SKAROUND the World with Josh Coutts # 11 | Epic XVIII
August 3, 2020
In our ongoing series titled SKAROUND the World, we bring you a band from Imperial Valley, California. The band is called Epic XVIII, that’s Epic 18 to you and me.
We’ve all heard the phrase music has no borders. I’ll tell you this… Epic 18 embodies that title, they really do. This band is unique, and not easy to compare. For me, they’re a cross between Los Kung Fu Monkees meets Maddie Ruthless meets The Bodysnatchers. I think the best effort to compare them came from Street Sounds UK. They said “If the Specials had grown up in Mexicali, they would sound like Epic 18.”
Here’s the skinny on Epic 18. They’re a ska-influenced ensemble who are unhindered by labeling their music. They formed back in 2016 after a visit to the local chiropractor. The players: Adam Marquez (Berklee School of Music Grad, HS jazz educator, baritone sax player, and vocalist) began entertaining the idea of joining forces with doctor/bassist, Andrew Martino. The duo found other like-minded musicians Logan Alvarado (music educator, trumpet and vocalist) and Austin Chavarin (guitarist) to create Epic XVIII.
SKA SKA SKA
“I have found myself deeply, deeply intrigued by the ska-punk scene. It’s such an expressive form of popular music, it’s so real, it’s got so much life: it’s the most vital music in the world.”
In 2018, they were invited to perform as the house band for an upcoming TV program called “Later Las Vegas with Garry Bushell.”
Garry Bushell is a British columnist, TV personality, author of biographies (Iron Maiden & Ozzy Osbourne), and former manager of the Cockney Rejects. Bottom line, they worked with an icon that knew what a good band looks and sounds like. Bushell has worked with Second Wave (Two Tone) legends like The Specials and Madness and so many other influential, Second-Wave bands. Bushell really liked them and told them so. The guys were flattered, and said it was an honor to be welcomed into his world.
With less than a week to prepare, the band got their asses in high-gear to have the requested songs locked and memorized.
They were able to perform their hit song “Scarlet Moon,” and the requested songs, “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” and “Enjoy Yourself.” They connected with several hilarious performers including Trump impersonator, John Di Domenico, Mars Roberge (director and writer of the movie “Scumbag”), comedian Shayna Ross, and the tribute band, Led Zeppagain.
They started off 2019 with a bang. They were newly reformed since the taping of the TV pilot, they focused on creating new music with current members Eddie Hester (drums), Eli Moreno-Drew (keys), John Mordasini (trombone), and “Cou, and they followed it up with their second full-length album “II.”
Circling back to the here and now… 2020 started off where 2019 left off, the sky was the limit. The guys did a small run of shows with Fall Risk from Minnesota and then with Madaline from Texas. They were preparing for a Southwest summer tour, and they were working on writing and preparing to record another album. Then it happened, the Covid-19 global pandemic hit them like it hit us all. The short of it is the pandemic derailed their plans.
There has been bits of positive light that has seeped through. In July, they released their 3rd single, “What Comes Next,” which was written by Logan Alvarado.
Like all great bands do, the guys continued to use their downtime to work on new material. As a result, they’ll release a three-song EP, “Hey Girl,” on September 18.
They also plan to spend the next few months focusing on a collection of covers done in their own style. It”l be an eclectic array of sounds coming from covers of song by Louis Prima, Artic Monkeys, Outkast, Weezer, and Guns N’ Roses. It’ll be a volcanic release of sonic vision that will open eyes, and ears.
For now, enjoy their albums because the music is so damn good. You can dance and skank to any of their jams while getting a taste of culture all rolled into one. As soon as live music is allowed, you need to run and catch Epic XVIII and the amazing live shows they put on!