Florida’s The Coldspot 8 just might be the last hope for trad ska. Impressing the READ staff with their original songwriting, textured musicianship, and catchy harmonies, we sent the vocalist John some Q&As.
Why form a new trad band now?
Well, we have been around for a bit over 3 years now. We were all interested in the music in its original form. A lot of us are into original music from roots, I guess you can say like jazz and blues and techno. As I sit here and think about it, I believe it was Fatboy Slim who said it best when he said give me liberty or give me funk soul brother, and liberty is what he got. I don’t know exactly where I wanted to go with that but I’m almost positive I didn’t get there… anyway next question.
Is the Florida scene strong and supportive even in today’s wintry ska climate?
Well, the Florida scene, to set it straight off the bat, is quite awkward!!! Honestly it is a whole lot easier to play just about anywhere else in the states than in our home town of Orlando. I can send out a press kit to a backwoods little town in Ohio and get us a show there in a week. Orlando is really a very busy town with a whole lotta bands, and more of them are getting recognized everyday. There are about 20 or so bands that play here religiously and have a rather large fan base but really don’t have any CDs, or for that matter, an ambition to live as a musician, and are just satisfied playing to their local hometown scene. We love playing our hood but there is somewhat a lack of support here (other than our fan base, which we can pretty much count on all the time). We get press here if there is going to be a larger national act like the Toasters, for instance. That will be a sold out show and the kids there will think that we are on tour with them and that we’re from out of town because they don’t care enough about their own scene to keep up with local ska bands. I love those little bastards. I think they sell an emergency rudeboy kit at Walgreens now. Isn’t that cute? Anyway Florida is a really cool place but Orlando… well what can I say, the Backstreet Boys are from here!
Coldspot 8 aren’t just a bunch of kids with stolen high school band equipment. You guys can PLAY. Have you guys been in other bands / took formal training?
Kyle (on bass) and Dieter (on T-bone) were both in the Holsteins which later turned into Blue City Kings. They were around when ska in Orlando was at its peak. They should never have broken up, they are all stupid and I hate them. I blame them for the demise of ska… assholes! But anyway, Tim goes to school to learn to play sax sometimes. Yeah, I think a few learned how to play that shit but not me. I learned how to sing from this old black man in the hood. His name was Jack Assed Robinson (much love), and he was the best. He made me sit in dumpsters and sing because he said that not only would it give me a private place to be, but it had a good sound in there. I thought he was crazy but you can’t really argue with someone twice your age who has lived his life being called Jack Assed, it just doesn’t work.
Most trad bands throw in tons of covers of 60s ska to gain street cred, but you guys are all about originals…
I am a big fan of the original song! We do some covers when we play, but they aren’t any standard covers. Matter of fact, I think most of the people pass them all off as our songs anyway just cuz they are such rarities. But we try to push our own material and I would say that live about 95% of the material is ours.
Are you happy with Beatville. It seems that they’re cranking out great release after great release, while most other ska labels are laying low.
I knew Beatville was going to be the right label for us when, for the first time I ever spoke to Mark on the phone, this was his answer…”John, I listened to your CD today and all I have to say is don’t … ever… fucking … call … here … again.” And then silence. I was like damnit! But he says, “Ahhh, I’m just fucking with ya!!!” Man that was great. That was a great beginning to what has now become a relationship that I hold very closely. I mean just last week I was commenting to the guys about what a good lay Mark is. Man what a talent, huh?
How are you able to defy all laws of ska physics by having a number after your name and not sucking. And do you get angry if people call you Coldsore 8?
Oh man we have been called a bunch of really good stuff. Our friends are always coming up with good ones like the Gay Spot 8 and the G-Spot 8.. Coldsore is a good one though and I will have to let them know about it. Anyway, we are trying to follow in the fine tradition of sucky bands with numbers in their names, but we just can’t get it down. We are working on that so keep your fingers crossed.
What is the most romantic date you’ve ever had?
The most romantic date I ever went out on was this one time when I picked this girl up on the corner. She was like, “Hey honey, you looking for a date?” and I was just in shock so I said, “Hell yeah, bitch!” (that was thrown in for effect), and then she got in my car. I asked her how much she charged and it was only 10 bucks. So of course how could I pass that up? But I started thinking about it and how if I spent 10 bucks on her, that would leave me with 3 less beers than what I was about to have. So I asked her if she would just hold my hand for a dollar and she did it… man that was hot.
Their debut CD, “It’s the Feelgood,” is available on Beatville Records.