Oklahoma Band Q&A: Special Disaster Team

By Becky Carman, For The Oklahoman Published: August 29, 2014
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Where do you take your high school band days when you move on to college?

For the gents in Norman’s Special Disaster Team, the next logical step was a ska band. For just a few days, all of SDT’s ex-pats, now scattered across the country, are reuniting for throwback shows to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the band’s album “Eve of Destruction” and also the band’s 2004 breakup.

After disbanding, several members of the band moved away from Norman for job opportunities. Drummer Brian Stansberry (My So-Called Band), trumpet player Marcus Spitz and saxophonist-turned-bassist Joey Powell (The Shutdown Shutouts) are still local, but everyone else is making the trek specifically for this celebration. People who graduated college in the early 2000s are ready for legitimate nostalgia, so throw on some checkered clothing and get ready: Special Disaster Team is back.

Q: Why ska? What about the genre appealed to you then, or maybe it still does?

Joe McClendon (trumpet): I really liked how happy the music sounded and how silly the bands were when they performed, plus it meant I could play trumpet outside of school band. I don’t listen to it much these days, but I will load up some Five Iron Frenzy in iTunes when I’m feeling nostalgic.

Grant Slater (trombone): Ska was kind of our lifeblood back in the day. It was a brand of music that we could listen to our favorite bands play and then turn around and play ourselves. We felt that it was kind of an escape for us.

Greg Johnson (trombone and vocals): Ska was my entrance into music when I was growing up. It seemed the obvious thing to make the move to playing after meeting like-minded individuals in high school band.

Q: How many times has the idea of a reunion come up ... and why now?

Jake Behrens (guitar and vocals): It’s come up a couple of times, but I think this was the right time for everyone. It’s also been a while since we have all seen each other, so I think a general get-together was most of what pushed it over the edge.

Joey Powell (saxophone and bass): The odds of everyone being in the same place at the same time seemed implausible, so I never really considered it. But when Jake brought up the 10th anniversary of “Eve of Destruction,” that seemed like the perfect excuse for everyone to come back for a reunion.

Q: What were your thoughts listening back to the catalog and relearning all of these songs? Have you been playing since this band, or was there some re-education involved?

McClendon: I sold both of my trumpets about four years ago because I didn’t think I would ever play them again, so I had to go out and buy a burner horn off of Craigslist when we started talking about this last year. I’ve been practicing almost every day for the last six months to relearn our music and prep for these shows.

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IN CONCERT

Special Disaster Team

With: Community Pools and Since We’re All Here.

When: 10 p.m. Saturday.

Where: VZD’s, 4200 N Western.

Information: www.specialdisasterteam.com.

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