Nov 21st

#TheSultanofSKA !!! featured in The Observer

By #TheSultanofSKA !!!

 

                               SULTAN IN THE OBSERVER !

 

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/The-Sultan-of-ska_53276

Sep 9th

The English Beat: Right On Time With Dance, Love, and Unity

By Andymanj

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
By Jim Bolt
SKAspot Contributor and Founder of KSSU (Sacramento State University)

 

Friday night, 1980s college radio darlings, and ska legends, the English Beat played to a crowd of nearly 1,000 fans at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood, Colorado.  The show was a non-stop dance party that kept everyone moving and grooving (some were even skanking).  

The English Beat works the crowd into a dance frenzy at the Gothic Theatre, May 22, 2015.

The new English Beat line up is incredibly tight and never (you see it coming, don’t you?) misses a beat. From Dave Wakeling’s soulful storytelling and King Schascha’s high energy toasting, to the wailing sax, precision drumming, bouncy keys, and first rate bass and guitar work, there is just no standing still.

The band played classic Beat songs, opening with “Rough Rider” and skillfully working through other favorites like “Tears of a Clown,” “Twist and Crawl,” “Save It For Later,” and “Whine and Grind.” General Public tunes like “I’ll Take You There” and “Tenderness” were also included, along with a few songs from the forthcoming album Here We Go Love

The new songs were fresh and lively numbers that fit nicely into the English Beat tradition. The sound was clearly identifiable as the band’s trademark brand of ska, yet Wakeling’s pop sensibilities gave the tunes a modern and contemporary sound. The Beat’s music is as relevant today as it was back in 2 Tone era, ska revival days. College radio and commercial, “alternative” stations would do well to reintroduce the band and incorporate the new material into the rotation. Legions of new fans would inevitably follow.

A non-stop King Schascha and Dave Wakeling keep the crowd jumping.

Before the show, I had the chance to sit down with Dave Wakeling and discuss the band, the new album, college radio, and a few other topics.

Dave, thank you so much for being here.

My pleasure...

I first heard your music in 1983 and fell in love with it. It was discovering the likes of the Beat, and other punk, ska, and new wave music that eventually led me to book bands and even help start a student-run radio station while in college. The station, KSSU (Sacramento State), will be 25 years old next year.

Fantastic...and a lot of college radio stations wound up carrying the flag, didn’t they? ‘Til the ‘80s became like a golden oldies option.

I.R.S. (the now defunct record label) didn’t play the top 40 marketing game, so college radio was very important to us. We were number one in the college charts, but we were jealous as hell of all the other bands roaring up and down the top 40.

A number of the ‘80s bands have been deemed one hit wonders and some people have focused on how much hair dye they used. The result was that many of these bands became marginalized as goofy, golden oldies types. I think the English Beat wound up retaining its legitimacy by not being over exposed.

Congratulations on the forthcoming album. It’s great that it was crowd-funded through Pledge Music. Previous English Beat themes have been both political and social. What topics can we expect from the new album?

Thank you...you can expect similar themes, but with a newer sound. The goal is to make a record that doesn’t sound like an English Beat record would have sounded then. The new album is called Here We Go Love. It’s about love as a theme, maybe something tangible and it’s also about how life goes on. New songs include The Love You Give...lasts forever even when you’re gone and How Can You Stand There?...when all around you is a lie or how can you stand there and not dance to this irresistible beat of life? Dance and war are conflicted...perfect. We’ve also tried to be a little scurrilous!

What do you want the new and prospective Beat fans to know about you and the band? What would you say the English Beat stands for? And, don’t tell me love and unity.

Basically...at the end of the day, it’s a dance band. We have always been a dance band. It’s about fun and having a good “knees up.” But, we’ve always been about love and unity.

Late night show appearances can be powerful for new and reemerging bands. Any plans?

“Yes, let’s do it! We’ll do them all!” [laughs]

He then asked me to call Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel to get him an appearance. I suggested Saturday Night Live and he agreed to all of them. Jimmy, Lorne, Jimmy, are you guys in?

You’ve had songs included in soundtracks in the past and many of your contemporaries from that era have been featured in recent ads (Pogues, Clash, Depeche Mode, etc.). Any plans to pursue the licensing realm?

I’ve always thought Save It For Later would be great for a pension or a retirement fund. [laughs]

Feelings on Spotify, Pandora, other streaming services?

NONE! [laughs] No...really, I do think they are great from a music discovery perspective. It’s amazing to me how young people find music these days. They can really drill down into music on the internet. It’s very different from the days of going to the record store to find out what the cool kids were listening to.

On cancer charity events:

Dave talked about the recent An Evening Celebrating the Who event with Pete Townshend, Eddie Vedder and others. The event was a charity benefit for the Teen Cancer America Organization.

The English Beat has supported a similar charity in the U.K. called Teenage Cancer Trust by contributing music to special compilations and releases.

Dave expressed his interest in doing a combined, online benefit for both charities, where he, Townshend, and Vedder could conceivably perform songs from each other’s catalogs (including Save It For Later). “Maybe we each perform three songs...Pete can do four [laughs]. We could do it as a half hour online thing and we could back each other.”

Pete? Eddie? Sounds like a great idea.

On the state of ska:

“One of the things with advancing years is that you forget the things that don’t fit in with your own, employed legacy. I thought I would be more optimistic. I thought that the hippie, punk, tech revolution would have advanced the cause...I thought ska was the stairway to heaven...a platform for social consciousness. I don’t know...I’ve become a bit more fatalist.”

Dave certainly doesn’t come across as a fatalist on stage. In fact, he does a fantastic job of still being an optimist through his shows, where he keeps dance, love, and unity in the spotlight.

Final thoughts:

Dave’s life-saving advice for young ska bands: 1) Don’t fly in small planes, 2) Don’t hot tub alone, and 3) Don’t do heroin (or any drugs) alone.

He would also like a portable hot tub for touring. This could be a great sponsorship opportunity!

________

Visit The English Beat's website for information about their music, upcoming tour dates and more - http://englishbeat.net/

 

SKAspot Contributor Jim Bolt helped launch KSSU, Sacramento State University's student-run radio station, over 20 years ago. Here's an article about the 20 year reunion of the station in 2011 -http://sacstatealumni.com/SacStateConnection/0611KSSUReunion.html

 

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