Saturday, February 2
THE ENGLISH BEATAshland Armory, Ashland, OR9:00 pm (Doors Open at 8:00 pm)$20.00 advanceAll Ages ÂŒ80s SKA SENSATION, THE ENGLISH BEAT FEATURING DAVE WAKELING PERFORMING ATTHE HISTORIC ASHLAND ARMORY ON FEBRUARY 2 Dave Wakeling and The English Beat will be performing at the HistoricAshland Armory on Saturday, February 2 at 9pm. This is an all-ages danceparty and the tickets are $20. A story behind every songÂŠ Dave Wakeling is a hell of a nice guy! Dave loves to tell you the storiesbehind his songs, either from stage or after the show. Ask any one of thethousands of fans who have met him over the years and that's what you'llhear. Never mind that Dave is the singer/songwriter from two of the mostpopular bands of the end of the millennium, The English Beat and GeneralPublic, he's a stand-up man. Whether it's the personal as political in "HowCan You Stand There", making politics personal in "Stand Down Margaret",taking a stand against global warming as he did with Greenpeace's"Alternative NRG", or helping little kids stand up proudly with "SmileTrain", Dave has always stood for something. And like the mighty Redwoods of his adopted home of California (dude!), it'sbeen easy for Dave to take a stand because of his strong rootsÂŠ Hailing from working-class Birmingham, England, Dave and The English Beatentered the music scene in the 1979. When The English Beat rushed on to themusic scene in 1979, it was a time of social, political and musicalupheaval. Into this storm came they came, trying to calm the waters withtheir simple message of love and unity set to a great dance Beat. The six-member band consisted of singer/songwriter Dave Wakeling (vocals &guitar), Andy Cox (guitar), David Steele (bass), Everett Morton (drums),Saxa (saxophone) and Ranking Roger (toasting). The band managed to fuse allof their respective musical influences - soul, reggae, pop and punk - into aunique sound that was highly danceable. Along with contemporaries such asThe Specials, The Selecter and Madness, The English Beat became one of themost popular and influential bands of the British Ska movement. Over the course of the three albums, The English Beat achieved great successin their home country, charting several singles into the top 10. In additionto their UK chart success, in America the band found a solid base of youngfans eager to dance to the their hypnotic rhythms. Their constant touringwith iconic bands such as The Clash and The Police helped to boost theirpopularity in the States. Despite his huge success, Dave didn't stop singing and acting on theproblems caused by the noise in this world. The band donated all the profitsfrom their highly successful single version of "Stand Down Margaret" to theCommittee for Nuclear Disarmament. They donated their music to causesincluding the anti-nuclear benefit album "Life in The European Theatre","The World of Music and Dance" album focusing on indigenous people's art,and lent their voice to The Special AKA's anthemic song of freedom "FreeNelson Mandela", to name but a few. Dave Wakeling once told me that every great band only has three really goodalbums. And true to form, The English Beat disbanded in 1983, after theirthird album, "Special Beat Service". The end of one chapter and the beginning of a new oneÂŠ It was at this point that Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger recruited Stoker(drums) and Mickey Billingham (keyboards) of Dexy's Midnight Runners, HoracePanter (bass) of The Specials, and former Clash guitarist Mick Jones toformed General Public. Their first album, "...All The Rage", met withfantastic success, charting high in the U.S., U.K. and even winning the banda coveted Juno award in Canada for Best New Artist in 1984. After the fantastic success of "...All The Rage", the band spent two yearswriting and recording their follow-up, "Hand to Mouth". Like "Whappen"before it, this sophomore effort was more introspective and than their firstalbum, taking fans along with him in Dave's continual exploration of thelight and dark side of human emotion. The album was a critical and fanfavorite, and spawned two hit singles, "Too Much or Nothing" and "ComeAgain". After the second General Public Album, Dave and Roger went differentdirections to follow their own muses. For his part, Dave went on to producethe soundtrack and record the title track for the John Hughes film "She'sHaving a Baby". After that he recorded his first solo record, "No Warning".The album maintained the pop sensibilities for which General Public had beenknown, and in addition exposed even more of the mind and emotions of the manbehind. Forward as oneÂŠ After his solo album, while the other ex-members of The English Beat werebusy with their various projects, Dave decided to use his notoriety forgood, and pursued a full-time position saving the planet at a job withGreenpeace. This didn't mean a break