Sunday, March 8, 2009

Marco On The Bass Podcast Series: Bigger Thomas

Hopefully if you are fairly regular reader of this blog you know that I love ska music in all its combinations and permutations. My passion for the music started when I heard The Specials first album as an impressionable 14 year old. From that defining experience I was off and running. Album shopping and seeing shows in New York City filled my late teens and early 20's. It finally lead me to start a band 21 years ago in New Brunswick, New Jersey while I was attending Rutgers University. There I met a group of like-minded souls and misfits and together we embarked on a musical journey that continues to this day.

The New York Ska scene was in full effect in the late 1980's when we started and to the best of my knowledge we were the very first ska band to come from New Jersey (which for those of you living in the UK is the equivalent of being from Essex). Initially we called ourselves Panic! (after The Smiths song) which was later changed to Bigger Thomas (after the main character of the Richard Wright novel 'Native Son') and to our astonishment quickly built up a fan base in the New York/New Jersey music scene. Soon we were sharing stages with more and more well-known bands and playing further and further from home. We have certainly had our ups and downs, but that has made the whole experience more interesting. I consider all my band mates (past and present) the brothers I never had and a musical family who have made my life what it is today.

Part of my interest in starting this blog almost one year ago was to share my love for the music that has made me who I am today. It seems fine time to finally share songs from my own band. We have recorded three albums (we are finishing up work on our fourth one titled 'Pure' at the moment) and each one has had a distinct sound. Here is a quick rundown on the albums:

Bigger Thomas (1989): Self-titled and recorded by the original line-up of the band. We won the studio time to record this album by winning a battle of the bands competition. We recorded and mixed the whole 9 song album in 40 hours and pressed an album (vinyl was in its death throes as CD's were starting to make in-roads). I still have a few copies of the vinyl. We re-mastered and re-released the album in 2004. It remains my favorite.

Resisting Success (2004): It took nearly 8 years to finish this album. The band had gone through significant changes and had endured a nasty split. We reconciled and soldiered on, but life hqd a way of getting in the way of making progress on this one. The basic tracks remained un-mixed for years while we concentrated instead on playing the somewhat lucrative bar scene to make money. This record reflects the diversity of sounds and influences we all brought to the table. Probably the best recorded record of the three. Well engineered and well produced.

We Wear The Mask: (2005): A return to form and to our roots. We brought the one and only Kind Django on board to produce this one. The songs were a mix of old chestnuts that never made the first record and new songs written during our wanders in the wilderness of the New York and New Jersey club circuit. The album includes most of the current line-up and features our MC/Toaster Roy Radics who has added a new dimension to our live sound. We also experimented with more reggae and dub sounds.

Here is the podcast playlist:

Fun - Resisting Success
Ska In My Pocket - Original demo recording from 1988 featuring our first MC/Toaster
Telling Time - Bigger Thomas
Something You Should Know - Resisting Success
How It Has To Be - We Wear The Mask
Chucks - Resisting Success
Loose Threads - Bigger Thomas
Say It Again (featuring Roy Radics)- We Wear The Mask
Simple Man - Bigger Thomas
Dub The Mask - We Wear The Mask

Marco On The Bass Podcast #2

My band will be making our new 10-song CD titled 'Pure' available for download through this blog. If you are interested in receiving a teaser mix of songs from the album before its released and later get access to a download link where you can pay what you want for it (The Radiohead model of $0 to whatever...) then please send your e-mail address to the address below:

Rest assured that I will not share or sell your e-mail address to anyone (I'm a big advocate of online privacy) and I'll remove you from the distribuition list at any time.

Finally, if you liked what you heard in the podcast and want to hear more, all three of our albums are available via and on iTunes. Enjoy!


narvolicious said...

Hey Marco:

Glad you enjoyed the interview on Plastic Palm Trees...not sure if you got my reply—I'd be happy to do an interview with you. Go ahead and send the questions over and I'll get to 'em as soon as I can.

lynx said...

Please reup, thanks

Marco On The Bass said...

Hi Lynx,

The link has been reuped.