Live Podcast with hosts Devin Morrison and Roger Rivas!
The Reggae Podclash’s mission is to share the stories of foundational reggae artists, creating a historical record told by the artists themselves, while building bridges to new artists who have followed in their footsteps.
Hosted by Devin Morrison and Roger Rivas, two longtime players in the Los Angeles reggae scene who have performed and recorded with Jamaican legends including Alton Ellis, Prince Buster, Leonard “The Ethiopian” Dillon, Wailing Souls, Roy Shirley, Pat Kelly, Prince Jazzbo, Willie Williams, The Cables, Derrick Morgan, Stranger Cole, The Maytones, Soul Syndicate, Ranking Joe, Half Pint and more. Devin is also Rootfire’s Editor and founding member of roots reggae group The Expanders, while Roger is musical director for early reggae revivalists The Aggrolites, and a prolific producer & engineer. As collectors of Jamaican vinyl, Devin and Roger begin each episode by highlighting a “Record of The Week” from their own collections, before a long-form conversation with a special guest.
This week we welcomed back Reggae Rog to the show, and were treated to one of the best conversations we’ve had on the Podclash yet. Santa Davis and Tony Chin from the iconic Soul Syndicate band joined us to discuss their incredible careers creating some of the heaviest and most enduring reggae riddims ever to come out of JA. The stories they tell are beyond priceless, everything from how the flying cymbals got it’s name (I NEVER would have guessed this one) to how the great Stalag 17 riddim was created, to impromptu recording sessions with Bob Marley, Lee “Scratch” Perry taking the hi-hat away from a young & nervous Santa Davis during the recording of “Sun Is Shining”, and a whole heap more. The conversation lasted nearly two hours and left us feeling like we had barely scratched the surface of all there is to learn about these incredible musicians. A must-listen from start to finish!
This week, Devin ran the show on his own while Rog was off making another great reggae record with past-Podclash-guest Jason Mraz. Dev started the show with a tribute to the great deejay Trinity who passed a few days prior. Then the great Errol Dunkley joined the show to discuss his many hits during the rocksteady and reggae eras for most of the big producers of the time, and to set the record straight on various points around which there has been misinformation strewn across the inter-webs. Errol experienced some technical difficulties and thus we were forced to end the interview a bit earlier than we would have liked, but it was nonetheless a fascinating conversation with this top Jamaican vocalist.
Toby from Gentleman’s Dub Club joins us to discuss their new album “Down To Earth” out now on Easy Star Records. We talk about the challenges and unexpected benefits of writing and recording an album during quarantine, the group’s history and relationships with other UK heavyweights like Prince Fatty, The Skints and Hollie Cook, and much more before closing the show out with a live dub of the tune “Honey” mixed on the spot by Toby.
Miss Pat, one of the matriarchs of Jamaican music, co-founder of Randy’s Records & Studio 17, as well as VP records, joins us to talk about her 60-plus years in the Reggae business. We discuss her new book that started as a scrap book for her grandchildren and became a 200 page 5 pound coffee table book full of never-before-seen photos and untold stories from the golden age of Jamaican Music. We talk about the ways that her time working the counter at Randy’s Records helped her develop a keen ear for what tunes would hit with the Reggae-buying public, her relationships and friendships with virtually every Jamaican artist in the 60s and 70s, and much more. Her stories are captivating and inspiring. Enjoy this special conversation with one of the greats!
In this special bonus episode, Devin and Roger discuss the two heavyweights of Jamaican music who recently passed away, U-Roy and Bunny Wailer, after spinning a couple of killer 7” singles. Special shoutouts to: Cali Roots Radio, Songs From Scratch with Nate Feinstein, Dub Club, Junior Francis’s Reggae Show, Chuck Foster’s Reggae Central, Clinton Fearon’s Sunday With & Talk With A Friend, and History of LA Ska.
The great Johnny Clarke joins us to talk about his career as one of the greatest, most influential artists in Reggae music. We discuss his work with producers like Clancy Eccles, Rupie Edwards and the great Bunny Lee. Johnny describes the magic of a mid-70s King Tubbys dance, and tells us about working and recording with the master of dub to voice some of the biggest tunes in the history of Jamaican music. We also dive into the backstory behind the creation of some of our favorite Johnny Clarke cuts. One of our favorite episodes yet.
