Mustard Plug started out in 1991 in the punk clubs, basements, and dive bars of the Midwest, playing punk-influenced ska music before most people in the U.S. had ever heard of ska. They embraced a DIY work ethic that had been ingrained in them growing up in the 1980s hardcore punk scene, and applied it to everything they would ever do together as a band. Mustard Plug self-released their first cassette tape, 1992’s Skapocalypse Now!, and played constantly to earn enough money to record their first album, 1994’s Big Daddy Multitude, which was released on legendary NYC label Moon Records. With their newfound national distribution and exposure, the band climbed into their van and performed their music for new fans across North America.
For their next album they enlisted their heroes, the Descendents’ Bill Stevenson and Stephan Egerton, to record their breakthrough ska-punk classic Evildoers Beware at The Blasting Room. After meeting the crew from Hopeless Records in the beer line at a Descendents show at the Whisky-A-Go-Go, the band teamed up with the then-fledgling LA punk label to release the album to an eager and rapidly expanding fanbase. Released in 1997, Evildoers Beware solidified the band’s own take on the genre, combining the edginess of punk and the danceability of ska with sure fire melodic pop hooks. Through relentless touring and word of mouth, Evildoers Beware sold over 150,000 copies and solidified the band’s position within the burgeoning third wave ska scene. The band even flirted with commercial radio play with their cover of The Verve Pipe’s “The Freshman,” but decided mainstream pop fame was not for them. They never shot a video or commercially released the song despite the radio buzz.
During the first decade of the new millennium, as the media’s focus on ska waned, the band returned to the ska underground, touring constantly and taking their explosive live show further afield to Europe, Brazil, and Japan. While many of their 90’s ska peers went on hiatus or moved from the genre, Mustard Plug doubled down, organizing the hugely successful Ska Is Dead tours from 2004-2009. In 2007 the band returned to The Blasting Room and released their darkest and most critically acclaimed record, In Black and White. The 2010s brought more touring and playing higher profile festivals including Riotfest, Back to the Beach, Amnesia Rockfest, The FEST, Pouzza, Groezrock, and more.
In March 2020, while touring Australia and watching the live music biz fall apart in front of their eyes, it became apparent that COVID-19 would force the band to reluctantly take a 16-month hiatus. Stuck at home, they workshopped material for a new album, expected to drop in 2023. Returning to the stage in the fall of 2021, Mustard Plug shared a newfound appreciation of live shows with their ska-starved fans.
Currently, the band is back on the road, riding a fresh wave of worldwide enthusiasm for ska, teaming up with a new generation of ska bands, and playing for fans old and new. They have now played over 1,900 shows, released 6 albums, and celebrated 30 years of playing the music they love.