Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Rude Boy George EP "Take One" Now Out! -- New Wave Goes Ska!

Happy 2014 to all MOTB blog readers!

I'm excited to announce that the Rude Boy George digital EP "Take One" is finally out! The band concept was hatched a year ago during a dinner I had with Bigger Thomas lead singer Roger Apollon Jr. and Duff Guide To Ska blogger and former Moon Records honcho Stephen Shafer before we saw a Morrissey show in Brooklyn, New York. We wanted to combine our love of ska and reggae with 80's new wave. Roger coined the band name (the other option was Flock Of Scooters!) and we were off and running.

We recruited Across The Aisle singer Megg Howe, The Toasters piano man Dave Barry and Bigger Thomas members Spencer Katzman (guitar) and James Cooper (drums/percussion) and started rehearsing as much as possible. We shared a few early rehearsal recordings with ex-English Beat bassist and LA-based producer Wayne Lothian who loved what he heard. Before we knew it, we had recorded songs with Wayne at Bill Laswell's studio in West Orange, New Jersey. Wayne shared the tracks with English Beat toaster Antonee First Class who added his vocal talents on our reggae version of The Romantic's "Talking In Your Sleep" and we knew we had something special. Below is the fruit of our labor for your listening pleasure.

Truth be told, the twin pillars of 2-Tone ska and 80's new wave music sustained me through much of a challenging youth during the 1980's.  2-Tone revealed harsh economic, social and racial injustices with a power and a fury that was undeniable but also danceable. It forever influenced my world view and moved me to learn an instrument and start a band that I've played in for 25 years.  Though I tend to be a religious secularist, I've worshipped at the Church of 2-Tone for most of my life.

While new wave retained the vigor and irreverence of 70's punk music that had fueled 2-Tone, it incorporated style and art in a way that opened my world to ideas of love, friendship, sex and fashion and helped give form to my own burgeoning identity.  I sought refuge in new wave's incredible diversity of nervy pop (XTC), synth pop (Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Human League), new wave songwriters (Elvis Costello), pop bands (Squeeze, INXS), pop-reggae (The Police) and more mainstream rockers (Billy Idol, The Cars). Here in the U.S. 2-Tone was lumped in with new wave, so in many ways, despite their completely different musical world views they are inextricably linked in my musical consciousness. A yin and yang that forever form the soundtrack of my life.

So if you like the idea of some of your favorite 80's new wave songs wrapped in a loving ska and reggae embrace, we hope you will consider giving our versions a spin.  Many thanks!

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