It honestly doesn't feel like it's been more than a year since the music editor of my hometown alt-weekly asked me to "think over" whether or not I wanted to take over the column covering the Denton music scene. I mean, someone in my shoes, who's been reading the music section of the paper for half his life doesn't really "think over" an offer like that. I still vividly recall the first time I inked my fingers on a Dallas Observer—it was the first night that I ever walked the sidewalks of Deep Ellum.
Until recently, though, like last-weekend-on-Commerce-Street, I had never completely realized just how bizarrely connected that past remembrance of the gray pages of the DO was to my current assignment here in North of the Dial. Because, you see, the first time I picked up an Observer was right after my first concert in Deep Ellum, which—may the MP3s in my external hard drive be deleted if I'm lying—was also the first time I was exposed to a "Denton-based band."
Please forgive that lengthy introduction, but until this one-year anniversary column, I'd never managed to think of a good way to rather selfishly and nostalgically mention The Grown-Ups, an infectiously energetic 10-piece Denton ska band that, in my formative local-music-listening years, was a deservedly popular area act and managed to pick up gigs seemingly every weekend.
The band was "fabricated" in 1991 (or, as the band declares on its very neglected Web site, "before 'ska' became a bad word") and broke up in 1996. But when The Grown-Ups were together, the band played a catchy brand of ska-punk that caught on in Denton before pretty solidly catching on in Dallas. I remember seeing them play to packed, pogo-dancing houses at both Galaxy Club and that reggae bar that used to be on North Crowdus Steet, catty-corner from The Bone.
The band's played a couple reunion shows over the years, but that was more than a decade ago. Since then, some band members have kept playing music. Others took jobs at places like ad agencies. In the mid-'90s, Dan Spencer, the band's trombonist, ended up touring with Tooth & Nail Record's ska band The O.C. Supertones. I still remember reading a "where are they now" article about him.
The band's Web site hasn't been updated since November 2004, but its MySpace page is current, though a recent message to find out the latest on the band has, thus far, gone unanswered. But, thankfully, between the two sites, most of the songs from The Grown-Ups' handful of releases are available for free download.
My own choice to download those songs was another thing I didn't have to think over. You shouldn't have to either. —Daniel Rodrigue