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

I came from punk

Ska septet Buck-O-Nine turns 20 this year.
Ska septet Buck-O-Nine turns 20 this year.

No one knows ska’s fickle popularity better than Buck-O-Nine, the seven-member group that this year celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Ska first appeared in the ’60s with Jamaican artists such as the Skatalites and the Wailers. “Then you had the second wave with the British two-tone bands [Selecter, Madness],” says Buck-O-Nine lead singer Jon Pebsworth. “We were part of the third wave that included Fishbone and the Toasters.”

Pebsworth says that third wave’s surge in popularity propelled No Doubt and Sublime and helped launch Buck-O-Nine as a national touring band.

“When I first joined, I was answering an ad in the Reader that said, ‘Ska band looking for punk singer.’ I loved ska, but I came from punk. When we started, most ska bands were traditional. We were more like Operation Ivy. I remember going to [the now defunct] Off the Record on El Cajon Boulevard and buying the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. That was exactly what I wanted — ska rhythms with a punk singer.”

The formula worked. They released their first of five albums in ’92 on local label Taang! Records. Their San Diego–centric “My Town” got national airplay. They toured the U.S. with the Specials and Japan with Voodoo Glow Skulls. None of the members needed day jobs.

“When we first played Chicago, we would play to, like, 50 people. Eventually we would play to, like, 1200. From 1994 to 1998 we would play 200 to 300 dates a year...then things started to settle down. The third wave had run its course,” Pebsworth says. The band’s last national tour came in 2000, and it was more like their first, when only 50 people would show up per show. “It was getting harder and harder to even make enough money to get to the next town. It was harder to sustain ourselves as a touring band.”

Instead of disbanding, Buck-O-Nine shifted gears. “We decided to go on a semiretirement program,” says Pebsworth. “Most of the guys have families and kids.” Everyone lives in San Diego except Pebsworth, who is based in L.A., where he works as a music industry public relations consultant.

“We now play maybe once a month,” says guitarist Jonas Kleiner. “We’ll get in the van and play somewhere we can get to in eight hours. We’ll go on these two-day tours to Arizona or the Bay Area.... That said, we did play Montreal in May and we released a new album called Sustain in 2007.”

Kleiner and Pebsworth are two of the five members who have been with Buck-O-Nine for all 20 years, along with Craig Yarnold (sax), Dan Albert (trombone), and Tony Curry (trumpet). Drummer Jeff Hawthorne and bassist Andy Platfoot have been in the band since 1999.

“We never lost the chemistry,” says Pebsworth.

Buck-O-Nine appears December 28 at Club 710.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Keeping Up With Commander Cody

“He poured a much-too-large line on my hand”
Next Article

The Addams Family 2: new kooky characters gone wrong

Cousin Itt’s synthetic CG likeness owes more to Dawk than it does Feliz Silla’s hair suit.
Ska septet Buck-O-Nine turns 20 this year.
Ska septet Buck-O-Nine turns 20 this year.

No one knows ska’s fickle popularity better than Buck-O-Nine, the seven-member group that this year celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Ska first appeared in the ’60s with Jamaican artists such as the Skatalites and the Wailers. “Then you had the second wave with the British two-tone bands [Selecter, Madness],” says Buck-O-Nine lead singer Jon Pebsworth. “We were part of the third wave that included Fishbone and the Toasters.”

Pebsworth says that third wave’s surge in popularity propelled No Doubt and Sublime and helped launch Buck-O-Nine as a national touring band.

“When I first joined, I was answering an ad in the Reader that said, ‘Ska band looking for punk singer.’ I loved ska, but I came from punk. When we started, most ska bands were traditional. We were more like Operation Ivy. I remember going to [the now defunct] Off the Record on El Cajon Boulevard and buying the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. That was exactly what I wanted — ska rhythms with a punk singer.”

The formula worked. They released their first of five albums in ’92 on local label Taang! Records. Their San Diego–centric “My Town” got national airplay. They toured the U.S. with the Specials and Japan with Voodoo Glow Skulls. None of the members needed day jobs.

“When we first played Chicago, we would play to, like, 50 people. Eventually we would play to, like, 1200. From 1994 to 1998 we would play 200 to 300 dates a year...then things started to settle down. The third wave had run its course,” Pebsworth says. The band’s last national tour came in 2000, and it was more like their first, when only 50 people would show up per show. “It was getting harder and harder to even make enough money to get to the next town. It was harder to sustain ourselves as a touring band.”

Instead of disbanding, Buck-O-Nine shifted gears. “We decided to go on a semiretirement program,” says Pebsworth. “Most of the guys have families and kids.” Everyone lives in San Diego except Pebsworth, who is based in L.A., where he works as a music industry public relations consultant.

“We now play maybe once a month,” says guitarist Jonas Kleiner. “We’ll get in the van and play somewhere we can get to in eight hours. We’ll go on these two-day tours to Arizona or the Bay Area.... That said, we did play Montreal in May and we released a new album called Sustain in 2007.”

Kleiner and Pebsworth are two of the five members who have been with Buck-O-Nine for all 20 years, along with Craig Yarnold (sax), Dan Albert (trombone), and Tony Curry (trumpet). Drummer Jeff Hawthorne and bassist Andy Platfoot have been in the band since 1999.

“We never lost the chemistry,” says Pebsworth.

Buck-O-Nine appears December 28 at Club 710.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Bisbee’s Los Cabos tournament has a record weekend

Rough conditions in SoCal waters slows offshore fishing
Next Article

Mike Pompeo stops at University Club

AT&T – biggest supporters of One American News?
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close