Hear this – Ska, Rocksteady, Blue Beat, Dancehall, Dub, Roots, Steppas, Lovers, Bashment, Pop Reggae, Ragga and all fusion formats are represented by Eyeplug’s comprehensive reggae pages.


Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Reggae 0 Comment

The Dub Rifles Interview

The Dub Rifles were a Canadian underground band based in Western Canada in the early 1980s. The band took R&B forms (soul, funk, ska/reggae) and merged them with a variety of “punk” attitudes and sounds. After releasing a couple of extended play 45s and touring steadily for a couple of years the band relocated to Montreal and quickly came to a crashing halt. Now, thirty years after their final gig at Toronto’s famed El Mocambo club Sundowing Sound Records has released a collection of their studio and live recordings.

01. Where did the name Dub Rifles emerge from?

The name came from the idea that dub is head music and I sort of tied it to a “shooting for higher consciousness” theme. I was young and looking for answers basically I think. It seemed a good idea at the time. It was years and years before someone else came up with it and now a reggae band from Uruguay uses it. I’ve never contacted them about it. I should though coz I have a bit of a weird fascination with the place. Maybe they’ll invite me for a visit!

02. What was the local Winnipeg music scene like in late 70s and early 80s?

Dismal. No style. The same as everywhere else pretty much. The geographic centre of North America (where Winnipeg is located) is/was as you would expect pretty much – full of pickup trucks, baseball caps and bad moustaches in an attempt to “be a man” and the rest. Back then there also seemed to be a lot of emphasis put on being a “good player” and all that muso crap as well. Terrible times really wasn’t it? And yet those types of bands, that attitude and lack of style persist even today. Shocking really. The stories of being chased or threatened because one didn’t look every other member of the Eagles are pretty much true. I imagine you remember the “threat” of punk rock the media/corporations created. Pathetic. Of course we’re now over-run with hipster douche bags and wanna-be gang bangers. (Yawn)

03. How did the band come about and decide on that final format and line-up?

I’d been playing music in teenage bands and all that since the tail end of the glam rock era as it evolved into what became known as the “punk” scene. After one of those initial local scene bands called it a day I became acquainted with our bassist Clint through a mutual friend (Jimmy “Vendetta” Green) who went on to play in a fairly well known band from here called Personality Crisis. (Check out Chris Walter’s bio on them here). We started messing about, introduced another pal who wanted to play sax and tackle a bit of reggae/soul and we were on our way, um, somewhere. It wasn’t too long before we’d added a second horn player, maybe a half-year or so.

04. What were your all listening too at that time?

I was trying to recall all this as we put the compilation together and remember very fondly a tape we had on permanent repeat in our rehearsal space that featured quite a bit of the Temptations psychedelic stuff, the Wailers Rasta Revolution record as well as various Motown and late 70s punk/revival things. As a band we only ever learned a couple of covers that stuck around, and they certainly reflect our listening choices, which were “Gabrielle” by the Nips and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” by Guns for Hire who many will recall as morphing into the great Dept. S.

It was a very exciting time in music and the rise of independent labels from Chiswick to Rough Trade released countless things we liked. We can’t forget too the downtown New York thing that was home to so many fantastic funky and arty things like the Raybeats, Contortions, James Blood Ulmer and all that. And yeah we did listen to a boatload of reggae and original ska stuff like Bunny Wailer, Burning Spear, Dillinger, Skatalites and more. Matumbi and the first couple Steel Pulse records were really big with us. This was around the time too that the Intensified and King Kong comps were out as you probably remember. They also got many listenings.

05. How much did other styles of music and other scenes from abroad influence your outlook and sound?

As I mentioned the scenes elsewhere were pumping out tons of great things but we also grew up when radio wasn’t as completely controlled as it is now. So there was lots of stuff from pop and soul to country on the radio. We dug all that. I mean obviously it wasn’t all good and it was certainly deteriorating rapidly. A local radio friend of mine recently commented to me that its basically three guys in Toronto currently dictate what gets played across our country. No regional flavour at all anymore basically. Fucking tragic. The thing with being from a place like Winnipeg – even though it has a population of three-quarters of a million people – is that it has never been a media centre so we’ve almost always “imported” some influence or another – or been accused of importing it! That’s the way the world works though isn’t it. I mean the original mod scene wouldn’t have been what it was without the Ivy League style, the Italian scooter and American R&B would it?

Having said that though a couple of things that sprung up out of here – that could only really have come from here – remain one or two of the my greatest musical/artistic influences. And they certainly affected the way I approached music and life as a result. If you haven’t heard, Canada has an incredible inferiority complex. The US influence is huge but we also grew up singing “God Save the Queen” in school and our national broadcaster (CBC) has usually had an, or at least did when we were kids, assortment of British creations in its line-up. The point being basically that as Canadians we usually get accused of “aping” somewhere else when in actual fact there have been some incredibly original creations artistically. One review of the Dub Rifles in Tony Fletcher’s Jamming all those years ago basically said as much. He was wrong. Sorry Tony. I mean, and this is no offence to Tony, and I’m saying this sarcastically and not quoting his review directly but y’know, “How could any of those poor lumberjacks in Canada possibly come up with anything etc…” Fuck that. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the filmmaker Guy Maddin? He’s one of the scene guys who has done very well and is recognised for bringing something a bit special to the party. Musically it’s happened as well.

