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Citizen Keyne. Ungreat Britain

Citizen Keyne. Ungreat Britain

Get your Copy Here

So, as I spend way to long on the internet, checking out bands, thinking about what to programme for my next event, I go through lots of bands. Some I avoid like the plague, some have just overplayed the curcuit and burned out. But some have a bit of mystery over them. Sometimes you hear the rumours and the slagging off, before you actually get to see them. Being the Twat I am, the more the bitching, the more I like to take a look.

When Citizen Keyne got in touch with me, my first thought was OI underdogs, is up my street, so I’ll give them a whirl. And what a pleasant surprise I found on putting on the first album, Ungreat Britain. I was expecting the same regurgitated Oi!, with loads of repetitive OI Guitar licks and a singer being ‘Very Hard’.

What I actually heard is a flashback to 1977 Punk Rock, but with a modern twist. Chavs , Boot sale Tales, is straight into 21st Century United Kingdom of Methodone

I have to admit, too many years working in music, too many years of being a skinhead, has numbed my brain to so much. A song has to grab you by the bollocks and get those butterflies tickling your chest, that buzz in your neck that makes you want to pogo round the front room.

Most modern Oi bands will perhaps manage one strong track,or follow the same old done subject matter, of boots braces, tattoo’s and working class delusions. Now onto Floyds arse, this album is such an eclectic mix. With a definite punk rock sound, taking me right back to Micklefield estate in the summer of 78. But don’t write this band off as yet another copycat. Citizen Keyne have really brought in a modern sound, with lyrics dealing with todays issues. The love of lager down our necks. With reminders of early Sparrer, Sham, Buzzcocks, with a touch of Macc Lads thrown in for good measure. This really is a stand alone band, and a great first listen. Cant wait to unpack the next selection.

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Punk Bands – Xtraverts

Xtr@verts biography; ‘Who sent the Boys’ ?

In late 1975 a massive shake up within the music industry was emerging and with this came a teenage driven musical revolution, soon to be known as PUNK ROCK.

If the ‘Kings Road London’ was the birthplace of punk then its younger brother the ‘London Road, High Wycombe’ was equally as important. The ‘Nags Head’ High Wycombe as a venue was every bit as important as the legendary ‘100 Club’ in Denmark Street, both were linked by one person and that was rock promoter Ron Watts. At the height of this revolution as Ron booked the likes of the ‘Sex Pistols’, ‘The Damned’, ‘The Clash’ and the ‘The Stranglers’ at both venues, teenagers in Buckinghamshire were being introduced to a major shift in youth culture many months before Punk erupted nationwide.

Mimicking its older London brother in every way in High Wycombe it seemed everybody under the age of 25 was becoming a punk rocker. Hippies had almost been eradicated and with turf wars between punks and teddy boys subsiding further combined with a revival of mod’s, rockers and skinheads the town’s local population was slowly having to accept this new ‘melting pot of anti- establishment’ youth culture.

Shortly after the now infamous Punk Festival of 1976 and the riotous Jubilee boat fiasco Ron Watts continued to book well known punk bands at Wycombe’s Town hall, it was always his policy to give local talent a chance to shine through. There was a vibrant local music scene emerging but with so much focus on London bands I believe there was one band that unfortunately went unnoticed.

………..this is the story of THE XTR@VERTS…………

As early as 1976, a good six months before ‘The Sex Pistols’ played the Nags Head, a group of mid-teens including Kris Jozajtis/guitar, Mark White/drums, Carlton Mounsher/bass, formed their own band ‘Deathwish’. Inspired by 60’s UK bands such as The Who, Small Faces and The Rolling Stones and later stateside offerings such as Iggy Pop and the Stooges, The Velvet Underground and The New York Dolls.

‘Deathwish’ were soon playing their own brand of Punk Rock well before the term ‘Punk’ was even coined.

Their first gig caused a stir when a confused audience who had been expecting the usual hippie drivel turned violent and threw lit fireworks at them. The band had to be escorted from the venue by the police.

At Deathwish’s second gig an A&R rep from CBS came to check out the band following Ron Watts recommendation. Every bit as confused as the audience from the first gig, unfortunately he lacked the vision to sign them, but at least he didn’t throw anything at them, lit or otherwise !!! As fate would have it during the show an enigmatic youth with brightly coloured hair joined in singing with the band on stage, soon becoming lead vocalist, a certain Nigel Martin.

