Mad Caddies - Duck and Cover (Cover Artwork)

Mad Caddies

Mad Caddies: Duck and CoverDuck and Cover (1998)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: JayPorterJay Porter
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I was amazed to see that this album hadn't been reviewed yet. Duck and Cover is, by far, one of the most underrated albums in the ska-punk scene. It's catchy, it's goofy, it's really, really musical... overall, it's an extrodinary album. Duck and Cover was released in 1998, a great year for ska-p.
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I was amazed to see that this album hadn't been reviewed yet. Duck and Cover is, by far, one of the most underrated albums in the ska-punk scene. It's catchy, it's goofy, it's really, really musical... overall, it's an extrodinary album.

Duck and Cover was released in 1998, a great year for ska-punk. Why Do They Rock So Hard was released, and all of the other ska-punk bands out there uttered a collective "dammit" as they listened to probably the first ska-punk album ever that could truly be considered an epic work. Reel Big Fish raised the bar tenfold with the release of this masterful album, and perhaps this bold assertion of their own greatness halped to contribute to ska-punk's downfall. However, several months prior, the Mad Caddies released a quirky little 12-song album that would prove to be one of the best products of the ska-punk craze.

It's not big and in-your-face like Why Do They Rock So Hard, it's not abrasive and beckoningly self-conscious like Goldfinger, it's not detached and reggae-ish like Halfway Between Here and There (and I mention these three because they're some of my favorite ska-punk albums, along with Duck and Cover). In terms of sound, I would compare this album to Turn The Radio Off, but Chuck's lyrics are nothing like Aaron's, and the horn riffs aren't as much catchy as they are infectious.

In short, no good comparison can be made between this album and any other out there (with the exception of the other MC albums...the closest one to this, in terms of sound, is The Holiday Has Been Cancelled). The Caddies stay fairly true to their ska roots, with several traditional, skank-along ska tunes (like "No Hope," which includes a blistering trumpet solo -- trumpet players will find Keith Douglas to be one of the most remarkable and creative ska trumpet players out there). "One Shot," however, is purely reggae, and is an awesome change of pace. Apathetic is straight punk -- think Good Riddance or Sick of It All, or maybe Strung Out. "Medium Unwell" is the token scary song that every good ska-punk album must have (think "Skatanic)... and seriously, the horn riffs are pretty scary. "Macho Nachos" is an accessible punk-with-horns number that was featured in some snowboarding game for PlayStation or something. The Mad Caddies actually enjoy DixieLand music, too, and this comes through on "Monkeys," a goofy, banjo-laced song that will have you saying "are they serious?" when you first hear it. But listen to it a few times -- the trumpet actually really, really complex and awesome in this song...Keith obviously had some jazz training. I can't believe my ears, but the Caddies have actually made a DixieLand song rock.

"Road Rash," the first song on the album, is perhaps the most difficult to describe. My emo-loving friends have scorned it as "circus music" and called it "simple" and "goofy." Maybe that's why I like it. Or maybe it's because the masterful transitions between three-chord pop-punk and goofy ska that compose this song, highlighted by an extremely catchy horn riff, make me want to listen to it again and again. "Econoline" is another one of those awesome ska-punk songs that integrates both standard punk power chords with ska chords and horn riffs, the way RBF does so well. It's one of the best songs on the album -- the chord progression is just soooo nice, especially in the horn part. "Betty" is just standard swing, with a ska twist. I'm glad the whole album isn't like this -- it's my least favorite song -- but it STILL has an awesome trumpet solo! Finally, "Popcorn" is a chill, mellow song with a kickin'-back horn riff that just makes you feel like you're sitting on a beach in the evening.

Exposure is everything. If the Caddies were on MCA instead of Fat Wreck, I am sure that this album would've made them huge, like Sublime/No Doubt huge. Keith Douglass is the most ridiculous ska trumpeter I've ever heard. Chuck writes awesome lyrics and can definitely sing, too. The rest of the band is good; there are no weak spots, although Keith and Chuck tend to overshadow everyone else. The songwriting is awesome, soooo much better than most of the "punk" crap that the major labels are pumping out these days. If you haven't heard the Caddies yet, THIS is the album to get (Quality Softcore is fun but unpolished, The Holiday Has Been Cancelled is also excellent, but is mad short, and Rock The Plank, while a well-written album, doesn't have the goofy, ska-punk charm of this work). The Caddies have a new album coming out soon, and Keith was reported to have said that it sounds the most like this one. That's the best news I've heard since the first time I ever listened to this diamond in the dust. Duck and Cover is exactly the type of album that will make you wish that it was 1997 again. Ska-punk at it's finest.