06. What type of equipment did you have access too?

You mean like the coconut phone? Kidding. We had and still have some great studios here. Guitars, drums and the like, especially back then, were often available for a great deal at a pawnshop or in the local “Buy and Sell” rag etc. Gear (cough) never a problem my man.

07. What were your studio forays like, a good or bad experience?

Uh, shall we say, inexperienced? Good but inexperienced. The idea of doing some demos really never crossed our mind too much. This was before the 4-track recorder was out and we just kinda figured, y’know, go in, bang it out and voila! So we did. Studio time was also pretty expensive so we made it work the best we could. We had a great guy for an engineer, named Howard Rissin. He went on to do a number of big Canadian things including the Irish Rovers! He owes us I think for helpin’ him to learn the ropes. Don’t you think?

09. What about live shows from around that time, anything that stands out?

You mean like being hit with human excrement? Ah, yeah, there were some real interesting moments.

Our local venue – at least where we made a name for ourselves – was a place called the Royal Albert Arms. Anyone who toured across the country at that point – and later – played there including the likes of Husker Du, Urge Overkill and countless others. When we began playing there the owner was a decent guy who cared about and invested in the place. We used to play six night stands there and make decent money. After it changed hands it didn’t fare so well and became a kind of a CBGB’s of the west. Frankly you can stick that. I mean really, who wants to play some place where the toilets don’t work and you get threatened working the door. Not me. Fuck that. Anyway it’s up for sale now and who knows. Been closed a couple years and unlikely – in my opinion – it can be revived to a decent sort of place. The old “Albert” and another about a hundred feet from the place called Wellingtons were both plenty packed out many a night back then. No bloody video games and computers keeping the kids indoors.

In terms of gigs for the Dub Rifles outside of that venue we did open a few nights for the mighty Steel Pulse and that was a complete education. I have no idea what they thought of being in some bar in the middle of Canada back in the very early 1980s but for us, and the crowd there to see them it was just unbelievable. They were super nice and just fantastic to see. If you passed them a spliff you could be sure it wasn’t coming back.

The other lot we played with one time was the Angelic Upstarts. I doubt we were very good at the time but they had Paul Thompson of Roxy Music on drums. I couldn’t believe it. I made some comment to him about some Commie hall in the North End of Winnipeg being a long way from Madison Square Garden. He told me they were buddies so he was doing the gig. Nice. But I also learned later, and was standing there when he was talking to Mensi and never even twigged, that Tony “Feedback” Morrison was the bloody bassist! Had I have realised!! I’ve talked to him about it a number of times now and thankfully he doesn’t remember us, ahem, but y’know, small world.

We also played quite a bit in Toronto and that was a lot of fun. We chummed with a band called Blibber and the Rat Crushers who were a punky bunch with a drum machine – named Blibber. We just thought they were the best. Tons of fun they were and the Queen Street scene in Toronto back then was hopping with bands. After Toronto one of our favourite places was Halifax on the East Coast of Canada. We played the art college there and some other joints a few times. We also misbehaved quite badly out there and it lead to a rather expensive Rickenbacker bass being smashed against a mirrored pillar on the dance floor and as a result our immediate firing from a gig that we really needed to get paid for so we could get to the next bloody one!

10. The collection of NO TOWN NO COUNTRY is just being released, can you tell us about the project?

I was approached by Chris who runs Sundowning/Dub Ditch Picnic Records here who I’ve known for a number of years about maybe reissuing the original Notown EP and I told him I personally wasn’t so keen unless it could be remixed and that I would prefer to do something a bit more expansive considering there was some decent stuff sitting in a box somewhere. He bit and so my pal/band mate in our Driving Wheel R&B project Lloyd Peterson – who just happens to run a studio and be a top-notch engineer – was my first call. He’d been after me for years to get at the two inch tape and save it so we did that, found and saved some decent live stuff, re-EQ’d the second EP from vinyl – because the master tapes ended up somewhere in Jamaica to be re-used. Sigh… Uh, and so once we got all that together, got my old Mohair Sweets ‘zine pal Ron White to do some graphics and Chris came up with the cash – bingo! So far so good. I think some of the people who had maybe heard the name but not the music are pleasantly surprised. See full eyeplug review here!

11. What types of day-to-day challenges did you have to face up to?

Back then with the Dub Rifles? Sheez. Getting enough cash for gas and food to get us to the next gig mostly. In town here it wasn’t an issue really. Rent was cheap back then and a part-time job often was enough to get one through. The problem with having a band on the road back then that played original stuff – that we didn’t encounter in our hometown – was that gigs were often just the one night so the money didn’t match up to expenses. Thankfully my old man invested a grand or so in an old half-size school bus we converted to a decent touring vehicle. Gas was cheaper then – thank god – and as long as we weren’t doing the twenty-plus hours to Toronto too often it was all-good. It should be noted he never got his money back but I think it provided the folks back home with some sense of relief knowing we at least had a roof over our head – of some sort anyway.

Of course we did have to deal with the whole “punk rock bad” thing as well even though we didn’t sound anything like they expected we would once they finally heard us.

12. How were you treated by your record labels, the industry and local media that you worked within at that time?

Well we were the record label so if there was any money we immediately bought spliff. That was nice of us.

The industry, such as it was in Canada back then, didn’t have a clue. They were just a bunch of holdovers from the early 70s in their handle bar moustaches and cocaine dreams. Take a look at the Canadian charts back then for a laugh. Complete fucking rubbish. College radio was and still is the only real support independent acts get. Sadly it pays nothing in terms of royalties. CBC (our national broadcaster) provides some support but really folk/roots is their bag typically. CBC did play us a bit back then and the New Music program on national TV did a piece on us once – near the end of course. I was completely fucked in the head by the time we did that. Not pretty.

