Mustard Plug

From the beginning, the Michigan ska band Mustard Plug set out to have a good time. 

Soon after Mustard Plug’s formation in 1991, the musicians and their fans loved it. They grew from small shows to touring around the country in a time when ska music’s popularity was surging. 

“Obviously ska was big around then,” says trombonist Jim Hofer, who joined the group in 1996. “That was kind of the height of the genre in America. There are a lot of bands out there like us that were just doing it because they loved to do it, too.”

Mustard Plug has enjoyed steady success since those days. The collective recently returned from playing in Japan with the Japanese-American ska band Kemuri. In a few months, Mustard Plug will head abroad again to Australia. 

“It is a fun thing to do,” Hofer recalls about touring. “We’re still doing it. We’re still having fun. It really hasn’t lost a lot of popularity in the past 15 years.”

“Fun” is the best word to use to describe Mustard Plug’s sound, Hofer says. The shows are one big party. Mustard Plug plays The Casbah on Thursday, January 30. 

“We’re a party band. Not that all of our music is fun or silly or whatever. We have serious things, too. We’re mostly just a fun party band,” he says. 

Mustard Plug will be joined by The Toasters, one of the first second-wave ska bands. 

“It’s a pretty laid-back vibe,” Hofer says about the tour. “It’s a pretty diverse crowd. 

“It’s a mix of young people, old people, kids of old people who show up. We have parents who bring their kids. The parents are into it and the kids are into it. The kids love it. You have fun.”

Although the band has years of songs in its repertoire, it’s working on writing more to perform. Hofer says writing is a lot trickier than it used to be.

“We’re kind of a part-time band,” he says. “We all have kids and families now.”

The Toasters and Mustard Plug w/Half Past Two, San Diego City Soul Club DJs, The Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, 619.232.HELL,, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 30, $15-$17.