Have you ever wanted to rock out to your favorite Disney songs growing up? No, seriously, rock out to classics such as “Kiss the Girl” (Little Mermaid), “Beauty and the Beast” (Beauty and the Beast), “Colors of the Wind” (Pocahontas) and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (Toy Story). Well, California based Suburban Legends is a ska band that is sure to get the party going with their fun loving renditions of our beloved Disney classics.
Suburban Legends formed in 1998 in Huntington Beach, California but they later moved to Santa Ana, where the band is currently based. Location change isn’t the only dramatic decision the band has faced in their career, the group has gone through numerous lineup adjustments. In fact, Brian Robertson, who does backing vocals and plays trombone for the band, is the only founding member left of Suburban Legends. The ska group currently consists of Vincent Walker (lead vocals, guitar, trumpet, and keyboard) Brian Robertson (trombone, backup vocals), Chris Lucca (trumpet), Brian Klemm (lead guitar, vocals), Brad Polidori (bass, backup vocals) and Edward Larsen (drums).
Suburban Legends is best known for playing music in the ska genre. However they have also experimented with ska punk, pop, and even disco. A huge part of their music catalog features influences of ska punk, which is a fusion that combines ska and punk rock. Ska punk typically features faster upbeat tempos, a ton of guitar distortion, and an influence of punk resembling vocals. The group included this while remaining close to their ska roots, which features all varieties of instrumentation and a cleaner and more developed sound. This style of music was extremely popular in the 1990s and it is what ultimately helped jumpstart the career of Suburban Legends. The group has noted that two of their main influences in music were Reel Big Fish and the legendary Michael Jackson. Their efforts in music made their dream a reality, so much so that they were signed to an independent label called Rock Ridge Music. Rock Ridge Music turned out to be the same label that Reel Big Fish was signed under, which gave Suburban Legends the realization of how their hard work really came “full circle” for them.
Since debuting in 1998, the band has created and sold numerous records. They have a total of 8 EPs, 6 full-length albums, and 2 DVDs. It all began with their first EP, entitled the Bomb Squad EP, which the band shortly called themselves until they made an official name change from the Bomb Squad to Suburban Legends in 1999. During the same year the group came out with their first full-length album, entitled the Origin Edition (1999). The five albums that followed Origin Edition were Rump Shaker (2003), Dance Like Nobody’s Watching: Tokyo Nights (2007 & released in Japan only), Infectious (2007), Let’s Be Friends…and Slay the Dragon Together (2008), and Day Job (2012). Between those very successful years the ska group was also able to put out two DVDs for their fans titled Season One (2004) and Poisonous Candy Factory (2008). Both DVDs featured live performances from the band's greatest hits and Poisonous Candy Factory also included music videos and YouTube shorts of Suburban Legends out on tour in addition to other fun material.
Suburban Legends are currently on a fall tour in the United Kingdom and once the tour is over, the ska group has plans to release Volume 2 of Dreams Aren’t Real, But These Songs Are, a cover album series of their favorite childhood songs. Dreams Aren't Real, But These Songs Are, Vol. 1 was the first part of their release which came out in 2013, their most recent release. The EP consists of six songs, “A Dream is A Wish,” “Ducktales,” “Kiss the Girl,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Colors of the Wind,” and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” If you are impatiently waiting for a part two of these childhood classics, just like the rest of us, then be sure to check out the hilarious music videos of “Kiss the Girl” and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” to help hold you over.
By Lisa Holahan