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July 22, 2024

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The Scofflaws
Moon Ska Records

By: Alex Steininger

The Scofflaws are one of the first "third wave" ska bands to come out of the New York scene, as well as one of the bands (along with The Toasters and Bim Skala Bim) that helped spark the American resurgence in ska, which later caught on with numerous pop and punk acts like Buck-O-Nine, Save Ferris, and Less Than Jake. Playing ska music that shows its roots in 60's Jamaican ska, they update it and give it a rush of modern day feeling to keep it from being nostalgic. And with ska on the rise, you can count on hearing the name "The Scofflaws" mentioned over and over again.

"Well, I think our influences are there in younger ska bands. Ska bands that have popped up after us. Ones that liked our sound, or liked what we were doing and wanted to have fun," explains front man Richard Brooks. "We've been around for about ten years now, so I'm hoping if our influences aren't felt now, hopefully in the future we'll influence some bands."

With ten years under their belt, and many bands showing signs of Scofflaw influence, how do The Scofflaws approach spreading the word about their music, and getting people into them for the long haul? "We love to play live. The Scofflaws are all about playing and being seen live. That's why we just released a live CD not too long ago. I think it captures our live sound quite well. We are very intense and full of fun live. The energy level is high, and everyone gets into the music," says Richard Brooks with a smile on his face, "and I think that the live album will tide people over until we come to their town and they are able to see us live."

With strong touring always on their mind, The Scofflaws are always out to have fun, and seeing them live is the best party you could imagine. Getting their live CD is a great place to start, as Moon Ska and The Scofflaws teamed up together and put out a great CD that does capture the live sound of The Scofflaws quite well (see issue #2 for a review of this CD). But even a live CD can't capture the steam, enjoyment, and thrills that come with every Scofflaws show.

Ska may be on a resurgence, but don't forget that the Scofflaws were there before the popularity was, and they'll be here long after the popularity dies down. Because for The Scofflaws, it's all about the music. "The reason I got into a band was because I didn't want to work a forty hour week. But the sad thing is, once I got into the band we started putting in sixty hour weeks, working my ass off harder than I ever had before, trying to get everything done. It's very tiring and exhausting work, but we do it because we love it. If one day we didn't love it anymore, we'd quit. It's a labor of love. You have to be crazy like us to want to do this. The hours are long, the pay is shit, and the work is tremendously hard. But since we love it, and I can't imagine doing anything else, this is a dream come true."

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