Sgt. Pepper’s, dub style 

Easy Star All-Stars add Beatles to reggae revision

Who: Easy Star All-Stars

When: Friday, Sept. 11, 9:30 p.m.

Where: GLC

Cost: First 100 tickets $25, then price goes up

You can call them cover songs, but that doesn't quite capture the level of thought and production values that go into an Easy Star All-Stars project.

"Homage" is probably a more accurate description.

Last April the All-Stars released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Dub Band , the third in a series of reimagining concept albums after the release of Dub Side of the Moon in 2003 and Radiodread (a reggae-fication of Radiohead's OK Computer ) in 2006. All three albums have been well-received by critics and fans, and have been embraced by the musicians themselves. Pink Floyd frontman David Gilmour was a big fan of Dub Side and Radiohead used to play it before their shows.

"We try to have a sense of humour about all this stuff, that's part of making music for us, but I like to think that we go a lot further than that because we really respect the source material," said Michael Goldwasser, who plays guitar and produces the Easy Star All-Star sound.

It all started, like so many good ideas, with a casual suggestion. One of the founding members of the All-Stars, Lem Oppenheimer, was a big fan of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and suggested making a reggae version. Goldwasser embraced the challenge, putting a lot of other projects on hold to try it out.

"I set about coming up with a few basic arrangements to see if I thought it could work and we thought it sounded pretty good so we took it from there. I spent about three years on and off working on Dub Side of the Moon , working on it in a very freeform way because I'd never done something like that before," he said. "I knew from the start that it had to be good. Dark Side of the Moon is one of the most popular, most famous and most cherished albums in rock history, so we really had to nail it."

The success of that project left reggae fans around the world shouting for more and Goldwasser knew they had to deliver. The obvious suggestion was to do another Pink Floyd album like The Wall , but in the end they decided on Radiohead's OK Computer - another high concept album that revolutionized music and stood out from the crowd.

"We settled on Radiohead for several reasons," Goldwasser explained. "One is we liked the idea that Dark Side was a concept album and we wanted to continue that direction out of some cohesiveness, and OK Computer functions the same way. Radiohead is kind of a modern-day Pink Floyd in the sense that they're a progressive band pushing the limits.


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