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My name is not ska

Autumn Phillips
What: Warsaw Poland Brothers When: 10 p.m. today Where: The Tugboat Grill & Pub in Ski Time Square. Cost: $5.

Years ago, to get their music on stage and their names on the charts, the Warsaw Poland Brothers called themselves a ska band. Now, they’ve painted themselves into a corner.

Although their music has the bouncing horn section that always will remind people of bands such as Fishbone, the Warsaw Poland Brothers are screaming from their tour bus that they are more than ska.

Celtic-reggae-punk-ska-hip-hop-funk would be an acceptable label.

“Anything but rock ‘n’ roll,” said sax player and singer Chris “Crix” Poland. “We hate rock ‘n’ roll. In the mid-’90s if you said your were ska, they gave you gigs. It was easy to market. But now the term ska is a little too vague.”

The Warsaw Poland Brothers, named after two members of the band who happen to be brothers, started playing together in 1991. They were in their early 20s then, “jumping around on stage like popcorn,” Poland said.

Their vision was to form an industrial gothic rock band “from the new wave school of things.”

They had one or two ska songs.

From the stage, they noticed that the audience would stand deathly still as they bashed away at their guitars on the gothic, industrial songs, but when they started playing more funk- or ska-based songs, people started moving.

“People would start dancing,” Poland said. “And it was obvious to me that we needed to start playing more danceable music. The audience kind of chose what they wanted to hear.”

Since then, with a tour schedule of sometimes 200 to 300 shows a year, a lot of the band’s evolution happens on stage, and their influences come from the people they meet on the road. The band, in various incarnations, has been on the road for nine years.

The Warsaw Poland Brothers have been performing in Steamboat since The Inferno was in Gondola Square. Tonight, they will be at The Tugboat Grill & Pub.


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