Dr. (Karl) Stephen LaForge

Last night in Las Vegas, the Toasters dedicated their set at the International Ska Circus to the memory of Steve Hex aka Karl Steven Laforge. Although it was not possible to get the band back to NYC mid-tour we did have the opportunity to bring KSL out here with us. Steve was a massive influence. Not only as a co-founder of the group but also as a key- thinker, industrious, positive and astute. The early sound of the band was largely built around his keyboard stylings before we upsized to the horn-driven sound that characterizes the band today. Along with our gang of fellow miscreants, Vicky Rose and Gary Eye, and then shortly thereafter Messrs Grinnell, Dugan, Reginato and the Unity 2, we managed to create a Frankenstein's monster that rampaged out from the crucible of the lower east side to take over the world. And in fact is still doing it. Steve's contributions to the band are innumerable. In the dark hours of tours most foul his caustic sense of humour and pragmatism were often what kept us going. Steve's chapter in the Toaster's history will be a long and colourful one. But most of all what made KSL stand apart was the man himself. There are few people that I personally rate as being my friends. Steve was one of those. Whenever we saw each other –Steve had the ability to just show up when you least expected him – it was if time had stood still and we simply took up where we left off. That's a rare gift, but Steve was a master at it. Acerbic wit, a black sense of humour drier than the Sahara, and a lot of heart. The world needs more Laforges, not less of them. So here's to you KSL. Wherever you are I'm sure somebody is getting a zinger right about now.

(from band members of the Toasters, a Ska musical group Stephen co-founded)

INRC Conference