Dark, soulful dub pop reggae.
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.
Heavensbee is: Roger Apollon Jr - Vocals Megg Howe - Vocals Marc Wasserman - Music
Additional musicians: Spencer Katzman - guitar on "Find Me There"
Produced and Engineered by James "Ras Jah Ames" Dellatacoma Recorded by James Dellatacoma at Orange Music Sound Studios in West Orange, NJ
Art design by Todd Johnson
All songs by Apollon/Howe/Wasserman
Bounce Back 3:300:00 / 3:30
Bombs Away 3:390:00 / 3:39
The Lay of the Land 4:060:00 / 4:06
Time Is an Illusion 3:280:00 / 3:28
You Put Me On 4:010:00 / 4:01
Mr. Know Everything 4:010:00 / 4:01
Find Me There 3:500:00 / 3:50
The Time Has Come 3:230:00 / 3:23
Life Boat 4:010:00 / 4:01
I Will Wait 3:550:00 / 3:55
Rude Boy George
Your favorite 80's New Wave songs wrapped in a loving ska and reggae embrace!
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 worldview and moved me to learn an instrument and start a ska band (Bigger Thomas) that I've played in for more than 25 years. Though I tend to be a religious secularist, I've worshiped 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 Romantics). Here in the US, 2 Tone was lumped in with new wave--so, in many ways, despite their completely different musical worldviews, they are inextricably linked in my musical consciousness. A yin and yang that forever form the soundtrack of my life.
"Confessions" is our way of paying tribute to the New Wave tunes that meant the most to us when we were growing up. The nine songs we chose to cover here from among the many we knew and loved were originally recorded between 1981 and 1983—a period that corresponded with the explosion of 2 Tone ska, reggae, and New Wave on the radio, MTV, and in movie soundtracks.
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.
-- Marc Wasserman
Rude Boy George is a NYC-based band that performs ska, rocksteady, and reggae versions of 80's new wave and post-punk classics.
Rude Boy George is:
Roger Apollon Jr. - lead vocals Pamela Buckley - keyboards, piano and synths Jackie Chasen - saxophone, vocals Jim Cooper - drums Jesse Gosselin - guitar Megg Howe - lead vocals Steve Shafer - vocals, melodica Marc Wasserman - bass
Wayne "Waylo" Lothian - guitar, piano, organ, synth, vocals Antonee First Class - vocals on "Talking In Your Sleep" Dave Barry - piano and organ on "Don't Change," "(Keep Feeling) Fascination," "Talking In Your Sleep," and "Sweet Dreams" Spencer Katzman - guitar on "Don't Change," "(Keep Feeling) Fascination," and "Talking In Your Sleep"
Produced by Wayne "Waylo" Lothian Engineered by Ed Shemanski and James Dellatacoma Recorded by James Dellatocoma at Orange Music Sound Studios in West Orange, NJ Mixed and Mastered Ed Shemansky at Shemansky Mastering, Los Angeles, CA
Art design by Todd Johnson
Photographs by Patricia Koo
"The Metro" (John Crawford)
"Always Something There To Remind Me" (Burt Bacharach, Hal David)
"Don't Change" (Garry Gary Beers, A. Farriss, J. Farriss, T. Farriss, Hutchence, Pengilly)
"(Keep Feeling) Fascination" (Jo Callis, Phil Oakey)
"Talking In Your Sleep" (Canler/Skill/Palmar/Solley/Marinos)
"Eyes Without A Face" (Billy Idol, Steve Stevens)
"Driving In My Car" (Mike Barson)
"Tempted" (Glenn Tilbrook, Chris Difford)
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" (Annie Lennox, David A. Stewart)
***Rude Boy George has secured mechanical license(s) pursuant to Section 115 of the United States Copyright Act from the Rightsholder(s) of the compositions listed above.
Take One EP
Rude Boy George
80's New Wave done in Ska/Reggae/Rocksteady versions!
Rude Boy George is a NYC-based band that performs ska, rocksteady, and reggae covers of New Wave classics. We’re motivated by our 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 70s and early 80s New Wave/post-punk era (Boy George). And we want to have some fun doing it. That's Rude Boy George’s agenda and mission statement--simple as that.
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. Our 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 “Waylo” Lothian producing. The result is our 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. Plans already are in the works to lay down more tracks in the studio--to be issued in 2014 on a more tangible format.
Rude Boy George’s current line-up features:
Roger Apollon Jr. – vocals Pamela Buckley (The Royal Swindle) – keyboards Jackie Chasen - saxophone/backing vocals Jim Cooper - drums Jesse Gosselin (Across the Aisle/The Royal Swindle) - guitar Megg Howe – vocals Steve Shafer – backing vocals, melodica Marc Wasserman – bass
**Rude Boy George has secured mechanical license(s) pursuant to Section 115 of the United States Copyright Act from the Rightsholder(s) of the compositions listed above.
Steal My Sound
2-Tone Ska and roots reggae with an updated sensibility. Picking up where the Specials and the English Beat have left off and taking it to the digital age...
STEAL MY SOUND. Literally. Take it. Download it. Send it to friends. Upload it to bit torrents. Do whatever you like with it. But just listen to it. Take it in. Music is a passion. It should mark a time in your life. You should be able to say that I was listening to this song or that song and I never forgot that tune in my life. Whatever it may be. At least that's what it used to be like.
Now songs are just background. Filler for the in-between times of playing video games, watching TV, staring at a computer screen and it's lost. The music is lost! Can it be found? Who knows but dammit we're gonna try!
