Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review Magazine: Musical Lions of Judah, The PROCESS Celebrate 20 Years

Musical Lions of Judah:
The PROCESS Celebrate 20 Years of Groundbreaking Music & Social Conviction with 20th Anniversary Show on January 15th
By Robert E. Martin

Read the article at Review Magazine Online here.

Few musical groups performing in the Tri-Cities over the past 20 years have remained intact and consistently evolved to create a defining musical legacy; but true to form, the Vassar-based reggae/rock warriors known as The Process are the exception to that rule.

Consisting of songwriter, vocalist, and visionary spiritualist David Asher, guitarist Garrick Owen, bassist/arranger Bill Heffelfinger, and ex-P-Funk drummer Gabe Gonzales on the pagan skins, The Process have not only survived but more important, flourished as an all-original group, writing and performing their own material while pursuing a very defined musical and cultural vision that truly places them in a league of their own.

To celebrate 20 years as a vital, creative, and ground-breaking musical & social force in the mid-Michigan area, The Process will be staging their 20th Anniversary Show on Saturday, January 15th at 9:00 PM in their hometown of Vassar at the Vassar Bar, 122 Huron Avenue. Special guests will include Neighborhood Muscle and Thick as Thieves, which offer fans and newcomers a rare and intimate concert experience.

When I first met David Asher back in 1989, we ended staying up until the wee hours of the morning as he explained to me the power, basics, and history of Rastafarianism – a Jamaican ‘way of life’, more so than a religion; which I found to be fascinating, as the stereotype of most Rastas is that of a dread-locked, dark skinned, bone-smoking shaman.

Rastafarianism is much about recasting society. When the grid and the iron and the bars closed in on societies everywhere, the Rastafarians loosened themselves from it by refusing to work for Babylon, which is the equivalent of being taken into slavery. Basically, they cast themselves as the Lost Tribe of Judah and their deity exists in the form of the Emperor Haile Selassie.

Beginning in 1991 with Mystery Babylon and leading through Weapons of Mass Percussion, released in 1996, The Process have released ten stunning albums that mix rock, reggae, wisdom, and insight into a blender that seeks to break down barriers and claim fresh territory.

So on the eve of their 20th Anniversary gig, it seems fitting to sit down with Asher to discuss the trials, tribulations, in-roads, and landmarks of this vital musical force on the verge, as I was soon to learn, of breaking in a very big way internationally.

Review: You’ve been carrying the torch and walking the gauntlet against global totalitarianism and the New World Order for two decades now. From Nixon to Noriega and now with the mess in Afghanistan, do you have a sense of foreboding about the state of world affairs?

Asher: Actually, my mood is optimistic. We’ve kicked against the darkness and tried to shed a little light on things; but yes, a lot of the leaders you reference are like a gallery of evil masks, but they all fail. I’m always hopeful and optimistic. Humanity is ultimately flawed, but ultimately we also have the potential to be divine, in spite of our human nature.

Review: Have your objectives for The Process changed since when you first started the band 20 years ago?

Asher: The basic inspiration has not changed, nor our desire to express our need to communicate truth, human rights, justice and equality. Our message in the beginning is still our message now. What has changed is the ways to say it.

Review: If the message hasn’t changed, is it harder to restate it?

Asher: I don’t think so. Rastafari inspired a lot of the music to me and it’s like an unending stream that keeps flowing and refreshing one creatively, so you don’t get stale. I get frustrated that we don’t have the money constantly coming in to record new material, but people I’ve admired for years share that frustration. We keep writing new material, though.

Review: A lot of sacrifice is involved with any type of art and The Process has definitely sacrificed; yet remained steadfast with your message. You’ve kept at it and have developed an impressive legacy over two decades and are still based in the mid-Michigan area. Plus you get feedback from all over the world. How have your audiences expanded?

Asher: Thank God for the Internet, you know! In terms of units we sell more online and the same amount at live shows as we ever did. What I’ve noticed is that five people want to buy a disc at a show, 10 more will follow suit. It’s human nature. In terms of our fan base, the USA is still our biggest country and Michigan our biggest state. The second is the United Kingdom.

Review: What’s going on with your latest project? I understand you have some heavy hitters involved.

Asher: It’s very exciting and started three years ago when I was visiting my parents in Florida. While I was on mySpace, I wrote the guy handling the Tackhead page, and he introduced himself as David Hogarty, a publicist and writer from Florida, who worked with both Tackhead and Living Color. We got to be friends and he’s worked with Al Dimeola and wrote for a Jazz magazine and gets very excited about art.

