The Self Made Men

The Self Made Men


The Self Made Men sound is a blend of soul, funk, rock and roots reggae riding on a backbone of Jamaican ska. We weave the crowd into melodic slow jams, and turn up the heat with skankin’ riddims for people to dance to. Our music is characterized by a big band horn sound and tight vocal harmonies.


The Self Made Men are a conglomerate of working-class fans of working-class music. We came together to keep it alive and help it thrive for future generations. Front man John Roy is a 25 year veteran in the San Diego ska community, having played for many local and international bands including The English Beat, OMD, Colorblind, The Big Express, Buddy Blue, Spy Kids, Gangbusters, Unsteady, Windsor Hill Steppers, and the list goes on.
After touring and living on the road, John returned to his San Diego roots, engineering sound for local shows and festivals. The unfortunate death of friend and bassist David Fuentes sparked John and bassist Alex ‘Lex’ Wright to reignite their flame for ska music. Seeing the need to fill San Diego’s lack of rootsy, soulful ska, they set about to assemble a full-sized combo ala The Funk Brothers, The Stax (Booker T and The MGs) lineup and The Skatalites.
Lex moved back to his hometown of San Diego from Northern California in 2003, where he played sax for No Crime Zone and The Steady Ups. In 2005 he joined the local band Rice Rokit on bass for two years until he and John recruited Thom ‘Jett’ Brown (singer/songwriter/pub crawler/guitarist extraordinaire) of Unsteady to join them on six-string duties. They added the skills of trumpeter Chris Lafave who also plays with The Lifters and formerly played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings. Long time L.A. based reggae drummer Ryan ‘Mr. Ras’ Schmollinger who has drummed for L.A. based bands: The Maroons, The Soul Fools, The Effen Wineoz, Noise, Idren, and The Bashments added his beat on the skins; and local bassist/fisherman/gardener/political activist/jack of all trades ‘Jah’ Josh Kotner jumped over from his other band, The Optimators, to play organ and complete the rhythm section for The Self Made Men. The boys most recently picked up Mike ‘Prince Bobby’ McConnell from The Night Doctors, and trombone ringer/music instructor Brandon Jagow to share the big brass duties.
The Self Made Men have been very busy recording and playing live shows throughout Southern California. They have shared the stage with The Slackers, The Chris Murray Combo, See Spot, The Mad Caddies, and many others. More to come from the sandy seaside city where the sun shines for shady people.


The Self Made Men EP - 2009

Set List

We typically play up to two sets which cover up to 2 1/2 hours of music. We play both covers and originals and usually have something new for each show. Genre's include; reggae, ska, calypso, rocksteady, and soul...
The following are some of the songs in our repertoire.
Man From Wareika
Silver Dollar
Nice Time
Mystic Man
Self Made Men
Breaking Up
Trophy Boyfriend
Test of Time
Rock Fort Rock
Big Bamboo
When Something is Wrong
Bed Bug
Tunnel One
Everything I Own
Don’t Break My Heart
Ain’t That Lovin You
Lovely Watermelon
Man in the Street
Eastern Standard Time
Nude Beach
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