Longtime Orange County ska outfit and Disneyland's favorite choreographed band-with-horns Suburban Legends have been looking for locals to open for them at their upcoming album-release show at Chain Reaction. Day Job, the latest from these fun-loving guys, is nearly four years coming, and its entirely self-recorded, straight OC-ska sound is breathing new life into a scene that, by all accounts, peaked 15 years ago.
We sat down with Suburban Legends guitarist Brian Klemm to ask for his and his fun-loving bandmates' thoughts on building their own recording studio, experimenting with pop music and comic-book geekery.
OC Weekly: What are your crowds like when you tour today?
Brian Klemm: There is a good mix of old and new fans. There are a lot of fans who were our fans a long time ago and left when we did a pop album [2007's Infectious] but are coming back because of the new album. We also have a lot of people who hear about us through our Disney performances and now are really into the genre as a whole.
But this new album is bringing back a lot of your original supporters?
Yeah, the one we just released is a pure ska record. . . . Some ska kids are already saying this is their favorite album of the year, and that feels great. We're really fortunate they're giving us another chance and another listen.
Why did it take so long to come out?
We decided to do a ska record and take our time with it, and we feel really good about the fact we did it right. . . . We originally recorded some stuff with a buddy, but we ended up building a studio in our warehouse practice space and rerecording everything ourselves. Our singer [Vince Walker] was getting really into engineering, and that made it easier to do the production all in-house.
Do you think you had to go through the pop phase to arrive back at the ska sound?
Yeah, because it makes you realize how awesome your fan base is and helps you not be ashamed of being a ska band.
Would you say that there is a resurgence going on?
It's not necessarily a resurgence because it never really left, but I think people are starting to care again.
You're all big nerds, too, right?
Yeah, the whole band is, but I'm more of the sci-fi guy. . . . When you look at me, you wouldn't think, “That guy's a comic-book nerd. He's got every season of Babylon 5 and all the spinoffs of Stargate and loves Disney and has his cat's name tattooed on his arm.” But it's true—I have the bedroom of a 40-year-old virgin.
Sarah Bennett is a freelance journalist who has spent nearly a decade covering food, music, craft beer, arts, culture and all sorts of bizarro things that interest her for local, regional and national publications.