The Federal Bar has gone ska for the New Year and will showcase The Untouchables, Perro Bravo, PMA and the Green Machines on Sunday, January 11 at 8:00PM. Two bands of historical notoriety are The Untouchables and Perro Bravo, one, a major catalyst to bands like Fishbone and No Doubt, the other, a more recent project of one of Long Beach's most understated musicians, Mike "Miguel" Happoldt.
The Untouchables, a Los Angeles based ska band born out of the mod revival of the 1980s, released their first record, Twist n’ Shake on their own label, Dancebeat in 1982, yet it wasn’t until 1984 that the band started receiving recognition. Wild Child, their first full-length LP came out in 1985 and featured “Wild Child,” a song that was originally meant for The Question’s LP and had been written by Tony Rugolo, the band’s lead singer. The Untouchables bought the song from Rugolo and turned it into one of their best live hits.
Jerry Miller, the last remaining member of the original group said, "It's cool because a lot of people haven't heard The Untouchables. It's a whole other generation that's coming up, and so far the songs hold up as far as people enjoying themselves."
However, the band’s early shows are notable for their intensity, high energy and immaturity. Had “Tropical Bird” been marketed in 1983 with the sharing technology we have today, The Untouchables may have taken off a bit earlier than '85. The Untouchables played stints at The Roxy, The Timbers, Oscar’s Cornhusker, Mama Brown’s Backdoor, Fender's and the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach. Their, now vintage, West Coast ska sound was the catalyst for bands such as Fishbone, and later on, numerous California acts such as early No Doubt, Donkey Show, Skeletones and Let’s Go Bowling.
Miller said The Untouchables have played in Long Beach several times, and it has yet to get old. It's an always-changing scene that offers a new group of fans each time.
"I’ve spent a lot of time in Long Beach..." he said. "It's just a vibrant scene, always changing, that's for sure. There's so much going on there. I love the neighborhoods and how you can walk a few blocks and turn a corner and you're in a totally different neighborhood. We used to play at Fender's Ballroom back in the day, that was a real hot bed."
Miller explained that it's all about the dancing, that anyone who enjoys a snappy beat and a good time can appreciate The Untouchables, despite not knowing their rich history.
"As a matter of fact," he said, "we do a couple parades every now and then, like 4th of July in Santa Monica. It's so cool when I'm on a float playin' and I see a toddler dancing to the music as we pass by. That's the best feeling. To see somebody that's never seen our music and it makes them dance or move.
"I think people who haven't heard us before enjoy it because a lot of people like to dance to our music," Miller continued. "If you can get them dancing it doesn't matter if they know the history or anything. I love to see people dance, that's why I started. I love to dance myself. The scene, that came along with it... scooter culture and mod culture and all that, they kinda put us on their shoulders and claimed us as their band.
"I think everybody should come out. It's going to be a dance party. If people have the time and they want to dance, they should come."
Mike “Miguel” Happoldt on vocals and guitar, drummer Greg “Mudd” Lowther, originally a member of Falling Idols and lefty bassist Mike Long, originally a member of Warchurch, make up Perro Bravo, a band whose roots lay deep in Long Beach soil. They have played alongside The Expendables, Slightly Stoopid, Unwritten Law, Pepper, The Aggrolites, English Beat and The Meat Puppets.
Happoldt, founder of Skunk Records, the Long Beach label made famous for releasing 40 oz. to Freedom, Robbin' the Hood and Sublime's self-titled and final album in 1996, decided to start his own band in 2010, Perro Bravo. In 2011, he released the first record, Spotty, 3 Chord Re-Hash, And Mostly Instrumental as a demo just to get the ball rolling with the help of Marshall Goodman, Gil Sharone, Adam Krier and Chris Smith. Greg “Mudd” Lowther and Mike Long joined right after. The now four-year-old band, who released their first real record, Smoking Scorpion Tales, just last year, is working on their third LP, to be released in 2015.
The band’s motto, “knockin’ the dust off the cobwebs,” is a testament to Happoldt’s comeback as a musician and producer, who returned in the mid 2000s after taking a step back in lieu of Sublime’s frontman Brad Nowell’s death in 1996. The revitalization of Skunk Records and Happoldt's over 25 years of understated, yet truly innovative musical work, make Perro Bravo a tremendous offshoot of a project that anyone who lives in Long Beach or anyone who considers themself a lover of Long Beach should check out at least once.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $10 here or purchased day-of for $12. You must be 18 years or older to attend. The Federal Bar is located at 102 Pine Ave.