Thursday, October 29, 2020

Music in REVIEW • D.A.B. (David Asher Band)

          Long Anticipated Debut Release Sets a High Bar of Excellence

              REVIEW MAGAZINE

 Through the dedicated focus of persistence and a prism of creativity that is perhaps best described as a gift from the Heavens, musician and songwriter David Asher has achieved a new level of excellence with the highly anticipated debut release of new material from D.A.B (David Asher Band).

Recorded by Christopher Lewis at Fire Hyena Studios and with several tracks mixed by the legendary British producer Adrian Sherwood from On U Sound Studios, who recorded & mixed ground-breaking music from bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and Depeche Mode; along with reggae giants such as Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, the nine album tracks and two bonus CD tracks showcased on this debut mark a breathtaking departure for Asher, who over the last three decades has pioneered an impressive recording & performing career with the innovative fusion of Reggae & Rock achieved through his former band The Process.

Each of the tracks on this new D.A.B. album resonate with a creative brilliance that while firmly grounded in the roots of traditional reggae, flourish in explosive geysers of compositional creativity that merge the boundaries of R&B, Soul, and popular music in a manner that is totally unique and authentic. Indeed, when asked about the shimmering creative brilliance displayed on each of these tracks, Asher chalks it up to the fact that “I felt the fire burning over me and had to pay attention.”

With Asher on guitars, lead vocals, and piano; the brilliant David Ivory handling much of the lead guitar work; Derrick Davis masterfully handling drum & percussion duties; and William Petzold keeping tight control of the bottom end on bass, Asher says the magic of his new sound is truly a collaborative effort.

“The overall sound says more about the power and talents of the group than anything,” Asher humbly states, “and full credit needs to be given to the late Seth Payton for giving me the push to get out of my uncomfortable comfort zone with The Process and forge ahead with something new.  Seth and I had an unusual relationship as brothers, father & son, teacher & student, and those hats would switch. I was older and had more life experience, but Seth had a lot of innate wisdom. He was a special soul.”

Consisting of five original compositions and four covers, Asher says the entire album happened very organically. “We planned on doing a cover album and I hadn’t written much in quite some time, but then I got bit by the writing bug and we decided to mesh the originals with the covers. As Jah intended, the project happened the way it was supposed to happen and all of a sudden inspiration fell into my lap.

Opening with an upbeat translation of the Curtis Mayfield song Keep on Moving, which in many ways sets the tone for the album; the vibe branches out further on the following track Give a Hand, which features Mike Cooper on lap-steel guitar. Similarly, the DAB band’s rendition of Bob Dylan’s classic, Knockin on Heaven’s Door, is probably one of the most definitive treatments of that song I’ve ever heard, with the reggae-influenced rhythmic foundation propelling the dynamics as Ivory lays out a shimmering guitar solo that takes one straight to the heavens.

But without doubt, to this reviewer’s mind, the standout tracks on this debut release are the four originals: 47 Shots (the Ballad of Milton Hall), Deputy Dawg & the Marshall, Keep a Little Faith, and the standout heat of There’s a Fire. 

47 Shots is a timely and tightly constructed modern-day anthem about the shooting of Milton Hall by Saginaw police officers who fired 47 shots into a mentally disturbed black man who couldn’t afford to pay for a cup of coffee.  Featuring stellar brass orchestrations by Nicholas Pena on trumpets, flugelhorns, baritone & tenor saxes, the power of its narrative is derived from the facts of this sad incident itself, which crescendo and build by the accompanying musical articulation.

In a similar vein, Deputy Dawg & the Marshall recounts the factual story of an incident involving the STP Family commune in Colorado who were ambushed and killed by federal Marshalls. Co-written by William Petzold, Asher notes that “Bill helped me write this song because he has a journalist’s way of taking information and relating it succinctly lyrically.”  Indeed, already this track is getting airplay on radio stations in the Portland area.

Donkey Jawbone is another original that was originally recorded by The Process back in 1992 on the Baldhead Vex album, which was one of their more obscure releases.  Asher never thought the song was given justice, so re-recorded it with the DAB Band and mixed it at the On-U-Sound studios in Ramsgate, England, which enriches the track with greater nuance.

