Photos by Brittany Woolsey.

To quote one of their songs, Suburban Legends know that “ska doesn’t pay,” and that’s why they’re looking to their fans to help fund their new album.

The six-piece band from Huntington Beach, which includes two Cal State Long Beach alum, has made a name for themselves in the Orange County ska scene over the past 14 years.

The group frequently performs at Disneyland—where they perform Disney covers and original songs—as well as goes on cross-country and international tours with other big names in the ska scene like Reel Big Fish.

Brian Robertson, trombonist and CSULB 2010 fine arts alum, said he considers the band’s genre to be pop-ska.

“Rock with horns, like a ska boy band,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I would say we are just a fun, positive band with horns that likes to make people happy.”

It’s difficult to be unhappy at a Suburban Legends show, especially with the band gleefully doing choreographed moves on stage with their fans mimicking them from the crowd.

From battle scenes to reeling in fish, this choreography has become a known staple at Suburban Legends shows.

The dancing kind of just happened to the band, Robertson said.

“The dances came out of boredom,” he said. “The horn players were just kind of standing around and simply started to mess around and do really simple moves like a two-step or a horn sway. We would get positive feedback from the audience so bit by bit we added more and more and then had a full choreographed show.”

Since its start, the guys of Suburban Legends have played in more than 20 countries and performed special occasions like Miley Cyrus’ 16th birthday at Disneyland.


Although the band has experimented with different genres—take their disco-influenced sound on the albums “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching” and “Infectious”—ska has always remained a vital part of them, despite the seeming lack of popularity of the genre in mainstream music.

“I feel like we have always had our core ideal of having fun and keeping things positive,” Robertson said. “We have messed around with different records exploring different musical ideas but always come back to our ska sound.”

On their most recent album, “Dreams Aren’t Real but These Songs Are,” released last year, the group converted Disney songs like “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and “Duck Tales” into ska.

One of the strengths of the ska scene, Robertson said, is the friendships people seem to form just from going to shows.

SubLeg03“It’s a very tight scene,” he said. “Most of the time you can see the same kids at completely different shows with different bands.”

The Disney shows have given them a chance to grow even more and be discovered by more people, the band said.

Ska has also given marching band kids the chance to continue listening to brass instruments or even continue to play them, said guitarist Brian Klemm.

“Ska has turned into its own unique clique that has become really special to the people who have stuck through the scene during its ups and downs,” Klemm said. “It’s something that fans can truly say, ‘This is my genre that I love and cherish.’ Going to ska shows, it doesn’t matter how you look or dress. Anyone can be a part of this scene and everyone will welcome you.”

Despite arguably being one of the biggest bands in the local ska scene, it still doesn’t pay the bills, Robertson said. He said they each have to hold entry level jobs with no room for promotion due to the fact that they constantly take time off to tour. This struggle acted as the inspiration for their 2012 release, “Day Job.”

Robertson said he even had to miss his graduation from CSULB because the band had a tour the week of the ceremony. He has no regrets, though, he said, and neither do any of the other guys in the band.

“The fact that we are still doing this is an accomplishment in itself,” he said.

The group is looking for financial support from fans to help fund their new album. They set up a Kickstarter with a modest goal of $10, but are looking to raise as much as they can, and have until September 3 to do so.

“We are very excited to put out the best album we can, so if we are able to raise more than $10, we will be happy to put that toward the production of the album,” Robertson said.

As of Tuesday, the band has already raised $11,465 toward their new album, proving the dedication of the local ska scene.

Vincent Walker, lead vocalist and CSULB 2006 marketing alum, said the new album, expected to be released early next year, is comprised of all original songs.

He said many of the songs have already been written and demoed, and the band is continuing to write more songs. “It’ll be a pleasant surprise to everyone when it’s done,” he said.

To donate to Suburban Legends’ Kickstarter, click here.