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The Slackers Don't Slouch



    The Slackers, comprised of Vic Ruggiero (lead vocals, organ), Marcus Geard (bass), David Hillyard (sax), Glen Pine (trombone), Jay Nugent (guitar) and Ara Babajian (drums) are touring to support their 2010 release, The Great Rocksteady Swindle, and they'll swing by the Belly Up on Sunday.

    The band describes their new record as "gutsy" and "muscular," but this should come as no surprise to Slackers' fans. They have released innovative albums for years and mastered a sound that isn't just reggae-influenced but also ventures into R&B, soul and garage-rock territory. Known fans of the Slackers include late Clash singer Joe Strummer, reggae great Jimmy Cliff, Rancid and the Pogues.

    The Great Rocksteady Swindle -- the band's 12th studio album -- sticks with its tried-and-true, MTV-unfriendly aesthetic. Says singer Ruggiero: Slackers songs may sound lighthearted, but bassist "Marcus [Geard] writes these upbeat songs that sound like they're really positive, but you get the weird impression that they're maybe written by a homicidal maniac."

    Great songwriting isn't the only thing that the Slackers have mastered during their nearly 15-year existence. With three live albums under their collective belts, the band also knows how to put on an exciting show -- and its Jan. 9 gig at the Belly Up should be no different. The Bullets, Social Green and DJ Duke Duel will open. Get your tickets here.

    T. Loper is a writer and photographer for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear.