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""HaSkaLA exemplifies the depth of Ska... flock to HaSkaLA"!"

Haskala – Untethered and Undone
March 16, 2013
With a genre like ska spanning several generations, it is not hard to find a
specific band for people of different preferences and ages. Los Angeles band
Haskala exemplifies the depth and wide range of what ska music has to offer. 
 
 
With their debut album “Untethered & Undone “ being literally just that, the
band recorded their first ever performance at the world famous Molly Malone’s in
Hollywood giving rise to this 12-track album. 

For it being the first performance as an ensemble, this album flows with a sense
of fluidity throughout. Mixed in with some impromptu story telling and “Shtick”,
it cant help but draw comparisons to 90’s counterparts like The Aquabats, Planet
Smashers and to a certain extent Real Big Fish. The catchy pop Ska melodies
blended with a bluesy harmonica and a Kazoo as well as the presence of front man
Steven Schaub and Dan Kay from Dirty Rotten Horns on trumpet make for a nice
listen. There are definite stand out tracks like their cover of The Beatles
“Taxman” and “Woke Up Wake Up” to enjoy. I can envision Haskala on the same bill
with the likes of The Aquabats conveying that same type of general fun and pop
Ska dance energy. Fans of that style of Ska will no doubt flock to Haskala.

-Gio Van Damn-
Big Wheel Staff Reporter - Big Wheel Magazine


"The Examiner's Sareth Ney Examines the "Enlightened Ska" of HaSkaLA at Rusty's Surf Ranch."

HaSkaLa’s enlightened Rusty’s Surf Ranch, on Mar. 8. Evangenitals and Riverside were the opening acts.
Steven Schub and Darby McCullough are the co-lead vocalists, David “Supa” Mastas is the guitarist, Brad Watson is the keyboardist, Julie Gibbs is the bassist, Sarah Woods is the saxophonist, Kyle Pouzou is the trumpeter, Eric Bassi is the durmmer and Thom Foolery is the trombonist of HaSkaLa. Schub is also the harmonicist and toy trumpeter.
Before HaSkaLa began their set with “Pressure Drop”, Schub asked if there was a trumpet player amongst the sea of hands. Later, he requested everyone to bark like dogs and seals and asked if they were ready to “skank”. They granted his requests and followed up with cheers. During the performance, Mastas performed a guitar solo.
Mastas kept his guitar solo going and he was later accompanied by Bassi, for “Obscene Love Machine Supreme”. Schub kept the beach vibe going and asked everyone if they could flap their flippers. The spectators clapped their hands rhythmically. As the music continued—he jumped in the abyss of people and back on stage with the microphone in his mouth, as if it was a mouthpiece to his snorkel.

During “Cyrano’s Nose”, Schub asked if everyone knew how to pogo. The majority of the band jumped up and down on stage and the onlookers did the same below. As Mastas was jumping, Schub hovered his hat over his head and jumped alongside with him. Afterwards, Watson joked and said it felt like a herd of elephants.
After “Us Über Alles”—Schub advised the audience their next show will be held at The Mint, on Mar. 21. He went onto introduce “Like Churchill Said” and quoted Winston Churchill by reminding them to never give up. He made sure the word “never” stuck and repeated it several times, before following with “give up”.
For HaSkaLa’s encore, they performed a Beach Boys medley. The series of songs included “Little Surfer Girl”, “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfin’ U.S.A.”. In the introduction, Schub wanted to pay tribute to the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Charles Manson and Pouzou in one flail swoop. While HaSkaLa continued to play an instrumental, Shub introduced members of the band and the music came to an end.
“HaSkaLa”, “Woke-Up. Wake-Up!”, “Cyrano’s Nose”, “The Revolt”, “More Is More”, “Flip-Dog Down”, “Our Love (Is A Car Crash)” and “Neither Her (Nor There)” were also part of HaSkaLa’s set. - The Examiner


"HaSkaLA "Almost Indescribable"..."

The (Night Before) St. Valentine’s Day MasSKAcre (2/13):
February 13th, HaSkaLA will be playing at Molly Malone’s at 9:30pm. For those of you who haven’t checked out the almost indescribable performance that HaSkaLA can put on, I got to cover them in 2012 at Long Beach’s Di Piazza’s.

