Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Afropunk album 'Disgraceland' by Steve Drewett is Out Now!

It is of greatest pleasure to announce that an album of Afropunk by myself, Steve Drewett & The Indestructible Beat has now out. Originally available briefly as a download, it has now been given a proper release by Cruel Binary. I am immensely proud of this album and am so pleased it is now out in the world. It is available at steve-drewett.com.



Disgraceland
Steve Drewett &The Indestructible Beat
Focus date: Monday 20th March
Label: Cruel Binary - Cruel 0003
Distributed by Boss Tunage
Front cover of Disgraceland by Steve Drewett & The Indestructible Beat

























Musicians:
Steve Drewett: Guitar/lead vocals Mac: Bass guitar/trombone/backing vocals Sarah Ross: Vocals Neil Tye: Percussion Ian Bristow: Percussion Greg Caburn: Sax/backing vocals Adam Amore: Sax/backing vocals Isaac Prevost: Drums Tony Bennett: Drums
Notes: Recorded: The Square studio, Harlow, Essex, England.
1990 - 1993
Engineer: Nick Robbins, Richard Holgarth and hris Fallon (On separate sessions).

Links:
steve-drewett.com     

Biography:

Originally released in 1993 in cassette format, and briefly on Brooklyn based download site ‘Anthology’ in 2000, it has since been much sought after, originally titled ‘The Broad Church of the Indestructible Beat’ it is now named after one of it’s tracks ‘Disgraceland’, this title reflects more fully on the state of the nation as it is now, so once again this album is available enhanced and remastered on CD and available for streaming and download from all major vendors.
 
The Indestructible Beat (taking its name from the album ‘The Indestructible Beat of Soweto”
on Earthworks International 1985) and along with it, the musical genre ‘Afro-punk’, was created by Steve Drewett in 1990 (long before the James Spooner film ‘Afro Punk’ in 2003,
  that inspired the Brooklyn Festival of the same name starting in 2005.) He had just called it a day with his punk band the ‘Newtown Neurotics’ (1988, Reformed in 2005), a combo he had spent the Eighties fronting, producing eight classic singles and four classic albums. Trying to decide where to go from there, Steve avoided the formation of a Newtown Neurotics 2.0 by sticking to the original spirit of punk which demanded constant creativity, of pushing barriers, of challenging pre-conceptions. He wanted the next band he formed to be different, very different, but still within the framework of punks’ ‘concise excitement’.
 
Steve remembers the formation of the idea very clearly.

“ I was listening to a lot of African stuff at the time. It seemed to me that African music was
being perceived by many to be a highly sophisticated music played by master musicians,
due mainly to the
popularity of Paul Simon's ‘Graceland’ album and leading African stars
like Youssou N'Dour. The stuff I was listening to was from ordinary folk with lesser dexterity,
bashing out inspirational music with cheap shit guitars and drums.
They were not aspiring to one day appear on MTV, but were expressing their culture
and lives through the joy of music. It was basic, it was raw but it really moved me.
It made me think that it had many similarities with punk, and inspired by the Pogues
fusion of traditional Irish folk and rock, I decided to attempt a similar fusion, coining it
‘Afro
-Punk’ as I worked on it.
Rock'n'roll had long repeated itself, trying to find slightly different variations on the
Blues/Rhythm and Blues influence but there was a whole range
of fantastic African
rhythms that hadn't really found their way into the rock melting pot.
It seemed to me that Punk and African music had a common bond in the same way
as Punk and Jamaican rhythms had in the late Eighties.
 


So I formed the Indestructible Beat to try to create a type of punk that was danceable,
opinionated, raw, held together with a memorable song structure, but was at the same time,
looser than a three minute pop song and layered underneath with fresh,
hypnotic African
percussion.

Disgraceland was the result, 13 tracks of early Afro-Punk that demanded to be heard
and now for the first time they can! Their first proper release will be on Monday March 20th.