People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Mad Caddies - Just One MoreNOFX - The DeclineDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeThe Lawrence Arms - Apathy and ExhaustionBad Religion - SufferBad Religion - No ControlNOFX - So Long and Thanks for All theRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever Told

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
mike333 (December 20, 2007)

This is one of the first ska albums that i have liked all the songs on it is really musical with some insane trumpet and just makes you want to sing along over all duck and cover is an excellent album

Wastachuck (March 3, 2007)

Best mad caddies cd. Best ska-punk cd.
RBF can go suck mad caddies doodle....that goes for every skapunk band that isnt the mad caddies.

Anonymous (May 31, 2005)

Wow this Album rocks!!! One of the best Fat-Wreck releases!!!

Anonymous (June 25, 2004)

cult record and a must have! ska punk as it best!

baron_von_tito (April 18, 2003)

i thought the fury of the aquabats was the best ska record out there until i picked this up. best of the best so pick it up

M4CH1N3 (December 3, 2002)

The Mad Caddies' best album. Quality music filled with energy and horns. If you don't mind some good ska mixed with rockin riffs, you won't be disappointed by this.

Anonymous (November 20, 2002)

slapstick... now there's a band that makes me wish i could be older so i could've seem live

i have this cd, it's good, i don't listen to it too often though, the caddies horn section is really goddamn good though

Anonymous (November 20, 2002)

I have this Cd and the Mad Caddies sound nothing like Reel Big Fish and shouldn't be compared to them either, why not try to compare them to more ska-core band, that like the Bosstones or Voodoo Glow Skulls. However "The Holiday has Been Canceled" comparsion was right on. Also Slapstick is the best ska-punk band of all time

waste_elite (November 19, 2002)

i wish i was a pirate...

evildeadalive (November 19, 2002)

Yeah, I was talking about the Canadian band. Kamloops, BC I believe. "I am a pirate, and a pirate's what I am. Hey!"

fallingtopieces (November 19, 2002)

um homey, maybe you should actually listen to the impossibles. They arent exactly the most goofy band out there. The hippos were more light hearted and fun than goofy id say as well (their first album at least, their second was shit)

Anonymous (November 18, 2002)

"Thee Pirates actually kick a lotta ass. If you can find anything of theirs check it out."

Are you talking about the canadian band thee pirates? If so, Rock. If not, I've never heard them.

Duck and cover was a good album. "Why Do They rock so hard" should have been called "Why do they suck so hard". Reel Big Fish is one of the worst bands ever.

For the person who asked where ska would be without the hippos or the impossibles, the answer is simple. The same place it is now, just less goofy. Ska was doing fine for several decades before any of these bands (and that includes reel big fish, believe it or not) And It'll continue to do fine after the remaining frat ska bands realize that it isn't trendy anymore and switch to pop punk.

Anonymous (November 18, 2002)

good band, good record, but nothing spectacular in my opinion. the bosstones do it much better. what about voodoo glow skulls? i also like aaa.

Anonymous (November 18, 2002)

Mad Caddies rock. The review sucks tho. Do you compare every ska-related cd to Reel Big Fish?

Anonymous (November 18, 2002)

This is to the very first post "best ska cd ever created",your standards are very low,cause this not the best ever-oldpunker-

evildeadalive (November 18, 2002)

Thee Pirates actually kick a lotta ass. If you can find anything of theirs check it out.

fallingtopieces (November 18, 2002)

also, id like to add that "pirate core" would be a sick ass genre. Anyone wanna recommend some "pirate core" bands???

fallingtopieces (November 18, 2002)

ive never heard this cd before so im giving it a 7 to be fair or some shit. ANYWAYS, nobody has mentioned Slow Gherkin, Mu330, Impossibles (their earlier stuff was skanktastic), the hippos, or the aquabats. C'mon people whats ska without these bands

Anonymous (November 18, 2002)

no one said ska needs horns so id say the best ska-punk band (besides op ivy of course) would be leftover crack (or the now defucnt choking victim). i was sad when cv broke up but good thing they lived on in loc long live hardcore ska-punk!