HaSkaLA has the remarkable ability to mix great energy, strange literary and philosophical references, costume changes, and good ska to keep you dancing the night away. If you’re looking for a great way to spend the night before Valentine’s Day, or find yourself still looking for a date – or even just want to spend a night skanking with ska fans, stop by the show and you’ll be hooked instantly.
Details:
Facebook Event Page Here
Molly Malones 575 S. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90036
21+, $10.00 Tickets
Show starts at 9:30 PM - Music in Press


"Jumpin' Jiven' Juxtaposin' Julie! HaSkaLA's Divine Ms. Gibbs!"

HaSkaLA: "Woke-Up Wake-Up!"
Julie Gibbs
02/05/13 by somekindofmuffin
After an extended holiday break SKOM is back with a new interview. This week we are joined by Julie Gibbs. Julie is a multi-talented multi-instrumentalist who is multi-awesome!

You took piano at a very young age. What prompted that?

Julie Gibbs: That was my mom’s idea. She started my lessons in kindergarten, but they only lasted through first grade, then again in fourth. Now I realize how valuable those lessons were. They helped me learn how to read both bass and treble clef at a young age, which saved some trouble later in life when picking up the saxophone and bass!

How did you get interested in sax?

JG: In 3rd grade, we had the option of learning a string instrument. I learned the cello, but wanted to try something new. When we had the option to play a woodwind or brass instrument in 4th grade, I tried the saxophone, and it felt right. To this day I go into mini depressions if I go long periods of time without playing it.

Was learning klezmer music influenced by your family background?

JG: Yes, definitely. I actually never heard of the genre prior to the klezmer ensemble at Berklee College of Music (my alum). Once I found out that it was music of the Eastern European Jews, I had to give it a listen. The sound was instantly appealing.

Tell me about Cats on Mars. How did that start?

JG: The singer and songwriter of the band, Tommy Pedrini, is a friend of mine from Berklee. We were both in the Film Scoring major, so we had many classes together. When I moved to L.A. (from N.Y.), he asked me if I wanted to play with him. He is a very talented songwriter and downright awesome person, so I couldn’t say no. We are in the process of finishing up a few tracks for an EP.

You also play bass in Haskala. How did you get hooked up with that and what has that been like?

JG: Believe it or not, half of Haskala responded to a craigslist ad. When I moved to L.A., I wanted to find a klezmer band to play with. I typed the word “klezmer” into a search, and the ad for Haskala popped right up. I met the singer Steve at his place, played a few songs, and it was Haskamagic from then on!

It’s been a blast playing with HaSkaLa. What I love most about playing with them is that we’re all talented musicians without the ego. They’re just a great group of people to play with and I’m thankful to be part of the whole experience.

You also have an interesting double album you have been working on for sometime. What inspired that?
JG: Oh goodness, haha. Well, it started over 3 years ago when I was still in New York. I had spent a lot of time listening to The Barry Sisters Greatest Hits CD, and thought that some of their tracks, specifically “Chiribim Chiribom”, could be updated into a really cool, funky tune. I lack the computer and editing skills but have a forte in arranging, so it all started from there. At the time, I recorded a few Barry Sisters remakes. After moving to Los Angeles, I had this burst of creativity, and started writing lyrics. The songs collected over time, and it eventually got to the point when I realized that they all needed to be recorded. Since the recording process has been dragged out for so long, I currently have 24 tracks to record.

How is that coming along? Is there an end in sight?

JG: I’m happy to report that as of now, the drums and bass are completely finished! I’m taking it step by step, layering the guitar, keys, horns, and vocals one after the other. Hopefully the album will be in its final stages by June. Stay tuned!

What do you hope to accomplish/get out of that project?

JG: At this point, I just want to get my music into the world. One of the greatest feelings in the world is hearing people say that they enjoy my originals. Therefore, I release music, and people are happy. It’s a win-win!

What has been your favorite live show you have played so far?

JG: Well, I was very fortunate to share the stage with Denis Leary and some friends for a show at the Nokia Theater in Times Square back in 2006, playing sax. I got to hang out backstage with Breckin Meyer, Tom Morello, and Slash. It was a trip. This gig occurred one month after I got laid off from a job, so it was a fantastic pick-me-up, to say the least. And what a rush playing in front of thousands of people!

Where can people see you next?

JG: Cats On Mars is MIA at the moment due to recording, and Haskala has a gig at Molly Malone’s on Wednesday February 13th, 9:30pm sharp. Also, be on the lookout for Felix Goldstein (my stage name) at an open mic night near you in Los Angeles!


What is your favorite dessert and why?

