By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
The Voodoo Glow Skulls are a Third Wave ska band from back in the day when ska was loud and frenetic and choppy and jerky and didn't mess around with that pussy-ass crap you kids call melody. Fuck melody! The Voodoo Glow Skulls don't need melody! They have horns! Lots of them! Fuckloads of them! Fuckloads of horns!
And another thing: the Voodoo Glow Skulls aren't one of those ska bands that add horns as an afterthought. The Voodoo Glow Skulls are their horns. They're the very definition of horns, if the definition of horns is a bunch of guys jumping around onstage and yelling stuff like, "Who do Voodoo we do fuck you!"
But the best thing about them? You can't understand a fucking word they're saying—that's how ska they are. They're so ska they're from Riverside! And they used to own a record store, Cheap Guy Records in Riverside. They might still own it! And they would practice in the back of the store! They might still practice there!
They're so ska they released an album, 1995's Firme, on Epitaph and then rereleased it in Spanish because vocalist Frank Casillas is practically bilingual. You know what firme is in Spanish? It's firme! You know what it is in English?
"Oh, uh . . . huh . . . I did at one point," offered my friend Jeremy, who was totally lying.
"It means to sign, like to sign something," said another friend, Sharla.
"Are you sure? I really think it's got to have some kind of slang meaning," I protested.
Before long, Sharla was on the phone with her Spanish-speaking grandmother, repeatedly yelling, "Firme, F-I-R-M-E" into the receiver. "Yeah, it means to sign," said Sharla, as she hung up.
I don't believe it! There's nothing ska at all about that! There's got to be another meaning!
Maybe not, though. When I interviewed Voodoo Glow Skulls in 1994, they talked extensively about not having politics and not wanting to preach to their audience and instead wanting to provide an escape from whatever angst their fans might experience in other parts of their lives.
Perhaps the years have hardened them. In "On the Attack" from 2000's Symbolic, Casillas sings these poetic yet frightening lyrics: "Wanna hear our final thought?/We think all of you should get shot/And if you think we're really playing?/We'll introduce you to our friend Wayne."
Yeah! Wait—who's Wayne?Voodoo Glow Skulls perform with the Aquabats, the Delphines, OPM and the Angoras at the Shiva Shock 2001 benefit show at the Sun Theatre, 2200 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 712-2700; www.suntheatre.com. Sat., noon. $17.50. All ages.