4131 (November 18, 2002)

"I have the highest of regard for trailblazing bands like Op Iv and the Suicide Machines." Dude, go check the release date on Destruction by Definition and compare it to Op Ivy's record. There's almost ten years between the two.

Anonymous (November 17, 2002)

slapstick owns your whack ska ass...mad caddies are good, but slapstick was the best

Fuzzy (November 17, 2002)

Oh, and Turn the Radio Off is much more listenable now than WDTRSH is. (to the guy who posted below me), I agree.

Fuzzy (November 17, 2002)

Don't Know How to Party.
Question the Answers.
Both of these CDs have the epic scale that you talk about, but manage to achieve a level of integrity and seriousness that actually makes them relistenable after 5 years. As much as I loved WDTRSH when it came out, it has worn thin (and don't get me started on the new cd). This Mad Caddies CD is good, but to consider it one of the most groundbreaking or best CDs of the 90s "Ska Craze" is sort of insulting. There have been many other bands that were doing the Ska-Punk thing LOONG before it got hot, and are still doing it now. Check out the two aformentioned Bosstones CDs
Big Daddy Multitude - Mustard Plug
either Hard Band for Dead or Dub56 - the Toasters
Chawawaleng - Pilfers
Songs from Suburbia - Spring Heeled Jack
The Times - The Skoidats
Not that your picks weren't good...it just that I see "Ska Punk at it's finest" as being less....goofy. Some content always helps, and as much as I like Monkeys, it wears thin after a little while, and I yearn for something a bit more.

TJmoney (November 17, 2002)

I like turn the radio off more than why do they rock so hard....maybe that's just me???

Anonymous (November 16, 2002)

yo -- this is Jay, the reviewer, commenting on some of what's written below.

First of all, yes, I have definitely heard of Op Ivy, and I concede that if it hadn't been for them, punk-ska would probably not have been what is was (is?). They were momumental, no doubt about it. However, when I said "punk-ska" bands in my review, I used the term wrong. What I meant was recent, 1990s, third-wave punk-ska. I have the highest of regard for trailblazing bands like Op Iv and the Suicide Machines. However, I definitely was making reference to the bands that were part of the late-90's craze. My bad for not making that clearer.

Op Ivy was groundbreaking. When I called "Why Do They Rock So Hard" an epic record, I didn't essentially mean "groundbreaking" (although I think it could be, given the combination of catchy horn riffs, complicated chord progressions [e.g the bridge of Somebody Hates Me], and beefy metal solos, which created a new, fuller ska-punk sound). I think "WDTRSH" is epic because it applied a level of complex orchestration that had never been heard before in ska-punk. Trust me, I love LTJ too, and I love Catch-22, but their sounds are indisputably less full and less compositionally complex. Never have I heard orchestral ska-punk like it was done on "WDTRSH," which is why I call it "epic."

It was interesting that many of the detractors of my review spent more time attacking my comments about RBF and "Why Do They Rock So Hard?" than they spent commenting on my representation of this album. I admit, I spent a little too much time on that subject. But I felt I wrote a lot about the Caddies too... it's not like I excluded the band I was reviewing in their own review to spend time talking about another band. I was definitely reviewing the Caddies here. I hope that came across.

As far as the 10/10 rating: I thought about it carefully, and I decided that even a nine wouldn't be doing the album justice. This is, in my opinion, one of the five or six best punk or punk-related albums I've ever heard. I'm not comparing it to Bach or anything, but in the spectrum of bands covered by this website, I believe the 10 is fair.


krowdsurf (November 16, 2002)

This is a great album, a great band, and a very good review. A bit of friendly advice though...Try not to jizz all over another band when comparing their sound. Especially when that band has as many detractors as Reel Big Fish. The only reason I say that is because someone who hates RBF may be turned off to this album now when in reality the two don't sound all that alike. Good job though.

maverick (November 16, 2002)

Shit, that's tough... Blue Meanies' horn section vs. Mad Caddies' horn section... I'll get back to you on that one.


eyeball_kid (November 16, 2002)

This album is great, but I always skip 'Betty' which sucks in my book.