Nigel, influenced by ‘Roxy Music’ and ‘Bowie’ was always outrageously dressed, so Punk was a natural transition for him. Unfortunately High Wycombe didn’t have alot to offer fashion wise in the mid 70’s, except flares and platforms. There was a great Teddy boy shop called ‘Goddards’ which in fairness sold some great gear but that wasn’t enough, so he used to hang out at ‘SEX’, Malcolm McClaren’s shop at the top of the Kings Road with his punk mate ‘Marmite’, probably the first black punk with peroxide hair. (One time Marmite wore a transparent rubber jacket with goldfish swimming inside it..!!)

Nigel was photographed in Malcolm’s shop by ‘Honey’ magazine, standing out because he would get free crazy colour hairstyles at ‘Vidal Sassoon’s’ courtesy of Vivienne Westwood. Malcolm took the fee for the photoshoot and deducted half of the payment, explaining to Nigel that would cover his loss on the t-shirts which Nigel had previously been seen stealing !! At the same time ‘Vivienne Westwood’ had a market stall nearby and Nigel used to go there and get his clothes made to order.

Meanwhile with ‘Deathwish’ floundering, Nigel together with Mark Reilly/guitar and Tim Brick/drums had formed a band called ‘The Xtraverts’ with Kris Jozajtis filling in on bass, a job he swiftly passed on to Carlton Mounsher. With the line up complete and with a set of original songs plus a few covers they played the University circuit and London venues such as ‘The Roxy’, ‘The Vortex,’ ‘Hope and Anchor’ ‘Fulham Greyhound’ and ‘Global Village’, supporting ‘Johnny Kidd and the Pirates’ , ‘Gary Glitter and The Glitter Band’ and ‘Bernie Torme’. Further they were voted best new band in the Aylesbury ‘Friars’ poll.

Whilst at these gigs they rubbed shoulders with the up and coming soon to be punk icons, drinking with ‘Joe Strummer’, ‘Paul Weller’, wet toilet roll fights with ‘Billy Idol’, arguing with ‘Sid Vicious’ and pinching white label copies of ‘Anarchy in the UK’ from ‘Johnny Rotten’. Whilst at an Arsenal football game in early 1976 Nigel dressed up with brightly coloured spiky hair recalls seeing John Lydon later to become Johnny Rotten sporting long hippy hair and a black trenchcoat, one wonders who influenced who !!! These were remarkable times. Carlton also recalls being persuaded by Rat Scabies and Brian James of ‘The Damned’ to help them put just pressed copies of New Rose into their covers at Stiff Records. Although this meant he had one of the first copies of the UK’s first punk records , he still had to pay for it !!!

The band played around with new names and became ‘Nigel Martins Visage’ or ‘Mirage’, but with ‘Steve Strange’ having the same name finally agreed and settled on ‘THE XTR@VERTS’, a name which reflected their image and style. Soon they released their first vinyl single on Spike Records, ‘BLANK GENERATION’, b/w ‘A-LAD-INSANE’, there was a limited pressing of 500 and incidently these singles are now selling for over £175 on e-bay.

The band individually having strong creative drive, unfortunately disbanded the following year and moved in different directions with Carlton and Mark Reilly forming the ‘ Cathedrals’, later Reilly left to join ‘Blue rondo ala Turk’ and then formed and continues to have success with ‘Matt Bianco’. Carlton formed ‘The Ventilators’ later ‘The Vents’, and then ‘The Swamps’. Kris went on to join ‘The Folk Devils,’ whilst Tim did session work with ‘Japan’ and then moved into production.

Before leaving High Wycombe, Mark Reilly introduced Nigel to two young musicians ‘Mark Chapman’ and ‘Steve Westwood’, base and guitar players respectively, to continue with ‘The Xtr@verts’. Recruiting drummer ‘Andy Crawford’ they knuckled down and continued rehearsing and writing new material.

With a new line up, fresh and stronger than ever they hit the circuit running. Ron Watts gave the band many supports at the Town Hall where many well known acts were playing. First gig with the Jones Boys (aka Howard Jones) then support slots with ‘The Slits’ and ‘Creation Rebel’ and then headline gigs at the ‘White Swan’ Southall, the ‘Rainbow’ Finsbury Park and then ’Oranges and Lemons’ Oxford. Further concerts followed and a string of support gigs with the Damned’, ‘999’, ’Angelic Upstarts’, ‘The U.K. Subs, ‘The Vibrators’’ and ‘The Lurkers’.