Author, archivist, lecturer, collector, and Bob Marley expert Roger Steffens joins us to talk about his 45 years of work and friendships with Reggae icons like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Joe Higgs, Alton Ellis and many more. We talk about his numerous game changing books, some of his favorite obscure reggae gems, why Bob Marley was the most important artist of the 20th century and beyond, plus a whole lot more.
Clinton Fearon makes his second appearance on the show to discuss his time with The Gladiators, his departure from the group and subsequent career based in Seattle. We also talk about how his live-stream acoustic performances have been one of the silver-linings of quarantine, and some of his fellow Jamaican artists who he most admired and looked up to during the golden age of reggae. And much more!
The great Ken Boothe talks about his start in the music business after teaming up with Stranger Cole to do sessions for Duke Reid and then Coxsone Dodd. Ken describes early dancehall days in the 60s, why he holds Coxsone in very high regards, and his gratitude for the things music has given to him and to all of us. We ask him about a handful of specific tunes, and he sings a cappella snippets of all of them! Ken Boothe: what a guy.
Jamaican conga master Larry McDonald joins us to discuss his long career that began in the late 50s before the invention of Ska. We talk about his time playing with legends like Tommy McCook, Carlos Malcom, Lennie Hibbert, The Crystalites, Lee Perry, Taj Mahal and Gil Scott Heron. Larry tells us about being one of if not the only serious conga player in the golden age of Reggae. So many great stories here.
Pipe & Bread from Wailing Souls join us to discuss their long career at the very top of the list of Jamaican super groups. They relate stories from the very beginning including their first recordings as The Renegades, rehearsing with Bob, Peter and Bunny in Joe Higgs’ yard, beating all the other artists at cricket and ping pong, the albums they released for Studio One, Island Records and Junjo Lawes, their new album Back A Yard, and much more. A must listen!
Miguel of Skunk Records joins us to talk about the production of and influences on the iconic Sublime record “40 0z to Freedom.” We have a great time going listening to samples of tunes that were heavy influences on Sublime and Bradley Nowell’s style, as well as songs from the album that Miguel handpicked to showcase certain production or song writing aspects. Great episode!
UK producer, engineer and dub master Prince Fatty joins the show for a deep dive into various techniques, approaches, effects and equipment that help him achieve the signature sound he has come to be respected for in the global reggae scene. Then songwriter/vocalist Shniece joins the crew to discuss her working relationship and history with Fatty which has most recently resulted in the critically-acclaimed single and video “Black Rabbit.” Super fun conversation!
Toots Hibbert was scheduled to appear on The Reggae Podclash on August 29, 2020. He went into the hospital with flu-like symptoms on August 27 and never came out. He died on September 11, 2020. Our hosts Devin and Roger have dedicated Episode #20 to the life and music of Toots, adapting their “Tune of The Week” segment into an entire two-hours of exploring and discussing his catalog. Tribute Performances by Clinton Fearon of The Gladiators, David Hinds of Steel Pulse, Jesse Wagner of The Aggrolites,The Delirians, Man-Like-Devin & Patrick…
BB Seaton, legendary member of The Gaylads who has been involved in Jamaican music since before the invention of Ska, joins the show to discuss his amazing career. We discuss his memory of being in the studio the first time Toots Hibbert came to record, many of our favorite tunes that he recorded with The Gaylads, Winston & Bibby, The Astronauts, and from his solo career, his penning of many classic tunes sung by other artists including “Freedom Street” by Ken Boothe. Then the fire alarm at Devin’s apartment goes off and he has to evacuate. Roger and BB held things down until Devin’s return. Since Devin writes these descriptions, you’ll have to tune in to see what else we talked about. BB also tells us about his new book, soon to be available everywhere!
Eric Rachmany joins the show live from Santa Barbara. He played a special live acoustic tune, and we discussed his love of the music of Don Carlos, how he got into Reggae, the importance of passing a love of foundational Jamaican reggae on to fans of the current American scene, Rebelution’s beginnings in Santa Barbara, his involvement in The Last Prisoner Project, the responsibility of American Reggae artists to make sure messages of social and racial justice remain a part of the music, his work with Unified Highway, who some of his favorite guitar players are, the new Rebelution dub album, and a lightning round that must be seen to be believed.
