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Reggae slovenija
1. Lipanj 2015

Buck (The Toasters): "Ska music has gone back into the underground"

Zagrebački koncert The Toastersa zakazan je za srijedu 3. lipnja.

Uoči nastupa porazgovarali smo s Hingleyem, osnivačem benda koji nam je pojasnio kako su izgledali počeci ovog benda, što savjetuje mladim izvođačima, jesu li im fanovi štogod zamjerili u njihovoj trideset godina dugoj karijeri... Vidimo se u Močvari 3. lipnja na još jednom zagrijavanju za predstojeći Skaville (9.-12.7. @ Križevci). 

Reggae hr: For start of this interview, can you tell us how the American ska scene looked at the beginning of your career?
Robert "Bucket" Hingley: Essentially there wasn't one. there had been a short-lived ska band in NYC in te late 70's called the Terrorists but they had finished by the time I arrived there in 1980. at the beginning it was difficult to find people who knew about the genre or who were familiar with the rhythms at all but as soon as the band started to play out live we were quickly able to bring in musicians who could play the beats and tempos.

Reggae hr: I found the fact that your first performans was the opening act for Bad Brains in 1981. Is there was any cooperation with them after that gig?
Robert "Bucket" Hingley: That's the one and only time we ever played with BB and even HR was in jail at that time as I recall so it was basically the BB band and playing a reggae set which was awesome. We did share a rehearsal studio with them on 181 Avenue A as well as the Cromags and some other NYHC bands. But the last time i saw HR was at our last show in Baltimore.

Reggae hr: You've released first single "Beat Up" by yourself, is it more difficult 30 years ago or now?
Robert "Bucket" Hingley: Well, ska music has gone back into the underground - which in the long run is probably not a bad thing - but at least now more people know abut the genre than before. In the early 80's it was impossible to get any labels to take the band seriously and so we had to go DIY at a very early stage. That' what has helped keep the band going because we are used to getting things done by ourself and we have a good knowledge of how the indusrty does and doesn't work. What is unusual is that after 35 years the format of choice has gone back to being the 7" 45rpm vinyl. Nonbod would have predicted that!! Having said that these are extraordinarily difficult times for indie music and it is very hard now for bands, especially young kids starting up, to make their way.

Reggae hr: Did you have great expectations when you released the first album ("Skaboom!")?
Robert "Bucket" Hingley: Of course! The wind was in our sails but the album did much better than we had dreamed and it catapulted the band onto the national stage and enabled our touring throughout the USA. The rest of the story you know!

Reggae hr: The Toasters has been through many changes in the composition, is that ever reflected on the quality of your work?
Robert "Bucket" Hingley: You mean in the line-up? Right now we use a large platoon of players because it's pointless to pay the airlines the huge $$$ for flying people around. I would rather hire local guys who we handpick from the great bands that we play with and pay them instead. It's a novel concept in the music business that artists get paid :) Artistically it as also helped as it keeps the catalogue fresh and the guest artists bring a lot of influences to the show. For me it's a good thing.

Reggae hr: Have you ever resented that Faulkner and Reiter went and founded the New York Ska Jazz Ensemble?
Robert "Bucket" Hingley: Not at all. It's a concept that came about during the Skavoovee tour in 1993. Rocksteady Freddie has gone on to have a lot of success with that outfit. Moreover we are still friends and collaborate on projects so it's all good.

Reggae hr: Did you expect that the "2Tone Army" become your big hit? How it came about?
Robert "Bucket" Hingley: Not really, although I think more people know "Don't let the bastards grind you down" what helped the „2 Tone Army“ theme was that it became the headline music for the Kablam show on Nickelodeon TV. Many people still tell me that this was their portal for getting into The Toasters in the first place. But for sure it's an anthem and people always ask for the tune at shows.

Reggae hr: You compose songs for major corporations such as America Online and Coca-Cola, are your fans resented it?
Robert "Bucket" Hingley: Sure and more than that even: Cisco, Miller, Michelob, SHO network etc... But what that does is help subsidize the indie touring so that we can lose money in the Balkans for example but still come and play the shows for the fans. Besides all the so called 'indie" or 'punk" artists that are signed to labels which are also owned by major corporations. What's the difference? So sure, I will take the $$ from the corporate assholes to help support our DIY project. That's what the fans really want. So we do that.

Reggae hr: For more than 30 years of The Toasters career you had many ups and downs, which would advise today's young bands?
Robert "Bucket" Hingley: Don't rush in too quick. Rock and roll is a harsh business and so you have to be ready to work hard and not make $$ for a long time of you want to succeed. Also just focus on your project to make it the best it can be and don't get jealous looking around to see what everybody else has. That will just drive you crazy.

Reggae hr: What can we expect from gig in Zagreb, and from your new material?
Robert "Bucket" Hingley: A fun show and a good night with some friends and some pivo. We are ready!!

Foto: Atak TV


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