The local media was largely those same Genesis loving twerps running the record companies apart from maybe one or two. It wasn’t until our age group started graduating into those positions that our scene grew to gain a hair of respect.

13. Where are they all now and what are they doing?

One in Montreal, three of us here in Winnipeg and now one in Saskatchewan. It was years before I talked to the drummer (residing in Montreal) though the sax man Matthew and I saw each other quite a bit over the years because I lived not too far from him in southern Ontario for a time. We all play a bit here and there though Matthew has since replaced the tenor sax with the bagpipes.

14. What about a few re-union shows, you only live once after all?

Problems are distance, time and money. We tried about a decade ago but the initial rehearsals ended in a fistfight so it was laid to rest. If someone wants to stump up a few grand I suppose it might happen. Separate corners please! Might have to get a pound of weed in though to get us tuned up as it were. If one thing is true about the Dub Rifles it is that we LOVED our weed.

15. Can you tell us a joke please?

Steven Harper and the current Conservative governments environmental and energy policies. Sadly it’s just not very funny.

Photos: Carmen Arndt and Assorted others (please feel free to contact us for a credit)


Sundowning Sound Recordings:

Canadian Music Encylopedia entry: 


Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 23, 2014 By : Category : Articles Features Front page Interviews Modernist Post-punk Reggae Tags:, , ,
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Dub Rifles – No Town No Country

The Dub Rifles were a mixture of modernist power pop, ska, punk-funk  and garage soul band, formed in 1980, in Winnipeg Canada. The original members were lead singer/guitarist Colin Bryce, drummer Eloi Bertholet, saxophonist Matthew Challenger and bassist Clint Bowman. A year following their onslaught, a second saxophonist, Dave Brown, was also added. After completing three EPs, the Dub Rifles reached the end of their line in 1984.

Colin Bryce (a.k.a Mohair Sweets and Eyeplug key writer)  has lovingly re-visited the original mster tapes (wherever possible) old vinyl (where impossible) and some vibrant sounding live shows mainly from Montreal cicra 1984 to glue together this rather astonishing until now hidden treasure trove of songs that provide a sterling snapshot of the rampant widespread influences that mashed together to re-surface in these fine forms herein. BUY A COPY HERE


The Dub Rifles kick off this collection of rare as hens teeth recordings taken from 1981-1984 with an upbeat corker that displays curt interplay between brass, guitar, bass journeys and solid-as-you like drums, this version being lifted straight form the master tapes which helps set the tone.

Track Two – STAND

A choppy, catchy brass riff with slow chanted vocals of ‘are you ready’ and moody booming backing grind and drive this one along and no wonder or real surprise that it was quickly snapped up for a Trouserpress/ROIR ‘Best of American Underground collection at that time – not bad for a Canadian outfit!


Another moddy-powerpop classic in the making, jaunty arrangement, with Bowmans’ bass and Bertholets’ drums squeezing in more explosions among that solid Bryce guitar sound and the dual brass glory from Challenger and Brown. Just teeters on the edge of collapse yet strangley makes sense at the same time.

Track Four – MINE

One of several live recordings taken from Montreal circa 1984, ‘The sun sets in my street and I just choose to get on home’ saw the Dub Rifles venture further into modernist pop perfection with thoughts of even bringing in names such as Georgie Fame to assist on production duties during a studio trip to Toronto. We can only guess at how that would have played out!

Track Five – X

Really cannot get enough of this our fave standout track from this wonderful bunch! A seeming Motown/garage post-punk that is more catchy than a wicket keeper and lingers like a hot n spicey meal. A dark yet uplifting ode to those testing times in life in all of the ups and downs. Deep, personal and yet universal. Well crafted, well played and as we say here: toppermost. Artful, heartfelt and sincere, this really is a lost classic.


Free and scratchy funky-soul motion with a no-wave twist that digs at one of the big creative issue that won’t ever change, art versus cash! Remixed deftly by Colin Bryce from the master tapes and serves as a sublime snapshot form this entire era in terms of sonics with that James Brown meets MC5 glow.

Track Seven – TESTIFY

Taken from the BOOM E.P. A no nonsense, what you see is what you get, garage soul blaster. You can almost still smell the  fish soup, weed and patties from the room above the reggae record store that was HQ at the time.

Track Eight – CAFE OF THE FOR

The Two Tone influence is evident here, that mixes with a big punky guitar sound that somehow works against the lyrics of alienation, tedium and the like. Nifty brass stabs build and drift against the wall of sound from the guitar, bass and beat. Live and direct from Montreal 1984!


‘Bomb’ being a hand-drawn character from the sleeve of the first EP, etched into the Bryce imagination dancing on the death of Politics as we know it. Wild sax from Dave Brown ply against Clint Bowmans’ throbbing bass lines with Eloi Bertholet holding it all together with his fine skin-work and proves time and again on this collection that some drummers can also sing! Nice controlled feedback and flourishes from Colin Bryce on guitar and for some odd reason this somehow reminds me of a certain Boris the Spider???

Track Ten – FACE UP!

Another live treat form Montreal ‘84, tight and vibrant sounding, a band really at their peak with everything falling into place yet not sounding over-played and bland. The powerpop punky-funk spirit is alive and kicking here for sure! The balance is just prefect!

