To two or even three generations of bands and their fans in and around the Jersey Shore, the partystarting sonic bounce of reggae’s hypercaffeinated little cousin SKA continues to score new fans each year. But ask the ska-punk band next door and you might hear how they were inspired to step up the beat by a wave of 1970s-80s British bands that included The Specials, Madness, and, maybe especially, The English Beat.
Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit has an exclusive interview with Dave Wakeling (right), co-founder and longtime frontman of the band that gave us such alternative radio and club classics as Mirror in the Bathroom, Save It For Later and some tantalizing takes on Smokey Robinson and even Andy Williams. The California transplant whose resume also includes serious stints as a kids’ soccer coach and a Greenpeace advocate now fronts a US-based Beat lineup that’s complemented by a UK version, led by former bandmate Ranking Roger (with whom Wakeling also tried a little “Tenderness” in General Public).
It’s that American edition of The English Beat that returns to the Stone Pony on Thursday night, topping a Spring Skaward Tour that also includes the great 80s band Fishbone. We’ve got Wakeling, full stop, here today in Red Bank oRBit!