“Glad I came across you!! Your music is gorgeous, power, passion,
unforgettable dreamy melodies with a unique quality. . . lovely!!”
(‘Urgent Fury’ Facebook comment that sums up the album very well)

"His (Steve Drewett & The Indestructible Beat) is a jagged music, the rawness of
prime new wave forged with the lilting rhythms of African dance,
two seemingly impossible partners, a match made somewhere other than heaven,
the results can only startle". (FRoots issue 21)
  


Scum Class Tourists (The Indestructible Beat Manifesto)
They say that travel broadens the mind but you need a little money first, I just listen to a tape of some township jive and I feel I’ve travelled the earth 


Chorus:
'If feels so right, sending, shivers up and down my spine, It’s alive, with the hopes and the dreams of countless lives.
It’s all mine, every time I press play but the trouble is,
I’m just a, scum class tourist cos’ I never leave this town.'

Give me cheap guitars and songs from the heart out of a cut price studio, Whether from Camden Town or Johannesburg, the truth still needs to be told.

Chorus.

And we gotta stop these fascists with their cultural purity I don’t know about you, but Morris dancing’s not for me,
No, no, no it’s not for me. That’s why I play… (plays African guitar motif)

The tenderest forms of communication does not need the power of speech.
So while nations sing unto their neighbours,
They’ll always be the chance of peace.

Chorus.

Drewett Cote Basque Music Publishing Limited 2017
 
Track listing:

1.     Thinking About You

2.     Best Of Both Worlds

3.     Little Miss Indecision

4.     Capitol Radio

5.     Something Kinda Critical

6.     Disgraceland

7.     No No No

8.     I Can Rise

9.     Take My Advice

10.   Real Pornography

11.   Scum Class Tourist

12.   When The Oil Runs Out

13.   Somethings Going On

Monday, 13 February 2017

Squaring the Circle as housing developers 'Circle' the Square


It is always a strange feeling when you see your own town featured on television, especially when in the last 12 months, the reasons for that national attention, has not been in the least bit edifying.

On Friday, I witnessed a feature on Sky news about the growing concern about the amount of small venues being lost across the county, and there on my screen, was the nationally acclaimed Harlow Square being featured predominately, as they interviewed one of the Square One partnership about the size and implication of the loss of this facility to Harlow and beyond. This publicity, about its imminent closure, was on the back of it also being discussed on BBC 6 Music, BBC Essex and Music Week  and expressions of the importance of the club by members of some of the now famous bands (Like Blur, Coldplay etc.) who played there in their early days, dismayed at its loss.

It then occurred to me that the last time I remember Harlow being on the national news, was when a Polish man was attacked and killed by a gang of feral youth. It made me wonder how people outside our town must see us, as it seems everything that is reported about Harlow is negative.
Both of these storied ended up on the front page of the Star with a rosette displayed about them asking us to rejoice at Harlow Town being 70 this year! How wonderful!

My 14 year old daughter loves the Square; she recently took up playing the guitar, and with the ‘Livewire’ initiative, working with young people within the venue, got to play in a band for the first time. She is also interested in the workings of Local Government and how they can make a positive difference in the town. She was particularly pleased one night, when she witnessed every political party in the Council Chamber, vote a pledge to help save the venue, but this rare solidarity of stated intent,  later came to nothing when the Secretary of State overturned the council’s decision to block the land it stands on ,from being swallowed up by developers. This Whitehall official, thought Circle housing was helping to relocate The Square and therefore this community resource would not be lost. This was incorrect, they no longer were, they had previously offered financial help for the venue to relocate, but then withdrew it.  However, they were happy to let the Secretary of State believe that their offer still stood, because they then got what they wanted. The council decided not to appeal his decision. It is true that Harlow Council had been trying to help with finding alternative premises for the venue, but without the financial assistance needed to relocate and repurpose an existing building, nothing can come of it. Not a great day for Local decision making, not a great example to my daughter.

Young people are being consistently frozen out of the very society they are expected to contribute to, and as I was enjoying a drink in Weatherspoon’s before performing at the venues final gig, I witnessed ten to twenty teenage youths on foot and bikes, chasing somebody. They briefly invaded the pub and then started fighting outside; this is all they had to occupy their time apparently.

What is this town coming to, to lose an asset like the Square? It’s all well and good gaining a new cinema but that only helps consumers, where is the home for creators such as my daughter , or other young musicians living in a town, originally created with the pride of supporting the Arts and music, as a corner stone of its community? Or the band The Orphans who opened Saturday’s final show, 14 years of age and playing only their second ever gig, never to be able to return to improve their craft. What about my daughter who, when challenging the Councillors lack of success, by simply saying  “Where the hell am I going to go to be able continue to develop my musical career now”, threw Councillor John Clempner into an embarrassed mumble of seemingly empty promises and misinformed bluster. 