Music is meant to be shared- a bridge to another place, a moment in time, a connection to another person. "Steal My Sound" the phrase is a statement against all the bad music in the world - that no one cares about, that will be gone in another month from now replaced by whatever is labeled "hip" by someone you will never meet.
Ska is ghetto music. Serious music. It's the voice of the people! Sure it's danceable and sounds kitschy sometimes but in the end the best music tells a story - a song that means something. Rise up and take a stand against the so-called sound bytes that pass for music these days. The soul-sucking sounds that the masses say is the music that defines this generation.
Stand up! Rise Up and Unite - this is our fight! As I drop the CD in the tray or the needle on the vinyl let the sounds of Bigger Thomas and "Steal My Sound" infiltrate your ears and let it take you on a new musical journey to another space - a place that can't be traced, to a time when the music made you jump and sway, shimmy and shake, slam and sweat to the sounds of a bygone era like no other.
Music has value - so "STEAL MY SOUND" and tell a friend.
Jason Lawless Los Angeles, CA April 2010
Ska, reggae, calypsoul. Skalypsoul, if you will...
16 years and still kicking!! Bigger Thomas continues to keep crowds moving and grooving to their patented version of reggae skalypsoul with a heavy dose of trad and two-tone ska thrown in for good measure. Best known for their upbeat ska-pop song "Ska in My Pocket" they now play a diverse style encompassing ska, reggae, calypso, punk, african and latin rthyms. Below is a history of the band. Enjoy! EARLY DAYS - 1988 Steve Parker and Marc Wasserman founded the band during the summer of 1988 after meeting at Rutgers University and discovering a shared love of 60's and 70's reggae and ska and of British Two-Tone bands like The English Beat, The Specials, Bad Manners and The Selecter. After writing and recording ska and reggae songs in Marc's apartment they put up flyers around New Brunswick, NJ. Within a matter of days they had a full band and began rehearsing in Marc's living room that summer. Taking the name Panic! (from the The Smiths song and as a description of their live sound) the original line-up featured Parker and Wasserman on guitar and bass respectively along with singer Roger Apollon Jr, toaster Ken "Miggy" Gayle, drummer Jim Cooper, trumpeter Kevin Shields and saxophonist Steve Meicke. The band took the Rutgers and New Brunswick music scene by storm that fall playing their first gig as an opener for the NY Citizens at a show before a sold out crowd in September of 1988. As word of their incendiary live show spread the band quickly found itself playing in front of larger and larger audiences during late 1988 and early 1989. This line-up recorded a 3 song demo featuring a nascent version of "Ska in My Pocket" that is still considered the definitive recording by many fans. It was also during this time that the band came up with their distinctive "Mr Two-Tone" logo which they use to this day. Gayle left the band soon after their first few gigs that fall and Sean Moore joined as an additional trumpet and horn player. MAKING WAVES - 1989 The band soon became a mainstay at City Gardens in Trenton, NJ regularly playing as opener for bands as diverse as Yellowman, HR from Bad Brains, De La Soul, Bad Manners, Burning Spear and Bim Skala Bim. As word about the band spread invitations to play in New York came in and Panic! found itself playing with NYC SKA bands on the Moon Record label including The Toasters, NY Citizens, Skadanks and Skinnerbox. In the late 1980's and early 90's there was a thriving original music scene at the Jersey Shore fueled by new music radio station WHTG-FM and the band was soon playing regularly at shore hot spots including the Green Parrot in Neptune,NJ, and the Fastlane and world famous Stone Pony in Asbury Park (where they opened for reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff). It was during a battle of the bands competition at the Green Parrot in the fall of 1989 that the band gained a larger following at the shore. The competition drew large crowds and after a very close final covered by WHTG-FM and The Asbury Park Press the band won by a point-and-a-half. The band used the first prize of 40 hours of free studio recording time to record and mix what would become their first self-titled LP (this was when bands still made records!!). During the recording process in the fall of 1989 and early 1990 the band received a cease and desist letter from the lawyer of a Virginia Beach, VA cover band called Panic. After several nameless weeks and arguments the band renamed themselves Bigger Thomas (after the protagonist of the novel "Native Son" by Richard Wright). Wasserman had been reading the novel in a class and offered it as a suggestion which his bandmates approved. THE RED ALBUM - 1990 Bigger Thomas released their 9 song, self-titled LP (known as the "Red Album" because of its color) in the spring of 1990 on Exclamation Point Records. The band celebrated with gigs all over the east coast and started playing regularly in New York, Washington DC (with The Now and Johhny Quest), Philadelphia (with Public Service and Ruder Than You) and Albany, NY where they developed a rabid following at clubs like the QE2 and Bogey's. The also ventured up to Toronto that fall. The band were invited to be a part of the Moon Records live recording NYC SKA LIVE which also featured The Toasters, NY Citizens, Skadanks and others. Originally slated to be both a video and record (like the 2Tone record and video "Dance Craze") only a record was released. The band's live recordings of "Moving" and "Ska in My Pocket" were electric and the live audience added to the ambience. But the best was yet to come. In December of that year as ska frenzy finally hit the US, Bigger Thomas was invited to open a sold out show at The Ritz for The Special Beat (a reformed ska supergroup including Ranking Roger, Neville Staples, Horace Panter and John Bradbury). The show, along with an interview on the BBC gave the band an even wider audience in the US and the UK. As 1990 came to a close the band continued to play out live averaging 10-12 shows a month.