The Blue Meanies had a better horn section too I think.

Anonymous (November 16, 2002)

and that was one hell of a long fucking run on. sorry.

Anonymous (November 16, 2002)

yes, this along with all their releases (excluding rock the plank, "pirate core?" wtf is that shit.) rock this shit out of me, i mean, classics like "polyester khakis" "goleta" and "preppie girl" are still some of the best shit i've heard, but what about Catch 22? kevin gunther is also a fucking noteworthy (ha ha ha) trumpet player.

Anonymous (November 16, 2002)

the thing that makes this album soooooo good is that while all these songs are good, theres never 1 song that i always skip to or anything, its like the entire album in itself is just a work of art. If this album were missing just 1 song, itd sound incomplete. going from dixieland punk, to reggae, to swing to punk to hardcore and back to ska, its like the whole album to me is just one incredible tune, its seriously just an adventure to listen to, i couldn't quiiiiiite say that any 1 song is like the greatest song in the world, but i would seriously argue that this is one of the best ALBUMS ever released by any band ever

WussEmoRock (November 15, 2002)

I absolutely LOVE this album, it is so damn good!


p.s. these guys should play the ska show in Las Vegas!!!

Anonymous (November 15, 2002)

I really enjoyed this album as it just plain ol ska punk craziness. "Rock The Plank" had more punk than ska. The new song on "Uncontrollable Fatulence" is ok and sounds like a reject song from the "Rock The Plank" sessions.


Anonymous (November 15, 2002)

You kids forgot Link 80. Another great ska/punk band.


Anonymous (November 15, 2002)

i don't listen to ska very much, but i'd have to say that the mad caddies definately put on one of the best shows i've ever seen. their songs sounded incredibly together, everything was just beautiful. if you ever get a chance to see them, go.

GregSka (November 15, 2002)

Great review.. this album does have some wicked ska-punk on it but I too loved the slow ska as well. I hope the new cd DOES sound like this

TJmoney (November 15, 2002)

RIGHT ON! this cd is badass. Losing Streak by Less Than Jake anyone??? That CD shoulda been mentioned along with Destruction by Definition by The Suicide Machines. Big D and the Kids Table too. Anyways the Caddies kick some ass and this cd is the best I've heard from em. Quality Softcore is great too and so is the EP. Haven't heard all of Rock The Plank. Great live show too by the way.

Anonymous (November 15, 2002)

I don't think much of the fact that they are one of the best ska punk bands out right now, but they do have the most impressive brass section I've ever heard.


Anonymous (November 15, 2002)

operation ivy are the best skapunk band hands down. but as for new(or relatively) newer bands, the rx bandits are really good, common rider, animal chin (rip), falling sickness, ...

good old 1996

Anonymous (November 15, 2002)

I would have to say that Operation Ivy, The Suicide Machines and Slapstick all deserved to be recognized as the holy trilogy of ska-punk. "Why Do They Rock so Hard" was good...but I don't think it raised the bar. Fishbone, Bosstones, the aforementioned holy trilogy, all put out equally good/ better albums.

evildeadalive (November 15, 2002)

I gotta go with Quality Soft Core as their best album. More good songs I think.
Why Do They Rock So Hard the first epic ska punk album? Give me a fucking break. Have you ever heard of Operation fucking Ivy?
Comparing the Caddies to SOIA? Sorry but I see absolutely no similarities whatsoever.
Other than that, it was a decent review.

maverick (November 15, 2002)

This is the band's best work, by far. "Road Rage," "Monkeys," "Macho Nachos"... It's all so good!


punky (November 15, 2002)

This is one of the best ska-punk bands at the moment, but take it easy with 10/10 scorings...

pwfanatic (November 15, 2002)

yes, this is by far the best ska cd ever created. duck and cover showcases some of the best trombones and trumpeters ever assembled to make a kick ass ska cd. definitly their best cd. i did a horrible job of praising this album, but mere words can't possibly describe its greatness.

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