A defiant punk attitude lives on in Robert “Bucket” Hingley. When Hingley started his ska band the Toasters in New York City in 1981 he was influenced by the 2 Tone bands he was hearing in his native England. 2 Tone music is characterized by the infusion of energetic punk rock with traditional horn-based sounds coming from Jamaica. After 35 years in the business, including stints as record company owner and industry consultant, Hingley maintains an anti-establishment streak true to his punk roots.
“Streaming music services like Pandora have totally undercut the hard sales of CDs.” Hingley said. “We are expected to provide content for virtually free. The music business is now the enemy of the musician. How distorted is that?”
True originators of the Third Wave of Ska, The Toasters bring their energetic, dance-friendly presentation to Founders Brewing on October 26.
As royalty checks shrink more music acts are forced to remain on the road touring. It’s the only way they can make money.
"There's a downward squeeze from the top of the music industry," Hingley tells TMGR. "Bigger acts are playing smaller rooms. There are almost too many bands out there."
As an independent record company owner (Megalith Records) Hingley is a witness to the change of scenery and tactics of big record companies.
“There are hardly any indie labels anymore,” Hingley said. “Mainstream record companies are vultures. I prefer not to deal with them.”
With no distribution available for independent records, indie labels can't survive in the current zero income scenario, Hingley said.
The Toasters are renowned for blending ska with rap, R&B, and calypso. They've endured for the simplest of reasons.
“Musically the band is back to playing American 2-tone which is where we started. But the landscape for indie bands is extremely desolate.”
Hingley feels the ska bands of the 1990s disappeared for one reason. They weren’t really ska bands.
“Music lovers know what’s going on,” Hingley said. “People want to see the real deal. That’s what we bring them every night.”
The Toasters wsg The Sailor Kicks, 9 pm Oct 26, at Founders Brewing. Free.
Connect to event: http://foundersbrewing.com/taproom-events/toasters/