Yet the question is still valid, and still needs to be addressed.


Steve Drewett - Newtown Neurotics
Harlow
http://steve-drewett.com/



Friday, 10 June 2016

Brexit is the biggest act of economic suicide in the history of commerce

Brexit is the biggest act of economic suicide in the history of commerce, with the latest news that Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble has said that we would not have access to the single market if we were to leave the EU (that sounds like common sense doesn't it? If you leave something you don't have access to it!) where are we to trade? Even the couple of counties that do have access to the single market whilst not in the EU have to agree to the free movement of travel for people wishing to work there, and many other EU rules that Brexit says it wants to do away with.

Brexit has no economic plan, it has no idea and on this basis, the British People are being asked to trust the likes of Boris Johnson and Micheal Gove, that everything will be alright.
No electorate would vote a party into government on the basis of such a flimsy (ie no) economic plan. At the time of the election, I don't remember a great clamour from the public for a referendum on Europe, that came from a small clutch of hard right Tory MP's. I seem to remember that the election was clinched on the current governments economic plan, as awful as it was. If that is so, then if Brexit was to happen, how could this Tory government have a mandate to rule?


If Brexit wins it will be based on a xenophobic mistrust that would be a waste of time because this is a world were people move to work. Raising borders around our Island would be like demanding the sea not lap on our shores. It is not refugees or Europe who have devastated the NHS, it is not refugees or Europe who have created our housing crisis, it is not refugees or Europe, who have destroyed Local Government, it is not refugees or Europe, who starve disabled people and drive them to suicide, I could go on and on but I won't, you know what I am saying, it is this...

The enemy is in our midst, it is the current Tories, and successive governments before them fed by a culture nurtured by Rupert Murdoch to see only the worst in people and undermining the belief in co-operation and solidarity. On 4 January 1981 in a secret meeting with Margret Thatcher, she allowed him to own 40% of British Newspapers and since then we have not been able to have an free and balanced political debate in this country. So it finally comes to this, call this a debate? This country is planned to be remade, but not for the likes of you and me. Under the gise of Brexit, their encouragement of the suspension of disbelief, of the idea of the wings of freedom from Europe, lies just below the feathers, the chains that will bind us all, at the feet of the powerful. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Colin Dredd lives on via his NME collection

Happy New Year to you all. A little bit of good news from the end of last year I didn't have time to post. Really pleased that Colin's memory is being preserved in this way, he would have been so pleased about this.

The Eighties were a really significant decade and it will be great that students will be able to get an insight into those turbulent times via the effect that politics were having on Music and Arts at the time.

25 November 2015
Re. New Musical Express 1980s: The Colin Dredd Collection

...
We would like to thank you for your very kind and generous donation of ‘New Musical Express: The Colin Dredd Collection’ to the Archives of Popular Culture/Counterculture at Liverpool John Moores University.

The Archives of Popular Culture/Counterculture were established over ten years ago and currently house a world-class repository - including the world’s largest Punk archive. ‘New Musical Express: The Colin Dredd Collection’ makes a significant addition to the repository and will be preserved in perpetuity alongside the other archives. The collection will be made accessible and will be of great benefit to current and future generations of researchers, staff and students.

We would like to invite you to visit the archive anytime you are in Liverpool and we would be pleased to meet you for lunch and show you around the various collections.

Thank you for this wonderful addition to the Archives of Popular Culture/Counterculture at Liverpool John Moores University.

Yours sincerely,
Prof. Colin Fallows
Professor of Sound and Visual Arts

Dr. Sian Lincoln
Senior Lecturer in Media Studies

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The power of words (Part 2)

If you have been following my posts recently you would have seen one titled 'The power of words'

In it I point out the way George Osborne describes Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as  'Left Wing Insurgents' so as to create the perception of a decent, principled and compassionate man (and his supporters who have been blamed by Tony Blair of having a heart!!!) into that of an armed rebellion trying to overthrow a legitimate government by illegitimate means.