Track Eleven – TESTIFY (Live)

Another live alternative workout form Montreal ‘84,  with nice high energy !

Track Twelve – PUNCH

Rolling tom toms and floating  and whooping sax lines underpin this steady mid-tempo affair then at 2:20 all hell seems to let loose, nice!

Track Thirteen – PRODUCTION OF FUNDS (Live)

Another live alternative workout form Montreal ‘84,  with nice call and response and a bit of muttered swearing thrown in!

Track Fouteen – NUMBER ONE 

The virgin tune with refreshed remix, bright and poppy and likeable and illustrates the bands ability to sometimes push to the boundary of chaotic implosion yet veer nicely into complete control. A dancey ska infested beat, this track was much loved by CFRW and top DJ Lee Marshal in particular who even took in the odd live show. Has the familar sound of a lost classic. Some bright arsed advertising guru should grab this as a soundtrack pronto.

Track Fifteen – RELUCTANT HOST 

A tight locked in type of groove with a roots rocker vibe that bounces nicely along recalling youthful summer daze, partying with unwanted annoying guests that turn hosted fun parties into latent doss houses, with a superb guitar break and we really love that effective door slam at the end of the piece! Mighty! The art of gate-crashing is a fine thing!

Track Sixteen – OVER THE TOP

Another live take with a light anti-war guilding via Trenchtown with natty bugle calls in response to a bouncey backdrop.

Track Seventeen – X (Live)

More live mayhem from Montreal with this one comparing nicely alongside the tighter and cleaner studio version.

Track Seventeen – SEE YOU! 

And so ‘bye, bye!’ it is to this interesting and diverse assortment of tracks, sounds and styles that collide and smash but always cut a dash! This final track points what could have been the way ahead for this fine outfit, a more ‘feelgood’ raw rnb seemd to be looming with a subtle hint on display here.

My final thoughts are that this is a well thought out and well packaged VFM product that is an honest and warm snapshot to an underground era that chucked up an almost earnest, innocent way of making music that proudly wore its influences yet steered clear of simply copying them without filter. It therefore  shows that the sound clashed to provide new and inspiring versions that assimilated and embraced the traditional forms without being servants or slaves. That slight tension, twisting and distortion is what made bands like The Dub Rifles so much less bland that much of todays clone-like masses thats simply did not have the day to day struggles to draw from in the same way. Maybe thats a little over generalised but being original and hard to fathom is something to via for. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy of this one!

Sundowning Sound Recordings:

Canadian Music Encylopedia entry: 


Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

More Posts - Website

June 23, 2014 By : Category : Features Front page Funk Garage Modernist Post-punk Reggae Reviews Soul Tags:, , , ,
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Talisman @WOWfest 2012

This entry is part 7 of 13 in the series Eyeplug@WOWFest

Talisman were one of the UK’s top Roots Reggae bands in the later 70’s and early 80’s.The band’s prowess earned them support slots with acts as diverse as Burning Spear, The Clash and The Rolling Stones. They have reformed with the original line up after 30 years apart to support the re-release of their classic roots single ‘Dole Age’ on a brand new album ‘Dole Age – The 1981 Reggae Collection’. One of Bristol’s finest live acts are back and ready to party once again.

Originally formed in 1977 Talisman were consummate performers constantly vying for the title of one of the country’s most popular live reggae bands. They toured the UK building up a loyal following and leaving memories of gigs that are still discussed to this day.

Until now the only way to hear Talisman has been to track down their two difficult to find singles from 1981, or their two later LPs, “Takin’ The Strain” from 1984 and “Jam Rock” From 1990. Now after nearly thirty years Bristol Archive Records have lovingly compiled this CD of the band at their peak in 1981. Not only does the CD contain the band’s two original 7” singles, but also eight carefully selected live cuts from classic shows at Glastonbury Festival and other infamous shows.

Hot on the heels of the critically acclaimed ‘The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978- 1983’ Bristol Archive Records release ‘Dole Age – The 1981 Reggae Collection’ celebrated at their first Bristol show for 20 years at The Fleece in Bristol on 27th May 2011.

March 2012 sees the band re-release their first album “Takin’ the Strain”, originally release in 1984, as a CD (Deluxe Edition) and Digital Download. The nine tracks showcase variety and even include a soul tune, the Deluxe Edition also includes five live bonus tracks.

Talisman Interview, with Dennison from the Band:

1. What are your earliest memories of getting bitten by the music bug?

At the age of 15 I saw a guy at school playing  Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ on a acoustic guitar. I thought to myself ….I can do that.

2.Was your family background musical in any way?

In church I could hear the tones of my mother’s voice when she sang.

3. What were you original influences and how have they changed over time?

  • Listening to the radio at an early age in the Caribbean, mainly Country and Western from the US. I was hooked by the harmonies.
  •   In short, I have found my singing voice.

4. Have you ever been to the Isle Of Wight?


5. Tell us about your live sound?

Roots and Culture for the mind, laced with humour.

6. How has your sound changed over the years?

We know what we’re doin’ now.

7. What have been the highpoint’s of your career?

Receiving messages from people saying how Talisman helped to shape their lives.

8. And the low-points?

The band breaking up too early.

9. What about the present day set up?

A more mature and seasoned approach to our musical direction.

10. Thoughts on today’s music scene?

There are good some messengers out there.

11. What’s in the pipeline for the future?

New music.

12. What can we expect for your WOWFest 2012 Show?

Good music…Good vibes.




