So what is "HaSkaLA"? Valid question Comrade!
Haskala means "Enlightenment" in Hebrew, and that's just what this brand spankin' new L.A.-based ska band aims to do: illuminate your mind, set fire to your soul- and most importantly do it all while making you dance!
Frontman Steven Schub summarizes the choice of band name thusly: "Let's see, ya got the sound of laughter- "Ha", the word "Ska" snuck in there, and our home city of L.A. HaSkaLA is all about all three: Laughter, Ska and bringing Joy, Mirth & Madness to the City of Angels".
Well, HaSkaLA is well on their way to accomplishing this self-imposed merry mission! HaSkaLA appeared on the Ska Stage of The Vans Warped Tour in 2010, converting almost 1000 kids a day into hard-core "Ha-Heads", and attracting Guest Appearances by Fishbone's Angelo Moore and Dave McWane of Big D and The Kids Table. HaSkaLA's debut CD "Untethered & Undone" sold-out on CDBaby within 24 hours and is a current "Staff Pick" at Amoeba Music in Hollywood.
In 2012 HaskaLA re-entered the studio, recording two new singles, "The Revolt" & "Never Give Up" (aka "Like Churchill Said") and played an endless series of packed shows at some of L.A.'s most prestigious venues: Molly Malone's, DiPiazza's, The Airliner, The Mint, a Benefit for the American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life", an All Ages acoustic show for toddlers & their parents at Giggles N' Hugs, and on Sunday May 27th, HaSkaLA will launch the "Summer of Ska" opening for Mod/Ska legends The Untouchables at the World Famous "Whisky A Go-Go" on the Sunset Strip!
Who is in HaSkaLA?
In point of fact, some have deemed HaSkaLA a sort of "Ska Supergroup". Lead singer and lyricist Steven Schub comes from the 10-piece "Afro-Celtic Yiddish Ska" band, The Fenwicks- a band that played the Vans Warped Tour in 2005, has 3 nationally released critically acclaimed CDs to it's credit, and has toured with ska legends The Selecter, as well as "brother band" Big D and The Kids Table. Schub's "day-job" is as a working actor in TV & Film, having starred in over 15 feature films and everything from the hit show "24" to yes, "Sesame Street". (In fact, Schub can be seen playing the role of Dee Dee Ramone of The Ramones in the upcoming feature film "CBGB" and as folk-legend Phil Ochs in the Warner Bros. film "The Chicago 8").
But when talking about the line-up in "HaSkaLA" that's just the beginning! Curtis Pollitt "The Boy Wonder" (Guitar/Vocals) has been a professional vocalist and musician for over ten years, working with such musical projects as "Benchmark", "Stock Autopilot", and a brief stint in "Digital Vampyro". "Supa Dupa" Dave Mastas (Guitar) was plucked from the big band "BigAmy". "Jumpin' Jiven'" Julie Gibbs (Bass) graduated from Berklee College of Music, and has played in all sorts of assorted bands, including the No Doubt cover band "No Doi". Slapping the skins? Drummer Nicholas Schneider. Nick got hooked on drums at the age of 15 after watching live footage of The Who at Woodstock, and has been trying to become Keith Moon ever since. After graduating from UC Davis he decided to move down to LA in order to pursue cliche, superficial dreams of rock n' roll stardom, but instead found a kooky ska band.
On saxophone: Mademoiselle Sarah Wood. Sarah is trained in classical, jazz, blues, big band, funk, contemporary, ska, and soul. She's been a featured performer at New York City's famed Lincoln Center for Duke Ellington's 100 year celebration, and has performed with some of Hollywood's best upcoming artists. Fleshing out the horn section, "Duh Killah" Kyle Pouzou, a kid who's been wailing on the trumpet for well over 12 years. Trained in both classical and jazz tradition Kyle's basic philosophy: Music = Life. On back-up vocals? Madame Darby Rae: born in raised in the Rocky Mountains of CO, swimming her way thru the colorful streets of Los Angeles loving this beautiful journey as a human being on planet earth. Lastly, but certainly not leastly, on the B3 keys and piano, we find musician/comedian Brad Watson. Brad has played with Miranda Lee Richards, The F.O.C.K.R.S (Friends of Canter's Kibitz Room) and is a regular performer at The World Famous Comedy Store.
So there you have it friends! Steeped in the best tradition of classic 2nd Wave Two-Tone ska, this family of spastics is guaranteed to make you sweat, and make you smile.
HaSkaLA is here: Prepare to dance or die!
*Read more hither:
"Music in Press":
Sarah Saturday's EIY Handbook: