When I heard that there was a film called Pick it Up! Ska in the 90s playing at FilmBar in Downtown Phoenix I had to go.
An old Ska kid myself I had snuck out of my parent’s Nashville home countless times to see Ska shows large and small: Reel Big Fish & The Aquabats at a club where kids literally hung off the pipes hanging from the ceiling, The Specials sweat their ass off, The Bosstones rip, and tons of other small basement shows in the late 90s…
FilmBar in Phoenix is a cozy theatre/bar space filled with character and simply put Morden’s film was damn good. Narrated by Tim Armstrong of Rancid I knew this film was here to f*ck or at least “pick it up”.
Pick it Up! Ska in the 90s included a mix of formats that focused mostly on the 3rd wave of the musical genre Ska in the 1990s.
Ska in the 1990s was a musical wave, that for a brief moment in history, crested on the mega beach of Pop Culture then receded shamefully as quickly as it had crashed in the foam of over exposure, dragging a weird Swing phase and a Bosstones appearance in the movie Clueless with it.
Cinematically the thing was beautiful to look at. The interviews were lit well and presented in the deep rooms of recording studios, clubs and stars homes. It featured a “who’s who” of members of Ska bands that defined that Era. And everyone came off cool as cucumber (a testament to the guru behind the camera no doubt) dropping knowledge and anecdotes about their experiences, hot takes and roles during their time in the scene.
The animations were super cool and told the story of the Rude Boys of Jamaica to the modern Hawaiian shirted antics of the later Ska bands that broke to Gold Record levels of popularity.
After watching the film I was determined to write a review and reached out for a press packet to make this article especially delicious for you Darlings.
I was surprised to find that my request was answered by the Director of the film himself, Taylor Morden.
After a brief back and forth- Taylor agreed to do a quick Interview for Rocky.
A hyper creative man of few words, a musician (he played on stage with Reel Big Fish at Back to the Beach Festival this year) and a Pop Culture storyteller…
Beautiful Underground I give you, Taylor Morden:
Where are you located?
What do you do?
I make movies.
Why do you do it?
I’ve always loved movies. Ever since I learned that making movies was a job you could have, it was a dream of mine.
I played in bands for years and years and that eventually lead to making music videos, which lead to making movies.
Who are you listening to right now?
Mostly podcasts, but this year I’ve been loving the Interrupters and the new albums by Reel Big Fish and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
Best Underground hang spot you have been to ?
I’m not telling.
Any advice for the The Underground?
Keep that shit underground. Don’t let it get too mainstream or it’ll get ruined.
What are you currently working on?
My next project is a documentary called ‘The Last Blockbuster’ which is about the last Blockbuster Video in the world.
And where can people find your work?