Through him I was introduced to Micki, this Brazilian girl that works with legendary Dub Producer Adrian Sherwood, who’s worked with artists as diverse as Lee Scratch Perry, Primal Scream, Nine Inch Nails, and Sinead O’Connor. He is also the founding father of legendary dub label On-U-Sound.

I admire that label the most because it was pivotal in fusing reggae with punk rock, which kind of formed the template for The Process sound. From that point things snowballed. That same weekend I met Ghetto Priest – this amazing singer from London who possesses an amazing palate of sound. He has a voice like Nat King Cole that is amazing. So I wrote to him and he wrote back and we both admired each other’s work.

Micki works with Skip MacDonald, from the original Sugarhill gang and before I knew it, Ghetto Priest sent an email to me saying, I’m feeling a collaboration coming on. What can I do?’

I started getting brain block and then he sent me an MP3 the next day inspired by this video about Rastafarians living in a Roman town during Mussolini’s reign that were in exile from the Italians entitled Footsteps of the Emperor. He sent me the phrase, ‘The lion of Judah Shall Prevail’ and then sent me a bridge to the song the next day. From that I pieced a song together and wrote the third through fifth verses, which I sent to London, and they sat there for a while.

We couldn’t figure where to record, so he fished around and finally spoke to Adrian, who agreed to record the tracks at On-U-Sound. Micki got Skip MacDonald involved with production, who did a mix with Bernard Terry over the summer. Meanwhile Micki and Skip did backing vocals on some tracks, which was amazing, because those guys played with Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck. Skip did the whole mix and then finally, David Harrow from the On-U-Sound collective hit me up and said he wanted to mix our tracks.

Harrow was one of the busier and more elusive figures in techno, often shrouding his activities under a variety of aliases. Among Harrow’s earliest projects was a remix of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence; and he later collaborated with artists ranging from African Head Charge to Psychic TV. When Harrow visits Germany today, he is hailed as ‘The Godfather of Techno’.

So throughout this amazing network, we’ve got some collaborators on our new tracks and all of this should blow up shortly. We’re in negotiations with a German label and hope to have the new disc released before the spring.
The title will be The Lion of Judah Shall Prevail.

Review: Let’s talk about the rest of the members in The Process. Garrick Owen and Bill Heffelfinger have been with you since the beginning. Can you share some impressions about working with these guys in terms of ways they surprised you with their contributions?

Asher: They constantly surprise me because they’re such great musicians they make it look easy, even when it isn’t. They both know their theory and there isn’t a lot of ego, even though they are both flamboyant characters and unique in their own way. They’re both Leos, which I know how to deal with. My parents are Leos. Garrick and Bill are like two towering lions roaring away, so I let them rip. But I’m a Rastaman, so I like to be around lions.

What gave us a second life was getting Gabe Gonzalez. His history with P-Funk is legendary, but he’s a rock drummer fundamentally. I was watching him play with Funkadelic on youtube the other day, doing Maggot Brain. He’s an amazing rock drummer and there’s not a lot that he can’t do.

Review: If you were going to rank your top three gigs over the past 20 years, what would they be?

Asher: That’s a tough one. I’ve enjoyed a lot of them. I really enjoyed the Rainbow Farms gig, which wasn’t our best, but because of the significance of what it represented. (Editor’s Note: Rainbow Farms was a collective that was raided by the DEA and ended in violence, with the owners of the collective murdered during the height of the Drug War).

Hearing the crowd sing to Craven Dog and that sound coming back to us was amazing. I didn’t know most of these people, but they knew our music. Plus there are dozens of little gigs that were great. We’re really blessed. A lot of the musicians from the days that we started are still around, but not a lot of groups have lasted this long. Why we have I really don’t know. I guess it’s the grace of God and the message we try to put forward.

Review: Let’s talk a bit about the Rastafari religion. What has it brought to The Process?

Asher: Well, I don’t consider it a religion but more a way of life. It’s not like Christianity. It wakes me up and activates my mind and puts me into action in the NOW. It’s like a direct connection to the creator without edicts. I’m like a gentile among the Rastafari, but there are many mansions in the house. I’m not so strict about certain edicts, but some I am. Basically, it’s allowed me the freedom to find my own spirituality. It offers a freedom that orthodox religions don’t afford. At times I’ve succeeded at times I’ve failed, but being flawed is human. It continually fascinates me and I’m always finding new things about it, or pictures and stories that I’ve heard.

