lauren stern speaks with the storied ska/punk band …
Formed in the winter of 1992, Inspecter 7 has become a New Jersey ska staple. In the last 20 years, the band has gone through a staggering 30 members before solidifying their current nine-member lineup. This lineup been dominating the New Jersey ska scene by playing in venues all over the state whilst working on their third full length album Escapes And Illusions” out this winter.
Pop-Break’s Lauren Stern spoke with Inspecter 7 vocalist and founding member Giuseppe Mancini recently about ska music, the band’s major influences, and their New Jersey roots.
Pop-Break: Is there any meaning or story behind your name Inspecter 7?
Giuseppe Mancini: We were rehearsing on Welton Street in New Brunswick, [N.J.], and one day the bassist Quincy and I were outside and I felt an itch in my pants. So I reached in my hand and in the back of my pants I pulled out a tag. At that point, we were in the transitional period of changing our name from Agent 86. So I pulled the label out and it said Inspector 7 on the tag. So we pondered on it and we thought it was a cool-sounding name. So when we went back in, we told the band about the name and asked them what they thought and they loved it. We also decided to spell Inspector with an ‘e’ because we didn’t know if there were other bands out there with similar names.
PB: How would you describe your sound to new listeners?
GM: We have a pretty raw street sound. We have two vocalists and we work off each other. We are like the 2 Live Crew of ska.
PB: Who are some of your major influenes?
GM: Toots & The Maytals, The Skatalites, Murphy’s Law.
PB: What is the band up to? Any new music coming out soon that we can expect?
GM: We’ve been recording for the last two and a half years, and it’s been a slow process. We have a new album coming out called Escapes And Illusions. We’re expecting it to come out late 2011/early 2012.
PB: Some of the band members are from the New Brunswick area. Basement shows are a huge trend in New Brunswick right now. Was it the same for you when you first started out or were you playing in actual establishments?
GM: Basement shows haven’t changed since we started. That is how we started. We would play people’s basements. We would play wherever the party was.
PB: What is your favorite venue to play in New Jersey?
GM: The Melody Bar in New Brunswick. The venue doesn’t exist anymore.
PB: Has living in the New Jersey area influenced your music at all?
GM: I’m from down the shore. I’ve lived down the shore my whole life since I was 4 years old. I’ve seen a lot of changes. I’ve written a lot of songs about Asbury Park, because it is the town where I spent a lot of my time. I worked and performed there. Some of my influences are where I’m from. We have a new song called “This Town.” about Asbury Park and it talks about the transition Asbury Park in the next couple of years.
PB: What do you think about the New Jersey local scene right now, especially in the genre of ska? Do you think there are a lot less ska bands out there than when you first started out?
GM: There are definitely more ska bands than we started, because there weren’t many ska bands in the U.S., especially in New Jersey, when we started. I don’t know if its as popular today as it was then. I would say there is so much newer music and different types and that people are into so many different things and not just into to one style. I think it’s great that there are as many ska bands as there were today than before, though. It’s great to have diversity in the genre. When you get different flavors of ska, you get to pick your own flavor.
PB: What has been the biggest struggle that the band has had to face since starting out?
GM: That’s hard to say. I guess the biggest one has been trying to get this third album out. Mainly because it’s not being funded by a large label, or anyone but but ourselves. It just makes more sense to it this way with everything being online today. It’s a lot easier to get your name out there.
PB: I saw that you guys are doing a huge Halloween show this upcoming Saturday. What is your favorite part about Halloween?
GM: Its just the whole mystic about Halloween. It’s just the energy that people get from Halloween. It’s a festive time and a good time to party.
PB: I heard everyone is required to wear a costume for the show. Who are you going to dress up as?
GM: I’m dressing up as a cowboy.
Inspecter 7 plays The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J., this Saturday in a Halloween show with No Redeeming Social Value, TV Tramps, 45 Adapters, and special guest DJ Johnny Y.