If you've heard a ska band on the radio or live, Tazy Phyllipz probably had something to do with it.
After helping bands like No Doubt and Sublime find their place on the musical map for more than 20 years, Phyllipz, an Irvine resident, is hoping to get something back so he can fund a tell-all book about his musical adventures.
Phyllipz is looking to hire an editor and co-writer for the upcoming memoir. He hopes to raise $35,000, an amount he said may be too high for the positions he is hiring. Through an agreement with IndieGoGo.com, he has to raise the money by Oct. 27.
Phyllipz said that even if he doesn't raise the full amount, IndieGoGo will still pay him what he did raise and take a percentage of it.
"My thoughts behind IndieGoGo were, basically, it would suck to go through all this work to make this happen and have the possibility of not being funded. That wouldn't be good," he said. "At least with this, I'd be able to continue as best as I can, but I'm hoping to raise as much as I can. I'm grateful for every contribution."
Phyllipz said the money raised will be well spent.
"Even though I've been around for a long time, I am sort of still very underground," he said. "However, the stories are golden, and I don't have any bad things to say about anyone or anything. I just want to tell them from my perspective. I've always been collecting stories. I just tend to talk them out more than write them down. But now it's time to write them down."
Dan Regan, trombonist of Reel Big Fish from Huntington Beach, said his band wouldn't be where it is today if not for Phyllipz and his radio program, "Ska Parade."
"Reel Big Fish was just a little club band, and we could always go out and do Tazy's show on the radio," Regan said. "If you were within a couple miles of the station, you could hear a Reel Big Fish song on the radio."
Tbone Willy, trombonist of Save Ferris, also said Phyllipz is a great asset to the ska scene.
"He created a part of the puzzle that helped create a sense of a scene in the early days," he said via Facebook.
Phyllipz said he has never asked for money before and instead has helped the bands purely for the love of music.
"Asking for money has not been an easy thing for me to do," he said. "I usually love being part of the process to help bands. That's just me. I've just always been that way."
Phyllipz, who was originally a jazz fan, said he discovered his love for ska music in his early teens when his brother took him to a Let's Go Bowling concert.
"A light went off in my head at that show," he said. "It was almost like jazz music, but it was syncopated in this unusual style, and the audience wasn't five times my age. That show changed my life."
He pursued this newfound passion during his days at UC Irvine and when he worked at KUCI, where "Ska Parade" premiered during the station's 20th anniversary week in November 1989. The show, which Phyllipz created in documentary style with a montage of sound clips, hosted a variety of ska musicians who later became famous.
"Everyone was part of this thing," Phyllipz said. "You name it, they were part of this documentary, and it was received really well."
After a successful first broadcast, "Ska Parade" was picked up for a weekly show, which had guests like Operation Ivy, the Untouchables, Fishbone, the Toasters and No Doubt. The show is now broadcast on KUKQ in Phoenix on Sunday nights and is a weekly Internet radio show, with Phyllipz volunteering for the show full-time.
"It's definitely been a long journey, and if there was a band that was the epitome of 'Ska Parade,' who was on the show like 16 times, that was No Doubt," he said. "They were one of my go-to bands that I was really into."
He said that while he worked with No Doubt, Tom Dumont, the band's guitarist, introduced him to Sublime. After seeing Sublime live, Phyllipz pitched their song "Date Rape" to KROQ, where he was interning at the time, and the song became one of the biggest songs in KROQ's history.
"I ended up being the middleman working the single and promoting it," he said. "And I didn't get paid for it. … I'm happy that my efforts have, literally, been able to change the musical sounds of the world. People didn't know what ska was. You had to say dumb things like, 'It's faster reggae.' 'Ska Parade' got the message out there. My show was the springboard. I was the eye of the storm."
To donate to Phyllipz's cause, visit indiegogo.com/tazybook.
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