JG: This may be a bit predictable, but most certainly cupcakes. Since I’m lactose intolerant, I have to search for vegan or dairy-free versions, or make my own. Thankfully vegan cupcakes are prevalent in Los Angeles, and thankfully the vegan versions are moist - Some Kind of Muffin


"The Return of HaSkaLA, or: Steven Schub's "Ska" Empire Strikes Back."

The Return of HaSkaLA, or: Steven Schub's "Ska" Empire Strikes Back
Steven Schub, the frontman of The Fenwicks, has revamped his newest, Los Angeles-based troupe, HaSkaLA. The remodeled entourage launched a series of new gigs with two promising (if mostly identical) shows on Thursday and Sunday at Molly Malone's in Fairfax Village and DiPiazza's in Long Beach, respectively. While not without glitches and kinks, the unclassifiable ensemble demonstrated their sui generis nature with their usual mixture of covers, old favorites, and a few new songs that all underscored their impresario's penchant for false dichotomy busting.
The increasingly anachronistically reason-and liberty-oriented band made their debut at Molly Malone's on Tax Day, 2010. This weblog was launched soon after, and a chronicle of that evening's art and entertainment served as the first post. That gig was recorded and is still available as the band's lone full-length release, Untethered and Undone (Danceable Bliss Discs, 2010). I once remarked that you need it, and you need it even more now, two more years into this Endarkenment. Due to personnel problems and various familial and professional obligations among the band members (Schub is an actor), the band was essentially on hiatus for the better part of a year. Recently, new members were recruited, and new songs were written. At the first two of a flurry of upcoming appearances (far more than the 2010 model played), the band reprised some (though, unfortunately, not all) of their album and presented two new songs. (The singer/lyricist has remarked to me and others that they may forego albums from this point and release staggered digital singles.)
On Thursday, after an enthusiastic introduction from KXSC disc jockey Barry Levine, the new horn section regaled the surprisingly dense crowd with the "Imperial March" from Star Wars. This was the cue for an unsurprisingly over-dressed Schub (always the latest, and most ostentatious, arrival) to march onstage dressed as Darth Vader. "I am your HaSkaLA," he intoned in mock gravitas. The band then launched into a verse and chorus of AC/DC's "Back In Black" for a few surreal, over-choreographed minutes of tomfoolery before the endearingly eccentric singer doffed the black for a more colorful costume. (The ubiquitous costumes and eye-catching sartorial accoutrements sometimes distract from the esoteric and emotional wallops of the music, but no one reasonably accused Steven Schub of being one-dimensional or lacking in devotion to all aspects of live art and entertainment.)
The more colorful costume was that of Captain America, and it was a more apposite choice for their rallying cry, "Woke Up. Wake Up!" While the band is now without a trombone, the ensemble playing of the entirely-new horn section (one trumpet player and two saxophone players, one of whom was not present on Sunday) is an integral part of the band's invigorated new lineup. In a more enlightened culture, the jubilant rallying cry for reason and liberty would wake up more. Schub wants you to dance and think, but most audiences (including most of his)--whether resigned or gleefully attuned to a culture that forever sunders mind and body--just want to dance.
The set continued with more familiar juxtapositions and false dichotomy busting: more old favorites and new songs; more pop culture references and classical allusions; more standard instrumentation and more cheek-popping percussion and exotic instruments (though the boss evidently left his nose kazoo at home this time). One of the new songs, "The Revolt," suggests that HaSkaLA and Mencken's Ghost may have a symbiotic relationship:

All over the world, the lamps are going out- again.
All over the world, the future of freedom's in doubt- again.
All over the world, the lights are coming on- we hope.

Needless to say, the Objectivist optimism of the third line is entirely HaSkaLa (as an Objectivist, Schub's optimism always seems to get the better of him, though there is some hope for that in the qualified caution of "we hope").
Any doubts about that symbiotic relationship would be further weakened by the dedication preceding the other new piece, the main set-closing "Never Give Up": "This goes out to K.K. and Mencken's ghost." This time, the Objectivist optimism was more appreciated no matter how difficult it is for a realist to be encouraged these days. (There is some evidence the song is titled "Like Churchill Said," but Schub wrote "Never Give Up" on the setlist: see below.) While the singer/lyricist left the stage, the band did not. Keyboardist Brad Watson played the theme to The Muppet Show while the ska-man changed into a Kermit the Frog costume and retrieved a rarely-used acoustic guitar to sing one of Kermit's songs.
Overall, Thursday's performance was polished (new drummer Nick Schneider should be praised for his precision and economy of motion) if lacking s - Jeff Falk Music Blog.