When I was working at an eyeglass place a few years ago, this guy came in who was a friend of Peter Lawford – his drive back in the sixties. He would drive with the Kennedys. Anyway, he got to drive Haile Selassie one day back in 1963 and he said that he was a ‘little man but bearing a presence on him like no other man’. He also told me Selassie had this little dog and the two of them spoke in a language – an animal tongue – which I think is amazing.

Every time I speak with someone that met Selassie, they tell me similar things – that he was ‘more than a man’. I think it’s a focused radiance. You see it in photos of him. You can’t hold your gaze on those eyes.

Review: How about outrageous rock ‘n roll moments? Do you have any memories of things that stood out over the past 20 years of performing with The Process?

Asher: I remember this naked hippie slide at Rainbow Farms and this gigantic fat woman sliding down an oily slide while we were performing, which was pretty outrageous.

Review: You mentioned the Rainbow Farms gig, but what about other shows that stand out?

Asher: The Rock a Rolla Benefit was important. (Editor’s Note: Rock-a-Rolla Records was a music store chain that sold paraphernalia and in the early 1990s was closed down and raided by Saginaw County law enforcement. This was one of the first ‘seizure’ cases prosecuted in the area and the case wound up in Judge William Crane’s court.)

It made me angry that our Process tapes and CD’s were seized by law enforcement from Rock-a-Rolla. Basically, they seized our property and never gave it back. How many people those tactics have injured is disheartening.

Review: You also pioneered a lot of local approaches when it came to promotion back in the early 90s by putting together shows featuring three or four bands, as opposed to a night with one act at the clubs.

Asher: Yeah, the scene was different back then and we sponsored a lot of groups. Not a lot of clubs allowed us to bring in original music, so we were one of the pioneers. We didn’t change the scene single handedly in the tri-cities, but we had a lot to do with it. And a lot of bands started up because of our example. Many have told me so.

Review: Any other thoughts you’d like to share on the eve of this momentous 20th Anniversary gig?

Asher: Yes, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Seth Payton, who’s our unofficial fifth member and a versatile musician, whether playing keyboards, percussion, horn, or bass.

Apart from that, I’m excited for the future, more so not than when we started. The walls are starting to come down. England will be our next frontier. We’ll be jumping the pond. We’ve performed in L.A. and New York City, so it’s the next move.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Coming in early 2011:

Featuring Skip "Little Axe" McDonald, David Harrow, Adrian Sherwood & Congo Natty a.k.a. Rebel MC.
A special 7 track extended play. Stay tuned for release information!

Monday, September 20, 2010

THE PROCESS® have just received a 2010 ASCAP PLU$ SPECIAL AWARD

David Asher and Garrick Owen of THE PROCESS® have just received a 2010 ASCAP PLU$ SPECIAL AWARD.

The award is given to writer members of any genre whose performances are primarily in venues not surveyed; and/or writer members whose catalogs have prestige value for which they would not otherwise be compensated. This is the 10th consecutive year Asher and Owen have received this cash/recognition award.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

THE PROCESS to work with legendary producer ADRIAN SHERWOOD

Breaking News... THE PROCESS to work with legendary producer ADRIAN SHERWOOD.

Adrian is best known for his mind-blowing productions, releases and incredible live shows with his On-U Sound Record label and sound system, as well as his influential productions for Dub Syndicate, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Tackhead and phenomenal Jamaican artists including Prince Far I, Mikey Dread and Bim Sherman, among many others.

Over the years, Adrian has also brought his production skills to releases and remixes for the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Primal Scream, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Skinny Puppy and a long list of other renowned musical artists.

Adrian has signed on to mix two versions of "The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed", the forthcoming single by THE PROCESS and GHETTO PRIEST.
The single also includes contributions from acclaimed producers David Harrow (Technova, Depeche Mode) and Skip "Little Axe" McDonald.
Stay tuned for updates!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Arts, Beats & Eats 2010

THE PROCESS Live In Concert

Friday, August 13, 2010

THE PROCESS to perform at Arts Beats & Eats!

THE PROCESS to perform at Arts Beats & Eats!
Fri Sep 03 10 04:00 PM Royal Oak, MI US
Downtown Royal Oak, Royal Oak, MI, US
Friday 9/3 @ 4pm on Vince & Joe's Stage.