Eyeplug@WOWFest - Insider Media Coverage and the First Event Hook UP from the MULTI-MOOD-MACHINE SOUNDSYSTEM fro a new Festival taking place this August 2012 in Shanklin, Isle Of Wight in fab settings with a super dooper line up! Watch out for new, reviews, articles, insights, and general focus right up to the Event itself and beyond! Check out the WOWFest webiste and come along for the Party! Tickets Available Now!

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Culture Events Eyeplugs Festivals Front page Gigs Hype News Reggae Tags:, , , ,
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Black Roots @WOWfest 2012

This entry is part 6 of 13 in the series Eyeplug@WOWFest

Black Roots were a powerful and potent force in the British reggae music scene throughout the 80’s and left a legacy of no less than ten albums and more than eight singles before bowing out of the public eye in the mid-90’s. Hailing from the St Paul’s area of Bristol, the original eight-member band were formed in 1979 and quickly gained a large following by touring almost non-stop around the country, playing their brand of ‘militant pacifism’ roots.

Their debut album “Black Roots” released in 1983 was a highly acclaimed debut for Black Roots and saw them make their mark immediately on the national music scene. Their second album “The Frontline” included the title track “The Frontline” which had been composed at the request of BBC TV for a new television comedy series of the same name. Black Roots’ fourth album “All Day All Night” was produced by Mad Professor. The album “Live Power” was recorded at a gig at the Moles Club in Bath on 22 September 1988, which came about after fans asked for a live album, seeking to capture the power and strength of Black Roots’ tight, vibrant and entertaining stage performance.

In 1991 Black Roots and Neil Fraser released “Dub Factor: The Mad Professor Mixes” along with Black Steel and the horn section from the All Day All Night album. The tenth and final album “Dub Factor 3: Dub Judah & Mad Professor Mixes” released in 1995 finally brought the curtain down on Bristol’s finest exponents of reggae and without doubt, one of Britain’s best loved performing bands of the Eighties.

“If anyone tells you that there is no such thing as good British reggae, first tell them that they are a herbert and then listen to Black Roots.” – John Peel

Black Roots Interview, with Jabulani from the Band:

1. What are your earliest memories of getting bitten by the music bug?

My earliest memory was listening to a radio competition on RGA in Jamaica in the 60’s with artists such as the Wailers, Toots and the Maytals and so on.

2.Was your family background musical in any way?

No, only singing in church.

3. What were you original influences and how have they changed over time?

My original influences were by the Wailers and Burning Spear and over the years it’s more or less the same because I’m a roots man at heart.

4. Have you ever been to the Isle Of Wight?

I’ve never been but I would like to because I’ve heard that they will have a great festival this summer 🙂

5. Tell us about your live sound?

Our sound is a mixture of roots, melodic, spiritual and uplifting.

6. How has your sound changed over the years?

From militants to middle age spiritual fulfillment.

7. What have been the highpoint’s of your career?

Touring Europe with UB40 in the late 80’s.

8. And the low-points?

When we had a break.

9. What about the present day set up?

The 6 original members and 5 new additions that complete the jigsaw.

10. Thoughts on today’s music scene?

Very computerised without the sense of human feel.

11. What’s in the pipeline for the future?

We have a new album coming out in September and a tour coming to promote the album in the new year.

12. What can we expect for your WOWfest 2012 Show?

You will see Black Roots in a new rock reggae style with reggae at its heights, the way reggae should be played.


Black Roots


Eyeplug@WOWFest - Insider Media Coverage and the First Event Hook UP from the MULTI-MOOD-MACHINE SOUNDSYSTEM fro a new Festival taking place this August 2012 in Shanklin, Isle Of Wight in fab settings with a super dooper line up! Watch out for new, reviews, articles, insights, and general focus right up to the Event itself and beyond! Check out the WOWFest webiste and come along for the Party! Tickets Available Now!

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Culture Events Eyeplugs Festivals Front page Gigs Hype News Reggae Tags:, , , ,
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Kitten and The Hip @WOWfest 2012

This entry is part 5 of 13 in the series Eyeplug@WOWFest

Take a beautiful and fantastic singer, add a world class horn section and some pumping backing tracks. Throw in some electro swing, some R & B, a bit of camp disco, a dollop of drum and bass a smidge of dubstep, add some brilliant hooky pop songs and there you pretty much have it, Kitten and The Hip.

One year ago, Ashley Slater met Kitten Quinn. Ashley was an ex pop star (Freak Power) and Kitten was a beautiful and intelligent singer songwriter. They wrote songs together, they hung out, and they mischiefed. But mostly, they wrote great songs together.

In February, they were having a chat, and Kitten advised Ashley not to worry about something. ‘Don’t You Worry’ was born the next day. A demo was sent to Carl Hanaghan, head of A & R at HedKandi records in London. Less than half an hour later, the phone rang at Kitten HQ, the deal was made, the record was signed and the ball of yarn started rolling.

The single was release in September and has already created a significant noise on the Electro Swing scene. Another of Kitten’s tracks ‘By My Side’ has been signed to ‘Bart and Baker present Electro Swing 4’, which was released November 7th 2011 on Wagram Paris.

Live, they are a quintet, with Kitten singing and Ashley and three brass monkeys playing horns. Kitten is a natural onstage, at once mesmerising and seductive.

It’s a party with class, so don’t forget your ass!

Kitten and The Hip Interview:

1. What are your earliest memories of getting bitten by the music bug?

Kitten: I started dancing at 3 years old and then got into musical theatre at an early age as well. I think that explain some of the theatricality of our music.