"The Return of HaSkaLA, or: Steven Schub's "Ska" Empire Strikes Back."

The Return of HaSkaLA, or: Steven Schub's "Ska" Empire Strikes Back
Steven Schub, the frontman of The Fenwicks, has revamped his newest, Los Angeles-based troupe, HaSkaLA. The remodeled entourage launched a series of new gigs with two promising (if mostly identical) shows on Thursday and Sunday at Molly Malone's in Fairfax Village and DiPiazza's in Long Beach, respectively. While not without glitches and kinks, the unclassifiable ensemble demonstrated their sui generis nature with their usual mixture of covers, old favorites, and a few new songs that all underscored their impresario's penchant for false dichotomy busting.
The increasingly anachronistically reason-and liberty-oriented band made their debut at Molly Malone's on Tax Day, 2010. This weblog was launched soon after, and a chronicle of that evening's art and entertainment served as the first post. That gig was recorded and is still available as the band's lone full-length release, Untethered and Undone (Danceable Bliss Discs, 2010). I once remarked that you need it, and you need it even more now, two more years into this Endarkenment. Due to personnel problems and various familial and professional obligations among the band members (Schub is an actor), the band was essentially on hiatus for the better part of a year. Recently, new members were recruited, and new songs were written. At the first two of a flurry of upcoming appearances (far more than the 2010 model played), the band reprised some (though, unfortunately, not all) of their album and presented two new songs. (The singer/lyricist has remarked to me and others that they may forego albums from this point and release staggered digital singles.)
On Thursday, after an enthusiastic introduction from KXSC disc jockey Barry Levine, the new horn section regaled the surprisingly dense crowd with the "Imperial March" from Star Wars. This was the cue for an unsurprisingly over-dressed Schub (always the latest, and most ostentatious, arrival) to march onstage dressed as Darth Vader. "I am your HaSkaLA," he intoned in mock gravitas. The band then launched into a verse and chorus of AC/DC's "Back In Black" for a few surreal, over-choreographed minutes of tomfoolery before the endearingly eccentric singer doffed the black for a more colorful costume. (The ubiquitous costumes and eye-catching sartorial accoutrements sometimes distract from the esoteric and emotional wallops of the music, but no one reasonably accused Steven Schub of being one-dimensional or lacking in devotion to all aspects of live art and entertainment.)
The more colorful costume was that of Captain America, and it was a more apposite choice for their rallying cry, "Woke Up. Wake Up!" While the band is now without a trombone, the ensemble playing of the entirely-new horn section (one trumpet player and two saxophone players, one of whom was not present on Sunday) is an integral part of the band's invigorated new lineup. In a more enlightened culture, the jubilant rallying cry for reason and liberty would wake up more. Schub wants you to dance and think, but most audiences (including most of his)--whether resigned or gleefully attuned to a culture that forever sunders mind and body--just want to dance.
The set continued with more familiar juxtapositions and false dichotomy busting: more old favorites and new songs; more pop culture references and classical allusions; more standard instrumentation and more cheek-popping percussion and exotic instruments (though the boss evidently left his nose kazoo at home this time). One of the new songs, "The Revolt," suggests that HaSkaLA and Mencken's Ghost may have a symbiotic relationship:

All over the world, the lamps are going out- again.
All over the world, the future of freedom's in doubt- again.
All over the world, the lights are coming on- we hope.

Needless to say, the Objectivist optimism of the third line is entirely HaSkaLa (as an Objectivist, Schub's optimism always seems to get the better of him, though there is some hope for that in the qualified caution of "we hope").
Any doubts about that symbiotic relationship would be further weakened by the dedication preceding the other new piece, the main set-closing "Never Give Up": "This goes out to K.K. and Mencken's ghost." This time, the Objectivist optimism was more appreciated no matter how difficult it is for a realist to be encouraged these days. (There is some evidence the song is titled "Like Churchill Said," but Schub wrote "Never Give Up" on the setlist: see below.) While the singer/lyricist left the stage, the band did not. Keyboardist Brad Watson played the theme to The Muppet Show while the ska-man changed into a Kermit the Frog costume and retrieved a rarely-used acoustic guitar to sing one of Kermit's songs.
Overall, Thursday's performance was polished (new drummer Nick Schneider should be praised for his precision and economy of motion) if lacking s - Jeff Falk Music Blog.


