California's Save Ferris are a ska and pop-punk outfit showcasing lead vocalist Monique Powell. Formed in 1995, the group initially came together after the breakup of the punk and mariachi-influenced band Los Pantalones, whose guitarist Brian Mashburn, bassist Bill Uechi, saxophonist Eric Zamora, and trumpeter José Castellaños began working on new material. The group was solidified with the addition of vocalist Powell, drummer Marc Harismendy, and trombonist Brian Williams (aka T-Bone Willy). Naming themselves after the classic 1985 John Hughes comedy Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Save Ferris began gigging around the Orange County area and quickly recorded the 1996 EP Introducing Save Ferris. After selling a surprising 12,000 copies of the EP, the band was invited to compete in a national Grammy showcase of unsigned bands. The band performed well and ultimately flew to New York for the final round, where they caught the attention of a senior executive at Epic Records, who signed them.
In 1997, Save Ferris released their full-length debut album, the Peter Collins-produced It Means Everything. Buoyed by an exuberant cover of Dexys Midnight Runners' "Come on Eileen," the album broke through. The group toured heavily in support, appearing on the Van's Warped Tour and sharing dates with the Offspring, Sugar Ray, and others. Two years later, they returned with Modified, which found the group shifting more toward a pop-punk-oriented sound. The band underwent lineup changes over the next several years, with Mashburn, Zamora, and Uechi leaving to pursue other projects, including forming the band Starpool. In 2003, Powell regrouped a new version of Save Ferris for a self-funded tour that culminated in an appearance at the Ska Summit in Las Vegas. However, by the end of the year the band had gone on indefinite hiatus. During this period, Powell guested on various albums, including cuts by Hilary Duff, Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, and others.
In 2013, Powell re-formed a new version of Save Ferris and began touring. However, her efforts were dampened slightly by several lawsuits with her former bandmates. In 2015, Powell announced that she had resolved her legal disputes and launched a successful crowdfunding campaign for a new Save Ferris album. On the heels of that support, the band co-headlined the Mexico City Ska Fest along with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones in 2016. In 2017, Save Ferris returned with the Checkered Past EP. Produced by Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila, Checkered Past was the group's first album of new material in over 15 years. ~ Matt Collar