now, with 5 studio albums to their credit, lots of excellent live shows in their past and plenty, plenty more to come!

What’s your favorite show that you’ve played in the last year?

That’s hard to say, as we had a really great year of touring with the Skatalites, and doing shows with The Slackers, The Toasters, The English Beat and The Phenomenauts… However, our 21st anniversary show was packed and super fun. We saw people that we have not seen for years. People were flying into SJ to party with us. What a great night!

If you could have any musician play/sing on one of your songs, who would it be?

Living or dead? If we could pick a living legend, it would probably be Roddy Radiation or Toots Hibbert. If it were someone who has passed, I may go way back to Louis Armstrong. He will always be THE BEST!

What’s the current handful of albums you have in heavy rotation?

All time Classic: Johnny Socko – Full Trucker Effect Besides that, we have lots of favs. I just picked up a super rare Oingo Boingo record called “Marching in Time,” that is blowing my mind! Also, anything by The Peacocks, or Cake is in constant rotation.

Your favorite pre-show drink?

Special Brew… Hahaha, that goes out to the Brits! The Monkey guys are really into micro breweries and small batch beers. Anything with flavor and heart.

What’s next for Monkey?

Survive this tour, and write a new record!

Coming up, Curtis will be rocking with Monkey at the High Dive next Friday (July 14th) with Easy Big Fella, The Georgetown Orbits, Fairhaven and Franks’N’Deans with DJ Brynn Danger handling the selecting! Click here for more info!

Steppin’ Out: Stoney Tony Skanks to Landrace

Hailing from the college town of Pullman, Washington is Landrace, a 6-piece latin infused ska band who is looking to change the world of ska.

When I first saw them about a year ago, I was immediately impressed. They were a little rough as they were new on the scene, but the ambition they had and the energy they provided to the crowd was remarkable. I knew over time they would tighten up as a whole and become a force to reckon with in the Northwest scene.

One thing that helped Landrace tighten up quickly is the fact that most of their members are music majors. They have one of the most powerful and tight horn sections I have ever heard. Eric, Noah and Gabby all display the thorough training they have on both their own instruments and playing in a group. Back on the drums is David Ward and at the ripe age of 19, is definitely one of the better drummers I have ever seen and helps carry the band’s energy with his “college student” antics.

The other thing that helped them tighten up so quick is how hard they work. Landrace averages two shows a month and are doing music projects on the side weekly. This is the reason why they have been able to do so much in a very short year mixed in with school, work, and personal lives; and why you’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the future.
In just about a year, Landrace has already accomplished a lot as a band. They have won two battle of the bands, are competing in Ska-mic con voting (AND WON THE FIRST ROUND), as well as play shows across the entire state of Washington and hold down the local scene in Moscow, Idaho.

When seeing Landrace, you can expect to see a balanced set list of great tunes. They do both covers and originals in both English and Spanish. They cover four songs we all know and love consistently, including: What a Wicked Gang We Are, Take on Me, Special Brew and Impression That I Get. Two of their originals really stick out to me, Chemical Smile and Tan Shirt Guy, the latter about a local legend who gets down the hardest at every show.

Landrace is particularly good to me, because of their display that music is in fact the universal language. I can’t understand half of their music due to it being in Spanish, yet I want to go see them week in and week out because of the energy those songs carry, and the message that energy imposes on the crowd.
Be sure to catch Landrace in Seattle on September 3 @ The Highline for the All Ska & No Work Show, and give them a follow on social media.

Landrace on Facebook
Landrace on Twitter

-Stoney Toney is the former host of Skagape, an awesome show that was featured on 90.7 KZUU in Pullman, Washington and on Ska Bob Radio via the interwebs. A Ska Aficionado and Coug for Life, Stoney Toney appears courtesy of himself and will be back for more!

What’s Goin’ Down with Orion Anderson (The Georgetown Orbits)

Leading up to the excellent time we shall all have next Friday, July 14th, I caught up with Orion Anderson, Guitarist and leader of The Georgetown Orbits, to get some quick insight into the man the myth the legend and see what was going down. Check it Out!

What handful of albums do you currently have in heavy rotation?

Beware by Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos
Joy In My Soul: The Complete SAR Recordings by The Soul Stirrers
The Sensational Extra Classics by Gregory Isaacs
At Studio Mochilero by 2000 Tons of TNT

What show has been you’re favorite that you’ve played in the last year?