"Interview with Steven Schub by Sarah Saturday for the EIY Handbook."

STEVEN SCHUB, (Los Angeles, New York,? Jerusalem, Jacksonville)?
MUSICIAN (HaSkaLA / The Fenwicks)?
ON THE WEB: haskalamusic.com //? thefenwicks.com // stevenschub.com?
CURRENT PROJECTS: HaSkaLA, The Fenwicks ?
ROLES: Lead singer, Lyricist, Minister of? Propaganda/Defense/Agriculture & Aesthetics

WHO AND/OR WHAT FIRST GOT YOU INTERESTED IN MUSIC AS MORE THAN JUST SOMETHING ON THE RADIO? Witnessing Van Halen live with David Lee Roth, The Talking Heads “Stop Making Sense” tour, and The Clash live. Realizing that rhythm and melody set my soul on fire, made me come alive. ?

DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOMENT YOU FIGURED OUT WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE? Age five, playing Houdini in a play at Summer Camp. Felt more real to me than real life. More pure, more clean, more exciting. ?

WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS WHEN YOU FIRST GOT STARTED? As a performer, the initial appeal was shallow and narcissistic — silly stuff: fame, revenge, attention etc. Thankfully, all that was knocked out of me very quickly, and it became something life-saving, a way to find myself. ?Express myself. Experience different lives imaginatively. Connect. Release. ?

HAVE YOU ACHIEVED THOSE GOALS? The goal has become the process, so yup! ?

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS NOW? HOW HAVE THEY CHANGED? To create art I can be proud of: art that I would want to experience; music that makes the world a happier, more joyous place. ?

WERE YOU ALWAYS ON THE PATH THAT YOU’RE ON NOW, IN THE INDUSTRY? I was very lucky in that sense. I always knew what I wanted to do: make people giggle, dance and think; make myself giggle, dance and think. ?

WHAT HAVE YOU HAD TO SACRIFICE ALONG THE WAY IN ORDER TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE? I’ve had to make sacrifices on every level, though they are not sacrifices but a massive trade-off: any semblance of stability and security — financially, romantically and experientially. Life is short. Time and resources are finite. Do it only if you have to do it. But then do it all the way. ?

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ON A DAILY BASIS? Ideas, passion, integrity in others, goodness, ?creativity, justice. ?

HOW MUCH OF YOUR SUCCESS HAS COME FROM LUCK? TALENT? HARD WORK? A mix. All the cliches, bromides and platitudes are warranted. The only thing you can control is your craft. Work as hard as you possibly can on ever-bettering your music, lyrics, stage show, and soul. Then work double that again. But always love it. ?

HOW HAVE YOU MEASURED YOUR SUCCESS? Staying decent. Doing work I can take pride in. Inspiring optimism in myself and others. ?

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS? Self-respect. Happiness. ?

DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS SO FAR? Not finding a better way to balance love, art and life. ?

DO YOU THINK THE BEST BANDS IN THE WORLD GET FAMOUS OR STAY UNDISCOVERED? Both. Yet by my standards, “best” often means having a unique point of view — unprecedented and sui generis. By virtue of that very fact, it is often a spiritual challenge/threat in the best sense of the word. ?

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE UNDISCOVERED BANDS? Gardening, Not Architecture, Fish Circus, Nicole Eva Emery, HaSkaLA

*** - E.I.Y.


"Skanking with HaSkaLA..."

Skanking with HaSkaLA by Kayla Crow • April 7, 2012
Spent April Fools at Long Beach’s DiPiazza’s catching up on some much-needed ska with HaSkaLA. I don’t know if you can truly do this band justice in one review, so this will be my plea for you to see them live. At least once. You have three opportunities this month, so there’s no excuse.

Everything began with an introduction by a man in a unicorn mask. Then the entrance of Darth Vader throwing out candy to the audience along to the band’s rendition of “Darth’s Imperial Death March” which at some point led into a good and high energy cover of AC/DC’s “Back In Black.” Between the cover and their original song “Woke-Up/Wake-Up,” Darth Vader transitioned into Captain America and there was more frantic dancing. The band has a tight horn section that’s able to stand out amongst the almost mind-blowing antics, so kudos to Sarah (sax) and Kyle (trumpet).

Along with an ode to Cyrano de Bergerac’s nose, and a really catchy new song “The Revolt,” one of my favorite parts of the night was during “Obscene Love-Machine Supreme” when lead guitarist Dave joined a couple guys on the dance floor who were skanking.

