The Dub Pistols are back with a new single, 'Gunshot' — featuring Rodney P and Darrison. It's the third single from their acclaimed fifth artist album 'Worshipping The Dollar', and they're gearing up to drop their sixth album in the autumn.
First, though, there's the small matter of their London show at XOYO on 23rd May before they throw themselves into the festival season again. “Are there any festivals we aren't playing at? I dunno yet, they haven't finished booking them yet,” grins Dubs main man Barry Ashworth. “There's a lot we still can't announce, but we're doing Beatherder, Bestival, Sunrise, Nozstock... is that some sort of nose-up festival? I hope so!”
The Dubs have also just done music for the latest Rob Lowe film Knife Fight, written by Bill Clinton's spin doctor, and some music for the US military drama TV series Last Resort. How do they sleep? We quizzed Barry on the tracks that made him into the Human Cyclone that he is today...
The Specials 'Ghost Town'
“The Specials were just the band that came along at that time with the reggae and ska influences, mixing up different cultures. The Specials took me into reggae, to me they were like the best band of all-time at that time. And still probably to this day, they were the most influential thing that happened to me musically — the horns, the brass, Terry's melancholy vocals, the whole concrete jungle thing. Thatcher's Britain, hard times.
“If I had to pick out one favourite, I guess 'Ghost Town' would be my favourite track, but it could easily have been any of them – from 'Do Nothing' to 'Gangsters', that we ended up covering. Or anything off The Specials first album. To later on get Terry Hall to come round and work with us was absolutely amazing, to have Lynval Golding — and Terry — play onstage with you, and for them to say that you're part of the reason they got the band back together was pretty amazing. It's been a massive journey.”
The Clash 'Guns Of Brixton'
“I love the bassline on 'Guns Of Brixton' so much. Later on the bassline obviously became 'Dub Be Good To Me' by Fatboy Slim as Beats International, which introduced me to Lindy Layton, who became a friend who I then ended up working with. Because of the Norman Cook association, I also met Ashley Slater and ended up working with him as well. The Clash had the punk attitude, which is what I'm all about too.”
Gregory Isaacs 'Night Nurse'
“This is one of my favourite reggae songs of all-time, it's just a beautiful song and he was a man with an incredible voice. A tortured soul. It was a track I hunted down, and made me want to work with the guy for the next 20 years. Eventually, we were lucky enough to be some of the last people to ever work with him, the year that he died. “What do I like about reggae? Basslines and horns and delays, I just love the sounds in dubbed-out music. Skankin'.”
Primal Scream 'Loaded'
“Because of the Weatherall production, and because that was the start of the Balearic scene and, for me, running clubs like Monkey Drum and Naked Lunch. Weatherall's sound with Hugo Nicholson was the sound of those clubs. It was the whole of the 'Screamadelica' album really, I remember listening to it on the way back from Portsmouth in a car, and Helen Mead the NME journalist was playing it to me. It was an awesome album, and this was the track from it that most epitomised the Balearic sound we were playing at that time in those clubs. Alfredo, Boys Own..."
Stone Roses 'Fools Gold'
“...which comes into the Stone Roses, and I was lucky enough to be at Spike Island. The Stone Roses were what influenced me to start wanting to be in a band. I think 'Loaded' and 'Fools Gold' sort of merge into each other for me — the same era, and the same importance. I did start a band, Deja Vu, and the Roses gave me that encouragement. Deja Vu signed to Cowboy Records, we went around the country getting off our heads, had a mediocre hit with the Woodentops cover 'Why Why Why', did time on The Word, and the next thing we knew, it had all gone tits-up.”
Chemical Brothers 'Song To The Siren'
“I got a bit bored of house music, but then listening to this — with the breakbeat and hip-hop influences in dance music — was so different. You had the Heavenly Social at that time, and hearing the Chemical Brothers sound was the inspiration to start Dub Pistols. They massively inspired our first album 'Point Blank'.”
“It's just one of those tracks, if you were around at that period and into dance music and the club scene, it makes the hair stand up on your arms – even now. You could still almost get off your head just listening to it. Amazing track.”
Leftfield 'Open Up'
“Again, it could be a number of tracks off the 'Leftism' album, but I guess 'Open Up' where they worked with John Lydon from the Sex Pistols, who were also a massive influence on me. Leftfield were an electronic band with the way they performed it live — brilliant. I just loved their sound, and the weird thing is that at the time it was called 'progressive house' which is a lot different from what's called 'progressive house' now. The Roses were more of a band than electronic, and Leftfield took it to the next level.”
Roots Manuva 'Witness (1 Hope)'
“I love this track, and Roots Manuva along with Rodney P were the first people to make UK hip-hop that sounded like a UK artist — and pull it off. This is an amazing record from an amazing artist, and opened the doors for everybody else to do what they're doing now.”
Beastie Boys 'Fight For Your Right To Party'
“Just because. Punk hip-hop, do you know what I mean? White boys doing hip-hop in a way that nobody had ever done it before. I don't think there was a white boy who didn't get into hip-hop at that stage, right? They totally opened it up. The way they did the punk with the hip-hop did it for me. Unique.”