Friday, April 9, 2010

35 years on

Steel Pulse in all their early 1975 glory. LtoR: Selwyn Brown, David Hinds, Michael Riley, Basil Gabbidon; [front row] Ronnie McQueen, Colin Gabbidon.
35 years ago Steel Pulse played their first ever gig. Two of the original band members, David Hinds and Selwyn Brown, continue their musical journey today as Steel Pulse perform all over the globe with recent appearances in Australia and New Zealand, Jamaica, the Virgin Islands and Florida. But it was all very different back in 1974 and 1975 when the fledgling band's rehearsals were moved to David's cellar at 16 Linwood Road in Handsworth, Birmingham, which was to be ther base for the next few years. Selwyn recalls, "we used to rehearse in Ronnie's attic bedroom for a while. Then David's dad let us use his basement at Linwood Road, as we got more serious about it and just started practicing and practicing. We basically taught each other to how to play, so there was no ego thing. We just wanted to play and enjoy music and inspire people and write something conscious."
At the time, Basil Gabbidon and Selwyn were responsible for most of the lead vocals though Colin Gabbidon felt David could take on more of the mantle and did his best to persuade him to do so. Alongside covers of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, The Abyssinians and The Gladiators, there were early versions of their own compositions like Nyah Luv, Handsworth Revolution and a rock-soul track that Basil wrote called Conscious. Colin recalls," Basil was writing a lot of music as was David. A lot of things were written in 1974. I think we were finding our identity, that was when we were clicking. We'd been together for less than a year and were working so fast. The excitement was high, we were anxious, we were keen, we wanted to express ourselves. We were serious and our music reflected what we were."
The name of the band posed a problem, which was solved by Ronnie McQueen, who had a passion for horse-racing. He liked the name of one horse in particular, the Scobie Breasley-trained 1972 Irish Derby winner called Steel Pulse and suggested to the rest of the band that they take the name as their own. Everyone agreed. It seemed to fit perfectly.

It was now the right moment to expose the band to public scrutiny. Lee Allen, their advisor-cum-manager at the time and former keyboardist with local band The Phantoms, booked them their first live gig locally at a small working-class public house called the Crompton Arms. A hub for local bands at the time, the pub was located on Crompton Road in Lozells and the audience for their debut performance, in January 1975, numbered the pub's regulars and friends of the band. Selwyn did the majority of the lead vocals as they played a mix of cover versions of Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley and Ken Boothe and some dub numbers. The six-strong band line-up for that debut gig was Selwyn Brown, David Hinds, Michael Riley, Ronnie McQueen, Basil and Colin Gabbidon. It went well, Lee Allen recalls, "all hell let loose, everyone was so excited," the band received the princely sum of £20 for their efforts and they used it as a spring board for a handful of gigs at other local venue's like Barbarellas on Cumberland Street and the Grand Hotel in the city centre, the Ridgeway on Soho Road, the Tower Ballroom in Edgbaston, at the former British heavyweight boxing champion Bunny Johnson's club in Digbeth befiore it burned down and they returned to their old school on one occasion to play a reunion gig.
Steel Pulse had begun their musical journey to greatness, one which continues to this day. To find out more, click here.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Echoes of the past

David Hinds of Steel Pulse, June 1978 vintage (pic Peter Mannox)
I love finding old photos of Steel Pulse so the two pictures are reproduced here simply because I've just seen them for the first time and they fit the bill perfectly. Top: David Hinds is snapped by Peter Mannox at a gig at Bingley Hall in Stafford in 1978 when Steel Pulse supported Bob Marley. Mannox captured the band at a time when they were really making big waves in the music business. The Bingley Hall gig was in June 1978, a month before the release of their first album, Handsworth Revolution. Bottom: Colin Gabbidon, complete with Michael Jackson afro hairstyle, the band's original drummer when they were beginning their career in Handsworth in the mid-70s. The picture was taken at Bunny Johnson's Digbeth club in 1975 and behind him is Selwyn Brown on keyboards.
A rare photo from the band's 1975 gig at Bunny Johnson's club in Digbeth. Colin Gabbidon on drums and Selwyn Brown on keys. (pic Colin Gabbidon)

