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Ska Soon Extinct?

"You have to be good to play this music," says Chris Wise of the Hi-Lites, a North County--based ska band. "Anytime you have more than five members, it's hard to get people to practice. And when you play a gig you might get $100 or $150 for the whole band. We aren't doing this for the money."

According to Wise, the Hi-Lites must also deal with the fact that there isn't much local support for ska.

"Just last weekend we played a 12-band show at the Knitting Factory in L.A., and all three rooms were packed. You have to go two hours north of here to play a gig."

Wise notes that last fall's nationwide "Ska Is Dead" tour hit San Luis Obispo but avoided San Diego.

"It also hit a city called Orangevale, California. I guess Orangevale has a bigger ska scene than San Diego."

Wise recognizes that ska's popularity ebbs and flows; the early '80s and mid-'90s were boom years. He says existing ska fans came of age during waves of ska popularity, and younger potential fans aren't exposed to the music.

"There are only two all-age venues," says Wise, "and Soma won't even return any of my e-mails. The last time I was at Soma, I dropped off a demo [CD], the person took it, looked at it, and noticed it was ska and put it down like it was nothing. The Epicentre is a pay-to-play house, and we ain't doin' that. If there are only two venues in town and you can't play at one and the other is pay-to-play, the scene will basically die."

The Hi-Lites appear at the Ken Club December 2 and Squid Joe's December 9.

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"You have to be good to play this music," says Chris Wise of the Hi-Lites, a North County--based ska band. "Anytime you have more than five members, it's hard to get people to practice. And when you play a gig you might get $100 or $150 for the whole band. We aren't doing this for the money."

According to Wise, the Hi-Lites must also deal with the fact that there isn't much local support for ska.

"Just last weekend we played a 12-band show at the Knitting Factory in L.A., and all three rooms were packed. You have to go two hours north of here to play a gig."

Wise notes that last fall's nationwide "Ska Is Dead" tour hit San Luis Obispo but avoided San Diego.

"It also hit a city called Orangevale, California. I guess Orangevale has a bigger ska scene than San Diego."

Wise recognizes that ska's popularity ebbs and flows; the early '80s and mid-'90s were boom years. He says existing ska fans came of age during waves of ska popularity, and younger potential fans aren't exposed to the music.

"There are only two all-age venues," says Wise, "and Soma won't even return any of my e-mails. The last time I was at Soma, I dropped off a demo [CD], the person took it, looked at it, and noticed it was ska and put it down like it was nothing. The Epicentre is a pay-to-play house, and we ain't doin' that. If there are only two venues in town and you can't play at one and the other is pay-to-play, the scene will basically die."

The Hi-Lites appear at the Ken Club December 2 and Squid Joe's December 9.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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