Image Hosted by ImageShack.us THE PROCESS

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Michigan Bands Interview With David Asher




Caught up with David Asher of The Process to talk music, religion, pot, working with his heroes including Dick Wagner (pictured) and the coming of the first full-length release since 2002's "Blood & Bones".



David Asher of The Process Interview....

Q: You guys have been at this a long time. How long has it been and, considering where you're from, why reggae?

A: We actually performed first under the name "THE PROCESS" in around 1985. At that time we were very electric cover band, that did a couple of punky originals.
We did Cream, Iggy Pop, Bob Marley and The Wailers, Bob Dylan, all kinds of stuff. No top 40 though. I guess even then we had our sights set on something bigger.
We only did a couple of shows with that early lineup but they were very supported locally, in Vassar, the little town that three of us were from. It was pretty clear that we were never going to be a cover band in bars though. The original group was Guitarist Garrick Owen and Myself, Bill Heffelfinger, on Drums and a couple of other guys.
Shortly after that, some of the players were not interested in continuing, so we went dormant for awhile. I did a bunch of recording with a guy named Dave Ivory, who played on some of our earlier releases, and I learned a lot. I also started to try to write songs.
In around 1989, Garrick and I hooked up with a another drummer and re-booted the band, with the idea of putting together a Reggae Rock fusion group. Bill and Garrick both come from a hard rock, or prog background. Both are great musicians but it was bringing in the Reggae that made us stand out a little more I think.
I was playing Marley to my college buddy's at CMU in 1980 and they loved it. I never went to class, I just dug into my guitar and learned to play it, or at least express myself. 
So, I guess it was mostly me who wanted to bring the Reggae sound more into Rock. Meanwhile I became very interested in Rastafari, and the spiritual element in Reggae music, and I gained inspiration from that. 
I had loved Bob Marley since the late 70's, and after he passed, I realized that there was a whole universe of talented singers and players of instruments in Reggae.I started listening to a lot of them, and a couple in particular inspired me in my writing. One was a very dark voiced Reggae chanter, named Prince Far I, who was murdered in Jamaica in 1983. Another was the legendary Reggae Producer and Artist Lee Scratch Perry. Both of these men ran their own independent labels in Jamaica. Through recordings featuring them, I discovered a British label, called On-U Sound, run by a maverick English guy named Adrian Sherwood. It was a collective really, with lots of great groups and performers on the label. On every payday I used to go the post office and send an international money order, and order as many On-U Sound records as my strained budget could afford. Through that example, a little light switch slowly turned on in my brain that, hey maybe we can do this too! It was a very fearless, or for a much better word naive idea. We started playing out a little in Detroit, with a changing line up, Garrick and I were the only constants. We released our first album in 1991. Eventually drummer Arek Aneszko, a young polish kid from Saginaw joined. We then rescued Bill Heffelfinger from his cover band, when he heard the music we were writing, and heard how great Arek was. Arek left in around 2001. Sam Metropoulos filled the spot for a few months, while we were writing an album. Then P-Funk All Star Gabe Gonzalez joined in 2002, and has been with us since.

Gabe Gonzalez

Q: Interesting you mention P-Funk. Did Gonzalez's inclusion have anything to do with the theatricality of The Process. Tell me about giant paper maché heads.



A: Ha ha, actually, no, we were well on that path from the start but when Gabe first saw us, he saw something kindred in us I'm sure. 
We have always been theatrical. I think it was from being big David Bowie fans, and of course Bill and Garrick loved Alice Cooper and all that. The very first gig we did in Detroit, was booked by Sue Static, God bless her. It was at Finny's Pub. We had many of the props we still use at that gig! I think it was Garrick who had the idea to make a Mardi Gras-like giant Pighead! So when Gabe joined, he brought that whole P-Funk theatrical thing with him, and things kinda fell into place.
We always seem to channel an energy from some other dimension when we play. We still play like our lives depend on it.

Q: Your lyrics are informed by a keen social conscience. Has that always been true and how have your influences informed your music?

