The English Beat / Originally from the UK, The English Beat formed in the midst of a social and political uprising that set into motion the epochal punk revolution. The Weekly spoke with lead vocalist Dave Wakeling before he arrived in Hawaii. If ska/punk/reggae is your thing, don’t miss The Beat.
Your band played a big role in the 2 Tone ska revival phenomenon. Would you say that genre’s shifted in more recent times with how the music industry is going?
Well the music industry, that’s all changed, but 2 Tone seems to remain the same. The Specials have just reformed, Madness is still doing shows, we still do 150 shows a year, so I think there’s quite an interest in 2 Tone, but the music industry has collapsed, which is more for the better, really, because it was very corrupt.
You kind of like how people are now gravitating toward the Internet. Do you think its easy accessibility makes it a more democratic way of experiencing music?
I think that’s better. I think it’s one of the most exciting times in the music world and I think it will be interesting to see how people find new ways of doing it now that the old ways have died. It’s going to produce a lot of really exciting music because now all of a sudden you don’t have a record company telling you what you’re allowed to sing and what you can’t sing. They used to pretend not to do that, but they always used to.
I enjoy how a lot of your lyrics seem like they can mean numerous things. Is that intentional?
Yes, I like to have songs with at least two meanings, and three if I can, because I think people listen on a number of different levels. You don’t want to force these people with ideas, it’s much better to suggest.
Yeah, I’ve had some interesting arguments about what “Mirror in the Bathroom” is about. Care to offer any insight?
Yeah that one is really just about staring at yourself in the mirror. Some people thought it was about cocaine, but we never had the money for that [laughs].
Any upcoming projects from the band we can be excited about?
Yes, we’ve got 20 new songs we started to record, and some live concert stuff that we recorded, so we’re gonna start mixing and finishing them and we’ll have a series of EPs within the next upcoming year that we’re really excited about.