Closing out the album is an utterly beautiful and breathtaking version of the Soul and R&B classic Love Ballad, written by Skip Scarborough and also mixed at On-U-Sound.  The emotive power of Asher’s vocals are rich and full and buoyed tremendously by the vocal accompaniment of Mikki Sounds, who balances the weight of Asher’s voice with her own incredible vocal stylizations.

What is most striking about this debut release, however, is the way Asher and the DAB Band have taken the idiom of reggae music, which is decidedly a specialized niche market, and translated its core elements into a commercially accessible context without compromising the integrity of the material.

For that reason alone, it stands as one of the best releases I’ve heard in this year of 2020.

DAB • David Asher Band is currently available in pre-release form and Asher will be doing a Pre-Release Party at Audiogazing record shop in Saginaw on November 28th from 2:00 - 4:00 PM. The album will be released on vinyl, CD, and flash drive on New Year’s Day and pre-orders are currently available online (with one additional song) by visiting Bandcamp or the DAB Band facebook page, or search the DAB Band on google.

REVIEW MAGAZINE 

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, Artist Feature,  From Issue 904

By:  Robert E Martin 29th October, 2020   

Friday, October 16, 2020

DAB (David Asher Band) Album Pre-Sale Started!


Pre-order is finally here! 


ATTENTION: "DAB (David Asher Band) is releasing its first full length CD/vinyl album on New Year’s Day 2021.

Pre-order the new album from DAB (David Asher Band), on Compact Disc, Vinyl LP, Flash Drive, or Download, directly from Bandcamp. Order now and receive a download of the first single, "Keep A Little Faith". The full album releases on New Years Day 2021! Click the link to pre-order, and hear "Keep A Little Faith".  

Click here to Pre-Order the album.

Click here to stream the first single, "Keep A Little Faith". 

DAB is the new Roots Reggae band formed by David Asher, the former front-man/songwriter for the legendary Detroit Reggae Rock group THE PROCESS.. The David Asher Band is the culmination of years honing the sounds and soul of island music that has been embraced by music fans across the globe for decades. Asher has worked with numerous Reggae Legends over the years including Adrian Sherwood, Dub producer The Scientist, Lee Scratch Perry, Little Axe and many other musical luminaries. DAB's new album features two mixes done at On-U Sound studios in England, and the CD includes two additional bonus tracks mixed by Adrian Sherwood.


The David Asher Band lineup includes:

Vocals/Guitar - David Asher - A 12 time ASCAP award winner (popular division) who has won numerous Detroit Music Awards.

Guitar - David Ivory - A seasoned live and session player with amazing multi-style proficiency and a silky smooth technique.

Drums - Derrick L. Davis - A superb timekeeper who performed for years in the Atlanta reggae scene before joining DAB.

Bass - William Petzold - An accomplished regional musician/songwriter who holds down the DAB reggae grooves."

-Tim James

Monday, October 12, 2020

DAB in-store pre-release and DJ set.

 



So it's official, the new album from DAB (David Asher Band), will be released world-wide on New Years Day 2021, on Vinyl, CD and Flash Drive. David Asher will be doing an in-store DJ set, and selling pre-release copies of the album on Saturday November 28th, at Audiogazing, 200 S Michigan Ave, Saginaw, MI 48602, at 2:00 to 4:00 PM. David will be spinning tracks from the new album, along with music from THE PROCESS, and new releases from ON.U Sound Records. Be sure to catch this very special in-store pre-release event, and secure yourself a copy of DAB (David Asher band)! 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Duburbia Podcast, latest episode. Selecta J-Cut and guest, David Asher.


Duburbia Podcast, latest episode. Selecta J-Cut and guest, David Asher of DAB (David Asher Band), The Process and On-U Sound. click the link to hear the podcast.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

New: David Asher Interview and New Music From DAB!