The band ended in style with lead vocals/choreographed dancer/costume-wearer extraordinaire Steven coming out for the encore dressed as Kermit the Frog. The band covered “Rainbow Connection.”

The music and the band are as great as they are theatrical, and I have to thank them for a really fun night. And to the rest of the band I didn’t get to yet: Curtis, Julie, Brad, Nicholas (and Candice and Darby who couldn’t make it, but I’m sure were there in spirit) — y’all rock.

Upcoming HaSkala Shows:

April 7th at The Airliner 8pm (18+)

April 26th at The Mint 9pm (All Ages)

April 28th at Giggles N Hugs 6pm (All Ages. Really.)

April 28 HaSkaLA at El Rodeo Elementary. This is a benefit concert for the American Cancer Society- All Ages! Free! Saturday- 10am! - Music in Press


"Skanking with HaSkaLA..."

Skanking with HaSkaLA by Kayla Crow • April 7, 2012
Spent April Fools at Long Beach’s DiPiazza’s catching up on some much-needed ska with HaSkaLA. I don’t know if you can truly do this band justice in one review, so this will be my plea for you to see them live. At least once. You have three opportunities this month, so there’s no excuse.

Everything began with an introduction by a man in a unicorn mask. Then the entrance of Darth Vader throwing out candy to the audience along to the band’s rendition of “Darth’s Imperial Death March” which at some point led into a good and high energy cover of AC/DC’s “Back In Black.” Between the cover and their original song “Woke-Up/Wake-Up,” Darth Vader transitioned into Captain America and there was more frantic dancing. The band has a tight horn section that’s able to stand out amongst the almost mind-blowing antics, so kudos to Sarah (sax) and Kyle (trumpet).

Along with an ode to Cyrano de Bergerac’s nose, and a really catchy new song “The Revolt,” one of my favorite parts of the night was during “Obscene Love-Machine Supreme” when lead guitarist Dave joined a couple guys on the dance floor who were skanking.

The band ended in style with lead vocals/choreographed dancer/costume-wearer extraordinaire Steven coming out for the encore dressed as Kermit the Frog. The band covered “Rainbow Connection.”

The music and the band are as great as they are theatrical, and I have to thank them for a really fun night. And to the rest of the band I didn’t get to yet: Curtis, Julie, Brad, Nicholas (and Candice and Darby who couldn’t make it, but I’m sure were there in spirit) — y’all rock.

Upcoming HaSkala Shows:

April 7th at The Airliner 8pm (18+)

April 26th at The Mint 9pm (All Ages)

April 28th at Giggles N Hugs 6pm (All Ages. Really.)

April 28 HaSkaLA at El Rodeo Elementary. This is a benefit concert for the American Cancer Society- All Ages! Free! Saturday- 10am! - Music in Press


"HaSkaLA: Steven Schub's Danceable Bliss!"

