Here’s Oscar Isaac Playing Bass in a Ska Band in 1996
Before he was Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Oscar Isaac was Oscar Hernandez, a high school kid growing up in Delray Beach, Florida who, like many high school kids, played in a local band. Being the mid-90s, ska-punk was making a resurgence (anyone remember Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake?) and Isaac, a singer, guitarist and bassist, was a big part of the local scene with his bands, The Worms and Blinking Underdogs. Whereas video of most of our crappy high school bands remains buried forever, Oscar Isaac is in a new Star Wars movie, so we did some digging and found video from 1996 of one of his sets at Ray’s Downtown Blues in West Palm Beach.
That’s Isaac in the middle playing bass for The Worms and wearing the classic ska attire of white A-shirt, black suspenders and backwards hat looking like he weighs about 100 lbs. soaking wet. Here’s some backstory on that night from the YouTube comments:
If you notice, their guitarist sits for the entire set. The reason is because she was a replacement for the original guitarist who couldn’t make it for the gig from Miami. She learned the chords for the song in only a few hours thanks to Oscar. The horn section was comprised of kids who played band at the high school that the band attended.
Isaac would have some minor, local success for his band, even, as he told Jimmy Kimmel, opening up for the kings of 90s ska, The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones during a stop on The Warped Tour:
I was in a few ska bands actually. There were a few. Petrified Frogs. Closet Heterosexuals. The Worms and then The Blinking Underdogs, as well…We played on a stage at a festival about five hours before [The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones], but that was a great thing to have on your resume.
Unfortunately, things were not to last long for Isaac and his bands. Here’s a note from Blinking Underdogs in 2001 announcing their breakup:
Hello everyone, Nick here. For those of you who don’t know we are taking a break as of now while Oscar attends acting school at Julliard in NYC. We will be playing on his breaks or whenever we can. Check back here for shows that will be booked in the future.
With Isaac booked for Star Wars movies as long as Lucasfilm wants him, it doesn’t look like either The Worms or Blinking Underdogs are getting back together anytime soon, but you can relive their 90s glory with the video above, and this copy of their big single, “Trailer Park”, with Isaac on vocals. It’s, uh, well we’re just really excited to see Poe Dameron in Star Wars, let’s just say that.