Rude Boy George
Rude Boy George is a NYC-based band that performs ska, rocksteady, and reggae covers of New Wave classics. They are motivated by their shared love and respect for ska (reflected in the reference to 1960s and 2 Tone rude boys) and the extraordinary amount of good music produced in the late 70's and early 80's New Wave/post-punk era (Boy George).
Rude Boy George formed in January 2013 with members drawn from several popular and long-standing NYC area ska bands: Bigger Thomas (vocalist Roger Apollon, drummer Jim Cooper, bassist/Marco on the Bass blogger Marc Wasserman), Across the Aisle (singer Megg Howe, guitarist Jesse Gosselin and saxaphonist Jackie Chasen), The Royal Swindle (keyboardist Pamela Buckley)—plus a ska blogger/former indie ska label guy (Steve Shafer on backup vocals) thrown in for good measure.
The band’s live debut took place at Electric Avenue in Manhattan on April 13, 2013 to a very enthusiastic crowd and the band has played close to a dozen other gigs throughout the New York area since. Their perpetually expanding set list includes songs by Human League, Soft Cell, The Romantics, Billy Idol, INXS, The Smiths, Cyndi Lauper, Squeeze, Culture Club, Gary Numan, Psychedelic Furs, Talking Heads, Berlin, and The Pretenders.
In May 2013, Rude Boy George recorded three tracks at Bill Laswell’s studio in West Orange, NJ with ex-General Public/Special Beat/English Beat bassist Wayne “WayyLo” Lothian producing. The result is their five-track digital EP Take One (with "(Keep Feeling) Fascination," "Don't Change," and "Talking in Your Sleep"--plus two remixes featuring Antonee First Class), now available through Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and other major digital platforms. We are proud to release their first full length album called Confessions on December 5, 2014.
Dub Pop trio Heavensbee formed in New York City in 2015 around the talents of Roger Apollon Jr., Megg Howe and Marc Wasserman who have all played in a variety of ska and reggae groups together and separately including Bigger Thomas, Across The Aisle and Rude Boy George.
Seeking to create a unique brand of dark torch songs, the three holed up for six months over the late winter and early spring of 2015 in a tiny rehearsal space where they worked to hone their sound. The group cites influences that run the gamut from Lover's Rock, dub reggae and ska (The Specials, No Doubt) to 80's new wave (Depeche Mode, Fun Boy Three) to trip hop (Massive Attack) and indie rock (the xx).
Built around the dual vocals of Apollon and Howe, the trio's edgy, yet soulful dubby pop songs feature on their debut LP Soul Mates to be released on Trilby Records in the fall of 2015.
Celebrating over 25 years of ska, Bigger Thomas continues to keep crowds moving and grooving to their unique version of American ska that includes a heavy dose of 2-Tone ska, rocksteady and reggae thrown in for good measure. The band reflects the cultural diversity of the city they call home with members who have roots in the New York City metropolitan area as well as Haiti, Jamaica and the UK.
Best known for their upbeat ska-pop song "Ska in My Pocket" they play a diverse style encompassing ska, reggae, pop and punk. Over the course of their 25 career, the band have had the pleasure of performing alongside the English Beat, Colin Hay of Men At Work, Pato Banton, Jimmy Cliff, Yellowman, Burning Spear, Bad Manners, The Selecter, Special Beat, De La Soul, Bim Skala Bim, The Alarm and The Toasters among many others.
The band recorded their 10-song album 'Steal My Sound' at Version City Studios in New Brunswick, NJ with King Django behind the board in 2010. The album art work was designed by the one and only John 'Teflon' Sims who worked with Jerry Dammers to conceive the 2-Tone look and design for The Specials, The Selecter and other 2-Tone bands.
Their latest digital only offering, “Ska In My Pocket: The Biggest & Bestest of Bigger Thomas” was released on Martin Luther King Day in 2013. This compilation tells a story that began a quarter century ago when the original members of the band first met one another in New Brunswick, NJ. Though a love for ska and reggae music originally brought the band together, each member has brought a diverse set of musical interests that they developed into their own sound with 2-Tone ska (The Specials, The Beat, The Selecter), UK reggae (Steel Pulse, UB40) and punk (The Clash, The Jam, The Police) as the foundation. Like their cherished musical influences, the goal has always been to write and perform music that gets people dancing and thinking too.
Each member of Bigger Thomas has contributed individually and collectively to the unique hybrids of ska, reggae, pop, calypso and soul that appeared on four albums -- Bigger Thomas (1989), Resisting Success (2004), We Wear The Mask (2005) and Steal My Sound (2010) as well as two demo tapes they recorded in 1988. The 21 songs reflect the best of the diversity, creativity and originality they have developed writing and performing together all these many years.
Across The Aisle
Across The Aisle is a dynamic, female-fronted, New York City-based band that have crafted a unique sound blending elements of ska, pop, punk, and reggae. With energetic live shows and stylish accents of kelly green, Across The Aisle have succeeded in creating an identity that sets them apart from other bands. Having recently released their third EP, In Ska We Trust, Across The Aisle is continuing to work tirelessly to gain even more exposure and build upon an existing loyal fan base.
In 2008, the band debuted with The Mercy EP which caught the attention of Steve Shafer (co-founder and formerly of Moon Ska Records) who wrote “The Mercy EP is one hell of an impressive debut—somebody should sign ‘em to a label now!” Across The Aisle followed The Mercy EP with another 4-song EP, Change Nothing, self-released at the end of 2009. The D Throg Ska Review wrote that Change Nothing has “a greater depth of sound than you may expect, especially from a young ska band.”
Since their inception, Across The Aisle has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Fishbone, The Toasters, The Pietasters, Big D and the Kids Table, The Pilfers, Westbound Train, King Django, Dave Hillyard, Mighty Mystic, Sonic Boom Six, Roast Beef Curtains and a number of other talented acts.
Roger Apollon Jr.
The lead singer for Bigger Thomas and Rude Boy George has always worked in a band setting. Last year, while on winter vacation, the singer/songwriter began writing a collection of songs using a piano, a computer and an iPhone. After each song was completed, he would send the track to producer Wayne Lothian who crafted the song, giving it life, direction and instrumentation. This collaboration produced 8 songs, with the first single On My Way, due out in 2015.