Photo courtesy of Shallow Water

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | May 12, 2021

The upbeat ska band Shallow Water will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a show as part of Live at Murphy Park on Friday, May 14.

Over the two decades there has been personnel changes, but one thing has remained: It’s available to “ska the (crap) out of it.”

“We play mostly covers,” says drummer RJ Rizzo. “We started out back in the day playing original music, and we put out a few records.

“We shifted to doing covers 12 years ago. That’s what people want to hear, and we just want to play. We put our flavor to all covers.”

Shallow Water plays 1980s and 1990s songs and digs up favorites. For example, fans can hear ska versions of the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” the Eagles’ “Hotel California” and Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.”

The band includes singer/guitarist Roger Wiedabach of Ahwatukee, guitarist/vocalist Johnny Baba of Phoenix, bassist Kevin Bowers of Glendale, trumpeter Ed Zubow of North Phoenix, and trumpeter Paul Nolde-Morrissey of North Phoenix.

Music has been in Rizzo’s blood since he was 7, when he started playing the violin. He progressed through instruments and landed on the drums at 16 or 17.

“I was a little bit of a late bloomer for a drummer,” he says.

He calls Shallow Water “a high-energy, fun band.”

“Our horn players do a good job of getting the fans involved,” Rizzo says. “The compliment we’ve received is how much fun we look like we’re having on stage. We have fun with three people in the audience or a thousand people in the audience.”

Besides Murphy Park, Shallow Water plays CB Live in Desert Ridge on July 10 and Tailgaters Sports Grill on Bell Road in Surprise on August 28.

“Tailgaters is one of our favorite places to play,” he says. “It’s a small sports bar, but we’re all westsiders for the most part anyway. We can be on our best behaviors, but at Tailgaters we rip it up.”

Shallow Water

When: 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 14

Where: Murphy Park, Glendale

Cost: Free