The Pietasters

The Pietasters

In 1990, a group of friends were attending college at Virginia Tech in the mountains of Virginia. Among them were Stephen Jackson and Chris Watt who had previously dabbled in playing punk rock covers.

Soon after, a mutual friend, Tal Bayer, began attending nearby Radford University. He was very much into ska and reggae and suggested that they form a ska band. After recruiting a high school friend, Tom Goodin, and an Architecture classmate, Ben Gauslin, The Slugs were born. Soon, they were skipping classes, melding ska, reggae, R & B and punk rock while practicing for hours to learn songs by Madness, The Specials, Bad Manners, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Burial, The Skatalites, The Business, and others. Unfortunately, the name The Slugs was already taken and the band needed a new name. For a few months, the name was changed to the Dancehall Crashers. It was too similar to another ska band out west so the search for a new name continued. Some British neighbors used to refer to the heftier guys in the band as Pietasters, which is British slang for "fat guys". The name stuck and The Pietasters were born.

A few months later, a similar band from the DC area, The Skunks, asked The Pietasters to play a local ska night at a bar in Georgetown. The Pietasters were still rough around the edges. Soon, they were playing every dive bar in DC. The manager of one such bar befriended the band and helped them record their first record, The Pietasters, more commonly known as Piestomp.

In the summer of 1993, The Pietasters set out on their first national tour in a used school bus they'd bought for $900. The tour was haphazard with stops in Ohio, Oregon, Kansas and even many in Canada. By the end of the tour, almost all of the original members quit the band. To this day, only trumpeter Carlos Linares and lead singer Steve Jackson remain as original members.

The Pietasters auditioned many players and decided on Jeremy Roberts, Toby Hansen and Alan Makranczy as their horn players, Rob Steward (Covington) on drums, and Paul Ackerman on keys. Tom Goodin remained on guitar. The new line-up continued to tour whenever possible, and soon attracted the attention of Bucket Hingley, front man of The Toasters and owner of Moon Ska Records. He asked if The Pietasters wanted to be a part of a tour package called, "Skavoovie 94". The Pietasters accepted and were soon touring with The Toasters and The Scofflaws. The tour was much more organized than their last outing and proved to be very educational. By the end of the tour, The Pietasters were scheduled to record "Oolooloo" on Moon Ska with Victor Rice producing.

Oolooloo came out in the summer of 1995. The Pietasters continued to tour the country, and even managed to record "Strapped Live!" between stops in Raleigh, NC and The Black Cat in Washington, DC. "Strapped Live!" was released in 1996 and quickly became a fan favorite and the closest thing to a live Pietasters show. Throughout this period, The Pietasters had been recording new songs, re-recording older ones, and recording some covers. The results ended up as "Comply", and the song selection foreshadowed their next release.

While touring with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the band made a stop in Los Angeles. Backstage at the show, Tim Armstrong from the band, Rancid, approached the band and asked if they'd like to be a part of a new label he was putting together, Hellcat Records. The Slackers, Hepcat and Dropkick Murphys were already committed and he wanted The Pietasters on board.[1]

After clearing such a move with Moon Ska, The Pietasters signed with Hellcat, a subsidiary of Epitaph Records, and their next album, Willis was recorded and released in 1997. A tour of the US soon followed as well as their first ever tour of Europe. The Pietasters also made appearances on the Warped Tour and opened for such acts as The Reverend Horton Heat, Cherry Poppin Daddies, and Ozomatli.

By 1999, The Pietasters were in the studio again to record Awesome Mix Tape #6 for Epitaph's Hellcat Records.[2] They finished the album and set out on the road again touring Europe with the Warped Tour, then the US again with the Pilfers and Spring Heeled Jack, and closing out 1999 with an opening stint for the legendary Joe Strummer. Years of touring finally took its toll on Paul Ackerman and Tom Goodin, who amicably left the band. Bassist Todd Eckhardt also left the band and was replaced by Jorge Pezzimenti of Virginia band, The Decepticonz. Erick Morgan, formerly of The Skunks, took over keys, and Toby Hansen replaced Tom Goodin on guitar.

In late 2001, The Pietasters were well into recording their next album when they learned that former bassist, Todd Eckhardt, had died in his sleep. The news was extremely hard on The Pietasters and their fans. The Pietasters released a new album in 2002 titled Turbo, a nickname of Todd's. The new album's blend of Jamaican riddims and Northern Soul won praise from fans and critics alike.[3] It even caught the attention of James Brown who asked The Pietasters to be his backing band at a sold-out concert in Washington DC in December 2002. The following year, The Pietasters released their first DVD, Live at The 9:30 Club. Their song "Out All Night," was featured in the videogames Street Sk8er for the PlayStation, and NCAA Football 06. In 2006, The Pietasters played the International Ska Circus in Las Vegas.