HaSkaLA: Steven Schub's Danceable Bliss
The term “Renaissance man” may be trite and overused these days, but the phrase “Renaissance band” is not.
Steven Schub is a Renaissance man (in two senses of the term, at least) who has put together not one but two Renaissance bands.
The singer/lyricist and actor (you may have seen him on television—he has appeared on NYPD Blue, 24, and Sesame Street) has been the frontman of The Fenwicks, “the world’s greatest (albeit only) Afro-Celitc-Yiddish ska band” for “around 45,000 years” (as he said recently).
The Fenwicks is an East Coast band and have been in a state of semi hiatus while Schub has been living the actor’s life in Los Angeles (he has appeared in several indie films as well as the aforementioned television hits). While visiting the home of Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman during Thanksgiving, the thespian/chanteur, in a bit of wishful thinking, waxed enthusiastic about the state of his new, West Coast ska band, HaSkaLA (Hebrew for “the Enlightenment”).
There was one problem. He left out the not-insignificant detail that the band only existed in his mind.
Which was a bit of a problem when he received an E-mail shortly thereafter listing HaSkaLA’s dates on the upcoming Vans Warped Tour.
Rising to the challenge, he rectified the problem with the help of some of Los Angeles’s best musicians and ska enthusiasts. HaSkaLA is a jovial, energetic nine-piece band that can bring a jolt to the heart, a tear to the eye, and a tap to the foot of any music fan, regardless of their affinity for ska or even rock.
For those wondering if there is a meaning behind the unusual name, Schub explains in the band’s promotional material that there are a few (beyond “The Enlightenment”): “Let’s see, ya got the sound of laughter—“Ha,” the word “ska snuck in there, and our home city of L.A. HaSkaLA is about all three—laughter, ska, and bringing joy, mirth & madness to the City of Angels.”
Those familiar with The Fenwicks who were fortunate enough to be in the audience at HaSkaLA’s first show, an explosive, fluid, and compact forty-six-minute set at the Los Angeles club Molly Malone’s on April 15, could note that, while some strong currents run through both of Schub’s bands (not the least of which are the singer’s eye-catching sartorial habits, which included a bright polka-dot getup and an American flag suit this time), HaSkaLA is undeniably unique.
At a Los Angeles restaurant recently, Steven recounted some of the differences (and commonalities) between his perennial band and his new one: “Everyone [in this band] is coming from the same place in terms of sense of life; there’s a lot of joy in this band, as in The Fenwicks. I think you can tell … onstage, you can see it and feel it.” Indeed, the new band is even more sanguine, rollicking, and benevolent than the happy-go-lucky Fenwicks. Expounding on this band’s differences, he notes, “These songs seem to be simpler, and in that way, possibly more initially accessible.” He also noted that, overall, HaSkaLA’s lyrics (at least to this point) deal more with emotional topics and relationships than The Fenwicks’, which can at times be heavily philosophical and political.
The original tunes debuted that night (Beatles and Rolling Stones covers bookended the set) included: a song called “HaSkaLA” (aurally reminiscent of The Clash’s “(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais”); “Neither Her (Nor There),” a breakup song with a life-goes-on twist and Schub’s trademark wordplay; and “Our Love (is a Car Crash),” in which the wordsmith compares a relationship to the titular catastrophe. The lyricist, an admirer of Objectivist and pro-liberty novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand, could not avoid more political (and topical) fare, however: “Woke-Up. Woke Up!” laments encroaching censorship and out-of-control taxation in a personal, close-to-home fashion: “I tried to read a book but the good ones had been banned/I tried to sing this song but my band has been banned.”
And then there’s “Cyrano’s Nose.”
Unique among recent (if not all) popular songs, it is a boisterous, breezy rallying cry for reason, liberty, and freethought replete with literary allusions (as the title suggests) that could only have come from one man’s pen.
"Like "Invictus" William Henley's poem- Master of my Fate, I'm Captain of my Soul
"'Cause my heart is bigger than Cyrano's nose, my rhymes are tighter than a Haiku poem
"Life is shorter than a garden gnome. Gonna milk it, 'till the cows come home
"Better than money- Better than fame
"Better than playing Society's game
"Better than ice cream, better than sex
"I'm talking 'bout life and a song like this
"If you ain't buying- you can't be bought or sold.
"If you ain't lying- than you'll never grow old.
"The only way out- is never opt in.
"You've got your guns- I have my my pen.
"Truth is on my side- let's see who wins. Who wins."
In fact, “Cyrano’s Nose” exemplifies the dichotomy-busting at the hea - Mencken's Ghost.


Discography

Debut CD- 2010: "HaSkaLA: Untethered & Undone"- Currently "Staff Pick" at Amoeba Music in Hollywood.
Digital Singles 2013:
-"The Revolt".
-"Like Churchill Said (Never Never Never Give Up)".
-"Obscene Love-Machine Supreme (Studio Single)".
-"Us Über Alles"".
-On iTunes: http://www.itunes.com/haskala
-On SoundCloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/haskala
-On Grooveshark: http://www.grooveshark.com/haskala
-On Spotify and on Rotation on Ska Parade Radio, USC, Cal State Long Beach, and College Stations across So. Cal.
-Online Ska Stations Globally.....

