Baker Act was a ska-punk band from Gainesville, Florida from 1994 until 2002. During that time, they released several low-budget production as well as songs on local, Florida, and national ska-punk compilations. Fiercly DIY and often comically low budget, they once continued on tour after duct tapping their bumber back onto their van. The band took its name from a Florida law allowing for the temporary institutionalization of youth by police officers. The law is controversial because it gives institutionalizing power to the police beyond arrest without need for a doctor's diagnosis. Originally, the band chose the name after "baker act'ing" a suicidal family member. Over the years, they met dozens of youths who had been abused by the law. At times members of the band were squatting or homeless. This struck a chord between the band and influential bands Crimpshrine and Fifteen. Struggle was the common theme in each person's life and song topics included coming of age, suicide, depression, authority, tradition, and inter-personal relationships. Band members were active over the years in Gainesville Food Not Bombs, United Students Against Sweatshop Labor, SOA protests, 2000 Innaguration protests, and homelessness outreach. Line-up The band featured Matt Camaratta on guitars and vocals, Jon Decarmine (jon doesn'tcount) on bass and vocals, Rob van Hoose (rob redbeard, rob baker) on drums, David Fuss on trombone, Ken Lewis on trumpet and vocals, and Louis Rosen on tenor saxophone. Baker Act's music was unusually diverse, a result of having four strong lyricists in Camaratta, Decarmine, Lewis, and Fuss; as well as song contributions from all members. Origins Although Baker Act began in the mid-90's, the origins of the band reach back into early 1991 -- when later guitar player and lyricist, Matt Camaratta met future drummer, Rob van Hoose. That chance, high-school art class encounter created a long standing friendship between the two. A year older than van Hoose, Camaratta was quiet and introverted. That contrasted with van Hoose's hyperactive style of conversation. Despite their differences, the two shared interests in music, art, and competitive games. They formed a pair in which Camaratta's quiet depth found expression in van Hoose's enthusiastic description. The original musical experiments featured Camaratta on drums, van Hoose on bass, and David Stocker on guitar. Unfortunately, the center of the music was Stocker's extraordinary guitar work; which brought the project to a halt upon his departure to attend Notre Dame in 1994. Rise The time period from 1995 to 1998 was marked by activity for the band. After Matt moved to Gainesville in 1994, he moved to guitar and immediately began looking for a drummer and writing dozens of new songs. The process of finding a drummer was slow in the crowded Gainesville music scene. When Rob followed to Gainesville in 1995, he put the problem to rest by moving from bass to drums. It was also at that time that the project became solidified as a band and took the name Baker Act. The two then began trying out different bass players. For a period, they practiced and wrote as a three piece with musician Steve Clay on bass. This trio never resulted in a live show but had lasting influence on the sound of the original song lineup as Steve brought in influences from much more pop directions - including Ben Folds Five. During early 1996, Jon Decarmine joined the band, permanently filling the position on bass. Jon's presence, enthusiasm, musical ability, and raw energy were just what were needed. Soon after, college dorm floor-mates Ken Lewis, Dave Fuss, and Louis Rosen joined on horns. This was the lineup that became known as Baker Act. Everyone in the band either wrote songs or participated actively in both song-writing as well as each others' lives. The band recorded numerous times, including one EP with Roger Manganelli (Less Than Jake, Rehasher, Moathouse Studios). Decline Across the period from 1999-2001, Baker Act had many prolonged periods of rest. Before, everyone in the band was attending college. However, by this point, Rob had left the university and was working labor jobs to support building a recording studio. First Louis, and later Ken departed the band to pursue other activities. Ken later moved to St. Augustine and wrote for the local newspaper. Jon's presence in the band was also marked by prolonged travels squatting and working his way around Berkley, Chicago, Australia, and Colorado. For a period of time, Rob and Matt played with Dave Fuss on guitar. Unfortunately, organization was spotty and the many songs written during that period are still unrecorded. The band underwent a renewal in 2002, when bassist Jon returned to Gainesville from Colorado. At that time Rob was opening up Red Beard Studios where the band practiced and recorded continually as a trio. The result of those sessions was the eventual recording and release of the band's anthemic Jaded Youth and introspective, Dysthemia. After Despite a rush of activity in 2002, the band was once again shelved indefinitely as bass player and core song-writer, Jon, became busy in a new project, Today Doesn't Count. Currently, Jon plays with ex-TDC guitarist, Sterlo and No More guitarist, Jen, in the Gainesville Liberation Orchestra. He has also recently formed with TDC and Body Electric alumni to form To the Sirens. Rob went on to run Red Beard Studios and recorded over thirty Gainesville and regional bands, including Hoyt and the Hotheads, Jive Turkey, and Dean's on Bass. Rob later went back to school, majored in anthropology, and closed RBS. Today Rob lives together with his wife in Tianjin, China. Matt's toy collection eventually "transformed" into a business and he currently runs one of the largest Transformers™ stores in the world. He is also plans to finish his doctoral dissertation in materials engineering at the University of Florida within the coming year. In addition, together with his wife, Tonya, Matt has become a champion tri-athelete. Louis finished law school and has been carrying on in the great tradition of Louis Rosen. Ken was last seen writing for the paper in St. Augustine. David Fuss was the second to marry, and together with his wife moved to Roswell, Ga. As for the unreleased songs in the catalog, Rob has said it's possible that they will be recorded in the future.