In their sixteen years of existence, the Voodoo Glow Skulls have an impressive list of achievements. Seven albums, one million records sold, appearances in exotic locations like Brazil and Japan as well as the creation of a record store, record label, recording studio and a music venue attests to the remarkable creativity and energy of the band. Formed in 1988, Voodoo Glow Skulls meshed hardcore punk, traditional ska, tough guitar riffs and the Mexican music of their roots to create the prototype for the West Coast ska-core sound, influencing a wide range of bands from Sublime to No Doubt. Unflinchingly honest, their songs often used humor to comment on harsh political realities – from racial inequity to unrest overseas. Singing in both Spanish and English, Voodoo Glow Skulls’ bilingual musical tradition has been a hallmark of the band since they began.
Titled Adicción, Tradición, y Revolución, the new album is self produced and recorded (in their Dog Run Studios), and contains some of their most rocking, candid music ever. “Adicción refers to our feelings about music, we have hardcore fans who consider our music to be both unique and addicting,” Frank explains. “Tradición signifies the fact that we’ve been together as a musical family for this long, and have not really changed. Also, we have always tried to include our Latin roots in our music, either by writing songs in Spanish or incorporating musical ideas that we grew up with. Latinos have a very strong sense of tradition, and we are very aware of it. Finally, Revolución because we have always tried to steer clear of trends – we are somewhat of a musical revolution in that our music is unique, even hard to copy.”
The core of the band since the beginning has been the three Casillas brothers, Frank, Eddie and Jorge, joined by drummer Jerry O’Neill and Brodie Johnson on trombone. The current line-up boasts a three horn section for the first time in six years. The lyrics are a collaboration between, “Eddie, a notepad and a pen, and myself,” Frank jokes, and they run the gamut, from the hilarious send up of Jerry’s girlfriend on “Dee Dee Don’t Like Ska” to the political commentary in “We Represent”. “Touring in some of the out-of-the-way places we have been, in some cases we are the first Americans they have dealt with directly. The negative feedback on the U.S. government is pretty universal, and disturbing.” said Frank. “Smile Now, Cry Later” is their take on a rock steady song, with a killer groove. “Ghetto Blaster” indicts the corporate music industry and the force feeding of the masses. Every Voodoo Glow Skulls album contains one cover – their latest is a traditional ska version of the Guns N’ Roses classic “Used To Love Her”!
With a list of accomplishments that might make some bands ready to slow their pace, the band shows no signs of slowing down. A full West Coast tour will be followed by a trip to Brazil to headlining the Punk Rock Show festival on Halloween, and another U.S. tour immediately follows. Voodoo Glow Skulls legendary live shows are full of searing horns, grinding guitars and throaty growls – and no one plays super tight ska faster than these veterans. Adicción, Tradición, y Revolución rocks harder than ever – Voodoo Glow Skulls dubbed their sound “California street music” – a perfect description of their high octane mix of rock, punk, ska and hardcore.