Monday, October 18, 2010

Trowsers - California's most forgotten about 80s ska band

I read recently that Donkey Show was California's first ska band and I thought "What the Fuck?"

Donkey Show was a good band but they were nowhere near being California's first ska band - let alone San Diego's first ska band.

I pretend to know everything but I don't really. As far as I know there were many bands in California since the mid seventies playing a ska/reggae sound on a song or two but I'm pretty sure that the first band to incorporate that sound into a full-time act was San Diego's Trowsers.

They started as early as 1979 under the name Ballistics. They even recorded their first song in Kingston, Jamaica.

I'm not going to lie to you and say that they were a great band. I have to admit that band-leader and vocalist Y Lee's voice is hard to get used to. (Imagine if Dicky Barrett was the main vocalist for the Donkey Show) - but their music will grow on you.

Their only "real" album was Drop 'Em from 1983

1 Come Dance
2 Teaser
3 Kraken Up
4 Inna Boy-O Style
5 Kraken Dub
6 Mondo Bondo
7 Burnin'
8 Housewife Terrorist
9 Grab It
10 Liberation
11 Rev Steppin'

"Mondo Bondo"

But they did release a second album in 1984 that was a collection of unreleased songs including their 8-track recordings from 1982 and 1983 as well as their first recording "Rolling with the Feeling" from 1979. It was called
Solitary Confinement

1 Solitary Confinement
2 Air Conditioning
3 Laff in My Face
4 Midnight Carouser
5 Rip Me Off
6 Authority
7 Isolation
8 Wrong Area Code
9 Rolling With the Feeling
10 Colonial Mentality
11 Bad Food
12 ISO Dub

"Rolling With the Feeling"


davidblunt said...

What about The Boxboys? Weren't they earlier?

Tone and Wave said...

...I'm guessing you didn't click on the first link

davidblunt said...

Hi. I did check out the first link. Are you just referring to SD bands or CA? Also, the Hoovers were quite early weren't they? Even the Patterns were pretty early and the were pretty ska.

Anonymous said...

...not the Patterns, the Targets. Sorry!

Tone and Wave said...

Here's a snippet of what I wrote on that link:

"You realize that there were many West Coast ska bands before them...The Tazmanian Devils from Northern California came out in 1976 followed by the Offs in '77. Then in 79 came the Boxboys, the Wing Tips, The Hoovers, Ska Cha Cha, Fabulous Titans, - and there were several more..."

As far as 'several more' I meant bands like The Plugz, Brat, and Camper Van Beethoven that weren't recognized as ska bands but did dabble occasionally in the sound.

The Targets were out around the time Fishbone and The Untouchables were making themselves known. They only recorded in 1986.

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