Steel Pulse became one of reggae's most successful bands in the late '70s and early'80s. They first signed on with Island records, and recorded the legendary "HandsworthRevolution" in 1978. Their contemporary blend of roots reggae and European popcombined with socially conscious lyrics made them an instant hit. Early gigs had themopening for acts as the Clash, Generation X, the Stranglers, XTC and the Police, andthey had quite a following in the British punk movement of the late '70s. Their next two albums "Tribute to the Martyrs" and "True Democracy" sealed their fateas inheritors of Bob Marley's legacy.
The original members of Steel Pulse, keyboardist David Hinds, bassist Ronald "Stepper"McQueen, guitarist Basil Gabbidon, and Selwyn Brown, are all from West Indianimmigrant families the Birmingham Ghettoes of Handsworth, England. Their earlyinfluences were calypso, mento, ska, bluebeat, and reggae, namely Burning Spear.
The late '80s saw Steel Pulse attempting mainstream acceptance with very commercialrecordings "Babylon the Bandit," which won a Grammy, "State of Emergency," and"Victims." However, in 1995 the band returned to their roots with the album "Vex,"recorded in Jamaica Excellent albums "Rage and Fury" and last year's "Living Legacy"proved that Steel Pulse is still the top reggae music powerhouse.
Throughout their 20-year career STEEL PULSE have always taken their causes to heart.In 1991, the group filed a $1 million class action lawsuit against New York City's Taxi &Limousine Commission, charging that cabbies refused to pick up blacks andRastafarians throughout the streets of New York.
Their appearances at the top festivals worldwide certifies their strong presence in themusic market and in the lives of their fans and admirers.
photo courtesy of www.steel-pulse.com
Formed in the Handsworth section of Birmingham in 1975, STEEL PULSE started outperforming on the British Punk scene with groups like Generation X as part of the Rock Against Racism movement.The band's former bass player, Ronald McQueen, named the group after a popular race horse. Phonso Martin, anotherfounding member, left the group in 1991.
The STEEL PULSE message of hope, education and activism has struck a chord withmusic lovers worldwide. Their international success has resulted in a Grammy award for their 1986 classic "Babylonthe Bandit," and nominations for subsequent albums Victims (1991) and Rastafari Cennial (1992). In 1989, the groupcontributed "Can't Stand The Heat" to the soundtrack of Spike Lee's film "Do The Right Thing."
In 1994, the group headlined some of the world's biggest reggae festivals includingReggae Sunsplash USA, Jamaican Sunsplash, Japan Splash and Northern California annual Reggae on the River Festival.In 1986, STEEL PULSE contributed an ethereal version of "Franklin's Tower" on Pow Wow Records' Fire on theMountain: Reggae Celebrates the Grateful Dead compilation. They've recently covered The Police's "Can't StandLosing You" for a reggae compilation of Police tunes that will appear on the Ark 21 label. The band is particularlyproud of "Rastanthology," a 17-song collection of STEEL PULSE classics (the 1996 compilation was released on theband's own Wise Man Doctrine label).
"We're not here to start a physical revolution, we're just here to open everybody'seyes and let them check themselves and continue in a very educational mode to change things on that tip," HINDS explains."We're losing ourselves and I think it's very important for us to realize that. Too many of our youths have been lostto drugs, or by the gun, or not having the education needed to persevere and move in an upward direction. I thinkRAGE & FURY will contribute to their enlightenment."