The Toasters, Mustard Plug

The Toasters

The Toasters, are "Ska Pioneers" (Billboard magazine) and boldly go where no ska band has gone before. Having been compared to the Ramones, due to their longevity and adherence to core principles, the Toasters are held to be one of most influential ska bands out there. Their lean, mean ska machine has galvanized audiences and musicians alike with their embrace of the Jamaica-born pop music style that overwhelmed England in the 1960's, migrated to America in the early 1980s, and went global in the 1990s. The hallmark Toasters sound sits at the nexus of Reggae, Jazz, Punk and Soul and is the musical equivalent of a brass knuckle-duster.

Formed in New York City by British guitarist/frontman Rob "Bucket" Hingley in 1981, the Toasters exploded onto the Lower East Side scene. Cutting their teeth with a residency at legendary clubs like CBGB and Danceteria, the band has defied gravity and industry skeptics alike by staying true to their original 2-Tone ska roots, whilst logging over 4000 globe-trotting live appearances.

Longtime fans and critics agree, the current "International All-Stars" posse (featuring members of some of the world's greatest ska bands) is one of the most formidable in The Toasters' long and chequered history. Along with the irrepressible Bucket on lead vocals and guitar, The Beat's Andy Pearson is featured on bass. Expect to see Neil Johnson (Planet Smashers) and Tommy Quartulli on saxophone (The Allstonians), Greg Robinson (Mephiskapheles) on trombone and Jesse Hayes (Westbound Train) on drums. Special appearances by Arjen Bijleveld (Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation) and Buford O'Sullivan (Easy Star All-Stars) are also to be expected in 2009. Legendary keyboardist Dave Barry rounds out the posse.

As the founder of Megalith Records (and former boss of the legendary Moon Ska Records, the most influential ska label of the 1990s) the Toasters' leader, Rob "Bucket" Hingley has a ska resume that trumps virtually anyone else in the business. With the aid and support of likeminded musicians such as producer Joe Jackson, who has worked with the band over the years, he has been able to compile a recorded legacy and a songwriting catalog. Among the many ska classics Hingley has penned: "Weekend In L.A.," "Matt Davis," "2-Tone Army," "Social Security," "Dub 56"—and the list goes on and on.

In the commercial realm, the Toasters have recorded jingles for AOL, Cisco Systems, Miller, Anheuser-Busch, and Coca-Cola, and have contributed to movie and television scores (Bleached, Bang!, MTV's Wildboyz, Mission Hill, Kablam!, Showtime's Brotherhood, etc.). Where Bucket and The Toasters truly excel, and live up to their reputation as one of the greatest bands of all time, however, is on the road. Averaging more than 200 performances a year, the band is well on its way to playing its 5,000th gig, a milestone they should achieve by the end of the decade.
Toasters fans from all over the world have known for a long time that their favourite ska band is the coolest group around, a true classic. Now, it's time for everyone else to catch up, and get hip to The Toasters!

The Toasters are currently sponsored by the following partners: Conn-Selmer wind instruments, Ludwig drums, Jagermeister, Ska Brewing, Pick World, Ernie Ball, Greasy Groove, Reverend Guitars and Instanbul Cymbals.

Mustard Plug

"What is in a name?" The members of Mustard Plug must have considered this when they casually came up with the title of what seemed at the time to be a short-lived distraction. While also considering the equally ridiculous "Wanker Daddies," "Shrinky Dinks," and "Cookie Puss," it was the title "Mustard Plug" that was chosen as the masthead to carry forth in the band's crusade to bring ska-punk to their humble abode of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Twenty years, 1500 shows and 200,000 album sales later, it can not be denied that the band has surpassed all expectations and permanently staked their claim in contemporary music.
Mustard Plug started out in the punk clubs, basements and dive bars of the Midwest, playing punk influenced ska music during a time most people in the U.S. had never even heard of ska. They clung to a DIY work ethic that had been ingrained in them from growing up in the 1980's hardcore punk scene and applied it to everything they'd do for the next 20 years. They released their first cassette tape themselves (1992's Skapocalypse Now!), and played constantly to earn enough money to record their first cd. 1994's Big Daddy Mulititude was released on legendary NYC label Moon Records and with their new found national distribution and exposure, the band climbed into their van and performed their music to new fans across North America.
In 1996 the band went to the Blasting Room in Ft. Collins, Colorado to record their second cd with their hero, punk legend Bill Stevenson, who at that time had been mainly known as the drummer for the Descendents and Black Flag. This album, Evildoers Beware, was quickly picked up by the then up and coming L.A. punk label, Hopeless Records, and released just as ska-punk music was finally gaining mainstream exposure in the U.S. Evildoers Beware exposed the band to a broader fan base, outside their midwest roots and the international ska die-hards who had thus far rallied around the band. The late 90's became a blur as they hit the road, playing 150 shows a year and opening tours for the likes of Face to Face, The Bouncing Souls, Hepcat, MXPX, Less Than Jake, and many more.
In 1997, the band recorded their version of the Verve Pipe's "The Freshmen" for a local radio compilation. Their version infused ska-punk energy in to a top 40 pop classic and immediately got picked up by several large commercial radio stations coast to coast and became a fan favorite.
The band's momentum continued to grow, allowing them to headline tours throughout North American and eventually Europe, Japan, and Brazil, and play to huge crowds at seminal clubs like CBGB's in NYC, the Metro in Chicago, Emo's in Austin and The Whiskey in L.A.
Towards the end of the 90's the band returned to the Blasting Room to record the critically acclaimed Pray For Mojo and continued to hit the road constantly.
At the beginning of the new millennium, the band continued their mission of bringing their music to the masses. Despite ska music's fall from grace, the band returned to their grass roots base and continued to tour. In 2003, they released the ska-punk gem Yellow #5, this time going to Detroit to self produce and record it. In 2004 the band turned the public's perception of ska on it's head by co-headling the initial run of the Ska Is Dead Tour, playing in front of packed concert halls from coast to coast.
In 2007, the band returned to the Blasting Room to record In Black and White. The album was hailed by many as a return to form, while creating a modern take on the ska-punk genre. Since then the band has continued to tour internationally and write new songs. Several new singles have been released including split 7 inches with Bomb the Music Industry and Montreal's The Beatdown. During the past year, the band has continued to hit the road, including a tour of Europe that saw them at Belgium's massive Groezrock Festival and conquering the 1500th show benchmark in the U.S. The band continues to write songs for an upcoming album.
As Mustard Plug looks back over their twenty years of relentless touring and recording, they are proud of their accomplishments and see no reason to slow down.

The Abruptors

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