Photo credit Bob Martuch

Now streaming on demand: David Asher, vocalist and songwriter of THE PROCESS and DAB (David Asher Band) is interviewed live on the The J Bone Show. David discusses his music career, alongside several tracks from THE PROCESS, and the debut of the "47 Shots (The Ballad Of Milton Hall)" from the forthcoming DAB album. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Tape Op Magazine,


Check out the latest issue of Tape Op Magazine, which deals with mixers, engineers and producers etc. The latest issue is dedicated to reggae and dub, and they do interviews with Adrian Sherwood and Lee Perry as well as The Scientist and Emch Subatomic. Adrian's interview is very insightful and informative, and it's nice to be mentioned, along with THE PROCESS and DAB (David Asher Band) near the end. Here is a link to the interview:

I remember the first time I heard the Dub Syndicate album, Tunesfrom the Missing Channel, in 1984. I was used to reggae being somethingearthy and warm, but here was a record that sizzled and popped with weirdsounds, synths, cut up spoken parts, and musical juxtapositions. I was hooked. I hold Adrian Sherwood and his On-U Sound Records label (founded in 1980) in high esteem, and I've always wanted to talk to him about his studio life. Sherwood's work with Tackhead, Dub Syndicate, African Head Charge, Creation Rebel, Mark Stewart, and so many others has changed the face of music. When he reunited with Lee "Scratch" Perry [see interview this issue] to produce the Rainford album, and its dub version, Heavy Rain, I finally got my chance to chat with him long distance.


Photo: Lee & Adrian in a still from the video for "Lies" by Sherwood & Pinch, ft. Lee "Scratch" Perry direction, edit, and effects by Sally Sibbet

I want to talk a little bit about your history. I got the impression that your early work was actually doing live sound system gigs inspired by the Jamaican style, right?

Sound systems? No. To be honest with you, I was a chancer.* I was a massive fan of reggae, James Brown, a lot of the black American funk and dance, Tamla [Berry Gordy's Motown], and everything as a kid. But then I became quite obsessed with reggae. I was lucky enough to get involved in the business through a Jamaican friend who worked for Pama Records in the '60s. I didn't really have a father; he was the person most like a dad to me, ever. He took me under his wing. Eventually I met musicians, cobbled together some releases, and started a little label. We went to do some shows; the first show was at the 100 Club, a famous club on Oxford Street in England.

Yep.

We had put together a band, all really last-minute, with Prince Far I, a legendary Jamaican DJ, chanting over the top. We were paying [for] a PA, and I was only maybe 19. I was leaning over to him and going, "More hi-hat! More bass! Turn up the vocal!" And he said, "Look, you do it! You do it!" He wasn't rude to me; he was like a chummy rock 'n' roll PA man. But we had a spring reverb, a [Roland] Space Echo or something, and he showed me, "There's the hi-hat, and there's that." I balanced it up, and put a little tiny effect on the snare and on the lead vocal. After the gig, people said, "Wow, that sounded amazing!" I think people had listened to it sound so badly [before]. I didn't know what I was doing! That was it.

You'd done releases? Had On-U Sound started before that?

No. I was involved as a junior partner in the Carib Gems label. Then I started the Hitrun label. After that came 4D Rhythms, and then On-U Sound at the end of 1980.

What were your first recording studio experiences?

My first studio one was through meeting artists. People always wanted me to run a session, and try and make some money however they could. I saved up. One of the people I was working for was called [Anthony] "Chips" Richards, who's a famous Jamaican character. He arranged for me to go into the studio with Dennis Bovell, who did The Slits, The Pop Group, and other records as well. I paid the musicians, and I hummed the bass lines to a bass player. I made an album called Dub from Creation [by Creation Rebel]. That was my first venture. I did it thinking, "Well, if I lose the 200 pounds I'm spending, it's not the end of the world. I'll have some fun!"

You're not a traditional musician, as far as playing an instrument, correct?

No, I'm not.

I love the idea of humming bass lines.

[laughs]

Traditionally with dub, one takes a song and deconstructs it; stretch it out, add effects, and drop instruments out. But you've always made new creations built to be dub tracks.

