The Toasters

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The Toasters
The toasters at labadaba2013.JPG
The Toasters playing at LabaDaba Festival, August 2013
Background information
Origin New York City, New York, United States
Genres Ska, third wave ska
Years active 1981–present
Labels Megalith, Moon Ska Records, Moon Ska World
Associated acts New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble, The Klingons, The Pilfers
Members Robert "Bucket" Hingley
Tom White
Rob LaFalce
Jon Degen
Logan LaBarbera
Thaddeus Merritt
Past members Mike "Philly" Armstrong
Lionel Bernard
Adam "Prince Beaver" Birch
Tim Champeau
John "Skoidat Sr." Chapman
Mark Darini
Sean Dinsmore
John Dugan
Brian Emrich
Gary Eye
Rick "Chunk" Faulkner
Paul "Sondoulix" Gephardt
Donald "The Kid" Guillaume
Greg Grinnell
Ann Hellandsjo
Steve Hex
Scot Jarvis
Dan Jesselsohn
Danny Johnson
Tim Karns
Ivan Katz
Weston "Gigglefist" Thomas
Andrew "Jack Ruby Jr." Lindo
Fred "Rock Steady Freddie" Reiter
Marcel Reginato
Nilda Richards
Mo Roberts
Vicky Ross
Jim Seely
Brian Sledge
Erick E. "E-Man" Storckman
Obi-Ajula "Coolie Ranx" Ugbomah
Big Steve Carroll
Dave Waldo
Pablo D. "The Professor" Wright
Chris Rhodes
Andy Pearson
Tommy Quartulli
Greg Robinson
Dave Barry

The Toasters are one of the first and still the longest active American third wave of ska band. They have released nine studio albums, mostly on Moon Ska Records.


Englishman Robert "Bucket" Hingley relocated to New York City in 1980, where he managed a comic book store, and (already a 2 Tone fan) formed The Toasters in 1981 after seeing The Beat perform at the Roseland Ballroom.[1][2][3] The group's first live show was supporting Bad Brains at A7 in 1981.[4] One of the original third-wave ska bands, the early lineup of the band included other employees of the store.[5][6][7] The group self-released their first single, Beat Up, in 1983.[6] They recorded their Joe Jackson-produced debut EP, Recriminations, in 1985 and after failing to find a label to release it, Hingley formed his own Moon Ska Records label.[8][9][10] The group collaborated further with Jackson, whom Hingley had known since 1978 and who appeared under the pseudonym Stanley Turpentine, on later albums and in live shows.[11][12] The group expanded with the addition of a brass section, and their first full-length album, Skaboom!, was released in 1987.[3][6][10]

Hingley has been the only constant member in the band.[6][13] While the band's lineup has seen many changes, regular contributors included Coolie Ranx (vocals), Matt Malles (bass), Dave Barry (keyboards), Johnnathan McCain (drums), Freddie Reiter (saxophone), Brian Sledge (trumpet), and Rick "Chunk" Faulkner and Erick "E-Man" Storckman (both trombone).[6] Veteran Jamaican saxophonist Lester Sterling also made several guest appearances.[6] Deejay Andrew "Jack Ruby Jr." Lindo, son of Jamaican producer Jack Ruby was also a long-time member.[14][15] Reiter joined after playing in The New York Citizens, who had supported The Toasters on tour.[16] Trombonist Buford O'Sullivan joined around 2000 after leaving The Scofflaws.[17] Faulkner and Reiter went on to form the New York Ska Jazz Ensemble.[18]

Members of the Toasters performed on King Django's 1998 album Roots and Culture.[19]

The Toasters blend ska with pop music, rap, R&B, and calypso.[12][20] Their mixed-race lineup has seen them break through with both black and white audiences in the US.[15]

The Toasters experienced a small degree of commercial success in the late 1990s due to the popularity of third wave ska in North America. Their song "Two-Tone Army" is also the theme song for the Nickelodeon show KaBlam! (performed by the 'Moon Ska Stompers' - members of the Toasters and friends),[5] and they recorded background music in many TV commercials, including for America Online and Coca-Cola. Their song "Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down" appeared in the pilot episode of the animated series Mission Hill.[5] In 1998 they were part of the 'Ska Against Racism' tour, along with The Blue Meanies, Five Iron Frenzy, and Less Than Jake.[15] Moon Ska Records collapsed, and since 2004 Hingley has been based in Valencia, Spain; He started the Megalith label which has since been the band's home.[4][9][21][22] They still perform around the world, and in 2007 they celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a new studio album, One More Bullet.[5][6] In 2011 they undertook a 30th anniversary world tour.[3][4]



Studio albums[edit]

Year Album
1987 Skaboom!
1988 Thrill Me Up
1990 This Gun for Hire
1992 New York Fever
1994 Dub 56
1996 Hard Band for Dead
1997 Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down
2002 Enemy of the System
2007 One More Bullet


