Third Wave

Third wave

By the early 1980s, 2-Tone’s influence began to spread internationally as ska bands started forming in the United States and other countries.[19] The Uptones from Berkeley, California and The Toasters from New York City – both formed in 1981 – were among the first active ska bands in North America, often credited for laying the groundwork for American ska and establishing scenes in their respective regions.[6][20][21] While the majority of early American ska bands continued in the musical traditions set by 2-Tone and the Mod revival such as the Untouchables from Los Angeles, bands such as Fishbone also from Los Angeles (formed 1979), The Mighty Mighty Bosstones from Boston (formed 1985) and Operation Ivy from Berkeley (formed 1987) pioneered a sub-genre known as ska punk, a fusion of ska and punk rock which typically downplayed ska’s R&B influence in favor of faster tempos and guitar distortion.[19][22]
On the East Coast, the first well-known ska revival band was The Toasters, who played in a 2 Tone-influenced style and helped pave the way for the third wave ska movement. In 1981, The Toasters’ frontman Robert “Bucket” Hingley created Moon Ska Records, which became the biggest American ska record label.
The Uptones jump-started California’s Bay Area ska scene in 1981 when the band, consisting of Berkeley High School students, went on to play sold-out shows throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for seven years.[23] Their 1984 self-titled record was released on Howie Klein‘s 415 label. The Uptones’ punk-influenced ska has been cited as inspiring California bands Operation IvyRancid, and Sublime.[21][24][25][26] In 2002 The Uptones reformed and continue to record and play live shows on the west coast.
Orange County, California had one of the biggest and most influential third wave ska scenes, which originated in the early 1990s. For about a decade, Orange County was the starting point for many successful third wave ska bands. Some of these ska bands had a great deal of commercial success, albeit short-lived. The Hippos and Save Ferris enjoyed commercial success with the albums Heads Are Gonna Roll and It Means Everything, respectively. Both acts were featured in several major motion picture soundtracks during the 1990s. The Aquabats have remained one of the few original Orange County ska bands who still play today.[27][28] However, the band generally doesn’t play in a ska style in their two most recent releases, Charge!! and Hi-Five Soup!. The same applies to Goldfinger, who, despite once being an active forerunner in the scene, dropped the ska sound in 2001.
In the early 1990s, the Ska Parade radio show helped popularize the term third wave ska and promoted many Southern California ska-influenced bands, such as SublimeNo DoubtReel Big Fish, and Let’s Go Bowling.[29] In 1993, the ska-core band The Mighty Mighty Bosstones signed with Mercury Records and appeared in the film Clueless, with their first mainstream hit “Where’d You Go?” Around this time, many ska-influenced songs became hits on mainstream radio, including “Spiderwebs” by No Doubt, “Sell Out” by Reel Big Fish (which reached #10 in the Billboard Modern Rock charts in 1997) and “The Impression That I Get” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
In 1993 Luis P. Correa founded Steady Beat Recordings in Los Angeles, CA. The label focused more on the Jamaican 60s style of the music and was a counter balance to the sounds coming out of Orange County at the time. Inspired by the originators such as The Skatalites with a purely West Coast gritty LA feel mixed with more Jazz and Latin influences the label became the epicenter of sorts for the more traditional sounding scene bubbling up in the LA area. Bands including Hepcat, Ocean 11, Yeska, The Allentons, King Willy, Mobtown, See Spot and more continue to thrive today.
In 1994, Matt Collyer of The Planet Smashers‘ founded the third wave ska label Stomp Records. In 1996, Mike Park of Skankin’ Pickle founded Asian Man Records, which was the biggest west coast United States third wave ska label.[citation needed] Also in 1996, the band Less Than Jake started the record label Fueled by Ramen, which featured many lesser known third wave ska bands, and later became the home of successful pop-punk bands like Fall Out Boy and Paramore. In 1997, Brett Gurewitz (of Bad Religion and Epitaph Records fame) and Tim Armstrong founded Hellcat Records, which mostly featured punk bands, but also featured several ska and ska punk acts.
By the late 1990s, mainstream interest in third wave ska bands waned as other music genres gained momentum.[30] Moon Ska Records folded in 2000, but Moon Ska Europe, a licensed affiliate based in Europe, continued operating in the 2000s, and was later relaunched as Moon Ska World. In 2003, Hingley launched a new ska record label, Megalith Records.