2.Was your family background musical in any way?

The Hip: My dad played almost any stringed instrument, my mom couldn’t carry tune if it was in a bucket. Bless.

3. What were your original influences and how have they changed over time?

Kitten: I love pop music. I’ve always been into great modern female singers like Lauryn Hill and Whitney Houston, all of the big divas. I also listened to a lot of country folk and rock when I was younger.

4. Have you ever been to the Isle Of Wight?

The Hip: Indeed I have. I’ve guest lectured at Platform One College a few times and what a lovely institution that is.

5. Tell us about your live sound?

Kitten: It’s a big sound because we use backing tracks as well as live musicians. Very heavy bass and beats, so it works well in a club. Obviously, there’s a lot of singing, I like to layer up bf’s forever… And then I sing out over the top of all this, which can be quite a challenge.

6. How has your sound changed over the years?

The Hip: Well, we’re only one year old but our sound has gone through quite a few changes already. We’re still looking for the ideal live sound, we’ve gone form having backing tracks with three horns to doing lot of duo gigs with backing tracks to our current line-up, which is Kitten, me, drums and guitar. And…backing tracks. In the studio, our sound is defined by Kitten’s voice.

7. What have been the highpoints of your career?

Kitten: Well, my career has only just started, but I’ve had my share of high times already. We did a gig in Ostrava last year standing in for another band. There were 3,000 people in a room who had never heard of us, but we rocked that room for an hour and made a lot of friends. We also had a memorable gig in Paris where we had a few half naked men crawling all over the stage. Kind of weird…

8. And the low-points?

The Hip: Haha. You haven’t got enough space for that, but there have been a few.

9. What about the present day set up?

Kitten: I sing, The Hip sings and plays trombone (not at the same time) we have a guitarist called Duncan Wilson who is a mental and a drummer called Gillan McLaughlin who needs a good spanking!

10. Thoughts on today’s music scene?

The Hip: I think it’s better than ever. There’s always a layer of scum floating on the top of anything, but dig down a little bit and music is vibrant, interesting and very much alive.

11. What’s in the pipeline for the future?

Kitten: We have an album ready to go and are looking for the right partners to work with to release it. There’s a single coming out on Freshly Squeezed quite soon (it may be out by the time you read this). Basically, our goal is to be huge and that’s what’s going to happen!

12. What can we expect for your WOWFest 2012 Show?

The Hip: Great songs, great players and a great time.

Kitten and The Hip


Eyeplug@WOWFest - Insider Media Coverage and the First Event Hook UP from the MULTI-MOOD-MACHINE SOUNDSYSTEM fro a new Festival taking place this August 2012 in Shanklin, Isle Of Wight in fab settings with a super dooper line up! Watch out for new, reviews, articles, insights, and general focus right up to the Event itself and beyond! Check out the WOWFest webiste and come along for the Party! Tickets Available Now!

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Culture Events Eyeplugs Front page Gigs Hype News Reggae Tags:, , , ,
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Neville Staple @WOWfest 2012

This entry is part 4 of 13 in the series Eyeplug@WOWFest

Best known as singer, toaster and composer with The Specials, and as one of the founding members of Fun Boy 3, Neville Staple is credited with changing the face of pop music not only once but twice.

Catch his show these days, and you’ll get a mix of old favourites from The Specials/Fun Boy three back catalogue plus choice solo releases.

Neville’s first involvement with The Specials was when they were still called The Coventry Automatics. He initially joined as their roadie but at a gig supporting The Clash, Neville took to the stage and never looked back. For a while, The Clash’s manager Bernard Rhodes managed The Specials. Neville used to toast of Bernie, “Bernie Rhodes knows. Don’t argue” at the beginning of the Specials hit single “Gangsters”.

When The Specials split up, Neville departed with Terry Hall and Lynval Golding, to form Fun Boy Three. They had a string of chart hits, some in collaboration with the all- female trio Bananarama.

It was officially confirmed on the 7 April 2008 that the Specials were to reform, and on the 6 September 2008, six members of the band performed on the Main Stage at the Bestival billed as the ‘Surprise Act’. By December 2008, the band had announced 2009 tour dates to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Throughout 2010 the band played many festival dates and toured the USA in the early autumn. After which Neville returned to the UK with a string of dates with his own incredibly tight band. 2011 saw Neville play various festivals including Glastonbury and Beatherder, also supporting Madness.

Neville’s autobiography, THE ORIGINAL RUDE BOY, was published by Aurum Press in the UK in May 2009.



Eyeplug@WOWFest - Insider Media Coverage and the First Event Hook UP from the MULTI-MOOD-MACHINE SOUNDSYSTEM fro a new Festival taking place this August 2012 in Shanklin, Isle Of Wight in fab settings with a super dooper line up! Watch out for new, reviews, articles, insights, and general focus right up to the Event itself and beyond! Check out the WOWFest webiste and come along for the Party! Tickets Available Now!

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Culture Events Eyeplugs Festivals Front page Gigs Hype News Reggae Tags:, , , ,
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The Selecter @WOWfest 2012

This entry is part 3 of 13 in the series Eyeplug@WOWFest

The Selecter® – Starring Pauline Black & Arthur ‘Gaps” Hendrickson

“Too Much Pressure” released by this important and influential platinum selling band in Feb 1980 remains a classic touchstone for a generation of Ska lovers and the band are excited to announce they will be playing the album in its entirety plus a selection of other much loved Selecter tracks and some new surprises at concerts throughout 2011.

