Veritas Est Rock

Paul Karner

Saturday, May 6th, Skappleton ’06 came to Lawrence and brought with it a slew of rude boys and girls to the south side of campus. The Yuais hosted the event, which brought nine ska bands from all over the country to the Buchanan-Kiewit Recreation Center. The scene was enough to turn the head of any self-proclaimed former ska fan.
There is a longstanding mentality in the mainstream music scene that ska is dead. Having risen out of the underground with a few big name bands and hit singles, ska music appeared to fall off the face of the earth shortly thereafter. Skappleton, however, gave a glimpse into the thriving life of a so-called dead movement.
Rick Johnson of Mustard Plug claimed that “the mentality that ska is dead isn’t really the reality. It’s not getting coverage in every newspaper or publication, which I think is better because it makes things thrive easier.” He added, “Over-saturation is what made it fall away from when it was booming.”
Mustard Plug, a band that has been in the ska scene through its rise and purported fall, headlined the show on Saturday. Another popular draw was Madison’s I Voted For Kodos. Lee Gordon of Kodos told of the successes of their recent tours.
“We’re this totally underground ska band, and we’ve been touring the country for several years. We’ve been able to put together more popular underground tours than the actual business.” The band stopped in Appleton during their recent tour of the greater Midwest.
“Ska has been pushed into this corner, but at the same time it’s coming together and people are really starting to feel it again.” Gordon said. “It’s much more of a family and a community, it’s just that no one knows it, because you don’t see it in the press.”
Rounding out the show was the number of lesser-known groups that manage to draw no less excitement out of the crowd. One band known as the Hired Geeks came from Kenosha, Wis., but spoke of their scene with just as much excitement as the more notable bands. Earl the trombonist from Hired Geeks was pleased to see “all the kids getting together, dancing and listening to good music.” He added, “That’s really what its all about.”
It’s a remarkable thing to see a crowd of young wide-eyed music fans embracing their own slice of the elusive underground. The crowd may seem young and the music might just seem too happy, but the ska scene has kept its distance from the pretension and separatist thinking that has crippled so much of the rock scene. If there’s one thing to be sure of, it’s that Skappleton, despite the curious looks from the nay-saying public, will undoubtedly return with an equal or greater force next year.