Stephen Shafer (aka DJ Duff Guy)

Co-Host and DJ


During the 1990s, Stephen Shafer was the director of promotions, marketing, and production for Moon Ska Records, the leading independent ska label in the U.S., where he played a significant role in making the 1990s ska boom happen. Steve devised and implemented all of Moon’s promotional and marketing efforts, helping to spread the word about Third Wave ska far and wide via college and alternative radio, national music magazines, local/regional newspapers, and skazines. He supervised the production of over 90 albums and produced nine compilations (including Skarmageddon, Spawn of Skarmageddon, and Skarmageddon IIISka United: A Global Ska SamplerThis Are Moon Ska I, II, and III; and Moonshot!), which gave hundreds of Third Wave ska bands their first visibility on the national and international scenes. Steve handled album licensing deals with related labels in Europe, Japan, and South America; created and signed bands to the Ska Satellite budget imprint; and shot and directed the label’s first music video for The Toasters (“2 Tone Army”), which premiered on MTV’s 120 Minutes and was regularly aired on MTV and M2. 

In late 1999, Steve founded 7 Wonders of the World Music, the first digital download-only ska and reggae label, which featured releases from two dozen bands from around the globe, and sold digital music online two years before the iTunes store launched. After taking a few years off from the music industry, Steve dove back in with The Duff Guide to Ska blog in 2008 and began reviewing ska records, concerts, books, and films—and hasn’t stopped writing about ska music since. He also published The Duff Guide to 2 Tone in 2020, which Do The Dog skazine called “An essential read…Stephen’s eye for detail is incredible and his love for 2 Tone oozes from each page.” (Steve is now working on his next book, Calling All the Rude Boys: The Duff Guide to The Toasters, 1981-1992, to be published in 2023.)

In addition to his music writing, Steve used to showcase bands and DJ at his Electric Avenue ska night in Manhattan, before teaming up with Ryan Midnight for the Subway to Skaville shows at Otto’s Shrunken Head in the East Village. For several years, he sang and played melodica as a founding member of Rude Boy George, which still performs ska versions of new wave and post-punk classics.