The band went straight into the studio and during 1979 released two singles, the first was ‘POLICE STATE/DEMOLITION’ a double a) side, costs were shared with another local band ‘Plastic People’ with their song ‘Demolition’- released on Rising Sun records. The second release later in the year with the introduction of a new guitarist was ‘SPEED / 1984’.

The band with its new line up built up a very large following with in excess of 1000 people travelling to gigs far and wide, coaches filled with fans from all over the south of England would come and be a part of the Xtr@verts crew, especially when headlining their own gigs and with the support of ‘Rat Scabies’ drummer of the ‘Damned’ with a band he was managing ‘The Satellites’ played with the Xtr@verts on numerous occasions. Then there was the infamous ‘Oranges and Lemons’ gig in Oxford, The Clarenden, Fulham Greyhound, Hope’n’Anchor, plus many more memorable gigs in and around the home counties.

The Xtr@verts had a massive Punk and Skinhead following from as far as Birmingham to London and they would travel and support the band. The venues were packed with large chanting boisterous crowds and were more reminiscent of a Millwall -West Ham match than a concert.

At one gig in particular, 1980 at the Town Hall , High Wycombe, Rat Scabies even stood in and drummed for the band, and recently some 35 years later a recording of this electric gig has been discovered.

During late 1979, even after plays of both singles on ‘John Peel’s’ radio show, topping the N.M.E and SOUNDS charts, knocking ‘pretty vacant’ of the top of the independent charts also in the top 3 of the ‘Oi’ charts and a brief appearance on ‘20th Century Box’ a ‘Janet Street Porter’ production with an interview by ‘Danny Baker’ on the subject of independent record labels and unsigned bands releasing and distributing their own records. Unfortunately the writing was on the wall.

Coupled with musical differences, changing line up and dissallusion with the punk ethos and the arrival of a new breed of Punk more commonly known as ‘Oi’ which had started causing violent confrontations and injecting absolute ch@os between fans at latter gigs, on the 31st January

…………THE XTR@VERTS short life from 1976 to1980 was over……….

Reunions: album release and new line ups:

After the break up members went in different directions, Mark Chapman the totally flambouyant and outrageous base player became a top London DJ playing re mixes of 70’s disco classics in London Nightclubs becoming a promoter and entrepreneur, founder of ‘Car Wash’ and rubbing shoulders with new found friends ‘ Sigue Sigue Sputnik’.

Nigel played with a few local bands but moved into promoting rather than performing and opened the ‘Kat Klub’ under the flyover in the centre of town packing out the venue with bands like the U.K Subs, Crass, King Kurt, 999, the ‘Meteors’, ‘Angelic Upstarts’ and the ‘Vibrators’, keeping music live after the demise of the Town hall due to skinheads causing so much trouble at an ‘Adam Ant’ gig the venue was closed by the council.

During the next 10 years there was a handful of re union gigs, re hashing of old songs albeit very well received locally, during the mid eighties with the arrival of new guitarist Alistair Murray and drummer Steve McCormack ( who had been close friends with the band from day one) the Xtr@verts performed 3or 4 gigs with new image and style with a complete new set of songs.

After the release of a compilation Xtr@verts album, with songs and versions unheard of in the day, entitled ‘So Much Hate’ was released on ‘Detour’ records in the mid 90’s which has sold incredibly well worldwide, the Xtr@verts reformed once again and a launch gig was organised with the UK Subs….this was the last time the band were to play. A chapter in all the lives of the band members was finally put to sleep……….

Until now… 2014,

After the sad death of base player Mark Chapman and a chance meeting with long time friend and organiser of Brighton’s Skinhead Reunion Symond Lawes and with such a worldwide interest in past punk history and youth culture, the XTR@VERTS have reinvented themselves yet again and with a brand new and exciting line up are now in the process of recording a new album and rehearsing for a launch gig at the ‘100 Club’ (to be announced shortly).

The band’s new line up includes ;

NIGEL MARTIN Original ‘Xtr@verts’ and ‘Deathwish’ lead vocalist and front man.

CARLTON MOUNSHER Original Deathwish and Xtr@verts bassist now lead guitarist.

STEVE McCORMACK Later band member, having previously played with ‘Xtr@verts’ on many occasions, sang and recorded with his own band in the late 80’s early 90’s with his rocker outfit the ‘T-Birds’. Even supported ‘Screaming Lord Sutch !!’ Also appeared on Granada TV’s ‘Stars in their Eyes’ as ‘Billy Idol’ 1993/94 and has played drums with rockabilly bands home and abroad and is an accomplished Jazz singer.