from music, just a break from being thelead singer, as he stepped inside the mixing booth to produce the Greenpeacealbum "Alternative NRG". What made this album outstanding and ground breaking was not just the rosterof rock luminaries who Dave convinced to performed on it, including REM, U2,Midnight Oil, UB40, Annie Lennox, Sonic Youth, and more, but the fact thatit was recorded in 14 separate venues across America using a recording truckpowered exclusively by solar power - a 160 square foot, 1,920-watt solarpanel array contained in a trailer known as Cyrus. The power produced by thesolar array, once converted to AC (the sun is DC), generated enoughelectricity to meet the needs of an average-size house for several days, andwas proof positive of the viability of solar and other forms of alternativeenergy. I'll take you thereÂŠ After a metaphorical bump on the head from Elvis Costello for abandoning hispost as crooner (a true story, ask Dave about it some time), Dave felt theneed to "take us there" one more time. Dave teamed up with old friends toreform General Public in released their third album, "Rub It Better", in1995. The album and Dave's return to the stage were met by a huge outpouringof critical raves and fan support. The album provided yet another hot singlefor the duo of Dave and Roger, with their infectious reggae remake of an oldStaples Singers song, "I'll Take You There", climbing the singles charts andanchoring the soundtrack of the very hip, box office smash hit "Threesome". Having infected a whole new group of fans with Beat-madness, General Publicthen decided to disband in 1996. However, true to his philanthropic bent andalways looking to help out, General Public reformed in 1998 to play at"Sweet Relief", a concert to benefit ailing musicians. The English Beat goes onÂŠ Having accepted and embraced his true calling again , Dave continued toperform, touring back and forth across the States. Dave did it old school,touring clubs and playing countless gig from sea to shining sea,re-connecting with his Beat and General Public fans and building a strongand loyal fan base that continues to love his songs and embrace theevolution of his music. Then, in February 2003, we saw a dream come true for Dave and many Beat fansas The English Beat reunited for a mini-tour in the UK, culminated in theiracclaimed, sold out command performance at the Royal Festival Hall! Dave,Everett, Roger, Blockhead and the star of the show, Saxa, took the crowd bystorm! It was a magical homecoming for Dave and a really wonderfulexperience for the fans, with band members and fans gathering from aroundthe globe for a night or irie, ska-ful rock-steady Beat! Being the harddriving ska legend that he is, however, Dave Wakeling was not content torest on his laurels after the RFH reunionÂŠ Beat this! Tongue firmly in cheek, feet on the ground and eyes on the future, Davetakes the stage time and again, touring across the States, Canada, the UKand beyond. He does it for two reasons: First, he loves to play music,period. Second, his job here on Earth is to bring a message of love, unityand a steady, rhythmic groove of danceable songs with a message to themasses. Fans see him as an icon and to the young bands coming up he's theelder statesman of ska. His swooning croon has been covered by such rockluminaries as Peter Townshend, Eddie Vedder and Elvis Costello. He's repeatedly referred to in the press now as a "legacy artist" and an"icon": he's wasn't quite sure what it all meant and thought he might beentitled to some extra initials after his name (he wasn't). However, he learned what those terms actually mean early in 2006 when, muchto his surprise, bemusement, and eternal joy, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famecontacted him and asked him for his trademark Vox teardrop guitar, to beddisplayed in a place of honor alongside the axes of Jimi Hendrix and KurtCobain of Nirvana. Truly a wonderful and humbling experience for a workingclass boy from Brum! Dave is currently entering a musical renaissance, and fresh off this legacymoment, Dave is planning on going into the studio to lay down two newalbums. Dave also continues to tour as The English Beat, as he had done forthe last three decades, with an amazing all-star Ska backing band playingthe hits of The English Beat, General Public, and his new songs. Expect theunexpected and prepare to be blown away by the ever-changing King of Ska! One thing that hasn't and won't change though, Dave Wakeling remains a hellof a nice guy. Advance tickets are available at Music Coop, Lowdown; Medford: Bad A$$Coffee, Six One Nine, Jacks Board House; Musichead; Merlin: VictoriaÂ¹sStation; Grants Pass: Listen Hear; Williams General Store; All Tickets Westoutlets; online at jambasetickets.com, renegadeshows.com and tickets.com. For information or phone orders call Renegade Productions at 530-583-2801.