Buck-O-Nine formed in a small warehouse in the early part of 1991. Based in San Diego, the band was on the horizon of a change in the music industry. At the time the catch phrase was “Grunge.” The band was eager to take a different path. With their backgrounds in Punk/Metal bands, Reggae bands and 2nd wave Ska bands, Buck-O-Nine had the formula for what was to become a new mutation of sounds. Inspired by the early founders of this new sound, Buck-O-Nine admired the works of Fishbone, Operation Ivy, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Voodoo Glow Skulls.
By the end of 1992 the band had recorded a demo tape, entitled “Buck Naked.” This was sold at local shows around southern California. The songs on the tape were to become half of the songs recorded on their debut album, “Songs in Key of Bree,” released in 1994. While recording Key of Bree, which was to be self-released, the band caught the ear of their recording engineer, who also owned a small San Diego based label called Immune Records. The band licensed the album to Immune for 2 years. In the meantime they started what would become a relentless touring schedule and continued to write new songs.
After a show in San Diego sometime in the early part of 1995, Curtis Casella, the owner of the Boston based label, Taang Records (at the time home to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones) approached the band. Casella, having just moved his label to San Diego was taken by their choice of cover songs and was interested in releasing them on an EP. In the recording session of what was to become, “Barfly,” the band zipped through the 4 cover songs in an hour with plenty of time in the session for more. They quickly called Casella and agreed to record some new originals. This resulted in the 1995 release of “Barfly.”
With a strong foothold in the new ska scene, Buck-O-Nine toured like crazy across the U.S. and took their first trip to Japan. Soon after the release of “Barfly” local San Diego radio station, 91X, then headed by Mike Halloran, started playing the song, “Water in my Head.” Buck-O-Nine, at the time being involved in a heavy underground scene, was leery of being played on the radio. However, the band felt that its integrity was intact in light of the fact that they had not sacrificed their songwriting technique to accommodate a radio format. So, the band embraced its strange but exciting new success.
Having been added to heavy rotation on 91X, and with the huge support of DJ Mike Halloran, the band caught the interest of some bigger record labels. At a sold out, headlining show at Hollywood’s Roxy theater the band met Tom Sarig, who, at the time, was head of A&R at TVT Records out of New York City. The band found Sarig to be an extremely real and honest person and agreed to fly to New York to meet with the rest of TVT’s staff. After an hour-long meeting with president of the label, the band found TVT to be a fantastic place to help their career grow. They headed to the studio to record “Twenty-Eight Teeth.” The band was pleased that TVT would allow them to continue writing songs they way they wanted.