Jason Lawless Interview
Redstar73 Blog: You have started a new record label called ‘Reggae 69 Fan Club’. What are the plans?
Jason: Well The Reggae 69 Fan Club is something I’ve wanted to do for awhile. The new label is actually called Moondust named after Skinhead Moondust by the Hot Rod All-Stars. The fanclub was created similar to The Trojan Appreciation Society which recently was restarted. The idea being to reward fans and long time supporters with special incentives, new music and give them tools to help spread the music socially. Back in the day you had plenty of Fan Clubs for bands and labels alike. It’s a way to connect with your fans. Part of the first push was the Kickstarter campaign to release new music on vinyl. That’s how the new label, Moondust, came about. The fan club is will be away to help us promote music from other labels that we support and create a strong connection with fans from around the world.
The Kickstarter thing was perfect for this sort of grassroots launch and I think it worked well. You can see others using this platform now to launch their projects as well including 2 movies and plenty of new releases. The people that put money in early – believed in what I was putting together were outstanding! They put in money early and will be getting much more than others that order now including art prints and new releases before anything hits the general market. Those are the true fans and I appreciate them very much.
We have the first 8 releases ready and in production for Moondust including releases from Ocean 11, The Impalers, The Revivers, The Soulsteppers, Irie Beats and The Delirians. I also made a deal to release 2 45’s of Laurel Aitken material. Laurel was such an influence for me in the beginning. He was the first Jamaican artist I saw live and one of the first releases I got was the Moon Records “The Bluebeat Years” release. He was my godfather.
So we’re releasing “Reggae 69” which was the inspiration for the new club backed with a rare tune “Big Fight In Hell Stadium”. The other release will be “Apollo 12 (Skinhead Invasion)” backed with “Moon Rock”. Then we will follow that up with one of LA’s top reggae acts Irie Beats that featured members of bands The Bullets, Allentons and more. The tracks were produced by Brian Dixon formerly of the Aggrolites many years ago. The A Side is a soul reggae call to action “People Need People” backed with a wicked early reggae tune “No Jodes Version 2”. The next release features a classic Ocean 11 number only released on a compilation from years ago called “Miss Understanding” backed with an unreleased tune with Queen P & Malki Moore (of The Bullets) doing “Spring In Rome” an dirty Ska number ala The Skatalites. We also have The Revivers doing 2 classic covers “Reggae Fever” and “Medical Operation”. The cats are perfect in their covers and these don’t disappoint. These tunes feature a little intro from one of LA’s top MC’s Junor Francis. The Delirians have 2 tunes “Musical Remedy” and “El Gigante” a double punch of aggro-licious reggae from these new young lions. I got The Impalers to record a vocal cut to their tune “Uppercut” which we feature on the flip. The last release features 2 new cuts from early Reggae hitmakers The Soulsteppers “Bout Time”, which is a loopy Rico style tune backed with the faster organ style flip “Victory Dance”. That’s a good start with more to come. I’ve got another 4 more releases in process as well once these get out.
Redstar73 Blog: Whats going on in LA? Any new good bands?
Jason: It’s a little slow right now but there are a couple of interesting bands coming up including 2000 Tons of TnT from San Diego, Boss 501 and The Champions from Norther California and of course The Delirians from Los Angeles. We did a tour with them earlier this year in fact with another band from the East Coast called The Forthrights. It was a westcoast tour only over 3 weeks and it was great. Most of the shows went very well but the main idea was to take a couple of bands and get em on the road which we did. Check out http://www.echoesofkingston.com for videos and photos from every stop. The tour got to participate in the 25th anniversary show with Let’s Go Bowling which was a highlight for me since I am such a big fan. We hope to do another tour next year and continue building that into something bigger.
Redstar73 Blog: You went to the London Ska Festival this year. How was it?
Jason: That was my first time in London and it was such a mind blowing experience. The week before I had no plans to go. Been talking about it since it was announced but didn’t have the cash to make the flight. So the Sunday before the fest my best bud Dave of This Is Ska called me up and says hey want to go to London and I said of course but can’t. No money. He says “no check it out – got extra flight miles that have to be used”. He then tells me “yeah if you can make it let’s go!”. Well I got on the phone and called up Sean who puts on the whole thing who graciously got us passes to the whole event! I said to myself “Is this really happening?” and it was. We were going to be one of the few people from the states to attend. I have a buddy who lives in London who then amazingly said I could stay with the family while I was there. So Really that was a once in a lifetime stars-aligning sort of thing. The 4 days were amazing. When I got off the plane Chelsea had a match THAT day and since they were my team I had to go. Off the plane to a football match with my team then 4 days of Ska. Amazing right! The highlights for me were of course seeing my boys in Blue live, meeting Clive Chin of Randy’s, seeing The Trojans live finally, the reunion of Dave and Ansel Collins, Marcia Griffiths closing the week and meeting some people I had only talked to via the web. Hope I can make it back next year.
Redstar73 Blog: Last words!
Jason Keep supporting the bands and labels that keep the flame alive. Now more than ever it’s important to order a record or 2 once in awhile, get out and see bands when they are in your town and in general telling a friend about the cool things happening. The music is alive but needs people to keep it moving forward and supporting it. Thanks to Sean at Rockers Revolt and now Phoenix City Records, you for talking to me and the fans all around the world who made this new launch a success so far.