And what exactly is “urban ska”, you might ask. This is the band’s term for their music. They draw inspiration from all waves of ska music, but don’t want to identify with any of them. They consider skinhead reggae as the foundation of their work but they like to interpret in different ways.
A brief history of Johnny Reggae Rub Foundation
The band was initially a side acoustic project of Johnny and Chrissa, guitarist and vocalist of The Fishedz. It evolved in 2013, when their first group broke up. For a while, their former bandmate Christoph, was their bassist. He was later replaced by Rolo. For several years musicians from Cologne played as a trio. Chrissy not only sings, but also plays keyboards, and Johnny simultaneously played the guitar and a specially prepared drum kit. Last year they were joined by Sgt. Pepper, a former drummer of the electro-rock band Rakede.
The first song they recorded was a cover of a classic from the 70s, “Johnny Reggae” (name obliges, right?). The B-side features the original composition of Johnny Reggae Rub Foundation “Threesome”. The vinyl came out in 2012. Two years later the band released their next single, “Coolit Down”, which was mixed by Victor Rice.
In 2015, their “Punk” EP was released, featuring Operation Ivy, Dead Kennedys, Misfits and Rancid covers. David Hillyard played the saxophone.
Johnny Reggae Rub Foundation’s debut album, “No Bam Bam” came out in 2018. The band again collaborated with Victor Rice, who produced the album.
In the same year another 7-inch was out with the song “This Is Ska”, the anthem of the famous German festival of the same name. The B-side there is “Oi Oi Oi”, a song which sounds like one of Judge Dread’s hits.
Johnny Reggae Rub Foundation – Trouble
Johnny Reggae Rub Foundation’s second full-length album, “Trouble” was released on February 14. by Pork Pie. This time Johnny, who together with Chrissy wrote all songs, was responsible for recordings, mixes and production. There are 12 songs on the album. Theoretically, because the first one is the band’s intro/creed. In my opinion, unnecessary, because I like it when the album starts with a strong accent. Musically it’s early reggae and 2 Tone and third wave ska inspirations. The lyrics, like on the debut, often relate to social topics.
Check out the video to one of the songs from “Trouble” – “Shut Up”.
Photos: press release