One genre we’ve been sadly lacking coverage of over the last few years has been ska, but we’re putting that right in fine fashion with seven-piece reggae rock meets ska punk band FUBAR.
The foundations of the Irwin, Pennsylvania, collection first began with Jake Hursh and Dave Cochran (guitars and vocals) forming a heavier punk band back in high school nearly a decade ago. The move to what we here now began with adding horns to an album, which inspired them to add Matt Scott (bass), Jordan Brown (drums), Anthony Sarnelli (tenor sax), Sam Wtorkowski (alto sax) and Harry Miller (trumpet) to the mix.
They released latest EP Get On The Bus! in April, which gives us a taste of their funky reggae ska sound. It opens up with the lively Company Time, which opens up with a fun little guitar lick that’s joined by the sax and trumpets that feed into funky vocals. A heavily wah-effected guitar solo jumps in then another verse and chorus give way to cool instrumental section that end with another solo. Check it out here:
The delicious Fingers Crossed is a little more laid-back, beginning with light vocals over stabbing ska guitars then cool little trumpet notes that are repeated by the saxophones. That leads into an engaging opening verse of really catchy vocals with little sax and trumpet twists driving them along. It all builds up to a funky little sax solo that feeds into a final chorus. Check it out below:
Then Hindsight opens up with cool sax and trumpet that feed into an engaging opening verse drops into a big blast of sax, trumpet and guitars. Then a little keyboard solo takes over and feeds into another funky verse, which this time gives way to a cool guitar solo then another instrumentals smash. Check out this awesome track in the lyric video:
There’s plenty more reggae meets ska on the EP, including the catchy closing track Don’t Arrest Me, so go and give it a listen. And, while you do, read the chat we had with frontman Jake to find out more about the band below…
GR: Who are FUBAR?
JH: “We’re a 7 piece reggae rock/ska punk band from Irwin, PA – just outside of Pittsburgh. Dave and I started the band almost 9 years ago with a much heavier sound and a totally different line up. We went to high school together and I actually put an ad on Craigslist for a drummer to start a band with and Dave replied (he switched to guitar and Jordan joined on drums years later).
“We added studio horns to our album The Hunt for Inspiration using local friends in the HABATAT horn section which inspired us to pick up a full time horn section of our own. We were able to hook up with Sam and Anthony from Cynimatics on Sax and Harry on Trumpet. These guys were instrumental in the making of Get on the Bus and the rest is history, you could say!”
GR: You just released Get on the Bus. What should people be expecting from the EP?
JH: “I would say that people should expect a catchy, solid and clean studio reggae rock album. These are easily the best songs we’ve written to date and the production quality turned out amazing thanks to Sam.
“We always draw inspiration from so many places but I guess a lot of this one in particular was inspired by stress, anxiety, boredom and regret. Not exactly what you’d expect for a reggae record but most of the songs have an upbeat feel to them and I consider them to be pretty relatable.
“Even though our release was in the middle of the pandemic the EP received some great feedback so far, record steaming numbers for us and we sold over 100 physical copies in just one week! Which is pretty good for us!”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
JH: “Well, when people ask I usually say we’re a crazy fusion of rock, reggae, ska and punk but if I’m comparing us to other bands Sublime is usually at the top of the list. We have a lot of intricacies and oddities that separate us from more tradition reggae bands and even 3rd wave ska bands, so it’s hard to put a label on at times. I would say catchy choruses, shredding lead guitar, funky bass lines and driving percussion with creative horn melodies!”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
JH: “I guess I got carried away and sort of explained this in the other answer but we really don’t lean on any particular emotion. It’s whatever comes to mind. I can’t speak for Dave but, for me, half the time I don’t even set out to write about a particular subject but whatever comes out gets turned into a song!”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
JH: “All 7 of us have completely different tastes in music. It’s kinda wild honestly. Dave and I have always been huge fans of Sublime and Slightly Stoopid, which is probably how we transitioned from a heavier punk band into the reggae rock style we write and play today. I’m personally a huge fan of the mid level east coast reggae, ska and funk bands like Ballyhoo, Bumpin Uglies, Tropidelic, The Supervillains, Mike Pinto and Kash’d Out.”
GR: What else have you got coming up in 2020?
JH: “Since we’ve been in quarantine for the majority of the year we have various demos of new songs in the works, but nothing scheduled as far as a release. We were really looking forward to playing a lot of great shows like opening for the Slackers, Weekend at Wolfie’s music festival in Bedford, PA and Garefest in Sandy Lake, PA but all of them have been postponed to 2021! We’re looking to start traveling for out of market weekends and some hometown headliners this year once the band and regulations put in place to protect people from the coronavirus are lifted!”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
JH: “Just that we love playing music. We like to think it shows through our performances both recorded and live. We have a dedicated group of guys that are talented and committed to making some great tunes for people to enjoy. We hope that if anyone that hasn’t heard us before reads this interview, that they take a few minutes to check out our newest record. If they are into crazy, weird and fun music, they will likely enjoy a lot of what we do.”