On the heels of a Grammy nomination for their latest album, African Holocaust (RAS/Sanctuary Records), Steel Pulse announce the launch of a new tour that will take them across the United States throughout Black History
Month. The British band hopes that the politically charged messages of African Holocaust, their first studio album in seven years, will be particularly meaningful during the month of February. “The album encompasses all dimensions of the plight of the Black Diaspora, ranging from slavery right up to this present time,” explains lead vocalist and songwriter David Hinds. 30 years after their first performance, Steel Pulse still delivers powerful socio-political messages about race, social injustice, war and the destruction of the environment. With work that has been hailed as “”an occasion to contemplate political art¹s effectiveness” (New York Times), the universal appeal of Steel Pulse has earned them an invitation (by the Clinton Administration) to be the first reggae act to perform during a Presidential inaugural celebration in Washington, DC. Throughout their career, they have shared the stage with artists as exceedingly diverse as Sting, INXS, Santana, Herbie Hancock, Bob
Dylan, Bob Marley & the Wailers, and even The Stranglers and Generation X while their videos include cameo appearances by the likes of Jay Leno, Branford Marsalis and Robert Townsend. Deeply committed to using their music as a political platform, the members of Steel Pulse often turn their personal experiences with racism into songs like their controversial “Ku Klux Klan” (released in 1978); the white hoods they wore while performing the song reflected the dark humor and political theater of the punk rockers they grew up listening to in Birmingham, England. They later recorded “Taxi Driver” (1991), and followed it with a lawsuit against the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission for discrimination. In 1986, Steel Pulse were honored with their first Grammy Award, for Babylon The Bandit.
An avid historian, Hinds based African Holocaust around 700 years of struggle by African descendants around the world. “Our music is always stimulating – no way can you ever sit still to it – but our focus is serious
and true. We deal with environmental issues, political issues and religious issues – difficult issues all over the border,” says keyboardist Selwyn Brown. On “Darker Than Blue,” the band pays homage to Curtis Mayfield with
the lyrics, “Pardon me brother, as you stand in your glory I hope you don¹t mind if I tell the whole story,” not only acknowledging the tribulations within the Black community, but boldly demanding a change from within.
“There are a lot of things happening in the system, making it harder for Black people, but we have to look at ourselves as well and deal with certain things at home,” explains Brown. Their environmental anthem “Global
Warning” urges activism, “Make Us A Nation” and “No More Weapons” plead for an end to war, and “George Jackson” honors the slain Black Panther Leader.
The core members of Steel Pulse are: David Hinds (writer, lead vocals, rhythm guitar and percussion), Selwyn Brown (keyboards and vocals), Alvin Ewin (bass) and Clifford “Moonie” Pusey (lead guitar). Reggae stars Damian Marley and Capleton both make guest appearances on African Holocaust, which was recorded at the band¹s own studio in their hometown of Birmingham, England.
Steel Pulse will tour as an eight-piece ensemble on their Black History Month tour in the following cities:
02/01 Fort Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
02/02 Fort Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
02/03 Saint Petersburg, FL Jannus Landing
02/04 Jacksonville Beach, FL Freebird Live
02/07 Carrboro, NC Cat¹s Cradle
02/08 Norfolk, VA The Norva Theatre
02/09 Baltimore, MD Rams Head Live
02/11 New Haven, CT Toad¹s Place
02/12 Falls Church, VA State Theatre
02/13 Burlington, VT Higher Ground
02/14 Providence, RI Lupos At The Strand
02/15 Morgantown, WV Metropolitan Theatre
02/17 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
02/19 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line Music Café
02/20 Long Beach, CA Long Beach Arena
02/21 San Diego, CA San Diego Sports Arena
02/25 Eureka, CA Mateel Community Center
02/26 San Francisco, CA Bill Graham Civic Auditorium