â€˜Dark Side Of The Moonâ€™ and reggae music go together like ganja and munchies.
So itâ€™s no surprise that New Yorkâ€™s Easy Star All-Stars are on their way back to Oz to revisit â€˜Dub Side Of The Moonâ€™, their dub reggae tribute to the Pink Floyd classic. â€œIf we do a show and donâ€™t do â€˜Dub Sideâ€™,â€ explains bassist Ras I Ray (who might be the coolest man in the world, and is certainly the coolest man on either side of this phone call), â€œthereâ€™ll be some disappointed fans out there. As much as we try to incorporate other material into the live shows, we have to do â€˜Dub Sideâ€™. So when I found out we were doing it in its entirety again in Australia, that really took me back. Itâ€™s going to be very nostalgic.â€
â€˜Dub Sideâ€™ has remained in the Billboard Reggae Charts since 2003. Despite the success of subsequent tribute albums â€˜Radiodreadâ€™ and â€˜Easy Starâ€™s Lonely Hearts Dub Bandâ€™ (and 2011â€™s â€˜First Lightâ€™, the all-star collectiveâ€™s first disc of original material), it remains their best loved release, and played no small part in the revival of interest in Pink Floyd.
And if it werenâ€™t for a spectacular demo tape, it wouldnâ€™t exist at all. â€œWhen we first attempted to do the project,â€ Ras reveals, â€œthey (Pink Floyd) were totally against it. But once we sent them the demos and they heard it, they had a change of mind and a change of heart. They heard where the demos were going and they loved it, and they gave us permission to do it.
â€œThen we got a little shout-out from Roger Waters, who saw the live DVD version and enjoyed it. He said it as simple as this: â€˜it was funâ€™. Just to hear him say it was fun to watch, that was great, you know?â€
Famously, the band also got enthusiastic seals of approval from Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood for â€˜Radiodreadâ€™. With all these critical nods piling up, who will they take on next? â€œIâ€™ve always had an affinity for Marvin Gayeâ€™s â€˜Whatâ€™s Going Onâ€™,â€ Ras says. â€œThe songs are just so timeless. Weâ€™re into picking albums that have a theme to them, and a message behind them, so maybe itâ€™ll happenâ€¦ not that weâ€™re talking about it yet. Youâ€™ve got me itchinâ€™ to do it now!â€
Easy Star All-Stars play The Zoo on Thursday January 5.