Dave Sgalambro
Chris Rhodes, Jeff Richey, Ace, Bucket, Dave Barry and Jah-Son

Robert "Bucket" Hingley, the man who has kept the ska pioneer band The Toasters alive since 1982, says the music is like malaria — "It gets into your blood."

Hingley said by phone from a flooded parking lot in Portland, Ore., that he purchased his first ska album in 1964 when he was 9. "And the music has been with me since then."

In 1982, Hingley formed the first incarnation of The Toasters in New York. At the same time, he created the Moon Ska record label, which was considered the only ska-exclusive label at the time. "Ska is a type of music that has no gray lines. You either like it or you don't. I have been fortunate to surround myself with like-minded people. And their love for the music is what keeps us going.

"We are on a mission — like that scene in the 'Blues Brothers' movie. We are on a mission to educate and make people happy with our music."

With that mission, however, the band feels an added element of responsibility, Hingley said. "We always try to make our live shows the best we can. I have always felt that ska is best experienced live. The records are OK, but to feel the energy, it needs to be seen live."

With that in mind, CDs are still important, he said. "Many people — especially the younger generations — aren't buying CDs. They are buying singles or finding other ways to obtain singles. It's like what it was back in the 1950s and '60s. There weren't huge album sales. There were single sales.

"I watch my daughter log onto all these different Web sites. She downloads the songs she wants and then makes her own compilation. The younger minds aren't wanting to wrap themselves around the concept of an album. They want songs that they like."

So, The Toasters decided to make a new album, which will be released in 2007, based on the singles idea. "We wrote this album a song at a time," he said with a laugh. "We wrote singles and put them together."

A couple of years ago, Hingley closed the doors on the Moon Ska label and formed a new label, Megalith Records. "The recording part of the group is not as important as the live shows. We booked shows and played, and the money we made went back into the live shows. But it is time for us to make an album. And we're ready for it."

If you go

What: The Toasters

Where: The Depot, 13 N. 400 West

When: Monday, 8 p.m.

How much: $14

Phone: 467-8499 or 800-888-8499

E-mail: [email protected]