Ah, there’s the dub
As the NME Miller tour bus rolls around the country once more, ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION are leading the way in more fields than most.
Words Fiona Shepherd
Remember the old maxim. as given a musical soundtrack by That Petrol limotion — ‘agitate. educate. organich This three-pronged attack is currently getting a good press via the explosive dubby hip hop sounds of Asian Dub Foundation. aka rapper Master I). guitarist ('handrasonic. bass player Dr Das. Sun-J on keyboards and Pandit G on decks. possibly the best thing ever to have emerged from that much-maligned institution. the community workshop.
Although ADP don't come with a tubthumping agenda. they are a vibrant embodiment of the triple- branched principle.
liAgitatc. forthcoming single ‘Frce Satpal Ram' is musically as heavy. danceable and atmospheric as most Prodigy tracks. while lyrically it couldn‘t be further from the decontextualised pointlessness of ‘Smack My Bitch l'p‘. Satpal Ram was jailed a decade ago. alter a racial attack in a Birmingham restaurant in which one of his attackers was killed when he struck out in self-defence.
‘lle‘s campaigning not just for himself but also on behalf of a lot of other people in prison.‘ says Chandrasonic (Steve to his mum). ‘He’s lighting against unfair prison conditions and consequently he gets moved around a lot and beaten up all the time. but he's a great guy.‘
Awareness-raising plans include a proposed concert featuring ADP fans Primal Scream. a band whose political stance gets much respect from Chandrasonic.
"There‘s too much in culture generally at the moment of irony. self-indulgence and egotism. I just
tack ’n’ toil ii‘iesttiie s a graded taking load egotism. ripping of“? the Seaties, everyone is doing it and it’s completely horiog.’
Asian Dub Foundation say no to ‘hippy sandal shit'
can't see anything wrong with writing a record that actually says something. People should ask more about the quality of information about injustices in this country. You hear about Louise Woodward. but not about Satpal Ram.‘
Could this be another renaissance for — gulp — agit-pop. after even stalwarts Chumbawumba have given up and written a merry drinking song?
‘So-called political music in the past has either been unlistenable or just really naff. so we’re hip to that. The fact is that the excitement of the band live or on record is what’s pulling people in.’ says Chandrasonic.
So now ADF have your attention. it‘s time to . . .
2) Educate. ADF want to pass on their experience. which came to them through an urban workshop.
‘That‘s one of the most radical things about ADF.‘ says (‘handrasonie ‘Basically. we‘re a group of teachers and civil rights workers who went along to workshops and as far as the rock ‘n’ roll world goes. that‘s the most uncool thing. but it’s new. Everything else is predictable. The rock ‘n‘ roll lifestyle is a product — taking loads of drugs. egotism. ripping off The Beatles. everyone is doing it and it‘s completely boring. It's a cultural thing as well. The idea of passing skills down to people. getting people of different ages and backgrounds together to make music is not unusual in Third World cultures where there isn‘t this youth culture package that‘s been in this society since the post-war era.‘
ADF have hosted sound system workshops as far afield as a gypsy ghetto in Budapest where a Hungarian version of ADP exists. They have also collaborated with the Institute For Race Relations and produced Homebt’ats. a C D-Rom for schools.
‘Eventually we‘ll set up our own college.’ predicts (‘handrasonie Which sounds like . . .
3) Organise. ‘lt‘s quite a tough organisation. there‘s no hippy sandal shit going on here.‘ says Chandrasonic. ‘lt‘s not a charity thing. We actually do this because we think it produces innovative grassroots music. similar to the original dub reggae or
J, i. s of drugs,
jungle a couple of years ago. We expect commitment
and dedication. We’re not interested in time-wasters.‘ The least you can do is lend them your ears.
Glasgow: The Garage, Thu 15 Jan.
We may be bleary of eye and sore of liver but we can still hear. Unfortunater.
'Bon's wife was complaining because he never wrote a song about her. Well, he came back a week later with "She's Got Balls". She left him for a few days over that.’
Angus Young ofAC/DC ponders the evrdent/y over-sensitive woman who was unlucky enough to be Bon Scott's wife before he choked on his own vomit after a drinking binge.
’I don’t like musicians. I don’t hold auditions, and it's a nasty thing to say, but it's like a platoon sort of thing. If the first three get shot you have another three behind them.‘ Mark E. Smith on his absurd/y high turnover of band members.
'If you're watching The Sound Of Music in a different way, not really watching it like it is your life and you’re just observing it as a film, one of the nuns says to her "Maria. What is it, you cunt face?" It's quite disturbing. You have to rewind it to see if you heard it right.’
B/ur’s Graham Coxon has obviously been watching the special director’s cut of the well-known family favourite. ‘My brother’s girlfriend was going for a job and when I heard how much money she was getting paid an hour I said "I wouldn't even fuckin’ sleep for that!“
Keith Prodigy demonstrates beyond reproach that he hasn’t forgotten his Essex boy roots.
‘l-le's Master Hong Lui, a master in qi gong, which is a kind of exercise, but it’s also energy work on your body. He gave me this amazing honey stuff they’ve been giving Goldie Hawn for years. He's been showing me how to sleep with a Buddhist smile.’
The one-time low priestess of a// that was grunge moves to LA, hangs out with Madonna and /ook what happens.
9—22 Jan 1997 THELIST55