On Thanksgiving Day, 2015, reggae fans were treated to a break from all the food and football with a live online Question and Answer session with David “Dread” Hinds of Steel Pulse. The successful Facebook event resulted in a collection of fan-curated questions answered personally by Dread and a second followup Q&A scheduled for TONIGHT, Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 at 6pm (PST).
David Hinds and Steel Pulse are excited to conduct another session and offered these words to fans:
“Thank you to all whom participated in today’s Q&A! David Hinds really enjoyed connecting with you all today, and he wants to do this again sometime soon! For those of you in the US, enjoy your Thanksgiving Day festivities and your family and friends. We hope that in this holiday season, you think about contributing to our film Dreadtown’s Indiegogo campaign – Come join the revolution going on right now. Any contribution (Even as little as $1) supports this film! The story of David Hinds, Steel Pulse and their legacy. Many Blessing this holiday season to your family and friends!”
– Steel Pulse
The wide-variety of topics may have seemed somewhat random at times but The Pier is here to help you efficiently get up-to-date on the roots reggae band from England. Some of the most interesting topics found in the David Hinds Facebook Q&A include the past, present and future of Steel Pulse, musical influences and preferences, and of course plenty of talk about the upcoming Dreadtown: A Documentary About Steel Pulse
You can read more about Dreadtown and the campaign behind it, by clicking HERE.
Steel Pulse: Past, Present, and Future
Q: Hey David, I’m 15 and a huge fan of yours and Steel Pulse. Pretty sure the only person at my school who even knows about Steel Pulse. My question is how did the band decide to play reggae music and how your family’s/community responded to it? (Nick Jenkins)
A: Hey Nick! It’s good to know someone as young as you is as versed in a subject matter that took many years to see the light of day. Because reggae being exposed to the world has not been an easy road. It was decided partly because of our heritage, and the lack of reggae around us.
Q: Hello David, do you remember the first gig with Steel Pulse you have ever done?(Jergen Josting)
A: Yeah, The Crompton Arms down in Handsworth. January of ’75, when we started. It was a local pub in the lower part of the ghetto. What we call ‘Bottom Handsworth’
Q: What are Ur memories of playing inna Hopiland? (Karen Albeita)
A: Bobby McFrarane had a song out called ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy. We had t-shirts with the same. Playing there became a significant milestone for Steel Pulse touching base with the American audiences – with a real nation of downtrodden masses outside of Africa. There was a guy we used to move with called JR, he was based in another reservation but sadly he recently died. But when I think of Hopiland I think of all the Native Americans we met along the way.
Q: Funny question – how did you sleep when your top dread was so long? Did it hang over the top of your bed? (Colin Drake)
A: I slept diagonally! So I became the hypotenuse of both triangles.
Q: What year stands out 4 the band; @steel pulse 40 yrs, > i’d say “80 or “84, Dublin, Ireland love you guys ; jah resta fari, have fun (James Dunphy)
A: Those two years do stand out because they were the highs and lows of our career. 1980 was when we got kicked off our label, Island Records. We were flat broke, and wound up in a tiny club in New York. after leaving those venues averaging 2,000-3,000 people in the UK, we found ourselves in New York in a club with 200 people. But 1984 was the aftermath of the success of ‘True Democracy’ and the release of ‘Earth Crisis’. I admire your intuition, James!
Q: My dad wanted me to ask if you remember the 1988 concert in Des Moines, IA when you opened up for Robert Palmer? (Abram Brooks)
A: I remember the Robert Palmer tour, and I do remember he had a guitar player called Eddie Martinez at the time, and Robert was a very controlled performer, and we are proud to have opened for someone of that caliber. How we got the gig, I don’t know, but we were originally signed to the same label back in England, so maybe the connection was there.
Q: Hello..Did you ever thought to abandon the music during these 40 years? I suppose it must be hard sometimes to manage family (private life) and being on tour all the time!? (Reggaesalsa Inluxbg)
A: That’s been the biggest issue of my life. But my career means to me as much as BB King’s guitar, Lucille, meant to him. As the story goes, he went into a fire to collect that guitar. I can’t see myself in any other occupation than this, while I’m able bodied, able minded and able spirited.
Q: David: how did the funniest guy ever (I mean Amlak Tafari) join the band? Big up from
Argentina! (Mathias Goyburu)
A: Because I like comedy. But really, we had changed in the line-up, and Amlak coming from the same ghetto, although he was younger, he was suggested to me as someone suitable based on his style of bass playing and visual presentation I was looking for.
Q: Many years ago, I remember hearing that you had been stopped in an airport because you had drugs hidden in your dreads…was that even true? It was during the time period that you had the “tower dread” on top of your head. (Laura Dorgan Swauger)
A: Hey Laura. No, there’s no truth behind it. But I have been stopped on several occasions for similar types of nonsense. And I always say to myself, “look at them stopping me. I don’t smoke, while the likes of Pablo Escobar walks off into the sunset…”
Q: One more question, David, have you wrote any songs lately? Is there any new album coming soon? (Viviana Resero)
A: I’ve been writing songs over the past few years, we’ve released a few. There’s been some side projects too, and we’re hoping to release our album soon. That’s as well as this documentary, Dreadtown, which we will release next year (2016). But we have written and released songs over the last few years, which we’ve released on the internet to keep us in the loop a bit while we prepare our next studio album.