Rub-A-Dub microphone master Sister Carol joins live from her home in Jamaica. We discuss her upcoming new album “Opportunity” (out September 4) produced by the late-great Glen Adams and voiced over all old-school riddims, including several early Wailers/Lee Perry era riddims, provided by Mr. Adams. We also talk about her childhood growing up across the street from Treasure Isle Studios and next door to a SoundSystem featuring the legendary Deejay King Stitt, charging classmates at school as a child to listen to her perform the entire Big Youth record “Screaming Target,” memories of hearing U-Roy for the first time, her collection of Jamaican vinyl and love for record selecting, moving from JA to NY in 1973 at the age of 14, her mentorship under Brigadier Jerry and subsequent first recordings as a toaster, getting a Bachelor of Science degree in education, running her own soundsystem, the healing power of music, producing Dennis Brown, Johnny Osborne, Freddie Mcgregor and others for a Studio One Tribute album, and much more!
Legendary Jamaican bass player Val Douglas makes a grand entrance with a revelation that surprises both the hosts! We go on to discuss his work with producers like Duke Reid, Joe Gibbs, Lee Perry and many more, as well as with almost every notable artist from 1970s Jamaica including Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Burning Spear, Delroy Wilson, The Now Generation Band, and an incredible list that goes on and on. Val talks about why a 4-string bass is vastly superior to a 5 or 6 string, and tells us about the 1-string bass he played on tour with Maxie Priest. This was one of our favorite episodes yet!
Josh Heinrichs, in many ways the defining sound of Mid-West reggae, joins the show live from his home in Springfield, MO. We talk about being an anti-racist activist in MO, thoughts on the responsibility of American reggae bands to take an active stance against racism, Josh’s musical beginnings in the band Jah Roots, his relationship and history with fellow artist SkillinJah, finding reggae music as a kid in Springfield, Josh’s love for and musical successes in Hawaii and Guam…
Hawaiian Reggae veterans Leslie Ludiazo (Hot Rain Band, J-BOOG , The Green) and Zion Thompson (The Green) join the show to educate us about Hawaiian Roots Reggae. We discuss the evolution of the Hawaiian Roots Reggae sound, how both of these stellar musicians started playing music, Leslie’s career as a producer of young Hawaiian talent, touring, the crucial role of voice memo in the song writing process. The guests also have some questions for the hosts, before diving into a lightning round in which Devin gets schooled on the difference between slippers and flip-flops…
One of the great bands of our time, The Skints join from the UK. Fresh off of a bartending shift, Josh and Jon discuss slangin’ suds during COVID, the band’s long history as friends, their brand new Live album, influences both Jamaican and otherwise, performing at Cali Roots and Punk Rock Bowling, touring with The Aggrolites, The Interrupters & The Expanders, Lynval Golding of The Specials makes a quick cameo to express his love for The Skints, shooting their last video, British audience reception of the band’s anti-racist tunes and stance, Brexit and their tune “The Island,” the band answers questions from the live-stream audience, and much more!!
Los Angeles roots reggae legends The Lions discuss the origins of the band, their new single “The Loser” (a cover of the classic Derrick Harriott tune), the pros and cons of wearing pants during live stream sessions, their love for obscure Jamaican music and unique riddims, Roger’s love for their tune “Think” and how that recording came about, their cover of and video for The Magnificent Dance for The Clash Tribute record, the recording and writing process for such a large group of super talent, an exciting cant-miss lightning round, and much more!
South Bay heroes Fortunate Youth make a raucous yet joyful appearance on the show. The guys discuss hairstyles, drink whiskey and beers, tour shenanigans, their first ever show opening for The Abyssinians, tour withdrawals and songwriting during COVID, their recent Live album, Punker Paul the Preacher, mic-holding techniques, Dan Kelly’s upbringing in Mississippi, the band’s musical influences, cannabis as the band’s mascot, an unforgettable lightning round, and much more!