Pretty much, yes. I was involved in the whole dub scene, in one way or another, from very early on. We used to license tapes from Jamaica in the mid-'70s, when I was in my teens. A lot of the dub was created by record labels in London – they saw that there was a market for it. I was involved with that. Someone would come over, like [Henry] "Junjo" Lawes or one of the producers, and would have loads of dub versions left over from their songs. Those albums, Scientist Meets... whoever or whatever, they weren't real albums. People don't actually know it. Chris [Cracknell] at Greensleeves [Records] put them together and gave them the names. He basically took a load of dubs that had been mixed by Scientist [see interview this issue]. These people would evoke your imagination: King Tubby, Keith Hudson, Augustus Pablo, Scientist, and King Jammy. What Chris did, he put together these albums and said, "Oh, Scientist Meets... whatever," with funny sleeves, and people think they were actually conceived as a work! But they were put together out of dub versions by the record producer. People were sitting around, smoking a spliff, and listening to this. Interestingly, the first wave of reggae fans were the skinheads. They weren't racist; they were quite the opposite, working-class people who loved reggae. They liked the happy and funny and gimmicky records. But as soon as it became quite black – as black awareness happened in Jamaica and America; blaxploitation, the Black Panthers, Garveyism, and the Rasta movement – the crowds moved away from reggae, because it was too "black" for them. When dub came along, along came a "Smokey Bear," student-y hippie lot. It wasn't about having a lot of lyrics rammed down their throats, and a lot of them could get off on the instrumentals; the dubs. I made it for me as a fan. I was a fan of Keith Hudson's brand, a fan of Augustus Pablo's records, and obviously a big fan of the early King Tubby Meets The Upsetter – At The Grass Roots of Dub. I'd suddenly met these great musicians, like [Eric] "Fish" Clarke, and later [Lincoln] "Style" Scott, Errol "Flabba" Holt, Clifton Morrison, and Crucial Tony [Phillips] in London. I just started having some fun, as a fan. That's how it went.

Were you still having to hum bass lines and guide it?

Yeah, I was humming the bass! Or someone else came up with the bass line, or I'd come up with some lyrics. Some people are brilliant, brilliant songwriters. I'm a "part-songwriter."

What were some of the first records where you felt like you got your style going, as far as putting these dub records together?

Probably by the time we got to Mark Stewart's Learning to Cope with Cowardice album, and Staggering Heights by Singers & Players. The early African Head Charge was trying ideas. By then, I was definitely in good control of it.

What studios were you working out of then? How did you pick them and the engineers?

I'd work anywhere I could get a studio with an okay bit of equipment in it. We were responsible for popularizing Berry Street Studio. Gooseberry Sound Studios was established; I had gone to Gooseberry, and then, when that was very busy, I found Berry Street. A lot of people followed me down the same matrix. And with Southern Studios, that was where Crass and Björk, [when she was] in Kukl, did all their first records. I basically popularized that as a control room for doing Lee Perry, and sessions like that, in there. I'd work anywhere with decent monitors. Once I had a good engineer and knew what I was doing, I could work anywhere.

You mentioned decent monitors. With the dub you're working on, you need to hear the low end, right? Is that something you'd check out in a studio before booking it?

Yeah. You know as well as I, certain monitors sound great when you listen to them, but you can take them into another room and they're too bass-heavy. A room that you can trust and monitors you can trust are essential.

Right. I feel like with reggae and dub, you're dealing with so much information on the bottom end.

Yeah. It's a way of making the foot drum and the bass almost interlock; like two fingers interlocking.

What led other people seeking you out and asking you to produce them?

What happened for me was I knew Daniel Miller [Mute Records, Tape Op #110] from when he was living at his mum's house and put his first ever record out [as The Normal]. He said, "Oh, I wish we did an electronic dub album together," and we didn't. Then I was working with Mark Stewart, who he was a big fan of. He asked me to do one of his first remixes, which was "People Are People" by Depeche Mode. Then, after I did that, people started saying, "Oh, let's get Adrian in to do the weird remix!" They never got me to do the A-side! [laughter] In those days, they were all sniffed up idiots on cocaine; just fucking lunatics everywhere. What they would do is put out ten versions of a tune with a different picture sleeve, colored vinyl, and anything just to try and get a chart position. For me, I was always brought in to do the wacky remix to help bolster up somebody's chart position. That's how my career went. I didn't care, because I was just taking the company's money to bolster up my company!