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Going down under

The boys from Steel Pulse go 'down under' later this month
For the first time in 16 years Steel Pulse will be performing 'down under' when they head for a handful of shows in Australia and 1 show in New Zealand later this month. I've suggested to the band that they take the opportunity to stop over here in Cambodia en route but somehow I can't see it happening. Instead, those lucky Aussies will be hearing the world's best reggae outfit doing their thing in Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, though they open up in Rotorua in NZ on 23 January. All the gigs are part of the Raggamuffin Festival Tour that will also include Lauryn Hill, Shaggy, Wyclef Jean, Julian Marley and Sly & Robbie in the program. Maybe the band will take pity on me and stop over on the way home. For all you nostalgia fans, below is a YouTube video of the band performing Ku Klux Klan in London's Rainbow Theatre in 1980. Sweet.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Serious Pulse

Steel Pulse looking serious. LtoR: Donovan McKitty, David Hinds, Selwyn Brown, Sidney Mills, Wayne C-Sharp Clarke & Amlak Tafari
I haven't posted anything on the best music band on the planet, Steel Pulse, for a while, so here's a group photo I found by accident today. The band rarely pose for group shots and this one doesn't include their regular female backing vocalists, Juris Prosper and Keysha McTaggart. I think it was taken sometime in July. The band are on a mini-break at the moment before travelling to Brazil for 4 shows in mid November. They rarely rest. For more on Steel Pulse, click here.
Another musician I miss since my migration is Basil Gabbidon, a Steel Pulse founding member back in the day. Basil in his various guises, either Gabbidon, Reggaerockz, simply Blu, etc, etc, is still doing the business and the picture below was snapped by Tim Ellis at the Birmingham Arts Festival in September, when Gabbidon played the Fountain stage at Victoria Square. My thanks to Tim.
Basil Gabbidon - September 2009 vintage by Tim Ellis

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Talking old times

Mykaell Riley (left) and Basil Gabbidon talking about 'the good old days'
Steel Pulse rocked my world in 1978, the same year as they took the British public by storm with their debut album on Island Records, Handsworth Revolution. The band had started out a few years before in the kitchen of some schoolboys in Handsworth in Birmingham and they have gone onto become reggae legends around the globe. They are still performing to full houses today though only two of that seven-man 1978 line-up remain, David Hinds and Selwyn Brown. For the recent Island Records 50th anniversary series of concerts, Steel Pulse were back on stage in London and invited two members of the 1978 group to join them, the first time they've been back in the fold together since the end of that milestone year. Basil Gabbidon remained with the band until 1982 and is still playing roots reggae to audiences in Birmingham today, whilst Mykaell Riley is a music lecturer in London following a successful career in production after he left the band at the very end of 1978 in acrimonious circumstances. To find out the full Steel Pulse story, click here.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reunion at Glastonbury

A happy Steel Pulse crew at Glastonbury. LtoR: Amlak Tafari, Selwyn Brown, Grizzly Nisbett, David Hinds, Donovan McKitty and Donna Sterling in front
Just a few days ago, Steel Pulse took part in the massive Glastonbury Festival in England. If I was still living in the UK I would've bust a gut to be there as I have been a Pulse fan for more than thirty years. However I wasn't able to be there and so the next best thing is to take a peek at some photos from the day, taken by Millie Brown, the wife of keyboard player and founding member of the band, Selwyn Brown. And I got a big surprise when I saw them, not only was veteran drummer Grizzly Nisbett on stage, assisting with percussion, but dynamite backing singer Donna Sterling was also in the line-up alongside the two regular backing vocalists, Juris Prosper and Keysha McTaggart. It was quite a shock as I don't think Donna has been on stage with Steel Pulse since she left the band to have a baby in 2004, whilst Grizzly played his last gig in 2001 and had a heart by-pass operation three years ago. It's fantastic to see them back with the Steel Pulse family, and thanks to Millie for her thumbs up to post the pictures here.
Grizzly and the girls. LtoR: Keysha McTaggart, Grizzly, Juris Prosper, Donna Sterling
Steel Pulse's backing vocalists. LtoR: Juris, Keysha and Donna on her comeback
Grizzly roles back the years as he plays percussion on stage at GlastonburySteel Pulse's lead singer David Hinds with Amlak Tafari in support on bass