Ford Arts, Beats & Eats, presented by Citizens Bank was founded to celebrate the quality of life in Oakland County by offering a culturally unique presentation of artists, musicians and food exhibits, from the Metro Detroit area, and throughout the United States. In November of 2009, Arts, Beats & Eats announced it would be moving from its former location in the City of Pontiac to Downtown Royal Oak.

The festival was designed to provide outstanding family entertainment at a very low cost. In 2009 the festival added an admission fee. This $3 admission fee supports the festival and community as follows: .25 to Arts Advocacy, .25 to the City of Royal Oak, and 50% of the remaining admission fees to 13 local charities after gating costs. For a list of non-profit partners that will share our admission fee, click here. To date, over $2 million raised by Ford Arts, Beats & Eats has been donated to charity.

Now entering its thirteenth year, Arts, Beats and Eats has celebrated many successes, including attracting large crowds each year, earning top rankings for its juried fine arts show, securing top national entertainment, and providing unique interactive programs for the family. Past music performers at Arts, Beats & Eats have included Brian McKnight, Montgomery Gentry, Live, The B52's, Wilco, The Isley Brothers, Collective Soul, Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, Martina McBride, G Love & Special Sauce, David Benoit, Jodee Messina, Blues Traveler, 38 Special, Rick Springfield, and many more. The festival has something to offer to everyone, in a child-friendly, safe and secure environment.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blue Water Fest
Friday, July 16, 2010
8:00 - 9:00 PM
Downtown Port Huron MI
The corner of Glenwood Ave. between 10th St. and River St.
Port Huron, MI

The Blue Water Fest is free of charge with more than 100,000 spectators expected and will feature non-stop entertainment, activities and special events. Included will be a wide variety of national and local music talent on four stages; a juried fine art fair; a kids’ stage, carnival and arts and crafts; an outstanding display of sailboats; as well as delectable culinary offerings from some of the region’s most renowned restaurants and caterers.
The Process July 16th performs Friday at 9:30 to 10:30

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Jah Made the Herb" by THE PROCESS is featured in a new film release!

"Jah Made the Herb" by THE PROCESS is featured in a new film release!
"Island of Fantasy". Premiere Thursday, July 1st @ Capitol City in Hollywood!
Save the date!
Visit the website for the film and watch the trailer HERE!
For information on attending the premier click HERE!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

THE PROCESS to perform at Detroit River Days

THE PROCESS performs at The Detroit River Days Festival.
Fri. June 18th 9:30-11:00pm on the Verizon stage!

Presented by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, the 4th Annual River Days is a one-of-a-kind festival taking place along the Detroit Riverfront – from the Renaissance Center to the new Milliken State Park. The festival kicks off on Friday, June 18 and culminates on Monday, June 21 with the Target Fireworks. River Days is a celebration of Detroit’s river, history and cultural with activities on land and water, including tall ships, live music, sand sculptures, river tours, carnival rides, jet-ski demos, kids activities, delicious eats and much more! Admission to River Days is $3 this year to support the non-profit Conservancy.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Update* New single from THE PROCESS and GHETTO PRIEST

Esteemed UK Producer David Harrow a.k.a. James Hardway has thrown his hat into the ring to do a remix of the forthcoming single by THE PROCESS and GHETTO PRIEST, "The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed".
David's extensive career includes working with artists as diverse as Genesis P Orridge, Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound stable of artists, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Jah Wobble's Invaders Of The Heart, Technova, Depeche Mode and many others!

Also providing a custom mix of the single is legendary Guitarist, Vocalist and Producer/Arranger, Skip"Little Axe" McDonald.
Skip is a hip-hop pioneer, performing in the original Sugarhill House band. He has performed as a session musician on countless recordings.
He is perhaps best known for his contribution to the On-U Sound musical collective where he has performed as a member of Tack>>Head, and added his soulful signature sound to recordings on the labels roster of groups such as African Headcharge, Dub Syndicate, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Strange Parcels and his own blues dub project "Little Axe".

Ghetto Priest aka Squidz is one of the most flamboyant, creative performers to have emerged from the London music scene in the past few years. Like the community from which he hails, Ghetto Priest is a man at ease with multiple musical visions. Walk through the streets of London and you begin to grasp the flow and the rhythm that has produced his unique sound. It’s a community of exchange; African/Caribbean and Irish, Asian and English, each mixing and informing the other, lending beats and
grooves, keeping things fresh and new.*
*From the On-U Sound Website

The single is expected to be released in the fall of 2010.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

THE PROCESS receives two Nominations in the 2010 Detroit Music Awards.

