Ska! Tribute Page - 7/99
Questions by Molly Powell
Responded by Max Wisniewski
It seems like the band has recorded at a number of its shows, either on audio or video. What are the odds fans might see some of this released eventually?
You're right. We've recorded miles of video tape and hours of audio tape. And I'd love to get something out to the fans. Problem is, as I see it, we have three obstacles in our way. One, Time. It would take weeks, even months to review all the tapes and pick out the best tracks. Two, All of us in the band have to agree on the songs that make it on the video. And Three, Money. Right now we're busted. With no outside financial backing, it would be impossible to pay for the hours and hours of studio time to edit and mix a quality product. That leaves the only option of me myself putting together a home made tape of my personal selections on a tape with low buck packaging and poor production quality. Hey, there's an idea!
Over the past years, which band(s) have you most enjoyed playing with? Who would you have most wanted to play a show with but never had the chance?
I could not honestly pick one band. If there is one thing I've learned over the years, it is that ska people are some of the nicest you'll meet. 99% of the bands we've shared the stage with have been into fun and games. But for getting wild off stage the following bands make my picks. They include Mustard Plug, Johnny Socko, L.G.B. and the Scofflaws. I also love listening to most of the current ska bands out there now, but I'd like to mention Hepcat, the Toasters, the Pilfers, and Bim Skala Bim as some of my top of the list acts. As for the next part of your question, I can humbly say that we've been fortunate to have shared the stage with almost all of our idols and favorite ska bands. There's been the likes of the Skatalites, the Selector, Bad Manners, Special Beat, Bosstones, Fishbone and even (yes, I know) No Doubt. I do regret not being able to have played along with the original (English) Beat or Madness. And what's up with not being able to get booked in this town with Reel Big Fish?
What do you think about where ska is headed in Milwaukee now that it is loosing the media attention?
Nowhere. It will be back to the underground scene for a while. And that's fine. As long as there are good bands out there to see and enough fans of the music filling the venues to make the bands stick around. But right now, getting attention in this town is next to impossible now that ska isn't the "Big Thing". When will the media wake up and allow ska music to take it's place next to blues and jazz or any other style for that matter. Realizing it's entrenched legitimacy as a fun form of uplifting dance music that is far more interesting in it's many styles than plain old rock 'n roll. I guess if it sounds circus it can't be taken too seriously. It all comes back to the fans. If they don't support it, it will die. Plain and simple.
Where is your favorite place to go in Milwaukee for a cheap meal?
If you don't mind watching cows graze, head for the Old Country Buffet. But for me, I recommend any Chinese lunch buffet. Or, for that late night "soak up the booze" meal, go to any of the great Mexican joints around 5th and National in Milwaukee. Who cares if you regret it in the morning. It's always good and fairly cheap. Did I mention Webbs?
What non-ska album should fans check out?
Offspring or Squirrel Nut Zippers come to mind. Did I mention No Doubt? I don't listen to much, other than ska, reggae, dancehall, lounge, big band, and jazz.
Okay, so us concert-junkies seem to have a large amount of space left in our schedules because of Milwaukee's dwindling scene, what hobby should we pick up to waste time between shows?
Finger painting can be nice. Especially if your canvas is flesh! Picking one's nose is fun, but it seems to gross out others. How about promoting the ska scene? You'd be amazed how fun it can be making and posting flyers, promoting upcoming shows and new releases, hounding radio stations to play your faves or hosting your own Rude party!
I am a percussionist so what first attracted me to the band was the use of the timbales and other percussion instruments. Which came first, the singing or the percussion?
I started out learning drums in a garage band. And that was because we needed a drummer. I was awful. But I kept at it, teaching myself and using lousy drum kits, until I was good. Later, Dean Schwaller and I formed the Invaders, again with me on drums. But now I was also doing lead vocals from behind the kit. We soon realized that my energy needed to be upfront to capture an audience. So we added a drummer and I went to front center stage. I was very nervous at first, this being my first time with out my drum kit infront of me. So I picked up hand percussion instruments and also the timbale to occupy my hands. Naturally, this added a unique sound to our music, and it developed from there. Now I'm very comfortable in front of a crowd, even with out anything but the microphone. But I do still love the drums and percussion.
Were there any Invaders releases other than the G-Man 7" and the two CDs? It seems like I used to see one in the library catalogue from before these 3. If so, what were they and which songs did they contain?
Our freshman release was actually a cassette that had little to do with ska in 1989 titled Dancing In The Fallout. It was more college rock than anything else. Next, in 1991 we released a second cassette, Skank Tank. It was our first full venture into ska and island rhythms. Among other forgettable tracks, it had the first renditions of Go Tell Jah!, Let Them Hear, Invader Ska, Dancing With Her Hair, Such A Jerk, and the original version of Ska Fever with different lyrics and a much slower tempo. We even covered the Specials' Rat Race. In 1993 we put out our last cassette only release. This was Brewtown Ska- "We've Come For Your Beer". I'm still proud of that effort. It has the first recordings of Spy's Demise, International Radio, Ska Guitar, Leaps & Bounds, Tropical Gangsters, Scootering, Fez and Feel Like I Should. Also included are reworkings of Dancing With Her Hair and Such A Jerk. We included covers at that time that are still requested today, such as Ellington's Caravan, Mancini's Shot In the Dark and Iko Iko. I have a lot of requests for the cassette, but its out of print. If I ever get the chance I'd like to release it on CD or atleast include many of it's tracks on a "best of" CD.
If you have been able to see my page yet, and comments?
I haven't seen it yet. But I'm flattered by the whole thing. I know Stale is on the web alot. I'll check it out at his place.
Is there anything else you would like to add for the fans? I'd like to thank all those who supported us the last ten years. Without them and people like you, we would never have gone this far. We love ska music and originally played it for our own satisfaction. It was in fact partly the reason I left for a short period. I wasn't having fun off the stage anymore. It was the fans who brought me back. It is my only wish to be involved continually in ska throughout my life, whether it is with the Invaders or in some other fashion. Remember; Forward in all directions, Keep the Faith, and no matter where you're Skankin'... there you are! Peace, cheers!