THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Astro of UB40

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UB40 Reunited: Anytime At All
THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Astro of UB40

New Zealand audiences are extremely loyal to those acts we take to heart. The Violent Femmes could turn up tomorrow and -- despite not having been here for years and not even existing anymore -- we'd rock up to see them.

Same with UB40.

Decades ago we adopted UB40 as one of our own and they reciprocated. They've been regular visitors (with or without singer Ali Campbell) and their goodtime vibe, albeit some way removed from the militant stance when they started over 30 years ago, seems to capture something in Kiwi hearts.

And now there is a version of the band with Campbell, Mickey Virtue and Astro together again. They are often billed as UB40 Reunited, and they have an album out Silhouette.

raggamuffin1Whatever . . . they will be a popular act at this year's Raggamuffin festival (Trusts Arena, Auckland December 13) when they are on the bill with Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, Chronixx, Katchafire and others.

Time to let toaster Astro have his say . . . 

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

“The Liquidator” by Harry J all stars

Your first role models in music were . . .

The Jackson 5, U-Roy, Big Youth & John Holt, Derrick Harriott. Stevie Wonder

Lennon or Jagger, Bob Marley or Burning Spear, dancehall or raggamuffin, Michael Jackson or Jay-Z?

Lennon , Bob Marley, Raggamuffin, Michael Jackson

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

Chef. I’m working on some cooking sauces as we speak or my other passion is glass painting.

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

“All I Got” by Perfect , “Protector” by Mr Vegas, “Melody” by Warrior King.

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

My Ivor Novello Award

The best book on reggae music or reggae musicians you have read is . . .

Too many to recall a specific book as they all offer bits of interesting facts that the others omitted. also there are many aspects of reggae music to write about. Dancehall ,Lovers rock ,Roots etc!

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

It would have to be one of my all time idols Mr Ken Boothe -“Crying Over You”

The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

“Apocalypto “,” Dirty Rotten scoundrels”(David Niven & Marlon Brando) & “The Harder They Come”

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Last CD was Damien Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock”. Latest downloads include Screechy Dan & Johnny Osbourne “My Sound Stand Alone”, Jessie Royal, Romaine Virgo, Taurus Riley, Cecile, Mr Vegas, Beenieman Turbulence

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .

“Hallelujah Time” by Neville ‘Bunny’ Livingston.

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

A picture of Nelson Mandela emerging from the shadows by Greg Bartley

You are allowed just one reggae box set, and it is . . .

Duke Reid’s “Treasure Isle Treasure chest”

81gxH7JcoXL._SL1500_David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

In Napier in NZ surrounded by family and the people that I care about totally contented.

And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

Well every time you record a new album it’s always gonna be the best album (to the artist personally) otherwise what was the point of going through the exercise if you thought you’d already achieved better, The final part of the process is to go and play to your audience. The fact still remains that success or failure is out of your hands because it’s the public who decide! 

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