The Debonaires

Date of interview: 4/10/04
Location: Dave’s house in Riverside People in interview: Dave Sakover, Ryan Tomazin, and Mike Presser

Brent: Tell us how the Debonaires started?

Ryan: Back in the day, back in 95’ when 3rd wave Ska was coming up. It was just a bunch of high school kids getting together trying to play some music. Trying to do something creative with it.

Brent: What were some of your guy’s influences?

Dave: That’s a pretty broad question but mainly for me, its pretty much the Skatalites.The Skatalites are the foremost for my Ska influences. Especially Tommy McCook; Roland Alphonso, Rico Rodriquez. I’m really influenced by the Jamaican horn players and how they interpreted the American style of Jazz and making it their own like Jamaican Jazz.

Brent: Ryan?

Ryan: Mine are Jackie Mitto and even some of the later Ska and Reggae bands like a band called Dynamic Pressure from Santa Barbra. Their keyboard players name was Dan, and I heard a 7inch by them called Automatron and it just blew me away.

Dave: What those guys were doing was bringing back a piece of history. They were so traditional to the point were it would sound something like Studio 1 vinyl or some other kind of 60’s recording.

Ryan: Bringing back Traditional Ska and Reggae was getting pretty big in 95’/96’ and then it kind of died out in 99’. And now its kind of coming back in, but the difference between now and then would be people showing up in suites. Even on hot days.

Brent: Fred Perry’s, Ben Sherman’s?

Dave: Yeah; Fred Perry’s, Ben Sherman’s, Braces, Skinheads, Mods, Rude Boys.

Ryan: It was all about respecting each other too.

Dave: Speak the truth Ryan, speak the mutha’ fuckin truth.

Ryan: (Laughing)

Dave: We always respected people; other bands, other styles. We never really went to the 3rd wave Ska shows and the Punk/Ska shows though.

Brent: What were some of your favorite places to play at? Venues/Cities?

Dave: I’ve always liked to play in our home town. You know, bringing our friends this style of music. It feels good to play in front of people like you Brent. I like playing in my home town like any other band would.

Brent: Ryan?

Ryan: Riverside is number one. San Diego; San Francisco definitely.

Brent: How many line up changes has there been in the Band?

Dave: (Laughing) Shit, that could take us all night. We probably had 4 or 5 members come and go.

(Mike Presser of the Debs quietly walks into the room.)

Dave: Mike, what the hell are you doing? Come over here.

Brent: Hey Mike, what do you play?

Mike: I play Lead Guitar.

Brent: Cool man. Ok, here comes a hard one. What makes the Debonaires sound so different from all the other Ska/Rocksteady/Reggae bands of today?

Dave: We just do what we do and interpret the music.

Brent: Just doing your own thing?

Dave: Yeah, we don’t try to sound like other bands and try to emulate other sounds. I mean we do try to emulate the Traditional sound but not bands that are current today.

Brent: Any plans for Ska/Reggae festivals in the near future?

Ryan: Yeah, we’re playing the Victoria Ska fest in Canada coming up in the summer.

Mike: We’re also playing the One Love Reggae fest in Vegas. I think Frankie Paul is headlining that show, so it should be pretty cool. This will be our first actual Reggae fest.

Brent: Tell us about last years Ska Summit in Vegas?

Mike: Ska Summit was a really good show. It was cool to see so many people there to see Ska. Just when you thought it was dead and know body listens to Ska, it shows that people will come out of the woodwork to support. That was awesome.

Brent: What were some of the bands most memorable moments?

Dave: Playing with Phyllis Dillon; the Skatalites, Justin Hinds and the Dominoes, uhhh……

Ryan: Laurel Aitkin.

Dave: Yeah! Oh man….just playing with all the bands that meant so much to us. Meeting them for us was like meeting the Beatles. Like every time we play with the Skatalites, I don’t even know what to say to them. What do you say to someone who created a whole genre of fuckin’ music?

Ryan: Same for me. Being able to perform with some of my influences.

Brent: What makes current singer Kip Wirtzfeld different from old singer Tony Green?

Dave: Tony had a unique voice and was a really good friend. Kip is the same way. He’s a really good friend and has a unique voice. Both were really great singers and we were very lucky enough to have them both.

Mike: Having Kip in the band is cool because he’s a little bit older than the rest of us and he has experienced Ska and Reggae more than any of us.

Brent: More Knowledgeable?

Mike: Definitely more knowledgeable. He brings a whole other aspect to the band. And he plays saxophone and he’s amazing with that too.

Dave: He’s got a mini-bar. (Laughing)

Mike: Yeah, he’s got a nice mini-bar that we take on the road and in the studio.

Ryan:: We do a lot of drinking.

Brent: I can see that.

(Everybody in the room burst out laughing)

Brent: Are there any bands out there right now in the scene worth watching?

Dave: Yeah; the Sandollars, Hepcat, Chris Murray, the Aggrolites. Even some of the bands in the IE like the Guilty Parties and La Banda Skalavera etc.

Mike: See Spot; the Aggrolites, and of course the Skeletones. The Skeletones have been playing a lot lately and they always make you move.

Brent: Any plans for future releases/compilations?

Ryan: We’re working on a masterpiece right now as we speak.

Dave: We shouldn’t talk too much about it. We’re definitely working on something though.

Ryan: Were putting a lot of time; effort, and money into it.

Dave: Blood; sweat, and tears.

Ryan: Yeah, we’re just working hard. We’re putting all of our savings into our music. Staying up all night, going to work at 7 o’clock in the morning. We’re just doin’ it.

Brent: Do you have a website? Can you introduce it?

Ryan: Yeah, its

Brent: Any last comments you would like to add before we wrap it up?

Dave: Keep listening to good music and keep the fuckin’ scene alive! Don’t let that shit die. We love playing this music and we’re going to do it till the day we die.

Ryan: It’s all about the music.

Dave: We’ll probably die pretty soon because we drink so much. (Laughing)

Brent: Overdose?

Dave: (laughing) Yeah maybe we’ll sell a few records before we die. Heh

Brent: Thanks for doing the interview guys.