  • 1990: T-Time
  • 1995: Ska Killers
  • 1996: History Book
  • 1998: History Book 1987-1998'
  • 2000: The Best Of...
  • 2003: In Retrospect
  • 2007: Ska is Dead

Live albums[edit]


  • Recriminations (1985), Moon Ska
  • The East-Side Beat EP (1987), Moon Ska
  • Live In Sao Paulo Brazil (2002), Grover


  • Beat Up: "The Beat"/"Brixton Beat" (1984), Moon Ska
  • "Don't Say Forever" (1990), Pork Pie
  • "Chuck Berry"/"Maxwell Smart" (1995), Moon Ska
  • "Dub 56" (1995), Stubborn
  • "Dog Eat Dog" (2000), Grover
  • "You're Gonna Pay!" (2006), Megalith
  • "House Of Soul" (2013), Megalith
Split singles


  • Robert "Bucket" Hingley: vocals, guitar
  • Thaddeus "Westbound" Merritt: bass, backing vocals
  • Jesse "The Void" Hayes: drums, backing vocals
  • Logan LaBarbera: trombone (US tours)
  • Arjen "Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation" Bijleveld: trombone, backing vocals (European tours)
  • Neil "Lonestar" Johnson: saxophone

Past members[edit]

  • Jason "Jah-Son" Nwagbaraocha - bass, vocals
  • Dan "Duckie" Garrido - drums
  • Jeff Richey - saxophone (alto and baritone)
  • Mike "Philly" Armstrong - tenor saxophone
  • Lionel Bernard - vocals
  • Adam "Prince Beaver" Birch - trombone, trumpet
  • Tim Champeau - trumpet
  • John "Skoidat Sr." Chapman - saxophone
  • Mark Darini - bass
  • Sean Dinsmore - vocals
  • Jon Degen - saxophone
  • Brian Emrich - bass
  • Gary Eye - percussion (original member)
  • Rick "Chunk" Faulkner - trombone
  • Paul "Spondoulix" Gephardt - alto saxophone
  • Donald "The Kid" Guillaume - drums
  • Gregory D Grinnell - trumpet (1985–1988), bass (1988–1990)
  • Ann Hellandsjo - trombone
  • Steve Hex - keyboards (founding member)
  • Scot Jarvis - drums (founding member)
  • Dan Jesselsohn - bass
  • Neil Johnson - saxophones
  • Danny Johnson - drums
  • Tim Karns - bass
  • Ivan Katz - drums
  • Matt Malles - bass
  • Johnnathan "JMac" McCain - drums
  • Kashu (Cashew) Miles - vocals
  • Andrew "Jack Ruby Jr." Lindo - vocals
  • Fred "Rock Steady Freddie" Reiter - saxophone
  • Ron Ragona - guitar, vocals
  • Marcel Reginato - alto saxophone
  • Nilda Richards - trombone
  • Mo Roberts - drums
  • Vicky Rose - bass, vocals (founding member)
  • Jim Seely - trumpet
  • Brian Sledge - trumpet, vocals
  • Eric E. "E-Man" Storkman - trombone
  • Obi-Ajula "Coolie Ranx" Ugbomah - vocals
  • Big Steve Carroll - vocals
  • Dave Waldo - keyboards, vocals
  • Pablo D. "The Professor" Wright - vocals
  • Chris Rhodes - trombone
  • Ozzy "The Wiz" Cardona - trumpet (1988-1990)
  • Larry "Ace" Snell - drums
  • Thadd Merritt - bass
  • Logan Michael - trombone
  • Steve "The Basement" Russo - battery
  • Robbie "Fancy" LaFalce, Jr. - drums
  • Carlos Manezes, Jr. - saxophone, trombone
  • Anthony Vito - drums


  1. ^ Smallwood 1993.
  2. ^ Augustyn 2010, p. 176.
  3. ^ a b c Guillot 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Fernandes 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d Travis & Hardy 2012, p. 95.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Huey.
  7. ^ Partridge 2005, p. 8.
  8. ^ Augustyn 2010, p. 177.
  9. ^ a b Budjinski 2004.
  10. ^ a b Greene.
  11. ^ Hainer 1988.
  12. ^ a b Houlton 1989, p. 16.
  13. ^ Augustyn 2010, p. 179.
  14. ^ Nickson (February 1998).
  15. ^ a b c Nickson (July 1998).
  16. ^ Augustyn 2010, p. 188.
  17. ^ Augustyn 2010, p. 181.
  18. ^ Augustyn 2010, p. 190.
  19. ^ Rogovoy 2000, p. 142.
  20. ^ Nickson (March 1998).
  21. ^ Anderson.
  22. ^ Iwasaki 2006.


External links[edit]