Uptones Live Album Hits Tip Of Punk-Ska Revival

ATN editor Michael Goldberg writes: While a punk-ska scene has been

developing for the past few years throughout the country, the music,

has for the most part, not made it to disk. In high schools from San

Francisco to Chicago, punk-ska is the favored flavor. So while groups

like The Independents struggle to get a label deal, Son of Beserkley

Entertainment prez Matthew King Kaufman has dug up a piece of U. S.

punk-ska history that should blow a few minds. The Uptones were a hot

East Bay property some ten years before the Gilman scene turned

multi-platinum with Green Day and Rancid. Dig this: this live Uptones

album was recorded at 924 Gilman. Totally cool. As Kaufman recounts

it, a former Uptone who is currently a member of Stiff Richards, a

band Kaufman has been working with for the past few years, showed up

with a cassette of an Uptones show. It only took one listen for

Kaufman to hear the gold in the grooves. Uptones Live is the

kind of unpretentious, rockin' album that bands have spent months (and

100s of 1000s of green stuff) trying to cut in a studio. Tracks like

"Radiation Boy" and "Your Hit Parade" and "Idiot Box" are political

and social criticism perfectly integrated with the music. The Uptones

may have been inspired by the UK two-tone movement, but they stamped

their own Berkeley-politico perspective on everything they did. There

is no question that members of Green Day and Rancid caught these guys

rockin' the house (and I wouldn't be surprised if Primus' Les Claypool

caught their act too). Do yourself a favor, seek out Uptones

Live, then have yourself a party. Cool thing about these guys,

their music keeps you dancin' and thinkin'. With any luck, Uptones

Live will lead the punk-ska underground into the sunlight and onto

the charts. It's about time that this music was heard. In fact, if

Kaufman isn't already scouting out and signing up the best of the

current punk-ska bands right now, I've underestimated him. With this

Uptones album as a calling card, the bands should come flocking to his

door.