Mixing punk, ska and reggae, ‘Too Much Pressure’ successfully reflected the social and political issues of the early Thatcher years in Britain and gave a voice to disaffected youth across the racial divide.

The Selecter® fronted by the original singing duo of the female icon of the 2-Tone era Pauline Black & Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson deliver classic hits like ‘Three Minute Hero’, ‘Missing Words’, ‘On My Radio’, ‘James Bond’ and of course ‘Too Much Pressure’. New Selecter Album ‘Made In Britain’ & Pauline Black’s 2-Tone Memoir  ‘Black By Design’

2011 sees the return of one of the most vital, visceral and important Ska acts ever. Queen of 2-Tone, Pauline Black featured prominently in BBC4’s recent “Reggae Britannia” series, contributing to a 90 mins documentary and a live concert broadcast from The Barbican in London.

The Selecter® have written and recorded a new 10 track album ‘Made In Britain’, featuring covers of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’ & a hugely popular anti-racist ska/reggae re-working of Woody Guthrie’s ‘All You Fascists Bound To Lose’  re-invented as ‘Big In The Body – Small In The Mind’, which is due for release in September 2011.

Discography 1979 – 2011

The Singles

1979 – On My Radio/Too Much Pressure [2-Tone]
1980 – Three Minute Hero/Carry Go Bring Come [2-Tone] 1980 – Missing Words/Street Feeling [2-Tone]
1980 – The Whisper/Train to Skaville [2-Tone]
1981 – Celebrate The Bullet/Last Tango in Dub [Chrysalis]

The Albums

1980 – Too Much Pressure [2-Tone]
1981 – Celebrate The Bullet [Chrysalis]
1992 – Out On The Streets Again [Triple X]
1993 – The Selecter® and Prince Buster (Madness) [Triple X] 1994 – The Happy Album (studio recording) [Triple X]
1995 – Pucker [Triple X]
1996 – Back Out On The Streets [Triple X]
1997 – The Very Best Of The Selecter® [Triple X]
1998 – Cruel Britannia [Snapper]
1999 – Trojan Songbook Vol 1 [Trojan]
2000 – Trojan Songbook Vol 2 [Trojan]
2001 – Trojan Songbook Vol3 [Trojan]
2002 – Unplugged For The Rudeboy Generation [Almafame] 2003 – Real To Reel [Captain Mod]


1980 – Dance Craze [2Tone/Chrysalis Films] 1989 – Dance Craze [2Tone/ VHS]
2003 – Live In London [Secret Films/DVD]

Line Up

Lead Vox: Pauline Black
Lead Vox: Arthur “Gaps” Hendrickson
Drums: Winston Marche
Guitar: Anthony Harty
Keyboards: Greg Coulson
Bass: John Thompson
Horns: Neil Pyzer & Orlando LaRose



Eyeplug@WOWFest - Insider Media Coverage and the First Event Hook UP from the MULTI-MOOD-MACHINE SOUNDSYSTEM fro a new Festival taking place this August 2012 in Shanklin, Isle Of Wight in fab settings with a super dooper line up! Watch out for new, reviews, articles, insights, and general focus right up to the Event itself and beyond! Check out the WOWFest webiste and come along for the Party! Tickets Available Now!

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

June 5, 2015 By : Category : Culture Events Eyeplugs Festivals Front page Gigs Hype News Reggae Tags:, , , ,
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African Head Charge – ‘Voodoo of the Godsent’

(album, On-U-Sound)

The first African Head Charge studio work since 2005’s Vision of a Psychedelic Africa, Voodoo of the Godsent is described by the label as being ‘the culmination of thirty years of endeavour.’ Given the outstanding music made by the team of master percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah and legendary producer Adrian Sherwood during this period, it’s debatable whether this represents their best work – but that doesn’t really matter, as the album is essentially the continuation of a process that has seen both creative powerhouses expanding and transforming the landscape of contemporary reggae into new and exciting shapes.

Like much of Bonjo-I’s work, Voodoo of the Godsent is an album that exists outside of conventional time and geographical space. By evoking primal rhythms and enhancing them with cutting edge studio wizardry, African Head Charge have tapped into a dynamic that simultaneously seethes with futures and pasts. Certainly, both percussionist and producer have become increasingly deft with experience, as is evidenced by the gently rolling ‘Badman Plain’ and opening track ‘In “I” Head’, which gently fizzes with technology set upon a mythic bedrock of compelling tribalisms. This is an album that floats into the consciousness, the suitably liquid ‘The Best Way’ being one of several examples of the way in which disparate elements are combined to create music that is both radical and relaxing.

Although much of the disc stalks a technological jungle, exploring new sonic territories and clearing new ground, by utilising the Voice of Thunder, ‘Take Heed … Smoke Up Your Collyweed’, brings us back to On-U-Sound’s early Far-I infused origins, while still succeeding to be progressive by dint of an epic, ambient drifting texture that is by degree primal and mesmeric. ‘Stoned Age Man’ is another accomplished conflation of ancient and modern, evoking a pre-dawn twilight, equally suffused by birdcall and digital naturalism.

A key aspect of Voodoo of the Godsent’s timelessness is the way that traditional language is set atop skittering techno rhythms, as in ‘African Bredda’. Similarly, ‘Mysterious Happenings’ access a primal dreamscape of old words and new sounds to produce a form of righteous futurism that is also evident in ‘This, That, and The Other.’ This is an album that should be felt as much as it is heard, creating new strains of roots music such as the compelling ‘Undulating’, an evocation of altered states wherein modern man encounters the wisdom of the ancients.