Nonsense of course, but the point is, he is attempting to change reality for his own ends.
All politicians do this (I can almost hear you say) but...there is a difference with interpretation of an aim or act and the deliberate distortion of this sort.

It happened again
the other day when Bombing Syria was being discussed in the Commons.

Cameron this time said that anyone who disagreed with the airstrikes on Syria was a terrorist sympathiser. This outrageous claim was a crude attempt to close down discussion on the matter, and clearly shows that whatever reasoned arguments he had for killing Syrians, they were not (even in his mind) robust enough to stand on their own. But let's think about what he was actually saying.

That if we disagree with the bombing, then we are terrorist sympathisers, which therefore implies that the only people to get killed in the airstrikes will be terrorists (which is clearly not true).

So he is saying, there is no real opposition to the airstrikes in Britain, except from terrorist sympathisers and they are a threat as they are trying to stop us killing the terrorists in Syria.

Ok, now squeezed out of this warped logic are the ordinary British people who do not think that killing more innocent people is going to help and on the Syrian side the innocent people caught up in this have been left out too, their deaths not considered important by our government.

Logic goes out of the window, innocent people are slaughtered in Paris and our response is to slaughter another lot of innocent people in the hope of hitting a terrorist and then claim we have the moral high ground. This to me, it is no more that 'tit for tat' poorly disguised as 'doing something' to stop Isis, Isil or whoever. The same thing has being going on for months in Iraq and Afghanistan without any significant disruption of the enemy.
The people who voted for this should be taken to see the results of waging war from an armchair, see how their point scoring in parliament results in a hell they obviously cannot conceive anything of. They must comfort themselves that, as they have never actually held a weapon in their hands that they have never been responsible for the deaths of anyone. If so, they clearly do not understand power or their place within it. 

I am not a pacifist and I  want theses fascists to be stopped with force, killed if necessary but not by carpet bombing everyone around them. This is a complex problem that requires a more comprehensive and intelligent approach to end the terror of Isis. Cameron's knee jerk reaction just shows that he has no idea what to do to counter this jihadi threat but he knows that the easy option is to just throw a few bombs at the problem. The arms industry are always close to government making sure they have the weapons of their desire at their disposal and once bought, need to be used. Running low, forget new hospitals or any other public service, divert that money to more weapons, government does it's bombing, government looks tough, job done.
They can then claim they have acted to secure the safety of the British people.

All that Is left is to get ready with propaganda when the reaction to that is bloody atrocities on civilians in this country.

But, as we are all terrorists now, what does it matter?

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Do they know it's Christmas?

With Christmas about to engulf us all, it has been on my mind about the plight of the Syrian refugees many of which will be spending life in a different type of hell in refugee camps around Europe with barely anything between them and the unthinkable.

So this is Christmas eh? Do they know it?

With the news services dominated on whether or not to bomb more of the Syrian population, it is our turn it seems to show our brand of barbarism. ...
With that in mind and a feeling that I want to do something (non-violent) no matter how small, I just wanted to suggest that all profits from my Christmas CD single this year, should you wish to buy it from here http://steve-drewett.com/steve-drewett/physical.html… will be donated to one of the Charities put forward by the Guardian Syrian appeal. If you want to donate and not buy the single that is fine too and you will find the links below to help you do so.




Saturday, 14 November 2015

Vive la Rock!

I can imagine that for Islamic extremists, because the west trumpets democracy all the time and we vote in our murderous leaders, they think we are responsible for what they do, as these politicians are our elective representatives. This seems to make some sense, but it ignores just how truly unrepresentative our democracy is now and the fact that millions marched to try to stop the invasion of Iraq. Our political representatives are letting us down and we have now run out of... choices.

What were once wars of proxy fought by our so called leaders in far away lands are now being fought in our streets and the winners are the arms manufacturers including those wined and dined in the Tower of London directly after the First World War remembrance 'Poppy' exhibition. All conflicts are now lethal (and very profitable) all acts political. The Islamic State has now declared war on rock music, think of that for a moment. Laughingly (not!) that means that I play the devils music, that I play music that is evil? What sort of warped logic makes the murder of innocent people good and playing and enjoying music evil?

See you at the next gig!

Vive la Rock!