Reel Big Fish,The English Beat

Besides being most identified as the poster boys for the mid-'90s ska explosion, the members of smart-alecky outfit Reel Big Fish are somewhat infamous for their goofy covers of '80s hits. Frontman/guitarist Aaron Barrett and crew have quite the hard-on for performing send-up songs at gigs or on albums, in addition to their regular repertoire of humorous ska-core. Although they did over-the-top versions of the Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" and Operation Ivy's "Unity," (both of which ended up on respective tribute albums for each band), Reel Big Fish is best known for their rendition of a-ha's "Take on Me," which got the ska-punkers screen time and soundtrack space on the 1998 farce BASEketball.

Of course, we're not forgetting Lita Ford's "Kiss Me Deadly," Metallica's "Enter Sandman," Morrissey's "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful" and at least a half-dozen others. They've even been frequently misidentified on peer-to-peer file-sharing as having aped such tracks as "The Tetris Song" (in reality, it's Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra's "Pedorazu"). So it comes as little wonder that the ska-punk sextet's newest album, Fame, Fortune and Fornication, consists of nothing but covers, ranging from reinterpretations of classic rock anthems like Tom Petty's "Won't Back Down" and Desmond Dekker's "Keep a Cool Head." We're guessing that ASCAP loves these guys.

Fellow ska icons The English Beat—just known as The Beat across the pond—shares the bill.


Reel Big Fish,The English Beat

—Benjamin Leatherman

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