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For a fortunate number of years in the late 70's and early 80's, the world was blessed to be united under one music, one man, one name'¦Bob Marley. Though we are no longer blessed with his physical presence, we will always feel his spiritual presence. It is possible however that we are in the presence of the second coming .
Jay Malinowski doesn't agree with past media 'The White Bob Marley' labels. 'I think its really stupid. Obviously I'm not. We're just trying to do our own thing. The Police, Bob Marley, The Clash'¦Yeah, they're all influences. It's nice to be compared to people like that, but it sounds ridiculous.' The 'we're' Jay is referring to is the artistic formation known as Bedouin Soundclash.
As lead vocals for this Vancouver, British Columbia bred talent, Jay takes the brunt of the media comparisons. But after talking to Jay for a few minutes it was clear to me the hype and comparisons have been a bit misconstrued. If there is any shadow of similarity between Bob Marley and Bedouin Soundclash worth speaking on, it's more of a spiritual similarity than a physical likeness. Almost sounding irritated but not quite, Jay talks a little about the state of Reggae. 'In North America, Reggae gets pushed to the side as hippie music. Everywhere else, it's like worker music'¦.Blue collar, but it's everyone's music. There's something really powerful about reggae. I think in the future the music (Reggae) is going be considered more important."
Discovered by Stomp Records during their 1st year @ Queens University,Jay Malinowski, Pat Penngelly (Drums), and Eon Sinclair (Bass) released their debut L.P. 'Root Fire'. Though Root Fire (self-produced) created a slight Canadian heat wave, when it came time to record "Sounding A Mosaic"
Bedouin Soundclash, the trio chose Daryl Jennifer to sit at the helm of the controls. Most famously known for his work with NYC Punk Rock innovators, Bad Brains, Jay explained what the presence of Jennifer meant to the project. 'It was amazing, he really understood what we we're trying to do in terms of bringing in different influences, and pushing things forward."
Often times on an artist's second release, whispers of a sophomore jinx float around. I asked Jay if this was an existing pressure during the recordings. 'The pressure was mainly from ourselves. We wanted to show people who were doubting; show some people in the scene who are credible, that they were wrong. I think a lot of the scene is stuck in a rut. We wanted to write a lot of things that were progressive, while staying true to the roots of the genre.'
Progressive is just not as easy as it used to be in these the days post September 11th, 2001. It's hard to do anything without the day of infamy's direct effect shading the result. According to Jay, the making of this record was no exception. 'We really couldn't avoid the subject. Songs like 'Murder on the Midnight Wire' look at the prospective of the Bush administration. Right after 9.11, everyone was looking for a scapegoat for the human tragedy. Unfortunately people get blamed. 'Criminal' is the same way. They're kind of accusatory(songs)
Named after the Israeli producer, Badawi's 1996 LP release, Bedouin Soundclash mesh together the lines of diverse musical genres. 'We all came together cause we loved Reggae music. We all kind of take different avenues, then try to bring all of our other things and slip everything in.' With influences ranging from Bob Dylan to The Streets and back across the creative pendulum to The Specials, one would think Jay yearns to bring back a fallen influence or two. 'Joe Strummer just so I could meet him, just 'cause I'm selfish. I would love to sit down for an hour with him and ask him questions. I would just love to hear his stories. He is one of the biggest influences on me as a musician."
Usually a sensitive topic amongst artists, I asked the man with the golden pipes how he would cure the wounds between consumers and distributors created by mp3's over the last few years. 'The only people who change things are the people who are buying it, they're the ones who have the power. But I don't know'¦.maybe a resurgence of mix tapes (laughs)."
While Jay and the boys have enjoyed sharing the stage with legendary artists like The Slackers, things are not always peachy on the road. 'The shows keep you alive yeah, but the late nights and the early mornings'¦(He says Questionably to himself)'¦'¦.. I really enjoy being in one place, and I can't write when I'm on the road. I feel like I'm living hand to mouth. Being kind of homeless is really draining when you really don't have a place to shut the door and say 'See ya.'
I also asked Jay what advice does he have for those who aspire to be on the road and live the artist life. 'Become involved because you're passionate. It should be straight forward. Find a way to get involved. Start promoting a show of a band that you really like. Just get involved locally before thinking beyond that, and usually it all follows in time."
Sure, comparisons can be made between Jay and the severely missed fallen hero Marley. Sure, he and his band mates make some of the most invigorating Punk, Neo, Soul, Rock, HipHop, and Electro Dancehall Reggae. Sure, they're popularity is spreading quicker than a brushfire on a scorching California summer day. But Jay insists the drive behind this thing called music will always be simple. 'We don't have any one thing in particular. There's so many things. We always strongly believe people should say something different; something that hasn't been said before. Stand up for what you believe in. A lot of bands out there follow what's already been said. I guess the biggest thing is if you have something to say stand up and say it."