Mephiskapheles on Dealing With the Devil, Gwar's Dave Brockie, and Flying Bottles
Way back in 1991, the men of Mephiskapheles made a deal with the devil to be the most famous band in the world.
But Satan haggled with them, and in the end, they sold their souls just to be famous in the world of ska. "We took it," says longtime trombonist Gregory Robinson. "We didn't have anything better to do."
It's been over 20 years since that fateful pact was sealed in blood. And even after a 12-year-hiatus, Mephiskapheles is bigger than ever -- which goes to show that, for all his faults, at least the devil is honest.
See also: Florida's Ten Best Ska Bands of All Time
Last year, the nine-man crew played Chicago's Riot Fest, opening for headliners Blink 182 and T.S.O.L. Later this year, the band will release a new album. And soon, Mephiskapheles will be right here in Miami at Churchill's Pub, conjuring the spirit of the dark one with hellish horn-heavy songs like "Doomsday."
The band first got together in New York City's East Village. As Greg recalls, "NYC at that time was full of awesome music. All the great jazz musicians were still hanging around. Salsa was happening, reggae, hardcore, metal, punk, a lot of cross pollination. We just kind of fed off all the different influences."
Mephiskapheles also soaked up ska soul from the Specials, the Toasters, and Fishbone. But according to Robinson, there was one outfit in particular that stood out. "The Skatalites played all the time, with the original dudes: Roland Alphonso, Tommy McCook, Lloyd Brevett, Lester Sterling. Those guys were around. You'd just go to the bar and check 'em out for five bucks. And we did that all the time."