A: It has always been crucial to me that the lyrical part of the music express something important. I don't take anything foolish, so I don't give it. 
Bob Marley was a Psalmist and the Bible has also been a wellspring of lyrical inspiration to me. Really, that is all any Ambassadors of Rastafari are doing, they are singing King David's songs. 
I have always tried to be a voice to the voiceless. THE PROCESS has always stood for truth, rights, justice and equality. I am sure it is an influence of many artists I have admired but it is also the voice of Rastafari, speaking to my heart to activate my mind to action.

Q: So there's a religious element to it. How would you say The Process differ from Christian bands that have gained popularity in recent years?

A: Well, I wouldn't call it Religious, I would call it spiritual. More of a channeling of the energy of the original source of being.
Most of what passes for so-called Christian rock sounds very bland to me. But that's just me.

Q: Right, but Rastafari is a religion, no? It's mentioned quite often in your music. As well as references to Haile Selassie, "The Lion Of Judah Hath Prevailed!"

A: To describe it more accurately, would be to call it a way of life.

Q:What's the difference between "a way of life" that worships Jah and a religion? Do you think religion generally scares fans of popular music and why?

A: Well, Rasta I would say, is more about the "livity" (loosely defined as life and freedom), than many other faiths. It is a very individual expression, I feel.
Although there are some very Orthodox Rastas, many others come to the faith because it offers freedom. I'm like a Gentile among the Rasses. To me, listening to that voice and being able to hear and act on it is the important thing. Not so much what you eat, or how you wear your hair. To me I just want to seek Selassie, and serve God.
I mean, I understand the reason people go to church, sometimes I go myself. I seek understanding of God, I seek God, so that I can have strength to go through to do these mystical musical works of the Most High.
As long as I am blessed with this anointing, I will continue, Jah willing.
So, you wanna hear about the album? 

Q: We'll get there, I promise.

A: No hurry, my pipe is in hand! Lol

Q: Some might say the Rastafarian religion is just an excuse for white guys to smoke a lot of pot. (Laughter)

A: Some do, some don't. Most do. But I'm not white, i'm Irish. (Laughter)

Q: Do your bandmates share your deep faith? Has it ever been a cause if contention?

A: I wouldn't say contention. They are not Rastas. Well, Gabe shares my admiration of King Selassie. I think they like it when I come up with exotic sounds far-eastern riffs, and drop mystical/magical lyrics over it. I really can't take credit for the inspiration, it only flows through me. So it is what it is. They are great, creative players, and so it is always fun, doing new music. It's exciting because everyone brings something to the sound of the band.

Q: Recently you've been worked with Adrian Sherwood of On-U-Sound Productions and some of his stable of artists such as Ghetto Priest. It must have been very satisfying to work with someone whose work you admired so much over the years.

A: It really was wonderful, and for me personally a dream come true. Our fans stepped up and helped us finance the project as well, which was very humbling. I really felt the hand of Jah guiding the project. Over about three years we brought Skip "LIttle Axe" McDonald, Adrian, Congo Natty and former On-U electronic producer David Harrow to it. So many fantastic people assisted us on the way, It is really hard to describe how much it all meant to me.
Having it chart was a great blessing too. We did it on our own. I mean with no record company, not on our own by any means, haha.
Ghetto Priest is such an amazing artist. I mean creativity and talent just flow out of him. Working with him was an honor.

Q: Even formerly major artists are financing records with crowd funding now. The music business has changed so much in recent years, how has it changed your own expectations or experience? And how has it changed the way the band has operated in recent years?

A: Of course. I think back to 1996. Our album Craven Dog had just come out. We flew out to Los Angles to do a showcase for an exec at Virgin Records. We did a live radio performance and a little club gig. By the time we arrived, our man had already left Virgin! So we soldiered on and did the shows. Since that time, the whole music business has imploded as we knew it. I can say though, looking back on almost all of the bands who were signed and dropped by major labels, (most of them at one time or another), They are now gone. We aren't rich, and we may be more infamous than famous but we are still here. That says a lot I think. Too damn mean and stubborn to give up. I think it's because we believe in the band. We believe in what we have achieved, and what we will achieve. We haven't played live much in the last year. We have a gig coming up in Bay City in a couple of weeks, so I'm looking forward to that. We keep self releasing new product. This year we did two singles, "Gypsy Wind", as a digital only release, and a physical single "Fire Is Burning" with Lord Kimo from Asian Dub Foundation. The single also features mixing from legendary reggae mix-master Scientist, and again, David Harrow. We keep trying to keep up with all of the trends and formats in releasing music, as well as changes to the world of Publishing.
Having our fan base grow more internationally in the last 3 years, then it has in 25, has given me some satisfaction as well. 

