Simmerdown Sounds Presents Black Slate
Tue, Apr 18 at 8pm
ABOUT BLACK SLATE
Black Slate was formed and based in the United Kingdom in 1972 and worked originally as a backing band, members would work with other Jamaican artists like Leroy Smart, The Heptones, Johnny Clarke, Ken Boothe, Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, Sly & Robbie and Peter Tosh. In 1975 Black Slate became their own group and had a hit in 1976 with the song Sticks Man. The band had other successful songs during this period like Mind Your Motion,Boom Boom and the the massive world wide hit: Amigo.
The father of keyboardist Anthony Brightly, George Brightly managed the band, he was also a promoter, DJ and wholesaler. The band started off going by the name Young Ones From Zion. Guitarist Chris Henson came up with the name Black Slate when working at a telecom service, choosing the name from a type of cable which was used in transmission and communication. The name Black Slate stuck as it was this type of slate that was used to write on back in the day in school.
During this period the Black Slate band would travel on thirty day tours as a support act for artists like Peter Tosh with whom they toured with on several occasions. These tours were all across Europe to Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, and throughout Italy. Wherever there were music festivals the band was present on the lineup. The band also performed at the Rainbow Theatre in London to a sold out crowd and shortly thereafter toured to Australia and New Zealand.
It was during this period that the British rock and roll explosion was happening and in reggae there was a parallel contingent happening with groups like Aswad, Steel Pulse, UB40 and Black Roots all taking off during this period from the years 1977-1979. It was also during this period that the “Rock Against Racism” movement was taking shape and Anglo bands like The Jam, Generation X and Adam and the Ants were teaming up with their Afro-British counterparts.
The band began to grow weary of touring to this degree. Three of the original members chose to take a hiatus from touring life to help raise their families and establish sustainable business ventures. Although the original lineup’s lead singer and bass guitarist decided to carry on with touring with a new lineup. The rest of the band started families secondary businesses and decided to remain at home in the UK and build businesses
Some of whom were already pursuing careers outside of the band, in particular Anthony Brightly who was a well-regarded DJ often leaving performances to crowds of 500 people to go and spin records to a crowd that was twice that size. As a DJ Mr. Brightly would become a driving force in the advancement of Lover’s Rock and UK reggae in general through his work as a Disc Jockey, Club owner, Artiste Manager and event promoter, shaping airplay and artist growth both at radio and in the club setting. In 1987 Mr. Brightly also became the manager for sound system collective Stone Love Movement and was instrumental in shaping their career globally to become the biggest touring sound in the world.
Original member Chris Henson became a sought after mix and mastering engineer, adding his unique touch to thousands of songs over the past several years right up to the present. He founded Music House Dub Cutting, Mastering and Processing which over the past 25 years has been responsible for 80% of the mastering in reggae albums including releases such as the recent EP by Chronixx ”Dread and Terrible”.
Mr. Brightly relocated to the Caribbean island of Antigua in order to raise his young boys in a different environment outside of the UK. When these original members’ children began college, they determined it was time to hit the road again.
Their latest album Peaceful Demonstration is released on the on TCD Records the label named for Tony (Anthony), Chris and Desmond, the original members of the band founded in 1972 in the United Kingdom. After 40 years in the music business, the deep roots reggae band returns with their first full-length album released since the album SIX PLUS ONE in 1982 which was released digitally in 2014.
The 2016 album PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION was recorded in Antigua and although the musicians never imagined it would take this long to regroup and record again, they are now celebrating 40 years in the music business and this timeline prompted them to return to the studio. In 2015 the band gathered in Antigua and recorded the album and completed it within eight months.
Black Slate Band members:
Anthony “Pure Silk” Brightly on keyboards, Chris “Music House”Hanson on rhythm/lead guitar and Desmond “Drummy” Mahoney on drums and percussion represent the first generation of members in Black Slate. Colin “Steam Fish” McNiesh on bass, Jessie “Energy” Brade on lead vocals, known as J.E.B. and Gaven “Magic Voice ” Creary also on lead vocals, known as G.M.B. represent the newer additions to the band lineup.