Davina Hamilton writes about British reggae band Steel Pulse and asks them about forty years of fame, “breaking the U.S. market, and fronting a reggae revolution.” The band is currently working on a new album and a documentary. Original band members David Hinds and Selwyn Brown will play with fellow band musicians at the upcoming London International Ska Festival on April 2-5, 2015 [see previous post The 5th London International Ska Festival]. See more information below:
First stepping on stage in 1975, Steel Pulse celebrate their 40th anniversary this year.
The celebrated British reggae band plan to mark the occasion with a new album and a DVD documentary, due for release before the end of the year. But before that, the Prodigal Son hitmakers will grace the stage at this year’s London International Ska Festival.
Launched in 1988, the festival is famed for celebrating all things ska, from its roots in mento and calypso, through its Jamaican originators, and onto rocksteady, reggae, dub, 2 Tone and beyond. The 2015 event will see Steel Pulse – comprised of original members David Hinds and Selwyn Brown, along with a host of long-serving musicians – join forces with the likes of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Derrick Harriott, who will also perform at the four-day festival.
Having had little connection with their British fanbase over the past few years, the Birmingham-born band is excited to return to the UK stage. “I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of feedback we’re gonna get, especially not having had an album out in the UK in so long,” says singer and guitarist Hinds, who was taking care of the band’s interview duties that day.
But ask him if he thinks UK reggae fans still feel passionate about Steel Pulse after so many years, the musician, who spends much of his time in the US and the Caribbean says: “I have no idea! All I do know is that when I’m in Birmingham, there’ll be one or two people who recognise me on the street. But then, I don’t think I’ve changed that much over the past 35 years – maybe that’s why!”
Rising to prominence in the ‘80s with their politically-driven messages, delivered from a uniquely British perspective, the band found favour with audiences far and wide.
“I would say that, as British artists, our lyrical content had far more universal appeal than a lot of the Jamaican reggae of that time,” Hinds reasons. “We didn’t corner ourselves by speaking about a Jamaican experience. Songs like Rock against Racism and Ku Klux Klan; even though the Ku Klux Klan was an American movement, we related it to what we were experiencing in Britain at the time. We talked about police brutality on songs like Blues Dance Raid; I think our music was a lot more politically motivated than a lot of Jamaican reggae.”
Hinds feels that the social and political messages of the band’s music is what aided their success in America in the ‘80s, and helped them connect with music-lovers who didn’t necessarily consider themselves reggae fans.[. . .]
The London International Ska Festival will take place from April 2-5. For more information, visit www.londoninternationalskafestival.co.uk
For full article, see http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/still-rocking-reggae-beat