NICK ‘BO’ CHAPMAN Also known as Joe Hope and brother of former base player Mark Chapman. Nick has played guitar for over 30 years, playing with local Folk Rock and Electronic bands throughout the 80’s to the present. Were not the same were individuals’.

IAIN WOOSTER Iain has actively been playing in bands for the past 30 years, touring extensively through the 90’s UK and America, playing on albums for various artiste’s and an appearance with his band on the B.B.C’s ‘Eastenders’ during the 1990’s

The XTR@VERTS were a group that slipped through the media net and in their heyday were every bit as good as their contempories and although not up there with the flagship bands of the time they are credited and historically placed in the period that was punk rock. They appear in the top 100 punk bands of all time and have rubbed shoulders with many of the punk greats, perhaps now is the time to let people see what they missed or what might have been.

The Xtr@verts were one of Wycombe’s finest. So now let’s see what big brother’s little brother has to offer…….?????

Who Sent the Boys’. The story of the Xtraverts.

Biography written and researched by Steve McCormack. April 2014

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Feckin Ejits OTFH Album CD

Feckin Ejits Album. The first 100 people to order,and pay for their copy, can send their photo and have your image, a friends, old or new, put onto the sleeve. to be forever enshrined with the Feckin Ejits. Probably the greatest band of the 1980’s, that never made it to vinyl. (the pub got in the way of the giro) place your order now. Due for release by Subcultz in the Spring 2015, with a world tour in the offing. OTFH 

Support the Feckin Ejits 

ejits poster
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Immortal Machinery

“Immortal Machinery were formed in the winter of 2013, fuelled by a desire to make dark, melodic and uncompromising music.  The trio first met at a gig in central London in 2011, and spent the next two years jamming, experimenting and doing occasional bits of session work. After taking up writing his own songs, guitarist and vocalist Steph K soon became absorbed with the menacing sounds of Danzig, Type O Negative and the Misfits. Fused with bassist Mat G’s jazz sensibilities and drummer Tom S’s hard-hitting grooves, they soon found themselves making their own brand of sinister rock’n’roll. They are due to release their first album At the End of Time on 27th February 2015  – its lead single is set to feature an appearance from one of thrash metal’s Big 4 lead guitarists. Until then, they can be reached on Facebook and on twitter with @immrtlmchnry Their early demo work 

Immortal Machinery at the 229 Club, Great Portland Street

Supported by the newly-started record label Roxeavy Music, Immortal Machinery continue to perform up and down the country. They also host their own self-promoted gigs in London, with the aim of promoting other underground bands who share their ethos. If you are interested in playing at one of their shows, send a private message to their facebook page or email

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Here’s MANKIND: 

There’s something going on. An emerging scene reacting to the overwhelming EDM rains that floods every single garage here without mercy – wiping out the kids trashy hang-outs where they desperately tries to ruin their lives. Garages are turned into silent aquariums.
It is such a perfect clean-up. But hey, the aquarium is cracking up.

It’s explosive, dark, potent, and psyched out. And the main little monster fish here is the band MANKIND.

Currently whipping up the underground and warehouse parties in Stockholm with their runaway, throbbing and decadent show, Swedish MANKIND is getting attention.

MANKIND, four guys that could have been seeds planted at Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, drawing strength from the graves of Jim Morrison, Chopin and Gertrud Stein.

Instead the plants grew in Ingmar Bergman’s land of held back silence – bonded by a mutual musical love and existential brooding.

The bands first track “Blood, Sugar” – not least apparent by the video (directed by Johan Stolpe) – is unmistakably Scandinavian with Fever Ray-ish aesthetics. It’s produced by Gordon Raphael (The Strokes, Regina Spektor). Although early recognized and loved by The Needle Drop, “Blood, Sugar” was never sent out in the world. So lo and behold, this is now corrected. Needle Drop:

MANKIND were brought up on music released long before they were born and in boroughs far from where they lived (the early 90’s Seattle scene, the Velvet’s New York, The Door’s California, London 60s…) and that’s exactly where they belong artistically. But in addition they also have their own DNA, a unique sound full of odd MANKIND figments, twisted song structures, lyrics that are clever, angry, darkly funny, upsetting and on-point and a world of imagery and ideas that we know will keep us busy and alert.

