The Pietasters performing at the 2007 International Ska Circus.
|Origin||Washington, D.C., United States|
|Genres||Ska, rocksteady, soul, punk rock|
|Labels||Slug Tone! Records, Moon Ska, Epitaph, Hellcat, Fueled by Ramen, Indication Records|
|Associated acts||The Five Maseratis|
||This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (December 2007)|
In 1990, a group of friends were attending college at Virginia Tech in the mountains of Virginia. Among them were Stephen Jackson and Chris Watt who had previously dabbled in playing punk rock covers.
Soon after, a mutual friend, Tal Bayer, began attending nearby Radford University. He was very much into ska, reggae and rugby and suggested that they form a ska band. After recruiting a high school friend, Tom Goodin, and an Architecture classmate, Ben Gauslin, The Slugs were born. Soon, they were skipping classes, melding ska, reggae, R & B and punk rock while practicing for hours to learn songs by Madness, The Specials, Bad Manners, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Burial, The Skatalites, The Business, The Four Skins and others. Unfortunately, the name The Slugs was already taken and the band needed a new name. For a few months, the name was changed to the Dancehall Crashers. It was too similar to another ska band out west so the search for a new name continued. Some British neighbors used to refer to the heftier guys in the band as Pietasters, which is British slang for "fat guys", chanting "They'll eat your pies, they'll tell you lies, you won't believe the bastards' size! The Pietasters!" This was part of a British football chant, and was probably based on the Macc Lads tune Fat Bastard, the original lyrics being "He'll eat your pies, he'll tell you lies, You wouldn't believe that fat bastard's size". Continuing the Macc Lads theme, the band's name may also have been based on the Macc Lads single, Pietaster. One way or the other, the name stuck and The Pietasters were born.
While in the midst of the name change, the newly formed Pietasters managed to convince the local college booking agency to fly in their heroes Bad Manners from England to perform at the school auditorium at Virginia Tech, with themselves conveniently as the opening act. This was their first official performance, their prior performances mostly relegated to the living room of Chris and Steve's rental house, where they had built a stage in the living room and threw shows on the weekends. The two bands eventually became close friends and later toured the U.S. and Europe together.
In the early 90's, a similar band from the DC area, The Skunks, asked The Pietasters to play a local ska night at a bar in Georgetown. The Pietasters were still rough around the edges. Soon, they were playing every dive bar in DC, Maryland and Virginia. The manager of one such bar, Nick Nichols, befriended the band and helped them record their first record, The Pietasters, more commonly known as Piestomp.
In the summer of 1993, The Pietasters set out on their first national tour in a used school bus they'd bought for $900. The tour was haphazard with stops in Ohio, Oregon, Kansas and even many in Canada. By the end of the tour, almost all of the original members quit the band. To this day, only trumpeter Carlos Linares and lead singer Steve Jackson remain as original members.
The Pietasters auditioned many players and decided on Jeremy Roberts, Toby Hansen and Alan Makranczy as their horn players, Rob Steward (Covington) on drums, and Paul Ackerman on keys. Tom Goodin remained on guitar. The new line-up continued to tour whenever possible, and soon attracted the attention of Bucket Hingley, front man of The Toasters and owner of Moon Ska Records. He asked if The Pietasters wanted to be a part of a tour package called, "Skavoovie 94". The Pietasters accepted and were soon touring with The Toasters and The Scofflaws, and performed with a variety of other artists, including No Doubt, the (original) Dance Hall Crashers, Hepcat, Let's Go Bowling, and the Skatalites. The tour was much more organized than their last outing and proved to be very educational. By the end of the tour, The Pietasters were scheduled to record "Oolooloo" on Moon Ska with Victor Rice producing.
Oolooloo came out in the summer of 1995, after which bassist Chris Watt left the Pietasters to perform with Eastern Standard Time, and Todd Eckhart moved from rhythm guitar to bass. The Pietasters continued to tour the country, and even managed to record "Strapped Live!" between stops in the Cat's Cradle in Raleigh, NC and The Black Cat in Washington, DC. "Strapped Live!" was released in 1996 and quickly became a fan favorite and the closest thing to a live Pietasters show. Throughout this period, The Pietasters had been recording new songs, re-recording older ones, and recording some covers. The results ended up as a new/compilation album, "Comply", and the song selection foreshadowed their next release.
Meanwhile, the band filmed their first video in 1996, a live video filmed at the Scooter Rally and F'n Rock Party they produced at an old outdoor soul venue called Wilmer's Alley in Brandywine, Maryland. The video was filmed by Burning Toast Productions and featured scenes of the festival and live performance of the Pietasters playing their Jimmy Holiday cover, The New Breed.