That's an interesting parallel track, too. You were running a record label, which is something you learned beforehand through the distributors?

I'd been taught to try and build a catalog. If you want anyone to take you seriously, you have to have a catalog. That's how I was brought up.

Then you have a way to get those records heard and released.

"If I could make a record this week, I could probably have it out in a couple of weeks." I wish I could
do that now!

What kinds of projects have you worked on in the last five or ten years?

I am trying to reorganize myself with the label. In the last five years, I built up a relationship with Warp Records to reissue all my old stuff. They've been doing a really good job. There are loads and loads of records available. If anyone wants to check it, they can go online and have a look and see what's been made available. On the new release I did, I did a collaboration with Pinch [Rob Ellis], a producer from Bristol who's a good friend of mine. We did two Sherwood & Pinch albums [Man Vs. Sofa, Late Night Endless]. And I did an album with Coldcut at On-U Sound, Outside the Echo Chamber.

Right.

I did and album [#N/A] with Nisennenmondai, the Japanese band. I've been trying to strategically reposition myself in the market so that people even know that I've released anything. I don't know if you saw the album Pay It All Back Vol. 7 that we released, but that's highly recommended, if you can get ahold of it. It's a double vinyl, and it's all unreleased and forthcoming stuff from projects I'm about to do. It's also got a booklet with my complete catalog in it, listing all the productions. It's a beautiful little package.

That sounds perfect. I know you worked with Lee "Scratch" Perry in the mid-'80s, as well as on the recent Rainford album. He's a very mercurial, one might say. How do you go about keeping him focused on a record?

Well, on this one, I had a bit more access to him, so I spent a week with him at home with his wife in Jamaica. We mapped everything out in his kitchen late at night, working on headphones at the kitchen table. Then we brought it back here and did some more microscoping, hooks, and made it more song-like.

You did the rough versions of what he wanted, initially?

No; lots of it was masters, recorded on a low-quality mic. I also did some on a really high-quality mic, like a Neumann U 87. I've got this mixture of really intimate, raw vocals, straight in your face, mixed with other better-quality sounding songs. I also took some of his hooks and augmented them with backing vocals. That's how we created the record.

Were you playing him a rhythm in his headphones to toast over to start?

Yes, yes. Some of the rhythms we did from the beginning. Actually "Let it Rain" was done from beginning to end, that day. That was with the cello man, Ivan "Cello" Hussey, Skip "Little Axe" McDonald, and my daughters [Denise Sherwood Devenish, Emily Sherwood Hyman] doing the vocals. It was a very nice record.

Yeah, it's really cool. I love "Cricket on the Moon" and some of those tracks. They're just so playful, the way his mind works, obviously.

Look, I'll say this; it feels like my ego... but I think it's the best vocal album he's ever made. If you look at it, I'm very proud of Time Boom [from 1987], but in this album he reveals a lot of himself. It's song-oriented, and it's got loads of fun and seriousness all mixed together. I'm very happy with it.

Do you sometimes do sessions and bring people in, do some tracking, and see if these parts land on different projects?

I do, yeah. People have asked me that before. Well, not always. Very often I just start it thinking it's for something, and then sometimes I'm not quite happy with it. I might leave it for a couple of years and then revisit it, and if it's still got something I really like about it, then I'll reinvent it a bit. That kind of thing happens.

I really dug you solo album, Never Trust a Hippy, when it came out. It feels like a compilation record, in a way.

I can see why you'd think that. It is, a little bit. I did make the sonics sound complemented to each other. I used a lot of disparate parts. The whole thing was basically that you can rock to it. I can play it out, because I'd suddenly put myself [his name] on the front cover for the first time ever. I was doing gigs in my name. I had to put something out with my name on it, because being a producer without any record with your name on it is a bit difficult, except for the people who actually read the back of a sleeve.