On August 21, 2007, seventeen years after their inception, The Pietasters released a new studio album entitled, All Day.

The Everymen

For fans of Rocket From The Crypt, Bruce Springsteen & The Replacements.

Up from the trenches of the Jersey Shore, The Everymen conjure punk rock of a non-era, like the soundtrack to a '62 acid frat party.
Bikers and beauty queens, sluts and delinquents, pretty girls and sissy boys, junkies and lovers, fools and fantastics. It's a traveling freak revue, a psychedelic soul sensation and we're all Everymen. So wax up that sax and rev up that Hemi, let's take a ride baby, let's take a ride.

The Everymen are Mike V on rhythm axe and lead thunder, Catherine Herrick on the sexy croon and broken tambourine, The Connecticut Kid with the flaming guitar, The Zillitones Scott and Jamie on honking horns and 4-stringed guitar, The White Tygah on keys, Four On The Floor Fiedler and The Zen Master on drums.


"It turned out to be the best rock show I’ve seen in a long time. This New Jersey band will forever be cemented in my memory bank." -

"The highlight of (Hopscotch Festival) was most definitely the discovery of an absolutely wonderful live act. The Everymen packed out Slim's back porch despite the beating sun and rocked harder than anyone I saw on Friday (including Valient Thorr)." - The Bottom String

"Sloppy-sentimental, sax-fueled Garden State punks the Everymen, headlining at soon-to-close Maxwell's tonight, come off like a cross between the E Street Band and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones." - Time Out NY

The Everymen are anything but ordinary." - Jersey Beat

Archbishops of Blount Street

Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill's ONLY ska band, no matter what you heard.

Raleigh Public Record says,"this band is brass heavy and reminds me of a cross between Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes and the Pietasters. Bottom line – these guys are amazing." The Independent Weekly says, "Archbishops of Blount Street pay tribute to two-tone trailblazing." The Durham Herald – Sun calls Archbishops of Blount Street "people with a drive for the music and party." The Chapel Hill... News says Archbishops of Blount Street "give the day a great reggae/ska flavor."

Archbishops of Blount Street play ska music unlike anyone from Roanoke Rapids to Wilmington, from Greenville to Greensboro. There are ten guys in the band! We have five gentlemen who play fiery horns, five who sing like nightingales, five that lay down a rhythm on top of which only a corpse could keep still and the whole is even greater than the sum of our parts.

Blount (pronounced, 'blunt') Street is a downtown thoroughfare running north and south through Raleigh, North Carolina in the US of A. We named the band Archbishops of Blount Street to give listeners an idea of our geographic origin. Ska, the mother of reggae music, was born in Jamaica and traveled over its half-century of waxing and waning popularity to the rest of the globe. But ska retains its Jamaican sense of rhythm, instrumentation and baudiness.

For fans of: Pietasters, The Specials, English Beat

Chris Murray

For fans of The Slackers, The Skatalites & English Beat.

Chris Murray is a unique force on today's music scene. As leader of influential Canadian ska group King Apparatus, Chris earned a strong reputation as a dynamic performer and gifted songwriter. Upon the band's breakup, he relocated to Los Angeles, emerging as a solo artist with his debut album The 4-Track Adventures Of Venice Shoreline Chris. This charmingly lo-fi collection of home recordings won high praise for its finely crafted tunes and the raw sincerity of its vintage production.

In addition to his busy schedule of live appearances throughout North America, Japan, Europe and South America, Chris finds time for a remarkable array of collaborative efforts. Chris has co-written with and produced albums for Montreal's Planet Smashers and eclectic NYC supergroup Da Whole Thing. His writing credits have also appeared on releases by Hepcat, The Slackers, Westbound Train, and Neville Staple of The Specials. Most recently, his classic song We Do The Ska was covered by highly popular UK group The King Blues.

Life has led Chris down a musical path to the very roots of reggae music. From trading songs on acoustic guitar with boogie-ska pioneer Laurel Aitken and singing with Caribbean bandleader Carlos Malcolm & His Afro-Jamaican Rhythms, to jamming with The Specials in a basement club and recording with Jamaica's original drums and bass masters, Lloyd Knibb and Lloyd Brevett, Chris has served his apprenticeship with the finest musicians connected with the genre. Chris backed Prince Buster on harmonica for a rare US live appearance at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in 2003.

Chris has hosted Bluebeat Lounge at Hollywood's Knitting Factory for the past seven years. The weekly concert series, focusing on reggae and ska, has showcased a diverse range of top quality music and served as home base for the thriving Los Angeles scene.

$12 online / $15 at the door

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