Friday, June 12, 2009

Feeling the Pulse

Our man on the bass, Amlak Tafari
I'm missing seeing Steel Pulse play live, especially as they were gigging in London recently and will be back in the UK at the Glastonbury Festival on 26 June. Their concerts in the UK are pretty few and far between these days. Grrrrrrr... Live music of that quality is one of the pleasures that I really miss here in Cambodia but we all have to make sacrifices. Steel Pulse then have shows in Italy and France before heading back out for a tour over the other side of the world in the Caribbean and USA. Here's some photos from a gig they did at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on 9 May. Pictures © 2009 944 Media.
The Steel Pulse set list for the Las Vegas gig
All lined up and ready for the off - Steel Pulse's guitars


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pulse in the press

Steel Pulse's David Hinds
Steel Pulse play one of their rare UK live dates tomorrow night (Wednesday 27 May) at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire as part of the Island Records 50th Anniversary, having just completed a short tour of the United States. Steel Pulse will be back playing live in the UK at the Glastonbury Festival on 26 June. Lead singer and songwriter David Hinds has been in the press recently to coincide with the US tour dates and here's a couple of on-line interviews with the man himself.

Lend Him an Ear - written by Damian Orion (Good Times Weekly)

Joni Mitchell once flung a memorable quip at some audience members who were shouting out requests for her hits: “You know, a painter does a painting, and that’s it. He’s had the joy of creating it ... No one ever said to Van Gogh, ‘Paint another “Starry Night” again, man!’” David Hinds, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter for the veteran reggae outfit Steel Pulse, would surely be able to relate to Mitchell’s lament. Having been making the rounds with Steel Pulse for more than three decades, Hinds can’t be faulted for wanting to explore new musical terrain with his bandmates, but he finds himself somewhat held back by his obligation to slake his fans’ thirst for classics like Ku Klux Klan, Worth His Weight in Gold and Bodyguard. “When we go to places like France and certain parts of the Caribbean where our market’s pretty strong, and certain parts of Europe as well as the U.S., we find that no matter what we play, they still want to hear the traditional reggae stuff from us,” the Birmingham-born musician explains. “When we’ve dabbled in dancehall and featured acts like Capleton and Damian Marley, the general complaint of the fans is that they want to hear us in the way they were introduced to us in the first place.”

Hinds readily acknowledges that his predicament is not a unique one. “I’m sure it plagued Hendrix; I’m sure it plagued Vincent Van Gogh; I’m sure it plagued Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,” he states. “You want to move on and do other things, but how you’ve been introduced to the world in the first place is the way they want to see you. And then when you’ve died, and the word ‘R.I.P.’ is on your tombstone a hundred years later, people say, ‘Wow! That was far out! Is this what he was trying to do?’”Though Hinds’ quest for musical expansion has led him to flirt with everything from R&B to pop over the years, his lyrical content has remained fairly consistent since Steel Pulse’s inception in 1975: This is, in essence, a protest band, with racism right at the top of the list of sociopolitical issues being addressed. Hinds points to various visa, passport and immigration complications as well as to the discovery of nooses on a tree in Jena, Lousiana in 2007 as examples of the lingering presence of racism in the world. Nonetheless, anthems like “Ku Klux Klan are happily a tad less relevant today than in 1975. “We’ve still got a long way to go, but I do see a progression,” Hinds offers. “I didn’t think Nelson Mandela would have been released or a black president in the United States would have happened in my lifetime. But having said that, George Bush played a remarkable role in making that happen. He had to be so bad a president that they had to look in the direction of a black man!”

The singer, who notes that this year marks the 80th birthday of Martin Luther King, adds that all throughout his childhood in England, he observed hostility between people who came from the Caribbean and people who came from India or Pakistan. “Now, when you see an Asian person in a BMW with the windows down, and reggae music is blazing at 200 decibels, it’ll show you that there is an understanding of cultures,” he says. Hinds feels that reggae music has been instrumental in helping break down cultural barriers. “When I go to rock concerts, I see white folks,” he states. “I go to an R&B concert, I see mostly black folks. You go to a reggae concert, and you see all kinds of people there from all kinds of walks of life, whether it’s someone with a tie pushing a pen in his office or someone who’s got his pants half around his ankles, doing the bop. They’re all there, chuggin’ around to reggae music.”