The show we played at the High Dive with Easy Big Fella and Skablins earlier this year was pretty memorable. The place was packed and everyone had a great set.

If you could have any musician play/sing on one of your songs, who would it be?

That’s a tough one. So many great musicians. I’d love to do any of our songs with one of the Jamaican greats like Bunny Wailer, Ken Boothe, or Marcia Griffiths. I also think it would be killer to do a classic tune like “No, No, No”, “Son of a Preacher Man”, or “Give and Take” with a pop singer like Katy Perry, Rihanna, or Bruno Mars. That would have the potential to bring this style of music to a bunch of new ears.

What’s your favorite pre-show drink?

Ice water. Just kidding. Beer!

What’s next for The Georgetown Orbits?

GTO is in the studio currently working on a new full-length album. The plan is to first release a single on 7″ vinyl. Then, release the LP later this year. Stay tuned!

Don’t forget, Orion and the rest of The GTOs will be playing at the High Dive next Friday (July 14th) with Easy Big Fella, Monkey, Fairhaven and Franks’N’Deans with DJ Brynn Danger handling the selecting! Click here for more info!

And get yourself some tickets here, before they sell out!

Folklife Ska & Reggae

Hey, let’s see if I can keep y’all in the loop on a weekly basis! Here’s some quick updates on what shows we have this week, and any other news I see fit:

Seattle Shows

May 26th (Friday)
Mural Amphiteatre (Seattle Center) All Ages FREE
FolkLife Ska Showcase featuring
The Georgetown Orbits (Set starts at 5:25 PM)
The Skablins (Set starts at 4:40 PM)

May 29th (Monday)
Mural Amphiteatre (Seattle Center) All Ages FREE
FolkLife Reggae Rising Party featuring
Clinton Fearon & Boogie Brown Band (Set starts at 8:15 PM)
Kore Ionz (Set starts at 7:30 PM)
Two Story Zori (Set starts at 6:45 PM)
Playerz of Instruments (Set starts at 6:00 PM)

Okay folks, so the big happenings this weekend in the Emerald City is going to be at Folklife, the free, extremely local semi-Bumbershoot/Sasquatch alternative*. Friday, you have the Skablins kicking it off at 4:40 playing their blend of Ska, and for the uninitiated, I’d call them Second and a Half Wave Ska. Definitely some Two-Tone, definitely some Ska/Punk and honestly, Gordy’s approach to vocals reminds a bit of Danny Elfman at times. Fun group that definitely fills out a stage and a great opportunity to check them out if you have ever wondered about the kind of Skank Inducing Shenanigans that go down at their headquarters at Mirkwood.

Then, The Georgetown Orbits hit the stage with their blend of Ska/Reggae/Rocksteady with a bit of Soul/Jazz/Funk to boot! I hear they are working on their fourth album and as usual, if you want to see the group with the longest tenure of rockin the sounds of Jamaica’s Golden Era in Seattle, this is your chance. As a side note, The Ska Mission is totally stoked to have them on bill for the “Ska Reggae Etc Showcase” on July 14th with Easy Big Fella, Monkey, Fairhaven, Franks’N’Deans and DJ SoulShot at the High Dive in Fremont

Moving on to Monday, its Reggae Reggae Reggae with Playerz of Instruments kicking it off. Admittedly, I’m not familiar and not able to find any recordings, so it’s a chance for me to hear something completely new.

I love Two Story Zori, having seen them open for a king of guitar, Ernest Ranglin, and last year, when they played a free show at St. Edwards Park. Good flowing, 808 Island influenced Reggae that mixes catchy originals with some creative takes on Top 40 hits. They have a full time Uke player and excellent vocal harmonies.

Next, you have Kore Ionz, whose single “First Avenue,” gets stuck in my head from time to time with the perfect vocals and sweet horn blends. Very chill, has something of a Big Mountain feel to it.

This leads up to the hardest working man in Seattle Reggae, Mr. Clinton Fearon. Since playing in his first band, The Brothers, when he was 16, to his time in the Gladiators and then relocating to Seattle in the late 80s, Mr. Fearon has been singing, playing, writing and rocking for 50 years now. He’s put out 12 albums since 1994, with the latest, “Good Morning,” coming out last fall and he’s continually playing with his group, Boogie Brown Band, or finding places around town to play his acoustic and usually, he’s doing it for free. This Man is a treasure to our great music community and if you do nothing else this weekend, go see him Monday Night!

