The Prairie Dogg skanks it up with the Ska-dfather himself, Bucket Hingley of the Toasters.

Ska-let Fever 

The Prairie Dogg skanks it up with the Ska-dfather himself, Bucket Hingley of the Toasters.

The Prairie Dogg finds the dirt on Sugar Ray, a Venezuelan coup and the longest tour ever with Robert "Bucket" Hingley of the Toasters.

PD: How long have you been on the road?

RH: It's been 23 years now. We'll play our 4,000th concert this year. Which averages out per year to ... well, that's something for the punters to figure out.

What are the best cities that you've played?

Everywhere is great, but some of the places that are most gratifying are those places that haven't had the opportunity to experience ska before. I like going to the Eastern Bloc countries, like Hungary and Serbia, because you're breaking new ground.

Aren't those the most dangerous places?

There is a bit of that. Last time we were in Croatia, there was still shooting going on. We were in Venezuela for the [Hugo] Chavez coup. We always had a good time behind the Iron Curtain.

Isn't it a little sketchy playing in war zones?

As a musician, people don't really bother you, because you're a goodwill ambassador.

Nearly forty people have been a Toaster at one time or another. Do you keep track of everyone?

Some people have disappeared off the face of the globe. A couple are in Sweden. A couple are genetic engineers. One person works for the EPA ... they're all over. Even I will be moving soon to Spain with my wife and kids.

Does that mean retirement?

I have no plans to stop working. When you're sitting on a bus in Santa Fe, you realize it doesn't matter where you live. The band has a global reach. You can do everything these days with the Internet and a plane.

Are you glad that the popularity of ska has subsided from its mainstream peak in the '90s?

The water got really muddy. It was like being on a farm and all the animals rush for the feed bucket. It was a little disgusting. But ska is coming back now stronger than ever. The bad bands have been weeded out. They became swing bands or Sugar Ray.

How many times have you been asked if ska is dead?

Quite a lot. But people who raise that question don't understand the music. Ska refuses to go away. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't here. It's a tough beast to kill.

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