Steel Pulse keeps beat pumping strong

Published 2004-11-03T00:00:00Z”/>


Richard Gehrels<br>Staff Writer

Steel Pulse brings its reggae beats from Britain to Chico tonight at the Senator Theatre promoting its new album, “African Holocaust.”

The band formed in 1975 in Birmingham, England, and consisted of lead singer David Hinds, lead guitarist Basil Gabbidon and bassist Ronnie McQueen.

The band now tours with an eight-piece ensemble, including Sewlyn Brown on vocals and keyboards, Clifford “Moonie” Pusey on lead guitar, Alvin Ewen on bass, Sidney Mills on keyboards and Conrad Kelly on drums and percussion.

Steel Pulse’s publicist in New York, Robin Blackwood, said the band is influenced by its roots, as well as some dancehall music. Hinds’ parents immigrated to England from Jamaica when the island was still a British colony. They brought with them Jamaican culture.

She said the band has a lot of politics in their music, but it’s not all political.

“It’s not like they’re going to come out and support a candidate,” she said.

Blackwood said the night will be filled with songs from the group’s new CD, “African Holocaust,” including the social awareness song “Global Warning.” She said there will also be some older songs, but she wasn’t sure what specifically the band will play.

“David (Hinds) just sings whatever he wants,” she said.

Steven Schuman, owner of North Valley Productions, the company that is bringing Steel Pulse to the Senator Theatre, said he’s been a big fan of the band since the early the early ’80s, when he first heard “True Democracy.”

He said he found the lyrics powerful. He said he liked the group so much that in the past he drove to Berkeley to see the group play. He’s already seen the group play four times.

“They are always fun, really fun,” he said.

Schuman said he jumped on the opportunity to bring the band to Chico.

He said he thinks tonight’s show will be successful. If people want a fun show with political messages, then they should go.

Steel Pulse is the only English band to have ever won a Grammy, winning for their “Babylon The Bandit” album in 1985. They’ve also been nominated for “Earth Crisis,” “Victims,” “Rastafari Centennial” and “Rage and Fury.”

The band has appeared on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing,” as well as guest appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Arsenio Hall,” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”

Steel Pulse has appeared with Bob Marley & the Wailers, Peter Tosh, Sting, INXS, Santana, Robert Palmer, Herbie Hancock and Bob Dylan. Steel Pulse has also been the first reggae band to play at a presidential inauguration; President Clinton’s in 1993.

Schuman said whether you’re happy with the outcome of yesterday’s elections or upset by it, it will be a great post-election show.

“The Senator will be rocking (tonight),” he said.

Richard Gehrels can be reached at

<a href= “mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected]</a>