*At least for people that wish those shows had more Ska/Reggae ;P

Coming up: March 13th – 19th

Hey, let’s see if I can keep y’all in the loop on a weekly basis! Here’s some quick updates on what shows we have this week, and any other news I see fit:

Seattle Shows

March 19th (Sunday)
Tractor Tavern (Fremont) 21+
SOLD OUT
Save Ferris
Vista Kicks
It Gets Worse

That’s right, Monique Powell and her gang are hitting up the Tractor Tavern, but if you want tickets, you’re going to have stubhub it or find a guest spot, cuz this shindig is sold out. Pity, because local third wave heroes, It Gets Worse will be opening up the show! However, if you’re dying to here SPAM live, I suggest you leave work early and head down south to Portland, cuz they still got tickets for the Friday night Show!

Portland Shows

 

 March 17th (Friday)
The Hawthorne Theater (Portland) 21+
Save Ferris
The Bandulus
Vista Point

After that Ten Things I Hate About You Band, (or should we give Letters to Cleo that moniker?) hits the Emerald City, they travel to the Land O’ Ports to sing you some Dexy’s Midnight Riders. Good news is that there are still tickets and at $16, I’d say thats worth it just to catch The Bandulus live, because that group is FIRE and then some. So get over there on Friday to start the weekend off proper!

Whats the Happs?

So, it’s been a while since I’ve run things down on what’s happening in the PNW Ska/Reggae Scene. Here’s some news and tidbits:

-The Sentiments had a highly successful mini-tour with The Slackers and wowed audiences in Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and of course their hometown, Portland. Don’t forget, they dropped their album, “Hi-Fi”, on December 1st and you can get yourself a copy HERE.

-Speaking of tours, It Gets Worse completed their jaunt down the west coast, hitting up venues in Medford, Orange County, Los Angeles, Tempe, Tucson, Flagstaff and Oakland. Sounds like they did the PNW proud with some great crowds and now they have returned home to get this album out that they keep teasing me with, hopefully ;). They have a pre New Years Eve show next Friday (30th) at Barboza with Gully and Tacoma Reggae Dudes, Echoshot. Then, they will be supporting the Devil’s Three Way Tour that features Voodoo Glow Skulls, Buck-O-Nine and The Porkers at El Corazon on January 10th and IGW has tickets, so if you need them still, hit those dudes up. Also, a side note on that Corazon gig: the show is being opened by a young Ska group known as Simple Minded Symphony, I recommend you check em out.

-Oh and dare I say more your news? The Bandulus, those glorious rockers of Bridge City, are hitting the road with the LA homies, The Steady 45s, for a trip through California, Arizona and all the way to the Dulu birthplace, Austin, TX. This journey ends up in Portland at the Fixin’ To on March 4th and also has a date in Eugene at Old Nick’s Pub on March 3rd, for my PNW contingent, but keep an eye for my postings and repostings of the full itinerary. Also, i hear Dulu Record #3 and #4 are in different stages of completion, so someday hopefully not too far from now, we get ourselves some new tunes to drink and dance to my friends 🙂

-But the tour news ain’t over yet. Our Eastern WA/Spokaner buddies, Ragtag Romantics, are going on some insane quest of 120 gigs that starts in March and ends in July, I believe. They are going along with Deschamp, an awesome solo artist with a new album for y’all to check out. We are working on a Seattle date, stay tuned for that.

-The Georgetown Orbits have some big 2017 plans and they start with the first Ska Mission supported show of the year: The GTOs alongside Easy Big Fella and Skablins will be hitting the High Dive in Fremont on the 13th of January. Then, I’m hearing rumblings of recordings from the Orbs and maybe some out of area shows. One can only hope 🙂

-As for my glorious self, (This is the part where most of y’all can click out of the window), I survived another online semester of second bachelor degree quest and am trying to figure out the next steps along with RC and Justin. I want the Mission to keep growing and for Ska/Reggae music to seem ubiquitous in the region, especially with all the talent from here and all the talent that wants to come here.

We are currently working on the lineup for the next Ska Fest installment and should have some groups to announce soon. Honestly, this may be the biggest one yet, depending on how the machinations in place turn out. I would love for this to become an even bigger event on a cultural and artistic standpoint, so we will be looking into some potential extra events and yea, I’m  using a lot of vague speak in this post, but I promise all will be revealed when ALL is confirmed.

Finally, I will have my albums of 2016 list up before the New Year, so check back for that if you like and some show updates on the show lists as well. Cheers and love to you and yours!

-Stuck