Jason Mraz and producer Michael Goldwasser join Devin and Roger to discuss Mraz’ new reggae album “Look For The Good,” and the decision to donate 100% of proceeds to the Black Lives Matter movement and a variety of local charities working for social justice in his local community in San Diego. Mraz performs a ukulele version of “Look For The Good” and also talks about his introduction to reggae music, how Goldwasser helped turn his song ideas into reggae tunes, and his decision to leave the major record label world and release this project independently.
Karim Israel and Robert Sotelo of Arise Roots talk with Devin and Roger about their new album Pathways (Ineffable Records), their writing process as a band, the LA ska scene in the 90’s and a bunch of previous bands they all played in together (The Stabbers, The Allentons, Irie Beats), the inherent link between reggae music and social justice, the natural evolution of their sound over the years and more…
The Specials guitarist and singer Lynval Golding tells stories of his early years in Jamaica listening to the Mr. Green sound system and so much more. Topics include moving to the UK as part of the Windrush generation, how The Clash’s manager Bernie Rose helped The Specials find their identity, why he always plays the guitar on the downstroke, the two-tone movement and 2nd & 3rd waves of reggae music, how The National Front spoiled the culture of skinheads, using his British accent to de-escalate situations throughout his life, and speaking in Patois to do the opposite. This conversation is a history lesson straight from the source.
Beginning with a dedication to the recently passed Judah Eskedar Tafari, Devin and Roger host Jamaican artist Anthony B, speaking from Vienna Austria where he’s working on new music, for a discussion of racism through the lens of reggae music, some of the stories behind songs on his new album “King In My Castle,” and performing “Mr. Officer” a cappella. Other topics include the nature of people and poverty in the world, the need for policy change and much more…
The day after LBDA dropped their first album in 20 years, Ras MG and Opie Ortiz take turns taking with Devin and Roger about the history of the band and the making of the album, dissecting specific songs and their meanings, before going deep on topics like 80’s computerized dub reggae, Japanese funk, and the legacies of so many people in the genre over the years…
Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid pranks Devin and Rog before getting into stories, performing some acoustic tunes, and sharing some records from his personal collection and talking about awesome album artwork. Topics include the tradition of BBQ’s after Stoopid shows, meeting the legendary Don Carlos and him teaching the band how to play bones, the band’s very first show in high school and the story of meeting Bradley Nowell and Miguel of Sublime, touring with Sly & Robbie, and the magic of making music with friends. Acoustic performances include “No Cocaine,” “Cool Down,” and a cover of “On The Other Side” by Clinton Fearon…
James Searl of Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad joins Devin and Roger for a wide-ranging discussion including coming up in Rochester NY, a city with a rich history of reggae music; Giant Panda’s musical heroes from the east coast, John Brown’s Body; The first time they ever played with Rebelution and recognizing their ability to bridge the gap and introduce reggae music to more mainstream audiences; Having the legendary Ranking Joe guest feature on their 2014 album STEADY; The nature of politics in reggae music; The history of Giant Panda’s lineups and how even if you’re made for touring it can still be really hard sometimes…
Nathan Feinstein of Iya Terra catches up with Devin and Roger, sharing stores of his songwriting process, the ebbs and flows of creativity during quarantine; his early days playing metal; an @Iration show in Ventura, CA, that made him realize he wanted to start a reggae band and going home to make a Craigslist post that Nick Loporchio (Iya Terra’s bassist and co-founder) responded to; his experiences touring with @Steel Pulse @Tribal Seeds @Ziggy Marley @The Movement and more. Nate also performs a few acoustic Iya Terra tunes including a brand new song that has never been played in public before this broadcast…
Clinton Fearon joins Devin and Roger for a wide-ranging discussion on the unique sound of Studio One, the first time he ever met Coxsone Dodd, recording tracks for The Ethiopians, his current The Boogie Brown Band in Seattle, WA, and sharing a laugh with his wife over dinner…
Joshua Swain of The Movement joins Devin and Roger for the inaugural episode of The Reggae Podclash!! Topics include the first time The Expanders and The Movement toured together, opening for The Green; how he feels when people say “stay out of politics and stick to music,” The Movement’s trajectory and successes in recent years after nearly two decades of grinding…