Derrick Harriott once said, “Ask any Jamaican musician and they’ll tell you the rocksteady days were the best days of Jamaican music.” Despite its short lifespan, the influence of this genre is not to be underestimated. Keith & Tex, best known for their hit “Stop That Train”, were a part of this new craze.
There was no indication that RudeMaker would celebrate its tenth birthday in any way. When our good friend Victor Quero wrote that he would like to invite The Slackers to Warsaw, it became clear that it was supposed to happen. After all, users of the Soundcrazy forum, which a few years later transformed into RM, met personally in Kraków in 2003 at the concert of the New Yorkers . We patricipated in the organization of the event and on November 3, 2018, The Slackers played in Pogłos. I took the opportunity to meet Vic Ruggiero to talk about the band that has been playing their own New York version of ska for almost thirty years.
– Well, that’s life, when you want to record an interview with an artist. You can’t be everywhere – I thought when I was leaving the Soothsayers’ gig at this year’s edition of Freedom Sounds Festival. Susan Cadogan, a Jamaican singer who was famous in the ’70s with the hit “Hurt So Good” recorded for Lee Perry, was waiting for me at a hotel nearby.
In USA attitude to Jamaican music depends on which coast you live on (or perhaps on how much sun you get during the year). In California musical nerds strip away Treasure Isle and Studio One music to recreate it perfectly. In New York musicians write great songs by intuition or trial & error. From connecting both these worlds Reggae Workers Of The World emerged. Alongside Jesse Wagner from The Agrrolites and Vic Ruggiero from The Slackers there’s also Nico Léonard from The Moon Invaders throwing in his two euro-cents. Their second album “R.W.W. II” was released in May by Nico’s label, Badasonic Records. For this occasion they went touring in Europe.
Six (or maybe more) years ago, delighted with the newest discovery, I was talking to a friend (Hi, Sidor!) about a guy, who only by himself makes fantastic music, which hasn’t been performed by any Polish band so far. Not at this quality, not with this feeling.
The friend laughed at me a bit, saying I am fond of a guy, who (apart from me) is known by five other people. Now he’s so fond of what xRob Black’s been doing for years, and I smile under my breath thinking about this conversation.
With Rob, about himself, about “Grand Shelf Reggay”, about the past and the future…
It doesn’t happen too often to accidentially meet musicians, for whose gig you’ve came from far away. Imagine our surprise, when we stumbled upon guys from Steady 45’s at our hotel’s lobby. It’s not like we’ve ended our day at festival right away and end up at a crazy party in the hallway, but it made much easier to set up a meeting to record an interview at hotel’s dining room. Joe, Eric, Ian, Joe and Tom (who was replacing band’s regular keyboard player during European tour) answered few questions while drinking beer and eating pizza. Have a listen.