New York’s The Toasters debuted in 1981, as one of the original Third Wave ska bands, in a movement that included the Uptones, Operation Ivy, and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Songs like Two Tone Army, Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down, and Weekend in L.A are still classics of the genre.
Today, guitarist and singer Robert “Bucket” Hingley is the only surviving member of the band’s original line-up. He is thrilled to be bringing the Toasters to Korea for the eleventh annual New Generation of Ska Festival in Seoul. He talked to Groove Korea from Maribor, Slovenia, where the band is touring.
Groove (GK): Ever been to Korea before? Any plans besides playing the festival?
Hingley (H): The only time I was ever in Korea was to change planes back to the USA from China. I’m very stoked to come and check out the country. I’m a huge fan of the cuisine, and we had a couple of favourite BBQ restaurants back in NYC where there is a massive Korean population. No worries at all other than we won’t have enough time to take a good look around and go “in-country.” We will just have to land for a return visit with more club shows and some time to snoop around.
GK: How did you end up getting involved in the NGO Ska festival? Where will you be before Korea? You may have no idea about this, but I’ll ask anyway: got any opinions about the state of ska in Korea?
H: The New Generation of Ska contact was through our booking agent, however Mike Park (of the Bruce Lee Band and Asian Man Records) had given me the heads-up on the scene there. Some other players in our circle had been over there gigging with other bands. Korea will be the first show and then after that we will go to Japan for some shows. I will be using the Japanese outfit Beat Bahnhof as a backing band. Looking forward to checking out the local bands with whom I am not familiar. I am sure it’s going to be a great time.
GK: How’s the state of ska in the world?
H: Ska music has its ups and downs, and after the great success in the 90’s, it’s natural that the tide should go out some. Having said that, there are signs that the scene is re-creating itself as it always seems to do, and a great part of that is the emergence of hotspots in places like Korea.
GK: What are The Toasters up to these days? What does the future hold for the band?
GK: What can we expect from a Toasters show in 2015?
H: High energy and a set that will encompass a selection from the whole catalogue, “greatest hits” style.
The New Generation of Ska festival will kick off on Saturday, August 29, at 2pm, at Club Emu in Gwanghwamun. Tickets are KRW 30,000 in advance or KRW 40,000 at the door! Along with the Toasters, you can see Japanese ska greats Beat Bahnhof, and a host of great Korean bands, including SKASUCKS, Burning Hepburn, Pegurians, and JohnStockTone. Check out ngoskafest.com/ or Facebook.com/tngoska for more info. To learn more about the Toasters, hit up Toasters.org or Facebook.com/toasters.
No music fan will want to miss it.