The Scofflaws are a Huntington, Long Island, New York-based third wave ska band that debuted in 1988. Known for their rambunctious live shows, technically proficient horn solos and tight arrangements, The Scofflaws were one of the top third wave ska acts of the '90s and one of the most beloved bands on the now-defunct Moon Ska label, as well as the epicenter and focal point of the once-thriving Long Island ska scene.
The band had previously existed from circa 1984 under the name The New Bohemians, initially with a stronger emphasis on novelty ‘60s, R&B and television-show theme cover songs, bolstered by original ska-oriented anthems such as "Rudy's Back" and "Paul Getty". They sold the New Bohemians name to Edie Brickell in 1988, and regrouped as The Scofflaws.
The Scofflaws early sound was characterized by strong R&B and jazz influences as well as eclectic covers of such songs as Henry Mancini's "A Shot in the Dark", Danny Elfman's theme for Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and a scorching live rendition of The Skatalites instrumental "Ska La Parisienne". Original songs like "Ska-La-Carte", "Nude Beach" and "William Shatner" became cult favorites due to the offbeat lyrics and quirky vocal stylings of bandleader Richard "Sammy" Brooks and trombonist Buford O'Sullivan.
They toured the United States several times, including stints as the openers for Desmond Dekker and Bad Manners.
The band’s large lineup changed often, serving as a springboard for numerous New York ska musicians, as well as sprouting several subsequent groups. Original co-frontman Mike Drance left in 1994 to form The Bluebeats, while bassist Victor Rice went on to found New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble and enjoy a distinguished production career. Several Scofflaws members including Paul Gebhardt and Buford O'Sullivan also played for fellow Moon Ska artists The Toasters, as well as One Groovy Coconut and Royal Roost, and they have often shared members with Huntington disciples Spider Nick & the Maddogs (whose leader, “Spider Nick” Martielli, wrote Scofflaws favorite "Spider on My Bed").
Although The Scofflaws have not released a studio recording since 1998, they continue to perform live gigs in the New York area, and are still fondly remembered by many ska fans as a driving force in establishing the US ska scene in the '90s.