Q: Due to social networking, I assume.

A: Well, mostly yes, and how well the singles have done. It's a singles market now. That's why we keep letting the new album out in little shots. It keeps our name out there and shows we are continuing to write, record and release new music.
I think we grow with each new release. Our new stuff is going to be our best, I feel. We want to keep raising the bar for ourselves.
We worked with Dick Wagner on the new album as well, just before he passed.

Q: What was his involvement?

He played guitar on a new song called Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I can't wait to release it but we are saving it for the album.
It's really something else, he played his ass off on it. They way he played had an undertow of deep beauty. He had a rock and roll heart, that is for sure.
Dick and I were old friends. He was always a big supporter of THE PROCESS. He was always there with encouragement for us.
I am so glad we got the chance to work together before he passed. We did the backing vocals in London as well.

Q: That's a pretty nice endorsement.

You talked about raising the bar, reminding me of your peculiar dub release "weapons of mass percussion". What can we expect from the new album?
A: Well, It's all new material. Two of the tracks have already been released as singles but will be remixed for the album. We have Six songs almost finished and we are hopefully writing a couple more originals for it. There is one cover on it but it's a surprise.
I'm hoping for a late summer/fall release. Lots to plan, cover art, packaging, budget, promotion. After it comes out is when the work starts.

Q: What's the working title?

A: The working title is WHO IS THAT MAD BAND?



The Process will be performing Saturday, Dec 27th at Bemo's in Bay City, Mi with Rocktropolis and Everyday Ghost.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Process granted 2014 ASCAP Plus Awards


The Process songwriters David Asher and Garrick Owen have been awarded 2014 ASCAP Plus Awards. The awards bring cash and recognition to ASCAP member writers. This is the twelfth consecutive year Asher and Owen have been awarded this distinction.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Wirebender Presents: "Play It All Back Part One!

The Wirebender Presents: "Play It All Back Part One", hosted by Simon Wade and David Asher, Friday August 1st,  4:00 Eastern Standard Time, 9:00 Pm U.K. time! This show features live recording of Mark Stewart and the Mafia., and an interview with Adrian Maxwell Sherwood. The first part of the show features THE PROCESS vocalist David Asher at the controls. The Wirebender presents Play It All Back! is broadcasted every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in August 22:00-24:00 Berlin Time (-1 for UK), The Wirebender presents Play It All Back! is broadcasted every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in August 22:00-24:00 Berlin Time (-1 for UK). 




The Wirebender presents Play It All Back part1
Posted on July 31, 2014
Here’s a beautiful story of a cassette lost and found that brought back memories of old. But let Simon Wade tell the story.
“The “PLAY IT ALL BACK 1″ show is from a bootleg cassette discovered by the Wirebender in a charity shop last year. I had spotted a photocopied picture of Bim Sherman on the cassette’s front sleeve (I had been fortunate in the past to have worked with Bim) who appears on the cassette’s live performances. We will broadcast his performance later here on Radio On.


This show features live recording of Mark Stewart and the Mafia.

(Adrian Sherwood picture by Andy Rigden.)

It also has an exclusive interview with Adrian Sherwood on the ideas behind the releasing of his budget LP’s and subsequent tours. Adrian Sherwood provides an insight into the idea of both the tour and the releases.
“I had tried it 10 years before with a show at the Rocket in London’s Holloway Road with Creation Rebel, New Age Steppers, Allan Pillay and London Underground. I remember it distinctly as John Lydon was there having a laugh at the back of the hall. It was the first On U sound party.
Bobby Marshall and I planned the “Pay it all back tour” for months. The “Pay it all back” idea came from Mark Stewart,


who introduced me to a lot of William Burroughs recordings. On one of them Burroughs was saying “Pay it all back .. pay it all back”. So I thought fair play pay?….Pay it all back to the people who support you by giving away an album.”