Right. And your second solo record, Becoming a Cliche, was that a similar process?

That one I got a little bit more song-oriented, using my friends like Dennis Bovell and other collaborators like LSK [Lee "LSK" Kenny] and other people I really liked. I thought I'd make a pop song-y version of the record. I think that second album's maybe not as good as the first, but it has a lot of great tracks on it. The third one, Survival & Resistance, I think people don't realize how that was made. It's all made out of tuning. There're no synthesizers or anything on it. It's all made by mad tuning, and pitching, and bending.

No way! I've got to check that one out.

That's from about seven years ago. It's a great album.

How hands-on are you with work like that? Are you collaborating with an engineer, or mucking around on a computer?

Well, I tell people what to do. I'm like a little conductor, but I do use my fingers to shape everything, because I do it all analog. With the solo records I'm obviously like a little Hitler. I tell everybody what to do, 100 percent, and that's exactly what we do.

With analog, you're talking about the mixing process?

Yeah. But in the recording process I'm using the analog desk as an instrument, recording that, and then plunking it into another mix and playing things backwards and forwards. Just trying to make it breathe, really.

And utilizing effects?

Totally.

Do you have a ton of your own tape-based effects and spring reverbs that are very distinctive?

Everything, yeah.

What are some of your favorite spring reverbs that you use for drums?

Today I'm using a Grampian. [Probably a Reverberation Unit Type 636.] I got that for next to nothing, and they're quite expensive now. I've also got an old Orban from America that cost about $300. I use that for snare. It's a very tight, small reverb. People don't appreciate how good Orban is, but I love Orban stuff. [Probably a Model 111B.]

It's one of those light-blue ones?

Yeah. It's cheap and affordable still. I use the Fisher [Dynamic Spacexpander reverb], the same one that used to be in cars, that King Tubby used. They're quite useful to get that crap quality, but really good... I don't literally mean crap, but rather non-cultured or refined, like an AMS or something. It's a nasty lovely little edge. The color it brings: it's only got one sound, but if you put strings through it, it sounds like an Indian Bollywood distorted thing. Or you put it on a bass, or a guitar, or whatever, and that will cut your head off. It's wonderful.

That's one of the amazing things, if you look at the lineage from Jamaica. It's a lot of not top-of-the-line gear. Instead it's creative usage of that gear.

It's like a lot of those wonderful things, like Cinema Engineering [equalizers], Langevin [equalizers], and all that. They were all, in their day, made for the common man; like your first Ford car. Everyone could afford them. They weren't really, really expensive exclusive stuff. You can still get them, and they last the course of time.

Computer plug-ins are quite interesting, but it's not a piece of hardware that's going to follow you around for 30 years.

No. If you look at my studio now, the computer keeps breaking down much more than the vintage gear!

Do you have your own private place set up nowadays?

Yeah. I'm down by the seaside in a place called Ramsgate [in England]. It's a very interesting setup. The houses are about 200 years old. They're joined by gardens. We kicked the wall down, and you go in one house and go out another on a different road, which is very confusing for visitors. It's very funky, and really nice. I've actually got my friend from America, David Asher [THE PROCESS, David Asher Band]. He's visiting here, at the moment. He's sitting in the studio near the house as we speak. Skip McDonald, the great guitarist, is here as well.

Are there any projects in the future coming up that you are excited about?

I highly recommend that people look for Pay It All Back Vol. 7, because that finally gives a guideline to what's coming next. I've got an album done with Horace Andy that's absolutely stunning. I've got an album with my daughter Denise [Sherwood Devenish], which is wonderful. There's a taster for that on Pay It All Back Vol. 7. I've been recording African Head Charge, and I've got a few other things up my sleeve. I'm going to do another solo album myself. And 2020 is the 40th anniversary of the label.

Thinking back to the teenage kid who was you as a music fan, are you blown away at 40 years and all the releases you've worked on?

I'm just glad to be here still!

 
www.adriansherwood.com on-usound.com
"chancer" definition:
*One who takes manipulates situations to their own benefit. (English slang)