RUDER THAN YOU was founded in 1989 by five students at Penn State University who relocated to Philadelphia in 1991. Long known as Philly’s top ska band, Ruder Than You’s identity has never fit too neatly into any of the generic ska categorizations. While ska and reggae stylings have always provided the common musical thread, over the past 18+ years they\'ve been mixing in dancehall reggae, hip-hop, rocksteady, and rub-a-dub, even adding elements of funk, jazz, and punk - to create their own unique sound. The consistent factor however is the band’s energy and enthusiasm, which inevitably pulls people out onto the dance floor.
Independent ska label Moon Records, a.k.a. MoonSKA NYC, put out the band’s debut album, Big Step in 1992 and its follow-up Horny for Ska in 1996. By the mid 90s the group had morphed from a five-piece into a nine-piece outfit and captured a passionate, loyal following in the Philly and New York areas, selling out shows regularly. The group toured nationally, regularly opening up for groups like the Skatalites, Steel Pulse, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Blink 182, Desmond Dekker, Ziggy Marley, Special Beat, Bad Manners, Fishbone, Yellowman, Eek a Mouse, No Doubt and countless others. Ruder CDs were released in Japan and England, and songs can be found on dozens of compilation CDs far and wide.
In 2005 the band self-released their long-awaited third album, Philly Stylee, which was mostly recorded in spurts during the Third Wave ska heyday between 1996 and 1999. The CD was excruciatingly long in the making for many reasons, not the least of which included the demise of the band’s label Moon, a 3-year incarceration of lead singer and toaster Freddie 3D Weaver, and the death of bari-sax player Trish Johnson. Despite these obstacles, after taking a nearly 3-year hiatus, the band started back up in 2003 and completed the CD.
The band’s latest release, and first truly fresh studio endeavor of the decade, is the 5-song EP entitled GOD’S GHETTO (2008). The EP is released on the East-African record label Lulu Nyeusi and represents the first known American ska-influenced music release on an African record label. Ruder Than You has always had an eclectic sound and this release is no exception. For this installment, the band chose tunes heavy on old school hip-hop and dancehall and emphasized lyrics penned by Weaver. While these songs differ a bit from the familiar feel of previous albums, they offer the same extraordinary energy and catchiness.
The band’s current roster of veteran members includes the Round Mound of Dub Sound - singer Freddie Weaver. Band leader Doug Dubrosky still sings and plays tenor sax. He and Don Pancoe on bass hail from the earliest days of RTY. Rod Martino and Chris Klimchak fill out the lineup on guitar and trombone, respectively. Larry \"Ace\" Snell of the Toasters and Public Service sits on the drum throne.