The first part of the show features David Asher at the controls. David is the singer/songwriter for “The Process”, an award winning reggae band from Detroit. David has recently started to collaborate on tracks with On U Sound . He presents a mix of inspiring tracks with style and panache!

The Wirebender presents Play It All Back! is broadcasted every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in August 22:00-24:00 Berlin Time (-1 for UK).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dick Wagner Passes


I take solace in the fact that we were able to work together at last, after so many years of talking about it. Dick Wagner was a guitar player like few others, and he had the resume to go with it. Songwriter, Producer, and a musician's musician. He truly was the Maestro of Rock. I'm honored that he blessed us with one of his final recordings. THE PROCESS family sends our heartfelt condolences to his immediate Family and the rest of the Desert Dreams Family, our hearts are with you. 
David Asher

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Artists Against Apartheid Vol 2, Featuring THE PROCESS!



Artists Against Apartheid UK is a non-political organization with no affiliation to any political group or society! 
"The Process come through with ‘The Fire is Burning’ which is an anthemic rise-up organic rock/reggae/hiphop dub that could well have come out from anywhere between the 60s to present."
You can download the tracks from Artists Against Apartheid – Music for the People of Gaza (Vol.2) individually or as an album here with all proceedings going towards a charitable cause. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Process returns with a new EP and a pair of events. The Saginaw News



By Sue White | For MLive.com 
on July 13, 2014
The Saginaw News

SAGINAW, MI – A Vassar band called The Process may have a new album yet this year, but lead vocalist David Asher says "we're not making any promises."

It's a labor of love, he said, and it could prove one of the Vassar reggae-infused rock band's last efforts.

"If it is our swan song, we want to make it the best," Asher said. "We've been doing this since 1991, you know, the same guys together for the most part. You just never know."

The band's future hasn't stopped Asher and bandmates Garrick Owen, Bill Heffelfinger and Gabe Gonzalez, along with Seth Payton, from releasing a teaser EP featuring four international takes on the single "Fire is Burning."

Along with the release, now available on iTunes, comes a pair of performances, a Dub Fest celebrating the music process Friday, July 18, at White's Bar in Saginaw and a CD release party Saturday, Aug. 9, at Dockside in Bay City.

"At White's, we're going to have two PA systems going with DJs from around the Midwest and Canada," Asher said. "I'll open the outside show at 5 p.m. with Shaolin Sound and, if I still have it in me, I'll close the indoor show at midnight."

In between are masters of reggae and dub, he said, including Derrick Davis, Seth Payton, Michael A, also known as the Duke of Downtown in Flint; DJ Lionheart; I-Sinto from Thick as Thieves; Chris Dellas and Rudeboy Reggae.

"The Process has really used the dub since 2006 but we actually started squeezing it into our music in 1991," Asher said. And fans will hear it in its full glory at the Aug. 9 show. Beginning at 7 p.m. with reggae selections, the party continues with a live performance by The Process at 9 p.m. There is a $3 cover.

"It's been exciting project," Asher said of the release, "and an international one. We've worked with Chris Lewis at the Fire Hyena studios here and with two studios in London and two in Los Angeles."

Sending the recorded cuts around the world for expert mastering, Asher's original song underwent transformations under each producer's watch. The Scientist, whom Asher calls the best known producer of reggae and dub, first stripped it down to the raw essentials, taking out all the layered elements of The Process' signature sound and creating a version heavy on guitars.

"Then he did a straight dub in the Jamaican style, heavy on bass and rhythm," Asher said. "The Scientist was a friend of King Tubby, who was murdered in Jamaica in 1989, and he has the style down."

The third cut, "Scientist Destroys the Conqueror Worm Dub," brings in the synthesizers, taking all of the same musical parts and reconstructing them into a recording reminiscent in places of Yes.

"In each cut, it's like a brand new song with a whole new crew on it," Asher said.

And he's especially in awe of David Harrow's "Dragonyouth-Oicho Remix," the fourth cut on the EP.

