Vic Ruggiero, Blowing Up MySpace

Posted on August 28th, 2007 by JJ Loy

Vic and I discussed the internet, in general, and MySpace, specifically, and how they’re changing the way The Slackers are doing business, on his episode of Ska Blah Blah. Months later, it seems he’s embraced MySpace even more. In addition to his Vic Ruggiero Page and the official Slackers Page, two new sites show off a couple of side projects that are pretty exciting.

The Tampa Road project features Vic and Ara (of The Slackers) laying down some spooky, Iraq War-themed blues tracks. I can find very little about the lyricist, Phil Nerges, but I get the impression his is either an American soldier or journalist assigned to the Iraq War. The words, to the songs speak of the constant fear the soldier’s face and the senselessness behind their actions. It’s a drastic change in style for Ruggiero, but one that is consistent with his recently evolving protest themes.

Tremoflex9000 finds Ruggiero teaming up with Phil the Tremolo King and Flex Unger for some chicken-shack, lo-fi dub. There are plenty of great originals and instrumentals, available for download, from the MySpace Player and a link to the first EP, but it’s the tracks featuring Ruggiero on vocals that have me hooked. Tremoflex9000 covers two of the tracks from Living in Sin/Understanding New Jersey, and brilliantly so. The creepy, haunting tone of Vic’s first solo album is transplanted, and amplified on the Tremoflex versions. Link to This by Tremoflex9000.mp3

The real proof of Vic’s love for MySpace isn’t in these sites, however. On his main page, inconspicuously placed in his personal blog, there is an on-going serial saga, chronically the underground scheme’s of Vic’s cats. Either these are some highly evolved felines or Ruggiero has a paranoid fantasy life. Excerpt:

“ok”, said rudy,”what do you want? samba or leonard cohen?…that’s all that’s out…”
suddenly there was noise from the outside…”ahhh…they’re coming home, we’ll have to listen to what they want now…well, maybe they’ll put on some reggae…”
“yes…i hope”, said pierre, “ahhh, i guess i should stop smoking too huh?”
“ha ha ha ha”, all the gatos laughed as the door began to unlock


It is easy to pass these ramblings off as a silly use of blog space, but that would be an unwise move. These snippets of prose follow many of the same conventions as Ruggiero’s music, and invoke the same feelings of spontaneity and inspiration. I for one would like to see him explore something like short subject fiction, more aggressively.

But for now, I’ll just gawk at everything else he puts out, and share it with you guys.

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Comments (0) Aug 28 2007

Ska Hits Nick Jr!

Posted on August 27th, 2007 by JJ Loy

Wow, that happened faster than expected. Both The Aggrolites and The Aquabats have already made appearances on the new psychedelic kids show, Yo Gabba Gabba!

I’ve already written up a bit about Yo Gabba Gabba, which you can read here, but I wanted to post these two clips:

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AQUABATS VIDEO REMOVED

It’s crazy how little the Aggrolites had to clean up the Banana song, to make it kid friendly. Everybody like it!

Comments (0) Aug 27 2007

Cut the Chit Chat – 02 – Skinhead Reggae

Posted on August 22nd, 2007 by JJ Loy


These days, it seems like a most of the bands that had been releasing straight ska albums, several years ago, are now cutting their fair share of Skinhead Reggae tracks. Sure, the popularity of the Aggrolites has probably spurred this on, but maybe there’s a lot of folks like me, that don’t want a bible lesson every time they listen to Reggae.

This Rasta-free Reggae isn’t so much about social messages as it is about funky organs and foot stomping. This episode is exclusively Skinhead Reggae, and in keeping with this series’ theme, I’ll be interrupting the music as infrequently as possible.

The VulcansVulcan-ized
The AggrolitesMake it Reggae
Crazy BaldheadEye Jammy
Pama International feat Dave & Ansel Collins – It Ain’t Funny
Tim Armstrong feat. The AggrolitesAmong the Dead
The Moon InvadersDon’t Touch the Dog
The UpsessionsPharaoh’s Last Wish
The SkoidatsSmash Your Fucking Head
The Rhythm DoctorsMark’s Mood
Downbeat AlleyNobody but You
Westbound Train feat. Alex DesertSoul Revival
Monty Alexander and Ernest RanglinDouble Barrel
The Slackers feat. Glen AdamsLive Injection
The AggrolitesDon’t Let Me Down


Other links of interest:
-A lengthy but informative essay on the Skinhead/Reggae connection. link
-A brief bit on early Skinhead culture. link

Oh, and Nazi Punks can Fuck-Off.

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Comments (2) Aug 22 2007

Yo Gabba Gabba!

Posted on August 17th, 2007 by JJ Loy

Oh my goodness! This is one of the strangest/most exciting new shows to come down the development pipe in quite some time:

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It’s called Yo Gabba Gabba! and it premieres on NickJr. on Aug 20. It’s a kids show, naturally, but it seems to have enough musical and psychedelic elements to keep the grown-ups paying attention. Guests like Elijah Wood and Biz Markie, along with the design styles of such artists as Kid Robot and Paul Frank, should lend Yo Gabba Gabba a high degree of production value. Here’s an official description:

Yo Gabba Gabba! is a fun live-action program for young children ages 1 and up. Join our host DJ Lance Rock as he introduces us to friendly toy monsters in a magical land full of music, dance, colorful cartoons and simple life lessons that will get you and your children up off the floor to learn and dance along.


So, why am I posting about this on a Ska Blah Blah? Well, not only is the show created and run by the Jacobs Bros (Christian and Parker of The Aquabats and GoGo13 fame) but scheduled musical guests include The Aggrolites, Mark Mothersbaugh, The Aquabats, GoGo13 and Alex Desert. Other (non-scene musicians) include Smoosh, Sean Kingston, Rahzel, and The Shins.

YGG song, Party in my Tummy, feat.
a very Don Hertzfeldt style of animation,
though I doubt that it his actual work:

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Links of Interest:-Offical Yo Gabba Gabba! site
-YGG MySpace
-YGG Music MySpace (lots of songs)
-Nick Jr.’s official Yo Gabba Gabba page (you know? for kids. Iron-ons, masks, and activiteis)
-Yo Blogga Blogga (the shows production blog)
-YGG at IMDb
-YGG on YouTube

Comments (0) Aug 17 2007

Cut the Chit Chat – 01 – New Ska

Posted on August 10th, 2007 by JJ Loy


My next series of interviews is still a ways off, so I thought I’d try to keep everyone interested by running an all-music series. Look forward to episodes featuring Skinhead Reggae, Dub Revivalism, and more.

In this episode, I play some of the best Neo-Trad Ska to come out of the past couple of years. You’ll hear bands from the States, Europe, and Asia; all of them calling back to Jamaica, but adding something modern.

I’ve added links where I can, and I encourage you to buy something from any of the bands that you like.

The Caroloregians – Super Bikini Link Ska Cubano – Istanbul Link, Link

Pepper Pots – King of the Street Link

Westbound Train – Fatty Fatty, Boom Boom Link

The Debonaires – Interrupted Link

The Determinations feat. Ego Wrapping – A Love Song Video Link

Heavy Step – You Got It (Newish – I couldn’t find any Deal’s Gone Bad)

ASPO – Nuthouse Shuffle Link, Video Link

The Moon Invaders – Consciousness Link

The Pepper Pots – Runaway Video Link

The Upsessions – Cool Ska Time Link

The Slackers – Robots


If you are in a band or know of one, that plays Jamaican Revivalism in any form, and would like it to be featured on an episode of Cut the Chit Chat, please contact me: jjloy@skablahblah.com

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Comments (2) Aug 10 2007