Denver ska band makes Steamboat Springs debut |

Denver ska band makes Steamboat Springs debut

Margaret Hair

Chris LaPlante, of Denver punk-influenced ska band P-Nuckle, is confident his group will provide a "poppin' night" today at the Old Town Pub.

— He might be over-thinking this, but P-Nuckle front man Chris LaPlante is pretty sure he’s done a lot of people wrong. Or, he suspects there are a lot of people who feel that way.

“We’ve kind of got a chip on our shoulder, because our band has kind of a bad reputation,” LaPlante said on the phone from P-Nuckle’s home in Denver, explaining that taking home the title of “best reggae/ska band” in the Denver Westword Music Showcase three years in a row has brewed some animosity.

“We have a lot of people that don’t like us in this town, because we beat them. And we don’t get up and thank them on stage. People got weird issues,” LaPlante said.

A few minutes into our conversation, it’s clear LaPlante doesn’t follow the reggae principals that influence some element of his band’s music – he’s done some bad things, and he still does some of them, and he knows that. But it doesn’t take long for LaPlante’s generally upbeat attitude to come through; he makes music to make people happy, and no matter his means, the end is well-intentioned.

P-Nuckle comes through Steamboat Springs for the first time today with a set at Old Town Pub. LaPlante talked with 4 Points about his band’s tenuous success, making enough money to tour and putting out good vibes to the Colorado music scene.

4 POINTS: What about your music do you think appeals to a mountain town?

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CHRIS LAPLANTE: I think the thing with Colorado is that we know how to have fun. People in Colorado know how to have a good time, and I think our music is fun; it’s upbeat, positive, reggae punk rock. Most people can dig it, and most people can relate at least a little bit.

4 POINTS: Do you generally stick to the Front Range, or do you tour?

CL: We usually play around the Front Range. Our van broke down last year, so we’re kind of limited in where we can go. : We’ve been out to California a couple of times; our tour usually runs to California through Utah.

4 POINTS: When you do get on the road, are you struggling to get from one gig to another? Being a touring group is getting expensive.

CL: It’s insane. We’ve had to resort to all sorts of mischievous things, but basically we’ve had to up our rider, and say we need this amount of money now to make it.

4 POINTS: How did you first start playing this California ska music?

CL: We’ve been doing it for a long time; it was the first kind of thing we ever did. I was really into the Mad Caddies and Sublime and NOFX, and I had listened to reggae my whole life. : I started listening to a bunch of crazy reggae when I was little, and we all kind of got bit by the ska bug in the mid-’90s, back in the day.

4 POINTS: And you play a mix of that?

CL: I really dig the vibe that the mountains of Colorado have been pushing out lately. That’s kind of what we thought, that if we play music that is positive and upbeat, we can make people forget about their day, and make them want to get up and dance or ride (snowboard) or just do something. : I think people are just starting to pick up on the vibe that we’ve been putting out for like eight years (with bands such as Slightly Stoopid and Pepper getting popular). : We’ve really been waiting for that success to trickle down.

4 POINTS: You mentioned that you guys have a rough reputation in Denver. What did you do to all these people to make them hate you?

CL: It mostly comes from the attitude, and from me being like, ‘Well, yeah, we’re worth this much for a show.’ : It just sucks, that you have to kind of believe in what you do in this game. We can’t just like up and be like, ‘Hey, let’s go, Steamboat, dude.’ We wish we could.