"We worked with David before, on 'The Process Meets Ghetto Priest,'" Asher said. "He totally deconstructed it and brought it back in a whole new way. It's amazing."

Adding still more texture to the single was Lord K.I.M.O. from the Asian Dub Foundation and Mikki Sound, who added her soaring vocals to the mix.

Hopefully, Asher said, the dubs will open doors for The Process and make possible its dream of performing live shows across Europe. But Asher and his bandmates aren't sitting idle. They recently went in the Saginaw studios to work with Dick Wagner on another cut for the album, "Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde."

Wagner in the 1960s was a Saginaw mainstay in the Bossmen and the Frost and later worked with the likes of Alice Cooper and Lou Reed. He returned to Saginaw, operating a studio into the 1990s before making his home in Arizona.

As for releasing "Fire is Burning" and other cuts as they come together, "it's a singles market now, instead of an album one," Asher said. "It's relevant, too, to have The Process put something out. It shows that we still exist, that we're still writing and recording.


"Some people might not even know we're here, even as we expand on an international level. Now they'll know."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review of FIRE IS BURNING and DUBFEST Friday July 18



Review of "Fire Is Burning" 
By THE PROCESS Featuring Lord Kimo

By Bo White • Additional Reporting by Robert Martin

David Asher and boyhood pal Garrick Owen formed the nucleus of the Process in 1989 and they never looked back. They were child prodigies who understood mother earth was damaged at birth of creation and the evolution of man. It was not her fault. They had this deep-seated hunger that seemed to be linked to something earlier. Their search was like Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the mountain, only for Asher the struggle was redemptive and it provided him a vision of his own humanity like a wave cresting upward and smashing against the boulders hidden by the deep blue seascape.

Asher’s vision quest led him to a suspicion that theories and dogma seemed barren, empty of purpose and truth. He realized in his passion that he grabbed hardest for that which is there and then not there. The Process was the vehicle for Asher’s spiritual awakening and global awareness. He realized that music was the co-creator of his reality. He just needed to collaborate with his band of brothers in this world of total energy where the music will never stop and we will keep on dancing.

So on this disc Asher assembled his band of Reggae misfits with Garrick Owen (guitar), Bill Heffelfinger (Keyboards), Gabe Gonzales (drums), and Seth Peyton (bass, keyboards, vocals) along with Scientist and David Harrow working out the mixes. Lord Kimo adds his flair as a singer and a musical composer artist to the mix. Originally from England, he rubs shoulders with some heavy hitters including 50 Cent, The Wailers, Public Enemy and Sean Paul.

Asher is on his game combining melody and harmony with a heavy metal explosion of sound and fury. The familiar reggae riff and roar is not lost in the heat and remains an integral part of Asher’s vision. A celebration is experienced in the music, a universal language for all living creatures. He brings in an incredible team of musicians, engineers and mix masters to play in another playground, at least for a while.

The Process is creating a tomorrow where the mind keeps leap frogging over boredom and repetition while reframing bad things as a possibility that is not inevitable. It’s a default position to be sure. Asher and his mates use their craft as a springboard to enlightenment even if the public doesn’t always buy into it. It’s like helping someone across the street when they don’t want to go.

The disc opens with the title track The Fire is Burning (Scientist vocal mix) followed by a seamless connection to each of the other Fire is Burning arrangements like separate movements in a concerto that are linked by a common musical thread. The mixes are powerful yet contain dreamlike passages, in a stream of consciousness that imbue the same lyrics with an alternate sense of texture and meaning that give each of the final mixes from the Scientist Dimension X Mix and Scientist Destroys the Conqueror Worm Dub to, a grand finale with Dragon Youth-)Oicho Remix.

In the great tradition of Bob Marley, Asher is a passionate singer that never holds back. His temperature is rising when he shouts out his anthems of freedom. You can get a visceral sense of where Asher stands with equal rights, justice and truth. The lyrics are obscure for a newcomer unfamiliar with Asher’s Rasta poetry. 

