The San Francisco Bay area’s punk and ska scenes are somewhat legendary within modern music history. Its latest iteration, the so-called ‘fourth wave’ ska scene, has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years as veterans increasingly interact with new generations of maniacally-moshing music enthusiasts.
One of the bands emerging from this burgeoning scene is Oakland sextet Jokes For Feelings. The band has been around for some time in various guises as they went about honing their signature sound, and is now formed of Josh Raphael (guitar and vocals), Tony Acosta (drums), Bill Raphael (vocals/keys/violin/bass), Allie Miller (trombone/vocals), Noah Ortiz (trombone) and Michael Booker (sax).
The band sent us their latest track Vitamin Girl, which deviates a little from their ska-punk foundations to a more punk-rock feeling track. It opens up with lyrics “Won’t you be” then guitars burst in alongside heavier cry of “Vitamin girl” then “Won’t you take me into your vitamin” is countered by a cry of “World” and big guitars.
That feeds into a prolonged section of the rocky guitars and big catchy shoutalong vocals “I’m standing here in line, Wasting all my time, Trying hard just to sneak past security, I’m anxious here to see, You waiting there for me, Trying hard just to peak past security.” Then big cries of “My vitamin girl” give way to a diving riff over the big guitars.
Another verse gives way to another heavier section with the lyrics “I’m trying to talk to you, My kneecaps feel like glue, I stare at you through the smoke-filled laserbeams, The DJ’s spinning sound, My head is spinning round, You stare at me through the smoke-filled laserbeams.”
It’s a super catchy track packed with singalong vocals and lively guitars throughout. Check out the cool video, complete with guitar-playing, head-banging puppets, below:
We had a chat with Josh to find out more about the band. Read on below…
GR: Who are Jokes For Feelings?
JR: “The band formed in 2006 when a number of childhood and college friends mixed forces with the talent bounty from a couple of Craigslist ads. We play Ska Punk music. We like to include comedy in our tunes with serious undertones.”
GR: You just released Vitamin Girl. What should people be expecting from the song?
JR: “This song was written by our singer/bass player, Billy. It’s a song about his clubbing nights when he was younger. We worked with director Aaron Garcia and puppet creator Grey Wears to create this video. We always wanted to do a video with all puppets and no people, so this is something we are really excited about it. This song is more of a rock song than our other material.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
JR: “We play ska punk, but also play rock, as well. We sound similar to bands like Blue Meanies, Assorted Jelly Beans, NOFX, and Weezer.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
JR: “Life is our main influence. Through life, you go through ups and downs and as a musician the best way to deal with these moments is to write a song about it. We also like to add comedy to these songs when we can to keep serious topics light and entertaining.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
JR: “Our next show is at 924 Gilman in Berkeley on Sunday Aug 11th with Monty Neysmith of Symarip. More info is here. We also run our own label, Oakland Bird Records, and plan to do more releases in 2019/2020. You can check out the first release we did here.”