Interview By: Yoncia
Easy Star All Stars Michael Goldwasser sits down with Reggae in NYC
Over 30 countries toured, across 6 continents and currently counting over a hundred shows per year in the past five years, Easy Star All Stars is undoubtedly one of the most highly ranked international reggae bands’ out there.
Band Manager Michael Goldwasser sat down with Yoncia, Reggae in NYC to talk about the band’s upcoming date packed tour titled “ Easy Star All Stars Tour” kicking off April 20th in New York City at the High Line Ballroom, and traveling around the United States for a total of 15 city stops.
Reggae In NYC (RN)
Michael Goldwasser (MG)
RN: Michael, as the founder of the band, how long have you guys been doing this?
MG: The band started as a studio band, a house band for Easy Star Records. When we started we just wanted to make original reggae artists based in New York with artist in New York that we could connect with. It was like an all-star cast of New York’s best musicians. We started recording in 1996, and we didn’t start playing live until 1999, and we didn’t start touring internationally until 2003.
RN: So, during the recording time back in 1996, from 1996 to 1999 you were only recording but not performing anywhere?
MG: We recorded a bunch of singles, and my partner and me sort of walked around, we’d be in the subway with a box of records, 45’s, up to White Plains road, to go to Moody’s Records, we’d go to Brooklyn to all the stores there. Finally by 1998, we had recorded enough singles to put together an album, which was called Easy Stars Volume 1, and we did a live show in New York at a club called the Lion’s Den, which isn’t there anymore.
So really, our live appearance began in 1998, backing up artist when they would pass through from Jamaica; for example we did several tributes to Augustus Pablo, one of my favorite musicians, as well as Dennis Brown.
RN: Tell about the Reggae Band Tatanka from Denver that’s opening the show for Easy Star All Star, what was the selection process and being chosen over?
MG: Two factors, one we know those guys, we’ve known them for a while, they’ve done other shows with us; they’re interested in the same kind of Reggae that we like which is Roots, but also early dancehall vibes, and also just geographically, we’re going to their side of the US so it’s a good idea to have a local band on your tour.
RN: The band has been around for a long time, and today its safe to say that your base has been built. What is the long-term goal you expect for the band?
Michael: We just want to keep on making albums that people will love and continue to listen to 20, 30 years from now. We don’t want to make disposable music that sound and follow fashion today and no one cares a few years from now. What we want to do is continue to make really great albums and put on a great show and be able to play for as many people around the world as possible.
RN: How many members are in the band?
MG: In the current touring band, it is eight people on stage and then our soundman is also our dub engineer, so he’s vital. Even though he’s not on stage I consider him apart of the band.
MG: One of our goals has been to bring reggae to the people, I would love to see the day when Reggae is considered a genre of music like any of genre of music and is given that type of respect by the people at large. We’re trying to do our part by doing albums like “Dub Side and The Moon” which has an apple to the Rock audience. If nothing else, we’re creating new reggae fans, which I think is really great for the music that I love.
RN: If there were one thing in specific you’d like the audience to get from this tour what would it be?
MG: One thing, that’s a tough one, so I’m going to name a few things. I’d like for them to feel really happy and to appreciate live music and live reggae, on a higher level than before; I’d love for them to support Easy Star All Stars and spread the word about us.
Easy Star All Stars kicked off their jam packed tour on 4.20.2016 with the first stop at the Highline Ball Room in New York City, and going strong with a grand finale in Minneapolis, MN May 7th, 2016. To keep up with the band and if they’ll be in a city near you, visit Easy Star All Stars Tour Guide for more details.
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