Equally hypnotic is ‘Timpanya’ a languid and haunting evocation that draws the listener into a concentric web of unhurried vocals and polyrhythms. Penultimate track, ‘Dobbyn Joins The Head Charge’ provides a brief excursion into nyabinghi melancholy, before ‘God Willing’ rolls in as a parting broadcast from the digital dreamworld, creating a limboid miasma as the earthbeat pauses.

Voodoo of the Godesnt is a welcome return for both African Head Charge and On-U-Sound – check it out, then go mine the back catalogue. Check out the label’s download store HERE.

June 5, 2015 By : Category : Music Reggae Tags:, , , ,
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Kris Needs Presents… Dirty Water 2 – More Birth of Punk Attitude

(2CD set, Year Zero)

Happily, the overwhelmingly positive response to Dirty Water – The Birth of Punk Attitude has enabled journalist, DJ, broadcaster, and all around living leg end Kris Needs to again take us by the hand and lead us through many of the dimly lit tributaries that ultimately combined to lend their fetid waters to the great punk torrent.

In my review of the initial 2CD set, I made the connection between Kris’s inclusive approach to defining punk attitude and James Burke’s interconnective approach to explaining sequences of historically significant events. If anything, this comparison is even more apt the second time around – to understand why this happened in 1976, you have to go back to here.

In some cases, the lineage to punk rock is self evident – the likes of Death, the Velvet Underground, Suicide, Patti Smith, Jayne County, David Bowie, Mott The Hoople, Kilburn & The High Roads, the Hammersmith Gorillas, the Doctors of Madness, the MC5 and Blondie all have acres of printed paper establishing their varying roles in shaping the scenes that would burst out of tiny pockets of defiance in New York and London. However, many of these artists are represented by seldom heard cuts such as the Motor City maniacs’ epic set closer ‘Black To Comm’ and Vega/Rev’s startling ‘Creature Feature’. Similarly, the historical connection between primal rock’n’roll and punk is also a matter of historical record, and trailblazing greats such as Bo Diddley and Eddie Cochran are duly represented here.

These, however, are the basics – dig around the period when the likes of Diddley. Cochran, Gene Vincent and Link Wray were laying down the fundamentals for generations to come, and you’ll find all manner of other stuff going down. Through drawing lyrical inspiration from the lives of the disenfranchised, and subsequently influencing Joe Strummer (a.k.a. Woody Mellor), Woody Guthrie’s rough hewn folk can be readily identified as one of the germinal building blocks of what would later be identified as a key aspect of the punk mindset. One only needs one listen to Guthrie’s ‘Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad’ and Patti Smith’s ‘Piss Factory’ to realise that they are coming from the same benighted place. ‘Strip away and Woody was a punk in the old-fashioned way,’ explains Kris, ‘a short, scruffy, road-wise, quick tempered, skirt-chasing, chauvinist boozer, who couldn’t be controlled by any political party, but campaigned in a much broader sense against homelessness, poverty, racism and inequality.’   

Moreover, by following the folk path along a möbius strip of drug-fuelled weirdness and inspiration, Needsy also establishes the contribution of freaks such as the Godz and the Holy Modal Rounders in developing a conviction that each generation of young people should start at Year Zero, disregarding the ideas of their elders as moribund and irrelevant. Specifically, the sense of wild abandon embraced by both these bands provided a gateway to the kind of free-thinking non-conformity that found its apogee in the late, great Don van Vliet’s Captain Beefheart. Indeed, not only did the Captain and his Magic Band’s wilful disregard for the established parameters of rock’n’roll provide a mutable template for punk rock, it also pointed the way forward into post-punk and all subsequent experimental and courageous readings of the form. Fittingly, given our host’s epoch-making tenure as editor of the much-missed Zigzag magazine, Beefheart’s ‘Zigzag Wanderer’ has been selected to open the two-disc set.

Of course, rock’n’roll was hardly the only ingredient bubbling in van Vliet’s voodoo stewpot – jazz, bebop and doo-wop all broiled among the gumbo. Perhaps the true genius of Dirty Water 2 is the way in which Kris Needs has taken artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Albert Ayler, the Silhouettes, and George Clinton’s mighty Parliament collective and clearly demonstrated how they too fit into the mad parade. This is achieved on a number of levels – not least by identifying the way in which bebop and free jazz marginalised audiences in exactly the same way that punk would do decades later, as well as establishing the direct influence of doo-wop on groups such as Suicide.

Like its predecessor, Dirty Water 2 stands as a monument to defiance, transgression and self-determination, 150 minutes of exceptional music are matched by a robust booklet in which Kris recounts a history that through his own personal experiences and lunatic adventures intertwines with his selections to provide an enjoyable, inclusive experience. From the artists mentioned above to several nicely soiled nuggets of garage frustration, via the titanic storms of sedition whipped up by Blue Cheer or the Edgar Broughton Band, Needsy’s selections provide an object lesson in the advantage of keeping mind and ears open. And surely, if nothing else, that is the idea that underpins the punk attitude.

Order Dirty Water 2 direct:

Catch Needsy on fnoob radio, every Wednesday from 7pm:

June 5, 2015 By : Category : Exotica Folk Front page Funk Garage Genres Glam Music Post-punk Punk Reggae Rock Rockabilly Tags:, , ,
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