Back again, once is the incredible…yes, it’s true — The Suspects are back & rejuvenated. Hep, hep, hep… The band broke up for several years there, after nearly a decade of full-on old-school ska, and man, was I bummed. The band had hit some rocky points, due to some personnel shakeups and a general lack of time, and back in 2002 they decided to call it a day — it was a sad day for the Houston music scene and ska in general, in my book. While they were with us, The Suspects were — and are still, but I’ll get to that — Houston’s greatest ska band, and probably even Texas’ greatest ska band, too. They survived a heck of a long run and a bunch of personnel changes — since I first saw them way back in college, they’ve gone through three horn players, a singer, and a bassist. Even now, I still have a hard time conceiving of the band without Charlie (ex-bassist), Andy (ex-saxophonist), and Hunter (ex-trombonist), but the band remained freakin’ incredible throughout the changes.
I have a feeling the band’s first two 7-inches are way out of print, at this point, but you can generally find a few copies of their lone EP, Panic Button! (on Jump Start Records), and their 3 full-length albums (the decent Ninety-Nine Paid, the more recent and absolutely great How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Ska — love that title — and the final album, Lost Along the Way, which is pretty damn cool, too) at SoundEx, Soundwaves, Cactus, and a couple dozen other stores in Houston and beyond (and now, I’m told).
They also appeared on a ton of comps, including the first-ever comp of Texas ska bands, Texas Ska Volume 1, put out by those cool folks at Pinche Flojo, the Spawn of Skarmageddon comp, the We Plead the 5th comp, and the European-only comps Ska-Attack 2, Kob vs. Mad Butcher, Ska Chartbusters, and Skanking The Scum Away (I’m sure it makes sense in German). I never got to hear it, but I’m told there’s also a 3rd 7″, out on Mad Butcher Records in Germany, called Spare Me The Details, which sounds cool (just wish I could get a copy…). There were rumors of a Suspects/Middlefinger joint release, but I don’t know if anything ever came of it.
Even before the demise of the band, everybody seemed to be playing in a half-dozen other projects: Jason’s also in Middlefinger & sometimes 30footFALL (he was swapping bands with drummer Claudio for a while, who was filling in on drums for Middlefinger); Aaron’s now in Secret Agent 8, as is long-departed Suspects singer Chris Kendrick; singer Thomas now fronts the awesome Clouseaux, along with bassist Jay (also in Middlefinger), Claudio, and trombonist Ryan; and ex-bassist Charlie and Claudio were in The Magnetic IV for quite a while, and are now apparently doing something called The Dragstrip Brothers. Scary, eh?
Now, for the good news: as I hinted at right there in the beginning, after doing a couple of all-hands-on-deck reunion shows over the past few years, the Suspects finally decided to give it another shot. And that is good damn news. They’ve been playing sporadically since the re-up, and on top of that, they’re even writing new music. Hoo-ah. Here’s hoping they stick around…
- Tonight: The Suspects, Making Old Brand-New Once Again Up at Walter’s
- Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Chase Hamblin & The Roustabouts (Rev’d!) + Murder the Stout + Clouseaux + The March Divide + More
- Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: When We Ruled H-Town Pt. 2 + Jaill (MP3s!) + The Coathangers + White Linen Night + Houston SunBurn + More
- Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: When We Ruled H-Town + Sing Your Life + RACES (Rev’d!) + More
- Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: The Eastern Sea (Rev’d!) + Young Mammals + Belle Manoir + Fat Tony + Close Your Eyes + More
- Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: The Suspects + Blaggards + Houston Free Thinkers + Tyagaraja + Folk Family Revival + FlyFest + More
- Yr. (Late) Weekend, Pt. 1: The Skatalites + Clouseaux + Laura Stevenson + Square and Compass + More
- Yr. Weekend: Quintron + FPH NYE Cataclysm + CSMDP + The Suspects + Bonanzarama + More
- Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2/3: Roky Moon & BOLT! + 30footFALL + The Handsomes + More
- Yr. Weekend, Pt. 3: Via Colori + Katz Coffee Porter Party + Indian Jewelry + Folk-Punk + More
- The Wild Moccasins
- The Literary Greats
- Scale The Summit
- Muhammad Ali