Reel Big Fish mounts comeback with CD, tour

Reel Big Fish was a huge influence in the '90s ska scene, and with a nationwide tour and the upcoming release of its new record, the Huntington Beach band hopes to revive its popularity.

In its heyday, Reel Big Fish's "Everything Sucks" peaked at No. 57 on the Billboard charts, staying on the charts for 32 weeks. Its humorous song "Sell Out" became well-known in mainstream venues, including MTV.

Since "Everything Sucks," Reel Big Fish released a number of albums that didn't match its success.

Ryland Steen (drums) said in a phone interview that "Candy Coated Fury," due out July 31, will hopefully be the band's revival album.

" 'Candy Coated Fury' sums up what we feel the sound of Reel Big Fish is," Steen said. "It's this happy-go-lucky kind of music set to sarcastic, sometimes dark and hateful lyrics. But there's always a charming kind of a Sour Patch Kids quality about it."

Steen said the album is dynamic, with a lot of "crazy fast songs," 1980s-sounding songs, ska and punk.

"I definitely feel like it's what a Reel Big Fish fan would be excited to hear from us," Steen said.

Reel Big Fish is known for its humorous and sarcastic songs, which Steen said the album will be full of. However, unlike previous Reel Big Fish tracks, there won't be many "f-bombs" but some of the songs will have a humorous angry, cynical tone.

"It's a great album to throw on and forget about any types of troubles you have for an hour or so," Steen said.

Reel Big Fish is currently on the nationwide Summer of Ska tour, supported by other popular ska acts like Goldfinger, Big D and the Kids Table, and Suburban Legends.

"We're very happy that we can have a ska tour," Steen said. "It's nice to be able to represent a style of music that we love so much."

Steen said Reel Big Fish has headlined every night so far. One of the biggest highlights, he said, was playing the Best Buy Theater in New York City to a sold-out crowd.

"It's crazy because the kids in the ska community are so supportive and love coming to ska shows so much," Steen said. "It's just amazing to be a part of this scene of music lovers who just continually come out to the shows every year."

Reel Big Fish is not the only ska band to release a new album this year. Surf City ska band Suburban Legends released an album in May, and No Doubt will end its 11-year hiatus with the release of a highly-anticipated ska album in September. Steen hopes this is a marking of ska's reestablishment in the music scene.

"I think 2012 will be the rev up to resurgence in the ska scene," Steen said. "I'm wondering if 2013 may be the big year. Hopefully [Reel Big Fish] can help influence a younger group of kids that will start a big uprising of new ska bands in the next few years."

Even if the ska scene doesn't have a revival, Steen said Reel Big Fish will always stay true to their sound and fans.

"It's been 20 years since the band's been together," Steen said. "So we definitely have a very good idea of what it is that the fans like about us, so we always try to stay true to that."

Reel Big Fish and the rest of the Summer of Ska tour will travel to Southern California later this month. The bands will perform at the House of Blues Sunset Strip in Los Angeles on July 26 and at The Grove of Anaheim on July 28.

For more information about Reel Big Fish and to view all upcoming tour dates, visit

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