While touring with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the band made a stop in Los Angeles. Backstage at the show, Tim Armstrong, originally from Operation Ivy and current guitarist for the band, Rancid and his business partner, Chris "the Wix" Qualiana (who can be seen in a wig on the cover of a few Slackers albums), approached the band and asked if they'd like to be a part of a new label they were putting together, Hellcat Records. The Slackers, Hepcat and Dropkick Murphys were already committed and they wanted The Pietasters on board.
After clearing such a move with Moon Ska, The Pietasters signed with Hellcat, a subsidiary of Epitaph Records, and their next album, Willis was recorded and released in 1997, and produced by Brett Gurewitz, owner of Epitaph Records and guitarist for Bad Religion. The Pietasters recorded their second video, Stone Feeling, to support this album, another live video with the assistance of Burning Toast Productions, and filmed at a venue in Washington, D.C., and another video for Out All Night, also filmed in Washington, D.C. and directed by Grady Cooper. A tour of the US soon followed as well as their first ever tour of Europe. The Pietasters also made appearances on the Warped Tour and opened or headlined for such acts as The Reverend Horton Heat, the Ramones, the Cherry Poppin Daddies, Bad Brains, Ozomatli, The Bouncing Souls, Dropkick Murphy's, Murphy's Law, Fugazi, They Might Be Giants, H20, the Skatalites and Flogging Molly.
By 1999, The Pietasters were in the studio again to record Awesome Mix Tape No. 6 for Epitaph's Hellcat Records, once again recorded and produced by Brett Gurewitz, with portions of the album recorded at Tim Armstrong's house. The album was named after the mix-tape from Boogie Nights. The Pietasters recorded their next video, Yesterday's Over, to support the album. They finished the album and set out on the road again touring Europe with the Warped Tour, then the US again with the Pilfers and Spring Heeled Jack, and closing out 1999 with an opening stint for the legendary Joe Strummer. Years of touring finally took its toll on Paul Ackerman and Tom Goodin, who amicably left the band. Bassist Todd Eckhardt also left the band and was replaced by Jorge Pezzimenti of Virginia band, The Decepticonz. Erick Morgan, formerly of The Skunks, took over keys, and Toby Hansen replaced Tom Goodin on guitar.
In late 2001, The Pietasters were well into recording their next album when they learned that former bassist, Todd Eckhardt, had died in his sleep. The news was extremely hard on The Pietasters and their fans. The Pietasters released a new album in 2002 titled Turbo, a nickname of Todd's. The new album's blend of Jamaican riddims and Northern Soul won praise from fans and critics alike. It even caught the attention of James Brown who asked The Pietasters to be his backing band at a sold-out concert in Washington DC in December 2002.
In the following year, 2003, The Pietasters released their first live video DVD, Live at The 9:30 Club.
In 2006, The Pietasters played the International Ska Circus in Las Vegas.
On August 21, 2007, seventeen years after their inception, The Pietasters released a new studio album entitled, All Day.
In November 2011, Connecticut's Asbestos Records and Chicago, IL's Underground Communiqué Records launched a fundraiser together on Kickstarter to release "Oolooloo" on vinyl, among other third-wave ska classics from Pilfers, Edna's Goldfish, and Suburban Legends. If the funding goal is met by January 18, 2012, the records should be out Spring 2012.
- Stephen Jackson - vocals
- Toby Hansen - guitar, trumpet
- Jason Budman - drums
- Alan Makranczy - saxophone
- Jeremy Roberts - trombone
- Carlos Linares - trumpet
- Dave Vermillion - bass
- Dan Schneider - keyboards
- Talmage Bayer - vocals
- Tom Goodin - guitar
- Pat Kelley - guitar
- Todd Eckhardt - bass (deceased)
- Chris Watt - bass
- Jorge Pezzimenti - bass
- Jon Darby - bass/keyboards
- Ben Gauslin - drums
- Rob Steward - drums
- Chuck Roberts - drums
- Eric Raecke - tenor saxophone
- Rob French - trombone
- Paul Vesilind - trumpet
- Caroline Boutwell - farfisa