THE PROCESS has received two Nominations in the 2010 Detroit Music Awards.
Outstanding Reggae/Ska Artist/Group- THE PROCESS
Outstanding World/Reggae/Ska Songwriter- David Asher
If you are a voting member, please vote for THE PROCESS in these categories in the World Music Section of the ballot..
The Detroit Music Awards are held Friday April 16th 2010
At The Fillmore Detroit
2115 Woodward Ave,
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 961-5451
See you at the Awards!
For more information visit The Detroit Music Awards Website

Friday, February 12, 2010

Michigan reggae group organizes Haitian benefit concert

Michigan reggae group organizes Haitian benefit concert
By Sue White | The Saginaw News
February 12, 2010, 8:55AM

Join members of the reggae-infused rock band The Process as they help put on a Help for Haiti Benefit Concert on Feb. 21 at Pit and Balcony Community Theatre, 805 N. Hamilton in Saginaw.David Asher felt helpless, “just in despair,” he said, as he watched the tragedy of Haiti’s earthquake unfold on television and the Internet.

“The poor children, the looks on their faces,” said the lead singer of The Process. “It was so crushing to see.”

Never mind that the reggae-infused rock band that started its musical journey in Vassar is firmly rooted in the music of the Caribbean. Asher said he needed to do something on a personal level to empower himself and chase that feeling away.

Working with Chris Palmer of Taken Under Productions, he came up with Help for Haiti, an all-ages benefit concert, to be held Feb. 21, at Saginaw’s Pit and Balcony Community Theatre. Joining The Process are John Vasquez and the Bearinger Boys, MacArthur, Cornpone and The Banana Convention. Asher said a few others are trying to fit an appearance into their schedules.

And it’s not the only such event in the works. From 10 a.m. Saturday, March 20 to 1 a.m. Sunday, March 21, White’s Bar at 2609 State in Saginaw will host Give Love: A Haitian Earthquake Relief Benefit Concert.

Keef Courage and Temporary Limbs are among the performers raising funds for World Vision and Three Angels Children’s Relief.

Rebuilding Haiti will take time, but Asher said he wanted to get something together soon and help meet some of the devestated country’s immediate needs through the American Red Cross. Along with the $10 admission, a portion of CD and merchandise sales from Help for Haiti will go to the cause.

The bands have donated their talents, and Pit and Balcony and HyperMan Productions have reduced their typical fees for the event.

“Haiti’s music is quite different from what we play — it’s very polyrhythmic — but all kinds of Caribbean music and culture have held a fascination for me,” Asher said. “You’re going to hear a variety of music at the benefit, too. The Bearinger Boys and Cornpone are great bands; I can’t wait to hear them myself.

“I’ve never done a show with The Banana Convention, but I’m a big fan of Shar Molina, so I’m excited to have them aboard. She’s a diva in the new sense of the word, a performer who dominates the stage.”

Asher will sit in with a reunion of Process bandmate Bill Heffelfinger’s progressive rock band from the 1980s — MacArthur — fronted by Ben MacArthur.

“They put out two albums, in 1979 and in 1982 or ’83, that were very popular in Europe,” Asher said. “It’s still the original line-up playing, except for the drummer, and you’re going to hear some new material and some from the old days.”

The Process is at work in the recording studio as well. Working through the Internet with a team in London that includes legendary dub music producer Adrian Sherwood, Sugarhill’s Skip McDonald and Ghetto Priest, the group will soon debut a new single, “The Lion of Judah.”

“I’ve followed this collective, these people with the do-it-yourself ethic, since the 1980s. And I can tell you that their emphasis on going out with your own sound inspired me to move forward with my own music.”

And now, he says, he hopes to use it to give something back.

“If you don’t like going to bars, if you’re not into the smoke, here’s your chance to hear some great bands in a setting that won’t scare you,” he said. “We’re just hoping that it’s very successful and that we can make a small dent in the things happening over there in Haiti.”

What: Help for Haiti Benefit Concert
When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21
Where: Pit and Balcony Community Theatre, 805 N. Hamilton, Saginaw
Admission: $10
Info: (989) 754-6587