So here’s a sample: The fire is burning, the flames get higher / Come let’s trample the dragon, then we catch the vampire / Let the fire burn and purify all weak heart conceptions / Kill cramp and paralyze, wipe them out of creation / Hold them Rasta hold them, hold them in a higher region / Catch them Rasta, catch them when they run / Hold them Rasta, hold them in a higher region / Catch them Rasta catch them when they run / Rise up and defend the youth, with equal rights, justice and truth / Just like John Brown, throw the dragon down / When the wicked come around

Lord Kimo’s rap: Truth is Divine  / Fight back with your mind

David Asher provided additional clarity on the meaning of the lyrics:  “Fire is burning is a symbolic statement of objection or purification. Rastafari burns fire on political corruption, persecution, immorality and exploitation i.e., weak heart conceptions. To trample the dragon means to overcome these things in your life. To kill cramp and paralyze all weak heart conceptions is to purify your heart by wiping these things from it. To hold them in a higher region is to recognize these things and deal with them. John Brown is the abolitionist who took an uncompromising stance on evil.”




Coda: The Reggae/Dub Festival • Friday, July 18th

David Asher and the Process continues to record and tour out of their home bases in Saginaw and Detroit. The Fire is Burning disc is just a taste of a larger project that the Process hope to complete in the upcoming year. They are #1 on the Detroit reggae charts and are collaborating with the legendary Dick Wagner who will provide some tasty guitar on the new full length Process album. Asher has also developed a Reggae/Dub Festival @ White’s Bar on Friday July 18th, 2pm to 2am. No cover!

We asked David to give us some background on the origins of this inaugural festival and some of the ‘Selectors’ that will be featured at the festival.

“Shane Swank and I were chatting one night and he actually suggested the idea to me,” explains Asher.  “It seemed like a great idea. We had been hosting these Wednesday Night Reggae gigs at Whites for over 3 years and we wanted to take it to a higher level. The people who are spinning are some of my favorite Selectors; many of them are friends of mine. Their knowledge of Reggae, Ska and Dub is deep and wide.”

DJ Ash Ra: David Asher is the vocalist and songwriter for the rock reggae group THE PROCESS.
He has also been working as a reggae selector for over ten years, and founded Shaolin Sound System around three years ago, to showcase other selectors, in addition to himself. Asher specializes in cultural roots music, Ska and dub.

DJ Ras D Baba: Derrick Davis, a Saginaw native and former Atlanta GA resident, Derrick joined the Shaolin Sound Squad are two years ago. Derrick is also a songwriter, vocalist and artist. He specializes in modern roots music and lovers rock reggae.

Selecta Ras Token: Seth Payton. Seth Payton returns to the Shaolin Sound fold after an extended hiatus. Seth is the vocalist of the popular Ska group Stamp'D and also fronts the Reggae group Roach King and the Resonators. Seth plays a selection of old and new school roots music.

DJ Michael A: Michael Absher is a well-known DJ in the Flint area, having been spinning music for several years. Michael is known in Flint as "The Duke Of Downtown". He was a popular DeeJay at WFBE in Flint, during the 90's and has continued in the club scene. His specialties include Dub music and old and new school Reggae.

DJ Lionheart: Niel Williams, aka Lionheart was born in the West Indies and moved to New York City, where he began developing his skills as a Reggae DJ. He has since lived in Flint Michigan and now resides in Toronto. Lionheart specializes in modern and old school Reggae music.

Selecta I-Cinto: is Thick As Thieves MC Jacinto. Jacinto has been planning for quite some time to break out his alter ego Reggae Selector persona. This is his debut as a selector and just as he entertains and educates with Thick As Thieves, he will be dropping some massive selections at Dubfest.

Selecter Chris Delas: Chris is the host of the popular Internet radio program "Tapdetroit.com". His knowledge of the music is deep and wide, and he plays mostly old school reggae, with some surprises thrown in.

Rude Boy Reggae: A part of the Ann Arbor Reggae Crew. Rude Boy Reggae has entertained audiences in the Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti area for several years, with a mix of modern and old school roots, and dancehall music. The crew brings with them spokes-models and Bob Marley products.

Shaolin Sound System, formed around four years ago, Shaolin Sound allowed its team of selectors to set themselves on a path to being a tour de force of 50 years of Reggae music history and diversity!