Steel Pulse have been playing politically charged reggae since forming in Birmingham, England, in the mid-'70s. With David Hinds singing about situations that date back more than 35 years, some of these topics must be outdated, right?
"It would be a wonderful thing if they were outdated," says the singer. "It'd be nice if we could root out all the things that create all these kinds of situations and we wouldn't be writing songs like that."
But Hinds finds unfortunate parallels between the circumstances surrounding the Trayvon Martin case and "Ku Klux Klan," the band's first single.
"If George Zimmerman was a black man and Trayvon Martin a white man, George Zimmerman's condition would have been a lot different than it was," he says. "So there's a racial undertone there, and when there's racism there's the whole idea of the Klan, which is a racist extremist group."
One thing that Hinds says he has seen change over the years is the dwindling number of reggae acts achieving the popularity that Steel Pulse has.
"The industry barely embraced it," he says. "Especially after Marley passed. We got through. We were one of the last bands before they closed the door that got through, to still make an impression."
Hinds begins to speak faster, his passion for his preferred style of music becoming
"There's been nothing close to the impact of when Marley was around," he says. "He was around, we were around, Third World, Burning Spear were around. There was a whole revolution going on. There's not that sort of impact. It's almost like there's been no one since Muhammad Ali. Obviously Mike Tyson with his ear-biting, and knocking guys out within two rounds, but it's nothing like the magnitude of when Muhammad Ali was around. It was that kind of thing."
So who in the reggae scene is ear-biting Mike Tyson?
"You've got the Shaggy's, the Sean Paul's, that are selling a lot of records, but people have approached me and said, 'You can't believe how much you've turned my life around with your music, with what you've had to say.' And I can't imagine anybody saying that to Shaggy or Sean Paul."
If you go
in association with Ingenius Concepts
with Doctor Doom Orchestra
Friday, 8 p.m.
967 Comm. Ave., Boston