Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Untouchables To Perform In Los Angeles With Original 'Wild Child' Era Line-Up!

I just learned that Los Angeles ska and mod icons The Untouchables are performing a show TONIGHT featuring their original 'Wild Child" era line-up at an O.N. Klub Reunion party at Los Globos Night Club on West Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles!

According to the band's Facebook page, original members Chuck "The Ska Father" Askerneese, Clyde "The City Gent" Grimes, Herman "The (OG) Flea" Askerneese,  Jerry "The EQ" Miller,  Bennet 'Caine' Carruthers and The Mighty Lamp will perform together again!

The Untouchables 'Wild Child' album was released 27 years ago during the spring of 1985.  It remains one of the earliest and most popular examples of purely American-styled ska mixing in soul, pop and funk. The success of The Untouchables and their giant step from local Los Angeles ska/mod heroes to a major label deal with Stiff Records in the U.K. is a classic story about how old fashioned DIY marketing, self-promotion and good luck used to work in the music business (now all you need is a YouTube video!). Read more about the recording of the record here.

The band were a huge inspiration to me as a young ska and 2-Tone obsessed teen and a show I saw them play opening for UB40 at Fordham University here in New York City in 1985 helped convince me to start my own ska band.  I've had the honor and pleasure of interviewing both original band vocalist Kevin Long and keyboardist/organist Josh 'Acetone' Harris who both played key roles in the initial success of the band in Los Angeles (Long) and its later international success for Stiff Records (Harris).

As background, The Untouchables exploded out of the O.N. Klub in Los Angeles in 1981 and soon provided the soundtrack for the ska/mod revival that spread like wild fire across Southern California in the late 70's and early 80's.  The band quickly outgrew the small confines of the O.N. Klub as word of their live show grew and they sold out several self-released 7" singles. According to a 1985 Billboard story, the band raised $15,000 from private investors (who were paid back with interest!) and recorded the well-received 'Live & Let Dance' EP on the indie Twist Records label. Next they invested an additional $7,000 to produce a video for the song 'Free Yourself' which started to generate television airplay. As a result the EP sold 40,000 copies and the video won the 1985 award for best independent video from Billboard Magazine.  The band also made memorable movie cameos in 'Repo Man' and 'Party Animal'.

If you live in or near Los Angeles and want to see some American ska history, get yourself to Los Globos! Oh, and if you do go, please video the show!