Steel in The Game - by Curtis Cartier (MetroActive)

It's tour time for Steel Pulse. Plane tickets have been booked, backup singers hired and hotel reservations made. David Hinds is in Birmingham, England. In less than two weeks, he'll be in San Francisco, kicking off the latest leg of the tour. But after 35 years as frontman for the iconic roots-reggae set, he's got the process down to a science and is a sea of calm amid the last-minute preparations. "I'm really looking forward to coming to Santa Cruz again," he says of his May 6 gig at the Catalyst. "I've been there a million times, and I always love coming back." Hinds' excitement seems genuine; his cultured Birmingham British accent only slightly marred by occasional dips into the London cockney. The giddiness is refreshing, given the sour outlook many musicians possess after decades of records, gigs and interviews. For Hinds, despite watching 12 members, including four founders, quit, wash out or move on, and despite bitter fallouts with three major record labels, touring is still a time when it's all about the music. "It's always been a struggle," he says. "A lot of people still don't get what we're trying to do, you know. But on the road we can just concentrate on the music."

Steel Pulse, however, has never been only about the music. From the group's first record, Handsworth Revolution, in 1978 to its latest, African Holocaust, in 2004, a rebellious political spirit and a fundamental Rastafarian message have permeated the substance of both music and musicians. And though the group now sits comfortably as the most successful reggae act to come out of the U.K., it's been a long fight to get here. "Reggae music came to the U.K. from people like us - children of immigrants who migrated after the war," says Hinds. "Back then, our music was never taken seriously. We were black Britons and we were used to getting the racial slurs in school. Venues didn't want to play us because we had a protest message." Hinds describes the mid-'70s as one of the most trying times for his young band. A strange thing happened in the late '70s and '80s in London, however, and reggae music soon found itself championed by unlikely supporters. "Punk rock came along around then. The punk rockers were interested in supporting anything that the system was opposing. And at that time, the system was definitely opposing reggae music," Hinds explains. "We were never really into punk but we started to realize the similarities between reggae and punk and started playing with a lot of the bands."

Fast-forward to the present and punk rock is all but dead. Reggae, with the passing of its prince Bob Marley in 1981, might have died also, but thanks to acts like Steel Pulse, Buju Banton, Junior Reid and the Wailing Souls, roots reggae can be now heard everywhere from head shops to supermarkets. Hinds says he's thankful for the longevity of his music and the increasing demand, but at times, he's still surprised by it. "As far as the media was concerned, when Marley died the music was over. That wasn't so," says hinds, his voice quickening. "People tried all kinds of new subject matters and styles to keep up the popularity. They started drifting away from the spirituality. But we've always been about deeper things, you know." It's these "deeper things" that Hinds says Elektra, MCA and Atlantic record companies could never understand. Those companies "turned their backs on us, so we turned our backs on them," according to Hinds, and today Steel Pulse is represented by the small, reggae-only, RAS label. "Every time reggae bands were signed to a major label they were thrown into the black category or R&B. We never saw any of the money they promised," he says. "Now with the Internet and pirate radio stations, we get more exposure than we did with the major labels."

In Santa Cruz, Steel Pulse has had plenty of exposure. Hinds says the town is always a must-stop on any American tour, and with tickets expected to sell out, it's clear that local fans feel the same way. "The people in Santa Cruz have been wonderful to us over the years," He says. "We feel deeply indebted to everyone there. Thanks for all the love."


Friday, May 1, 2009

Signed Pulse

Steel Pulse 1979. LtoR: Phonso Martin, Grizzly Nisbett, David Hinds, Ronnie McQueen, Selwyn Brown, Basil Gabbidon
This is a Steel Pulse publicity photo produced by Island Records in April 1979 and signed by each member of the band at the time. Michael Riley had left a few months earlier so the band was now down to six members. To many fans, this is the Steel Pulse line-up that produced some of the band's best work on their first and second albums. For me, the band have consistently produced fantastic music throughout their 30+ years in the business. This signed photo is one of my prized items of memorabilia. I heard from Selwyn this morning, alongwith David Hinds, he is one of two original members still with the band, that they are off to the United States this week to play a few shows and to record some tracks for their new album. No more gen on the album as yet, but when I hear, so will you.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Publicity shot 1976

Steel Pulse - November 1976 version [copyright Colin Gabbidon]
I've got the bug now as regards early photographs of Steel Pulse and here's one I haven't brought you before even though its been on my Steel Pulse website for about six years. Its a very early publicity shot of the band, a year before they signed for Island Records and really took off. It was in the collection of Colin Gabbidon, the band's drummer at the time of the photo, November 1976, and just before Colin decided to call it quits after being involved from the very beginning. As you can see they were already trying different angles to get themselves an identity so they stood out from the crowd of bands trying to break through. It looks like clothes were beginning to play a part too, the yellow Taffri gown on the right was popular around that time and this was the forerunner of the distinctive stage act which the band were to perfect a year or two later. The band line up at the time, just as they released their first single, Kibudu, Mansetta and Abuku, was: [back row LtoR] Selwyn Brown, David Hinds, Michael Riley, Basil Gabbidon. [front row] Ronnie McQueen, Colin Gabbidon. See more photos from 1976 here.