Band are Arthur Batsal (vocals), Oliver Boson (drum), Alexander Ceci (guitar), Fredrik Diffner (bass) – just over 20, lives in Stockholm, Sweden


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British Reggae History

385 Willesden High Road is tucked away behind a row of dilapidated 19th century houses, its entrance obscured by high locked gates and a walled yard. But 385 is a treasure trove of reggae history. It’s called Theorem, Music Village, and it’s where we’re recording several artist interviews for Reggae Britannia. As we arrive, there’s a band in the studio rehearsing a romantic Lovers Rock number, there’s a man up a rickety ladder painting the walls and another mopping up from an all night dance in the ‘functions room’ with its damp lino and garish red felt walls.

T-Jae, the tall soft-spoken proprietor of what was once called BBMC (the Brent Black Music Cooperative) helps us with our camera gear. He’s got coffee brewing in the kitchen beside an open can of condensed milk. Before T-Jae’s time this was a leisure centre filled with rattle of pinball machines and the click of snooker balls – now replaced by the drum ‘n bass of reggae rhythms leaking from the studio.

We’re here to interview Dave Barker, one half of the Dave and Ansell Collins vocal duo who set the teenage mods alight, back in 1971, performing a novelty number called ‘Double Barrel’. Dave’s a quietly spoken man with a hint of a stammer. He tells us how, when he first came to this country (and he stayed here ever after) he peered out through the window of his BOAC plane as it banked over the smoking chimneys of the snow-covered houses below and wondered ‘how come they have so many bakeries in England?’ On the drive from the airport he was shocked at seeing white men digging the road and taking out garbage: ‘Wow man, that was strange, you didn’t see those things in Jamaica’. Nor dogs wearing winter vests, nor steak and kidney pies, nor that little sparrow he spied pecking the top off a milk bottle. He can’t help himself: Dave sings a refrain from Matt Munro’s ‘Born Free’ and segues into ‘Summer Holiday’.

Dave arrived in the U.K exactly ten years before Theorem opened its doors to top British and Jamaican reggae artists passing through. Today, there’s the legendary Max Romeo sitting on bench in the winter sunshine, his grey locks neatly tucked into a woolly beret. In 1969, Max brought his wicked song ‘Wet Dream’ to Britain and its risqué lyrics – which got it banned in clubs and on the BBC – made it an anthem for skinheads in dance halls all across Britain. He sings a few lines, diffidently explaining how it caused an ‘upstir’ among the rebellious youth of the time. He’s a little ashamed of it now because, by the mid 70s, Max had embraced the wisdom of Rastafari. That was when he wrote and recorded some of reggae’s most powerful and memorable music in the Black Ark studio of Lee Scratch Perry: ‘War In A Babylon’ and ‘Chase The Devil’. When those songs arrived here, first as pre-releases and then remixed by Island Records, they inspired our fledgling roots reggae bands and then the punks and then Bob Marley too. Max intones a few lines from ‘Chase The Devil’, an ironic, cautionary tale that has been covered or sampled by dozens of musicians – including Jay-Z in ‘The Black Album’ – and was featured in the video-game Grand Theft Auto.

Dave Barker and Max Romeo – by Irfhan Mirza

‘I’m gonna put on an iron shirt and chase Satan out of earth’ he sings. ‘I’m gonna send him to outer space to find another race’. Max explains: ‘The devil is the negative within the psyche. Chasing the devil means chasing the negative out of your mind.’ There are people wandering in and out while he speaks; musicians carrying drums and guitars into this studio that’s cold as a morgue, or dropping off an amp or a heavyweight speaker, or they’ve come to pay their respects to the master, with a hug or a high-five.

T-Jae comes sauntering by with a piece of carpet under his arm to help our sound recordist dampen the ‘live’ acoustic of the room (yes, we still have a sound recordist on our crew) and he tells me that among the band members in the studio today is none other than Bigga Morrison. Bigga’s not a front man like Max, but a keyboard virtuoso and music director of renown. Reggae royalty. The band take a another break for a smoke in the yard and Bigga, immaculate in pin-striped suit and brogues, describes growing up in this country as a second generation West Indian:
‘My parents had experienced troubles and threats on the streets, back in the ’50s, with the Teddy Boys and such, but they wouldn’t discuss those things because they wanted to keep you free from the pressures. But as we grew up, we took our message and our fight onto the streets with the roots and culture music we played in bands like Steel Pulse and Aswad.’

