Mustard Plug, originating in 1991 amidst the punk clubs, basements, and dive bars of the Midwest, pioneered punk-influenced ska music in the U.S. before ska gained widespread recognition. Infused with a DIY work ethic from their upbringing in the 1980s hardcore punk scene, the band applied this ethos to all their endeavors.
The journey began with the self-release of their inaugural cassette tape, “Skapocalypse Now!” in 1992, followed by constant performances to fund their first album, “Big Daddy Multitude” (1994), released on the esteemed Moon Records label. This marked the onset of national distribution and exposure, propelling Mustard Plug to tour extensively across North America.
Their breakthrough came with the ska-punk classic “Evildoers Beware,” recorded by their heroes Bill Stevenson and Stephan Egerton of the Descendents at The Blasting Room. Signing with Hopeless Records in 1997, the album resonated with an expanding fanbase, selling over 150,000 copies and securing the band’s position in the third wave ska scene.
Despite flirting with commercial radio play through their cover of The Verve Pipe’s “The Freshman,” Mustard Plug opted to remain true to their roots. They continued touring, embracing the ska underground, organizing the successful “Ska Is Dead” tours from 2004-2009, and releasing critically acclaimed records such as “In Black and White” in 2007.
The 2010s witnessed the band’s resurgence, touring globally and gracing prominent festivals. However, in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a 16-month hiatus. Undeterred, Mustard Plug channeled their creativity into crafting a new album. Returning to The Blasting Room in January 2023 with longtime producer Bill Stevenson, they collaborated with ska label Bad Time Records to release “Where Did All My Friends Go” on September 8, 2023.
This album, a fusion of melodic dance floor anthems and darker lyrical themes inspired by the pandemic and societal challenges, is a triumphant return to form. Catering to both nostalgic 90s fans and the burgeoning new generation of ska enthusiasts, Mustard Plug continues their legacy with a U.S. tour in support of the album, marking a remarkable 32-year journey encompassing over 1,900 shows.