Rules for ska bands

Oct 30 2004
Before you leave a comment, please read the following:

1. I, Bill Grady, played guitar for The Suspects from the bands’ inception in 1993 through the final show in 2002.
2. I wasn’t the band’s manager, but I did 90% of the dirty work. I booked shows, a tour, handled $$$, did the web site, made flyers, etc…
3. I wrote these rules in 2001. 2001!
4. So, shut up!

1. Ska-punk, punk-ska, or anything like that is OVER.
Kids, don’t embarrass yourself. The whole “ska in the verses and punk in the choruses” song writing formula is so overdone it’s not even funny. Few bands do it well, and you probably don’t belong to any of them.

2. Don’t wear suits on stage. Or to shows, either.
Actually, if you can go out and spend $400 on a really sweet sharkskin jacket and not feel bad about getting up under the stage lights or wearing it in the pit, go ahead and wear a suit. But if you plan on going down to Value Village, you’re best staying at home.

3. You don’t need five horns in your band.
Seeing half a dozen second chair, second band, high school punks up on stage not being able to play some dorky RBF-style unison part is absolute torture… visually and aurally. Less is more!!!

4. Don’t try to record your poorly written songs until somebody really asks for them (and I don’t mean your mom or your girlfriend!).
You just started a ska band two months ago, you’ve got five songs written, and you’re going to play a Tuesday night at Fitzgeralds next month… well, you obviously need a CD. NOT! Save everyone (especially the guy who has to record you) a big headache by waiting until your songs have a little mileage on them… a good song gets better the more you play it.

18 Replies to “Rules for ska bands”

  1. i think ur “rules” are a load of crap! Let people play however they want and dress how ever they want. Its not up to u to decide how they people should go about playing their music, so just fuck off, no one cares about ur opinion anyway

  2. your “rules” are not law, they’re crap, u’re taking all the fun outta be in a band, experimenting with new sounds is the one of the best parts of the band. If you set down rules,soon all the bands with sound the same and then it would be like all the pop bands in the worls and we already have enough of those!

  3. Y’all need to read a little more carefully! In 2001 (when this was written), ska-punk bands were a dime a dozen, and it helped if you saved your receipt. Rule #2 is only about looking good (or at least, minimizing how bad you look). Rule #3 is about BAD horn players… if you have 5 good horn players that sound good together, knock yourself out. And rule #4 is a good rule for any band, any time.

    My rules rock. Read, live, and learn.

  4. RULES?!??!
    Fuck rules, go out and have fun….dont buy 1 at value village, fuck that, im not spending shit load of $$ on a suit….

  5. If anything, my rules are encouraging people to not follow trends… in effect, to not follow the rules set up by the popular leaders of the genre. Please, get a clue!

  6. This is now my most favorite page, ever. I’ve played in ska & reggae bands for 10 years… you must bow down to my infinite and all-powerful insight!!!

  7. Ska isnt about rules. Its not even about discussing what you can or cant do, or what you should or shouldent do. Its about having fun. Thats why its so unique, and thats why i love it.

  8. I’d just like to say that this should be called: “Good advice for Ska Bands” instead of “rules for ska bands”. Because you can still do well without following these rules but they’re still good advice.

  9. Great rules man. I definitly agree. No, FUCK YOU, whoever said that to this man. You also should get some lessons on spelling and grammar (Yes, I know, totally off topic but it’s true). I’m sick of these “revolutionists” that are part of the stupid 20 year cycle of punk “rawkers”, “gangstas”, and whatever the hell there is saying “Oh, who gives a shit, go ‘have fun with it'”. Are we fucking part of the music now? I didn’t know that humans were sound waves in different patterns. Fuck you! 😀

  10. ur rules are gay and thats not how a ska band is. a ska band could be however they want it to be. every ska band should not be labled as bunch of high school punks with horns. Im in a ska band and have played shows with others so obviously u have not.

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