My desktop screensaver is of an anonymous woman sitting poolside, back to the camera, showing an inscription tattooed onto her right shoulder: “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” That’s solid advice. And I’m guessing she’s a Toasters fan. That’s the title song from their eighth studio album, released in 1997: “And now the neighbors make it loud and clear/ That they want no ravers moving in around here/ I won’t play ball, won’t do what I’m told/ I’d rather be a square peg in a round hole.”
I can envision Robert Hingley singing those words. He is anything but a round peg in a round hole and as such is credited with bringing ska to America. Originally from the U.K., Hingley started the Toasters in New York in 1981 while working at a comic-book shop. He is the only original member. His nickname is Bucket, but it may as well be Pink Slip — the Toasters have gone through an extravagant list of supporting musicians over the years. Somehow, the revolving-door theory in band management has proven successful. In 2011, the Toasters celebrated their 30th anniversary with a world tour and a beer, an IPA made by the Ska Brewing Company of Durango, Colorado.
It can get confusing looking at the Toasters from a historical perspective: a Two Tone band that was one of the first American bands in the third wave of ska. Two Tone, an English fusion of ska, punk, and reggae, was the second wave. The third wave started in the U.S. in the 1980s in New York and Orange County. The market share for ska has since shrunk, but the Toasters remain a busy global band. They’ve actually skanked in Siberia, for example, but to what effect I do not know.
Amalgamated with DJs Erny Earthquake and King Duffy also perform.
The Toasters: Brick by Brick, Wednesday, September 18, 8 p.m. 619-275-LIVE. $10 in advance/$12 at the door.