The Pietasters

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The Pietasters
The Pietasters performing at the 2007 International Ska Circus
Background information
OriginWashington, D.C., United States
GenresSka, rocksteady, soul, punk rock
Years active1990–present
LabelsSlug Tone! Records, Moon Ska, Epitaph, Hellcat, Fueled by Ramen, Indication Records
Associated actsThe Five Maseratis, The Wood, The Loving Paupers
MembersStephen Jackson
Alan Makranczy
Jeremy Roberts
Carlos Linares
Rob Steward
Dan Schneider
Dave Vermillion
Joe Ross

The Pietasters are an American eight-piece ska/soul band hailing from Washington, D.C., with additional members from Maryland and Virginia.


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 interested in ska, reggae and rugby[1][2] and suggested that they form a ska band. After recruiting a high school friend, Tom Goodin,[3] and an architecture classmate, Ben Gauslin, The Slugs were born. Soon, they were skipping classes, melding ska, 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 Dancecrashers. 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",[4][5] the original lyrics being "He'll eat your pies, he'll tell you lies, You wouldn't believe that fat bastard's size".[5] Continuing the Macc Lads theme, the band's name may also have been based on the Macc Lads single, Pietaster.[5][6][7][8] 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.[9]

In the early 1990s, a similar band from the DC area, The Skunks, asked The Pietasters to play a local ska night at a bar in Georgetown. 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.[10]

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,[11][12] 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,[13] and Todd Eckhart moved from rhythm guitar to bass.

In 1995, a long-time fan of the band and the lead singer of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Dicky Barrett, showed up at one of their shows in Providence, Rhode Island. The Pietasters were considering breaking up, but Dicky offered to take them on the road over the next few years.[14]

As the Pietasters continued to tour the country, they recorded Strapped Live! between stops in the Cat's Cradle[15] in Chapel Hill, North Carolina 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.[16] 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[17] 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[18] and featured scenes of the festival and live performance of the Pietasters playing their Jimmy Holiday cover, "The New Breed".[19]

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),[20] 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.[21][22][23][24]

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.[25] The Pietasters recorded their second video, "Stone Feeling",[26] 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.[27][28] 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.

Their song "Out All Night," was featured in the videogames Street Sk8er for the PlayStation, and NCAA Football 06.

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.[29] The album was named after the mix-tape from Boogie Nights.[30] 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 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[31] on guitar.[32][33][34]

In late 2001, The Pietasters were recording their next album when they learned that former bassist, Todd Eckhardt, had died of a viral heart infection. The news was extremely hard on The Pietasters and their fans. The Bouncing Souls included "Todd's Song" on their Anchor's Away album in his memory. The Pietasters released a new album in 2002 titled Turbo, a nickname of Todd's. The album won praise from fans and critics alike.[25] It even caught the attention of James Brown who asked The Pietasters to be his backing band at a sold-out concert[35] (local radio station WHFS' Holiday Nutcracker) in Washington DC in December 2002.[36]

In 2003, The Pietasters released their live DVD, Live at The 9:30 Club.

In 2006, The Pietasters played the International Ska Circus in Las Vegas.

On August 21, 2007, The Pietasters released a new studio album entitled All Day.

In 2010, the Pietasters performed at the 9:30 Club's 30th anniversary in Washington D.C., and were introduced[37] by Henry Rollins.

In November 2011, Connecticut's Asbestos Records and Chicago'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.[38]

Band members[edit]

Current lineup[edit]

Past members[edit]

  • Toby Hansen - guitar
  • Talmage Bayer - vocals
  • Tom Goodin - guitar [39][40][41]
  • Pat Kelley - guitar
  • Todd Eckhardt - bass (deceased) [42]
  • Chris Watt - bass
  • Jorge Pezzimenti - bass
  • Jon Darby - bass/keyboards
  • Ben Gauslin - drums
  • Jason Budman - drums
  • Chuck Roberts - drums
  • 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

Touring members[edit]

  • Vinny Nobile - trombone (ex-Pilfers), Bim Skala Bim
  • Matt Mason - baritone saxophone
  • Eric Raecke - baritone saxophone
  • Chris Rhodes - trombone
  • Ben Treat - guitar


Studio albums[edit]

Rare albums, EPs, singles, and others[edit]







  1. ^ "Washington Rugby Club". Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  2. ^ "The Unlikely Scrum". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  3. ^ "An interview with Steve Jackson and Tom Goodin by the Pietasters". Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  4. ^ "Fat Bastard"
  5. ^ a b c "Fat Bastard Lyrics - Macc Lads". Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  6. ^ "Interview with the Pietasters". Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  8. ^ "Distorted Magazine August 2008 by Steve Noble". ISSUU. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  9. ^ "The Pietasters interview 1997" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  10. ^ Jo-Ann Greene. "Pietasters - The Pietasters | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  11. ^ "Image : Skavoovee". Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  12. ^ "Skavoovee poster". Bufordosullivan. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  13. ^ "Eastern Standard Time". Ink 19. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Cat's Cradle
  16. ^ Jo-Ann Greene (1996-04-30). "Strapped Live! - The Pietasters | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  17. ^ first video
  18. ^ Burning Toast Productions
  19. ^ "The New Breed"
  20. ^ "The Slackers - An interview with Victor Ruggiero and Dave Hillyard (December 1998)" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  21. ^ "Rancid". Ink 19. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  22. ^ "INTERVIEW: Slackers, The: Vic Ruggiero - Vocals, Piano, Hammond B-3". In Music We Trust. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  23. ^ "Need We Say More? > Features > Sublime and the Bosstones Meets an Otis Redding Cover Band:The Pietasters Go All Day". 2007-12-20. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b "Pietasters, The". The Agency Group. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  26. ^ "Stone Feeling"
  27. ^ Billboard - Google Books. 1998-02-07. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  28. ^ "the Pietasters artist videography". Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  29. ^ "Epitaph Records: Pietasters - Awesome Mix Tape #6". 1999-07-20. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  30. ^ "The Pietasters". Ink 19. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  31. ^ "The Pietasters Official Homepage". Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  32. ^ "The Pietasters - Turbo". Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  33. ^ William Ruhlmann. "All Day - The Pietasters | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  34. ^ "Interviews : PIETASTERS" (in German). Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  35. ^ sold-out concert
  36. ^ "Live!". Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  37. ^ [1]
  38. ^ "The 3rd Wave SKA Preservation Society Vinyl Reissue Project! by asbestos records — Kickstarter". 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ "The Pietasters - 1992-1996". Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  44. ^ Warren Miller's Snowriders 2
  45. ^ Street SK8ER

External links[edit]