My Jam Session With Steel Pulse

My Jam Session With Steel Pulse

The director of the upcoming documentary on legendary reggae band, Steel Pulse, wrote me recently on FaceBook.

His name is Yoni Gal and his upcoming film is called Dreadtown. Can’t wait to see it. You can check out the clip below.


Dreadtown Teaser Trailer (Steel Pulse Documentary) from Rory Gordon on Vimeo.

Anyway, I was totally surprised and honored at the same time. Steel Pulse has always been one of my favorite bands. I knew about the upcoming film, but I never imagined that the director would reach out to me personally.

Yoni wanted to know if I have footage or photos of the band that they can review for possible inclusion in the film. I don’t have footage, but I have a few photos and lots of great memories.

Amazingly, I still have a 90 minute audio interview I did with lead singer David Hinds back in the 80’s. As it turned out, that interview might be exactly what they’re looking for.

“That’s incredible!” Yoni said. “This is really great news! We are searching high and low for audio of David in the 80’s. Thanks so much for digging and for having the foresight to hold on to it for all those years.”

I first met David Hinds back in 1986 when I worked as news reporter on St. Croix. Then, I caught up with band in 1991 to cover them for the San Francisco Weekly. I even got a chance to ride with them on their tour bus from Oakland to Santa Cruz.

David Hinds of Steel Pulse

David Hinds of Steel Pulse

But my first meeting in 1986 evokes the most memories…

That’s because I was learning to play guitar at the time and David was kind enough to teach me the chord progression for his song, Save Black Music, as we sat in his hotel, talking the day after his concert. He also taught me the intro to Raid Blues Dance!

If you click on the link below you can hear the audio of this guitar lesson as well as other sound bites of our talk. Click on the audio tab that says: Save Black Music.

I’m happy I still have this mini-jam session to share with you. My only regret is that I didn’t follow his advice and practice my guitar every day. Surely, I would have been a bad ass by now. LOL

Looking back, I had no way of knowing Steel Pulse would go on to such great heights. Hundreds of bands have come and gone but Steel Pulse is still on the road, fighting the good fight.

Globally, their musical legacy has impacted hundreds of millions. They were the first reggae band to play at the White House and their messages of hope, love, justice, resistance and activism are still relevant today. Maybe even more relevant because the system that oppresses us is shrewd, resilient and determined.

“We’re still in the streets fighting for liberty, justice, freedom and equality,” as David sings.

I still practice the songs David taught me years ago, but his impact in my life goes beyond the guitar lesson. From afar, I’ve learned lessons of courage and dogged determination, to keep rising up after endless trials and tribulations. And I’ve made up my mind to make time for others, the way he made time for me and many others when he didn’t really have to.

For sure, I’ll continue to draw inspiration from Steel Pulse as I continue to work on my own personal documentary, Across The King’s River.

I hope you have the opportunity to meet David and the other band members one day, but in case you don’t, let me assure you of one thing. They believe in all of us.

Don’t count yourself out! It’s not too late to make a difference. Give what you have, give all you’ve got and be who you are. Find your passion or a cause you believe in and stay the course.

Steel Pulse started a revolution and they’re counting on you to continue it…

I told Yoni, the director of Dreadtown, that I would look around for old photos and will send the audio interviews as well. I found another cassette as I was writing this newsletter. Yay.

In the meantime, Yoni needs a HUGE favor from you. Please visit the Dreadtown Facebook Page and hit the LIKE button and share with all your peeps so we can spread the word about this important film. Here’s the link to the Dreadtown FB Page.

And while you’re at it, send Yoni a word of encouragement to keep pressing forward. A personal comment from you on his Facebook page will warm his heart and stoke the flames of inspiration that feed all artists. He still has lots of work to do on the film so show him some love and tell him I sent you.

Would love to hear what you think about this upcoming film and would also like to hear what you’ve been up too lately. So respond to this article and I will write you back asap!

Until we talk again, know that I am thinking of you, praying for you and I believe in you.

Stay blessed!

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James Weeks

Producer, Across The King’s River