Steel Pulse may have explored various styles of music since they started out in 1975, but when it comes to the message, this UK Grammy Award-winning reggae band has remained close to their roots. The group have continued their commitment to fighting injustice, educating the masses, and promoting positive messages through spiritually uplifting music.
“We just can’t ignore the politics, because every life and soul that’s born on this earth is a political manoeuvre for someone, at some stage”, explains David ‘Dread’ Hinds, the group’s creative leader. “From a spiritual aspect, it’s really an upliftment through facing reality – what’s out there. We deal with positive spirits. It means putting aside the guns, the drugs, and all of the things that are ailments of society – especially the black communities right now”.
Steel Pulse have always taken their causes to heart, even going so far as to file a $1 million class action lawsuit against New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission. The group charged that cabbies refused to pick up blacks and Rastafarians throughout the streets of New York.
Steel Pulse was formed in 1975 in Birmingham, England, specifically the inner city area of Handsworth. The founding members were schoolmates David Hinds (the primary songwriter as well as the lead singer and guitarist), Basil Gabbidon (guitar), and Ronnie ‘Stepper’ McQueen (bass). All of them came from working class West Indian immigrant families, and none had much musical experience. They took some time to improve their technical proficiency, often on Roots inspired material by the Wailers, Burning Spear, and several other prominent Jamaican artists. McQueen suggested the group name, after a racehorse, and they soon fleshed out the lineup with drummer Steve ‘Grizzly’ Nisbett, keyboardist/vocalist Selwyn ‘Bumbo’ Brown, percussionist/vocalist Alphonso ‘Fonso’ Martin, and vocalist Michael Riley.