Mannox magic and more

Selwyn 'Bumbo' Brown of Steel Pulse in 1978
I am a glutton for early photos of Steel Pulse and Peter Mannox has a drawer full of them, having been born and brought-up in their backyard of Handsworth in Birmingham, and been around at the time the band were just kicking off their successful music career with Island Records. These are two more photos from Peter which he took in early 1978, showing what most reggae band members at that time did when they weren't playing their instruments. Peter, who now lives in the wilds of Scotland, is able to provide hard copies in higher resolution of these priceless early photographs, up to A2 if you so require. Contact him through his blog here.
Steel Pulse's David Hinds contemplating life in 1978
You may recall that back in April 2008 I posted a slice of a self-portrait by Steel Pulse's lead man David Hinds. Well here is the full painting in all its glory. As you may be aware, the early history of reggae legends Steel Pulse has always intrigued me. They've been my band of choice since I saw them at Cheltenham Town Hall in 1978, some four years after their formation in the backstreets of Handsworth in Birmingham. The founding fathers of the band were David Hinds and Basil Gabbidon. They were best friends, both attending sixth form at Handsworth Wood and they both had Saturday jobs at the Co-Op supermarket in Winson Green. They loved music and they loved art. So much so that they left Handsworth Wood and went to the Bournville College of Art to continue their studies. Basil took a one year vocational course in graphics and David, who joined Basil in the supermarket on Saturday's only, took a foundation course in art studies and later moved onto the School of Art at Margaret Street, the Art Department of Birmingham Polytechnic. It was during his first year at Margaret Street in 1974 that David painted this self-portrait. It's oil paint on cotton duck canvas, 21"x20" and shows David at home - and is a unique piece of artwork by one of the world's leading reggae artists.
David Hinds' 1974 self-portrait in oils

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another gem

Steel Pulse on Soho Road, Handsworth [copyright Peter Mannox - click to enlarge]
Here's another gem of a photo of the 1978 line-up of reggae legends Steel Pulse, taken by Birmingham-born Peter Mannox and posted on his blog here. It was snapped at the entrance to a snooker hall on Soho Road, Handsworth and most likely was taken at the beginning of 1978. The line-up for the photo is (LtoR): Ronnie McQueen, Selwyn Brown, David Hinds, Basil Gabbidon, Michael Riley, Grizzly Nisbett and Phonso Martin. Peter was born in Handsworth, the band's backyard, and his photo-shoot was used by Island Records, who signed the band in October 1977 and released their first single and album the following year to unheralded success.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

In spirit

Two reggae gigs that I would've attended, if I was still living in Blighty, will take place soon enough. Up first is my favourite songstress Yaz Alexander, who will support the legendary Wailers in concert at the Birmingham Academy on Wednesday 22 April. The Wailers, Bob Marley's backing band, will perform the Exodus album in full as part of a 6-date tour they are kicking off in London tonight. Yaz will be accompanied by her two backing vocalists Anne-Marie and Emmah B. By the way Yaz will also support The Mighty Diamonds in concert at The Drum in Birminghm on 6 June.
The second gig where I will be there in spirit only, will be at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire on Wednesday 27 May, when the best band on the globe, Steel Pulse will perform as part of the Island Life concert festival, celebrating 50 years of Island Records. It was with Island that Steel Pulse released their first single, Ku Klux Klan and their debut album, Handsworth Revolution, in 1978, a watershed year in my music-listening history. Pulse went onto release another two albums whilst with Island, not to mention touring with the legend himself Bob Marley, another Island regular. Link: Steel Pulse.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thanks Steel Pulse

A nice surprise on the official Steel Pulse website, click here - the band are in New Orleans right now and are donating proceeds from merchandise sales and raffling a guitar and more in aid of causes dedicated to those that suffered at the hands of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Steel Pulse sends out well wishes to
our good friend Andy Brouwer who without his love and support, much of the content on this site would not be here!
Get well soon!
Your Pulse Family!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Basement roots

