Radiohead reggae cover album celebrates ten years since release with UK tour
- Credit: Archant
Ivan Katz of the Easy Star All-Stars talks to Zoe Paskett about their return to the UK
When Thom Yorke gives your cover of ‘Let Down’ his blessing on stage, you know you’re doing something right.
Easy Star All-Stars were lucky enough to garner praise from the Radiohead front man himself with the release of an end-to-end cover of OK Computer and, 10 years later, are bringing it back to the UK.
As part of their tour, they appear at Electric Ballroom in Camden on July 15, supported by New Kingston, a reggae band of their peers from Brooklyn.
The band drew attention for their first album release in 2003, Dub Side of the Moon, as the only reggae group to cover an entire album.
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Since then they have had successes with Radiodread, an album cover of Radiohead’s OK Computer and Lonely Hearts Dub Band and Thrillah, based on Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson respectively.
Ian Katz has been drumming in the All-Stars throughout, enjoying success worldwide. Over the years, the band has played in upwards of 30 countries across six continents.
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Even after 13 years, Katz is still surprised by how far their influence reaches.
“We went to Malaysia and stopped first in Singapore. There’s a whole fan base there I had no idea about!
“The first time we played in Mexico City we were in this huge venue and it was sold out. I was blown away and I was like ‘wow, how does everybody know about us down here?’
“We had the same reaction when we first played in the UK.”
Easy Star All-Stars are returning to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Radiodread’s release.
Hailed by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood as “truly astounding”, the track list is the same as OK Computer from start to finish, and features a wealth of other reggae musicians.
“It’s cool that we can play Radiodread a decade later and it’s still relevant,” says Katz.
“We love playing in the UK. The audiences are great at singing along. We’ve built up quite a following here over the past years.”
Averaging over 100 shows per year in the past five years, it’s hard to believe the members nine-strong band haven’t become sick of one another on the road at some point.
“We tend to roll in two vehicles so you can always switch if someone’s driving you nuts.
“Everyone’s got a different thing and you learn to figure it out. It’s like a family. When you do a really great show, you realise: this is why we do this.”
As well as touring, the All-Stars are in the process of composing new music, and fans will be happy to hear that an album is on the horizon – though what they are covering is still “top secret”.
While the selection process appears to be based on pun-ability, Katz insists there’s more to deciding which albums they cover.
“It’s about choosing albums where the whole thing is brilliant and has made a really significant impact, regardless of genre, like Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
“Reggae is timeless and a brilliant album is timeless.”
With fans worldwide, Katz remains humble about the band’s impact.
“We’re really grateful that we still have a continued audience in the UK and a whole new generation appreciating it.
“It’s amazing to travel and realise that we’re all still connecting on the same vibe.”
Easy Star All-Stars play at Electric Ballroom on July 15. Tickets at electricballroom.co.uk