Photos

Bio

So What is "HaSkaLA"? Valid question Comrade!
Haskala means "Enlightenment" in Hebrew, and that's just what this brand spankin' new L.A.-based ska band aims to do: illuminate your mind, set fire to your soul- and most importantly do it all while making you dance!
Frontman Steven Schub summarizes the choice of band name thusly: "Let's see, ya got the sound of laughter- "Ha", the word "Ska" snuck in there, and our home city of L.A. HaSkaLA is all about all three: Laughter, Ska and bringing Joy, Mirth & Madness to the City of Angels".
Well, HaSkaLA is well on their way to accomplishing this self-imposed merry mission! HaSkaLA appeared on the Ska Stage of The Vans Warped Tour in 2010, converting almost 1000 kids a day into hard-core "Ha-Heads", and attracting Guest Appearances by Fishbone's Angelo Moore and Dave McWane of Big D and The Kids Table. HaSkaLA's debut CD "Untethered & Undone" sold-out on CDBaby within 24 hours and is a current "Staff Pick" at Amoeba Music in Hollywood.
In 2012 HaskaLA re-entered the studio, recording 4 new singles including: "Us Über Alles", "The Revolt" & "Like Churchill Said (Never, Never, Never Give Up!)" and played an endless series of packed shows at some of L.A.'s most prestigious venues: Molly Malone's, DiPiazza's, The Airliner, The Mint, a Benefit for the American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life", an All Ages acoustic show for toddlers & their parents at Giggles N' Hugs. On Sunday May 27th, HaSkaLA launched the "Summer of Ska" opening for Mod/Ska legends The Untouchables at the World Famous "Whisky A Go-Go" on the Sunset Strip! The buzz keeps on growing... and the gigs? Ever-more Dionysian & Bacchanalian! 2013 is off to a truly HaSkaLApocalyptic start with upcoming shows at: The Mint, The Good Hurt, The House of Blues Foundation Room, the "I Love Ska" Festival and moreMoreMORE!
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And So Who is "HaSkaLA"?
In point of fact, some have deemed HaSkaLA a sort of "Ska Supergroup". Lead singer and lyricist Steven Schub comes from the 10-piece "Afro-Celtic Yiddish Ska" band, The Fenwicks- a band that played the Vans Warped Tour in 2005, has 3 nationally released critically acclaimed CDs to it's credit, and has toured with ska legends The Selecter, as well as "brother band" Big D and The Kids Table. Schub's "day-job" is as a working actor in TV & Film, having starred in over 15 feature films and everything from the hit show "24" to yes, "Sesame Street". (In fact, Schub can be seen playing the role of Dee Dee Ramone of The Ramones in the upcoming feature film "CBGB" and as folk-legend Phil Ochs in the Warner Bros. film "The Chicago 8").
But when talking about the line-up in "HaSkaLA" that's just the beginning! Curtis Pollitt "The Boy Wonder" (Guitar/Vocals) has been a professional vocalist and musician for over ten years, working with such musical projects as "Benchmark", "Stock Autopilot", and a brief stint in "Digital Vampyro". "Supa Dupa" Dave Mastas (Guitar/Producer) was plucked from the big band "BigAmy". "Jumpin' Jiven" Julie Gibbs (Bass) graduated from Berklee College of Music, and has played in all sorts of assorted bands, including the No Doubt cover band "No Doi". Also on Vocals? Madame Darby Rae: born & raised in the Rocky Mountains of CO, swimming her way thru the colorful streets of Los Angeles & "loving this beautiful journey as a human being on planet earth".
On the B3 keys and piano, we find musician/comedian Brad Watson. Brad has played with Miranda Lee Richards, The F.O.C.K.R.S (Friends of Canter's Kibitz Room) and is a regular performer at The World Famous Comedy Store.
On saxophone: Mademoiselle Sarah Wood. Sarah is trained in classical, jazz, blues, big band, funk, contemporary, ska, and soul. She's been a featured performer at New York City's famed Lincoln Center for Duke Ellington's 100 year celebration, and has performed with some of Hollywood's best upcoming artists. Trombonist Thom Foolery's biggest passions in life are, without question: ska and cartoons! Thom has been fortunate enough to making a living with his passions by creating illustrations for bands such as Reel Big Fish, Voodoo Glow Skulls, and Radioactive Chicken Heads- and also by working on television shows such as The Aquabats Super Show, Yo Gabba Gabba,
& Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Fleshing out the horn section, "Duh Killah" Kyle Pouzou, a kid who's been wailing on the trumpet for well over 12 years. Trained in both classical and jazz tradition Kyle's basic philosophy? Music = Life. Lastly, but certainly not leastly, slapping the skins: Sir Eric B. Nelson!
So there you have it friends! Steeped in the best tradition of classic 2nd Wave Two-Tone ska, this family of spastics is destined to make you sweat, and make you smile.
HaSkaLA is here: Prepare to dance or die!
*Read more hither:
"HaSkaLA is remarkable... mind-blowing.... almost indescribable. Hooked instantly." -Kayla Crow, "Music In Press".
http://musicinpress.com/2013/02/haskala-mollym/
http://musicinpress.com/2012/04/