Q: Saw you for the first time in about 37 years on the opening night of the Handsworth Revolution tour in Blaenau Ffestiniog earlier this year. For me it could have been 1978, how do you still retain that energy after all these years? (Becci White)
A: Good question! It’s all about us totally believing in what we’re capable of doing as a band in the first place. It became easier as little has changed in the world, politically, from the time we started, until now. Which makes our songs just as relevant, and in us makes us feel appreciative of that relevance.
Q: Have you met Peter Tosh? What was he like? Do you think he doesn’t get the respect he deserves in the community? (Chant Tamara Estelle)
A: Yes, I knew Peter, we toured with him back in 1979. And I know he’d be laughing in his grave right now, with the amount of interest marijuana has created from the very things he was talking about in regards to its potential. And to know that he was severely beaten for something that he strongly believed in… it moves me, even thinking about it. And now there are marijuana clinics everywhere. But behind that seriousness of Peter, there was a lot of comedy.
Musical Influences and Preferences
Q: I would put Handsworth Revolution in my top 3 albums of all time it’s superb, but what is your favourite track off the album and how did it come about? (James Lambert)
A: “Soldiers” was my favourite from the album, and it was written after experiencing a film titled ‘Soldier Blue’ starring Candice Bergman. You should check it out!
Q: What people/bands served as your inspiration for reggae? Also, I saw you guys in Portland, Maine where I live this summer and it was amazing. Please, please come back this summer! Keep in touch.(Nick Jenkins)
A: Our influences were the Wailers, Burning Spear, Ken Boothe, John Holt, Gladiators, Third World, Aswad and Matumbi. We’ll most definitely be coming back to area code 503 without a doubt!
Q: What music do you listen to? Have you ever performed at WOMAD? (Laura Dorgan Swauger)
A: We performed at WOMAD in England in 2007. I listen to all sorts of music but the record stuck on my turntable right now is the Soul album by Seal.
Q: Hola David, what is your favourite reggae album of all time? Hope you are well (Jenn Butler)
A: Favourite reggae album of all time? Wow. That’s a toughie. It would have to be ‘Catch A Fire’ by Bob Marley & The Wailers. And the runner up would be Burning Spear’s ‘Marcus Garvey’ album.
Q: Which of your albums are you most proud of? (Colin Drake)
A: The one I’m most proud of, wow, it’s hard to say. I’d say ‘True Democracy’. Although there have been close seconds.
Q: Which instrument would you like to see introduced into reggae music? Secondly, what is your favorite instrument? Finally is there any plan for an acoustic tour? (Teferi Campbell)
A: The didjeridoo would be good. You have to be careful to do it tastefully, as instruments featured in reggae music could take away the essence of what reggae music was founded on. But I don’t mind seeing these instruments used and featured in parts of the song, as long as it’s done well. Any international instruments from ethnic backgrounds can accompany reggae, as long as it’s done tastefully. As for an acoustic tour, yes! it’s been mulling around in my head for quite some time. Please bare in mind that songs that are executed acoustically will not be simply straight-forward and replacing instruments. You’d find the vocal syncopation would need to be different as well.
Dreadtown: A Documentary About Steel Pulse
Q: Will the documentary have more stories about your dreads? I was always curious about it and someone told me that it split in two. (Abram Brooks)
A: Yeah, at the end of the day, we’re hoping that the documentary is filled with enlightening information, coming from us, ourselves. In the film I’ve talked about the reasons why I knotted up in the first place, so all that will be revealed soon.
Q: Hi David! I live in S. Florida – Will I be able to see Dreadtown when it comes out? I saw a post saying it would debut in NYC and LA, but will it be in theaters all over the US as well? (Laura Dorgen Swauger)
A: We’re gonna do some special screenings in several cities across the world. The best way to get early access to the stream of the film is to head to our indiegogo campaign, but we are planning screenings too!
Q: Mr David … and a pleasure to ask a question, I am big fan … I wonder if one day it will be possible to have a release on DVD ‘Rastafari Centennial’ album of the show and the other question is about the new album, u have an expected date for release? Thank you, hug. JAH BLESS. (Franklin Gondim)
A: Thank you, hug. JAH BLESS. – Unfortunately, Rastafari Centennial in Paris wasn’t filmed, but you will be seeing so many other performances from that era in Dreadtown, our upcoming film. As well as of course concert footage from before and after! As for the album, sometime soon I hope.
Steel Pulse Links:
Steel Pulse Website
Steel Pulse Facebook
Article & Recap by: Eric Schoep