- Paul T. Ackerman - keyboards
- Erick Morgan - keyboards
- Jeb Crandall - keyboards
- Dave Pinkert - keyboards
- Jason Trippett - saxophone
- Andrew Guterman - drums
- Curtis Reaves Jr - drums
- Vinny Nobile - Trombone
- Matt Mason - Baritone Saxophone
- Chris Rhodes - Trombone
- Joe Ross - Guitar
- The Pietasters - 1993 on Slug Tone! Records
- Oolooloo - 1995 on Moon Ska Records
- Willis - 1997 on Hellcat Records
- Awesome Mix Tape vol. 6 - 1999 on Hellcat Records
- Turbo - 2002 on Fueled by Ramen
- All Day - 2007 on Indication Records
- Oolooloo - 2012 Limited Vinyl Pressing on Asbestos Records and Underground Communiqué Records
Rare Albums, EPs, Singles, and Others
- The Ska-Rumptious 7 Inch - 1992 on Slug Tone! Records
- All You Can Eat (EP) - 1992 on Slug Tone! Records
- Soul Sammich - 1994 on Slug Tone! Records
- Crazy Monkey Lady b/w Ocean 7" - 1996 on Moon Records
- Strapped Live! (live album) - 1996 on Moon Records
- Comply - 1996 on Moon Records
- Out All Night (Promo) - 1997 on Hellcat Records
- Out All Night (EP) - 1998 on HellCat Records
- Yesterday's Over (Promo) - 1999 on Hellcat Records
- The Pietasters 1992-1996 - 2003 on VMS Records
- Live at the 9:30 Club (DVD) - 2005 on MVD
- Don't Wanna Know EP - 2007 on Indication Records
- The song Bitter (from the album Willis) was featured in the movie "Never Been Kissed" starring Drew Barrymore
- The song Ocean (from the album Willis) was featured in the movie "Molly" starring Elisabeth Shue
- Warren Miller's Snowriders 2 Soundtrack - 1997
- The song Out All Night appears on the 1998 Playstation game Street SK8ER
- NCAA Football 2006 (Game Menu and Minigame Soundtrack)
- Ska Gone South, on Bob Records, 1994
- Skarmaggedon Vol. 1, on Moon Ska, 1994
- Ska - The Third Wave, Vol. 1, on Continuum Records, 1995
- This Are Moon Ska, on Moon Records, 1996
- CMJ New Music Volume 51, November 1997
- Ska - The Third Wave, Vol. 3, on Shanachie Records, 1997
- Skandalous: I've Gotcha Covered, Vol. 2, on Shanachie Records, 1997
- Skanaholics Unanimous: Under the Influence of Ska, on Moon Records, 1997
- Give 'Em The Boot, Vol. 1, on Hellcat Records, 1997
- Ska Sucks, on Liberation Records, 1998
- Steady Sounds From The Underground, on Side One Dummy, 1998
- Rolling Stone Rare Trax Vol. 5: Summer in the City, 1998
- Vans Off The Wall Sampler, on Vans Records, 1998
- Potluck - A SKA Concoction, 1999
- CMJ New Music Monthly Vol # 73, September 1999
- Vans Off The Wall Sampler, 1999, on Vans Records, 1999
- Give 'em the Boot, vol. 2, on Hellcat Records, 1999
- Free Air, Vol. 1, on GoBig! Records, 1999
- Ska Party '99, on Simitar Records, 1999
- Music To Piss Off The Old Folk, on Stickyfingerz Records, 2000
- Capital Radio, 2000
- Metalliska, on Too Hep Records, 2000 (performing AC/DC's "Big Balls")
- Give 'em the Boot, vol. 2, on Hellcat Records, 2002
- Green Hell Compilation, Vol. 2, on Green Hell Records, 2002
- Fueled By Ramen, Vol. 1, 2002
- Feed Your Ears, Vol. 1, on Fueled By Ramen, 2002
- Kick Ass Ska, on Pimp Records, 2002
- Still Standing, A North American Ska Uprising, on JumpUp! Records, 2003
- Punk Rock Academy, on Suckerpunch Records, 2004
- Kubota, Takeshi - Neo Classics 2, on TAD Sound, 2008
- All Beats of Ska, 2009
- New Breed - a Burning Toast / Slug Tone! Records Production (or see it on YouTube)
- Stoned Feeling - a Burning Toast / Slug Tone! Records Production
- Out All Night - an Epitaph / Hellcat Records / Slug Tone! Records Production
- Yesterday's Over - an Epitaph / Hellcat Records / Slug Tone! Records Production
- CMJ New Music Monthly, Best New Releases, Nov 1997
- Spin Magazine, Crude Boys: The Pietasters Take Ska One Step Beyond, Mar 1998
- CMJ New Music Monthly, Soul Providers, For the Pietasters, soul and ska go together like Sammy and Dean-O, September, 1999
- Hoi Polloi! No. 4 Interview, June 1997 (PDF)
- Interview with Steve Jackson by Greg Szeto at Aural States (Nov 2007)
- Mobtown Ska PodOmatic Podcast Interview, 2008
- Official site
- Epitaph Records artist info page
- The Agency Group artist info page
- Rockers Revolt artist info page
- AMG entry
- Interview with Rancid's Lars Frederikson http://www.ink19.com/issues_F/98_08/ink_spots/rancid_nf.html