One of my favorite things to do late at night is to be randomly sent down a musical rabbit hole, popping out into Wonderland where everything is weird and the animals talk. I’ve never really done drugs. Instead, I have music.

I particularly like music’s ability to transport me back in time. In an unlikely string of events this evening, I was taken back to 1993.

That year I flew from Harrisburg, PA to Tucson, AZ to attend my first year at the University of Arizona. At some point in that first year of college, I discovered third-wave ska. While not exclusively a west-coast thing, I wasn’t introduced to ska until heading that direction. I attended a concert in the student union, I think I was invited by someone, I can’t quite remember. The band was a smaller ska band from Phoenix, Dave’s Big Deluxe, and they instantly became my favorite band. They were modeled after Let’s Go Bowling, my other favorite band.

I’d go to see these bands every time they came through Tucson, dancing like crazy every show, leaving with my shirt soaked in sweat. I never did get into the scene enough to bother with dressing up for a show. I just liked moving my body to it, the sound of it, the grooves, the horns. These bands just brought it to every show. The sound and energy that came off the stage when they played was like nothing I’d ever experienced before.

I went to every ska show I could, especially my first couple of years in Tucson. Besides Dave’s Big Deluxe (who played Tucson frequently) and Let’s Go Bowling, I got to see The Toasters, Fishbone, Five Iron Frenzy, and Skankin’ Pickle. At least those are the ones I can remember…I might have seen Mustard Plug too.

Anyway, ska music fell out of favor and for whatever reasons, I kind of moved on. I wish I had stuck around and kept dancing.