1978 was the year that the band with whom I've shared all of my adult years, Steel Pulse, really took off as a major force in British and world reggae. It was the year they released their first single, Ku Klux Klan, which they perform on this video, as well as their first album, Handsworth Revolution which did incredibly well and they capped the year by touring with the late and great Bob Marley. It also happened to be the year that I saw them play live for the first time, at Cheltenham Town Hall, my own backyard, on 2 June. A gig I will never forget as long as I live. As for this video, it was filmed in the cellar of lead singer David Hinds' parent's house at 16 Linwood Road in Handsworth, Birmingham, which the band used at that time, at the start of 1978, as their rehearsal studio. The footage was used for a film called Reggae in Babylon, a documentary about the reggae phenomenon in the UK that year. At the back is Selwyn Brown on keyboards, then there's Basil Gabbidon on lead guitar, Michael Riley (white cap, white trousers) on backing vocals with Phonso Martin (percussion and vocals), out front is lead singer David Hinds in his woolly hat, with Grizzly Nisbett on drums and Ronnie McQueen on bass. The quintessential Steel Pulse line-up. Enjoy.

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Monday, December 29, 2008


None of the items in this post are related aside from two mentions of Steel Pulse. Hence the title mishmash, though I also thought of smorgasbord, hotchpotch or farrago. However, enough of the dictionary stuff, what's the post about I hear you cry. Well...

Incredible though it may seem, one of the Southeast Asian underdogs pulled off the surprise of the year in the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup with Vietnam taking the honours after defeating the high-rollers of Thailand, coached by the British bulldog himself Peter Reid, in the two-legged final. They won 2-1 in Bangkok and yesterday they clinched the cup with a last minute goal in a 1-1 draw. I reckon the Vietnamese will be celebrating for weeks after their success in the competition gripped the nation by the balls. You'll recall that Cambodia were knocked out in the group stages after defeats against Singapore, Indonesia and Myanmar. On that front, it's all gone very quiet after the Cambodian football authorities said they were going to review the team's performance during the Suzuki Cup and make a decision about the future of coach Prak Sovannara. I for one hope that they see that knee-jerk reactions aren't going to help Cambodia's football team improve, it needs stability and Sovannara is the best man for the job. They've tried foreign coaches before and it hasn't worked. Now they need to give a Cambodian coach the chance to make his mark. He's already taken them to the AFF finals with a squad of very young players and he needs time to work with them, improve their fitness, team work and skill-set and who knows, Cambodia could follow Vietnam's lead in 2010.
Sewlyn Brown (left) and Amlak Tafari act out their pirate fantasies
I'm a mite worried that too much sun has gone to the head of my pals in Steel Pulse, Selwyn Brown and Amlak Tafari. I know Amlak will do anything for a laugh but for Selwyn to dress up as a pirate is a little disconcerting! This photo was taken at the end of October when the band were playing at the SPI Music festival in Texas, and the guys joined VIP ticket holders aboard the 17th century replica Black Dragon pirate ship. Photo by Christy McDonald.
Tim Page on a previous visit to Phnom Penh a year ago
Renowned Vietnam War era photographer Tim Page is back in Phnom Penh, from his home in Brisbane, and will hold an exhibition of his photography at Meta House from 4-7 January which will feature some of his photographs taken in the past 40 years. British-born, his reputation during the Vietnam conflict was an influence on Dennis Hopper's portrayal in the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, and his work can be seen in a slew of coffee table photographic books since. He's also written a book about his search for the answer to whatever happened to fellow photographers Dana Stone and Sean Flynn, who both disappeared in Cambodia in 1971. Page will open the exhibition on Sunday 4th with the screening of the documentary 'Danger On The Edge of Town' and it will continue until Wednesday 7th with more documentary screenings, Q&A's, etc.
Steel Pulse's Michael Riley (right) and The Clash stand united
Another photo from the archives has turned up and reminded me that it's over 30 years since the wave of punk rock meets reggae was sweeping through the UK and engulfing bands like The Clash and Steel Pulse and uniting them against the National Front and others who were spouting their racist views. Here members of The Clash are with Pulse's Michael Riley (far right) outside the home of the National Front leader Martin Webster in one of many photo opportunities that showed the collaboration of black and white during 1977 and 1978 when the Rock Against Racism movement was in full flow. To find out more about Steel Pulse's activism in those couple of years, click here and read the plethora of articles I have accumulated over the years.

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