Later during the interview, I asked Bigga to show us how the British reggae producers, back in the early 1970s, added violins to the Jamaican imports to make them sound ‘more classical’. Unfortunately, he’s lost his glasses and so can’t read the score. Tee Jay’s on hand to send for a replacement pair. Bigga fills in time by playing us a delightful new track by his band the Skatronics, but when the glasses arrive, they’re all wrong for Bigga. He wears them anyway, and peers astigmatically at the music for ‘Young Gifted And Black‘ which is layered in symphonic-style strings. Bigga (educated at Trinity College of Music) explains how Jamaican reggae gradually transformed into a British musical experience, first through the dub sounds and conscious lyrics of hardworking roots groups like Aswad and then by the bands that went platinum: the 2 Tone crowd, UB40 and The Police.
Bigga’s being called back to rehearsals now, so we break for a late lunch. It’s a choice of The New Golden Duck Chinese Take Away or the Caribbean place half a mile up the road. We do the walk and settle for salt fish and akee. Or rather, the others do. I choose the goat curry on plantains and soon regret it.

Bigga Morrison

Back in Theorem, Bigga’s at the keyboards and a couple of pretty female vocalists are delivering more saccharine Lovers Rock. And that’s where we see Big Youth, in among them, gyrating his hips to the pounding bass and chugging upbeat of the guitar. He’s chaperoned by a petite Italian lady from an artists’ agency called Roots Rockers. She’s Trish, and she’s exhausted because they’ve only just returned from a nightmare flight from Spain. Trish is a miracle of calm and efficiency in the maelstrom of the struggling reggae business and it’s clear all the artists adore her. Trish has offered us the opportunity to interview Big Youth, the toaster who excited British reggae fans with his revolutionary, rasta-inspired lyrics in the mid ’70s. He’s on top form today, his wiry body twisting and swaying in the interview chair as he sings lines from ‘Hit The Road Jack’, telling me how the great Ray Charles called him up one Christmas-time to admit that Big Youth’s version was just ‘the best’. ‘Big Youth stole the scene,’ he concludes. Modesty isn’t one of Big Youth’s virtues. But I can vouch for his status, and integrity. I first met him insideRandy’s Record shop in Kingston Jamaica back in ’77. He was checking out the sales of his album – visiting these record stores was about the only way an artist could tell how many were selling. He was as big a name as Marley at the time, and revered both on the island and over here. We met again – by chance – in Lagos, Nigeria, when he was on the run from some unscrupulous promoter. He’s older and greyer now, but with no loss of energy, showmanship or sharp humour. And the red, gold and green implants in his front teeth are still there.

The filming days at Theorem haven’t only been productive for our ninety minute programme, they’ve also been enormous fun. Maybe it’s the familiarity and affection the artists have for this building, or maybe it’s what they call ‘the spirits’ of the house: a combination of all those sounds and experiences imbedded in the cracking plaster walls, the creaky floorboards which once the feet of hallowed artists trod, or the reverberating bass you can hear down Theorem’s honeycomb of corridors.

We’ll be back here later in the week to interview the fiery, bubbly Lovers Rock singer Sylvia Tella, from Manchester; and Tippa Irie who came to fame DJing for the Saxon sound system, and maybe Dennis Bovell, the multi-talented producer/song writer and bass player, who did so much to anglicise reggae music in this country. Oh, and Trish says Dennis Alcapone’s coming by, the dapper, bowler-hatted vocalist who brought a whole new style of toasting to these shores with songs like ‘Guns Don’t Argue’: ‘Don’t call me Scarface, my name is Capone, C-A-P-O-N-E!’

For him, we’ll haul our equipment boxes down the dark corridors of Theorem (we never could find the light switches, thriftily hidden away in recesses above door frames). Because we’ll place him in a room, behind the studio, which is every reggae fan’s dream, an Aladdin’s cave of antique tape machines and mixers, and an expansive crimson casting couch. The wood-trim Rainderk desk dates from the early ’70s when Reggae first exploded onto our pop charts with songs like ‘Young Gifted And Black’, bringing an upbeat musical thrill not just to those of Caribbean origin and the packs of skinheads who followed them around the country, but to the whole nation. This mixing desk was donated by Pete Townshend of The Who. It has made history since, recording reggae artists like The WailersGregory IsaacsAswadJanet KayMaxi Priest … and so many more.

The traffic’s slow on Willesden High Road as we leave the studios and T- Jae waves us into the evening gridlock and shuts the gates. Back-in-the-day, Theorem would be filling up with dreadlocked musicians and their natty entourage, ready for another all night session. Sometimes it still does, but with the proliferation of cheap home studios and a music industry in crisis, it’s a whole lot quieter now. No sessions tonight. Just the rattling pipes, the whispering corridors, the vacant studio and the ghosts of British reggae history.

Jeremy Marre is the Producer and Director of Reggae Britannia