Afrika Rotten & Bill

My brother Dallas has inspired me in many ways and I don’t use the word inspired without heavy consideration, in fact this may be the second or third time I’ve used it. Musically he is way more accomplished and astute, he’s after all the real DJ I just pretend to be one at hi-fi shows.

Growing up I was really into Public Image Ltd, as well as all the punk and early metal that came before and after First Edition. And yes, I really did paint a neon PiL logo on the hood of my truck and not some small little tag in the corner but the whole of it. It was 1986, I was sixteen and owned the world—bluegrass, metal, punk, prog, classical—I was that kid, my kid brother six years younger in tow. Sure he was into much of what I dug in those days, Clash, Pistols, PiL, Rush, Zeppelin, BOC... but there was also something else he was discovering: Afrika Bambaataa, Grand Master Flash, Beastie Boys....

Break beat cutups really didn’t click with me, not at first—so much of what we appreciate has to do with circumstance. Take soul music, you can’t truly get it unless you go through the grind of living and just scraping by, working hard to keep a bit of style and dignity, just making it, month after month with the flame of breaking through getting so dim you can hardly envision it—but that’s another story—hip-hop is kinda like that. Break, Jamaican dup, punk and metal were all emerging in those days, I was catching the tail-end of the fusion and development and unfortunately I didn’t really see the whole of it coming together, I think most of us missed it. Man, what would the landscape look like today if thirty years ago we would have come together and pushed it into the mainstream. It took me another decade to really get what had happened. For whatever reason my little brother Dallas was hip to it and hearing it, living it in real time—unpublished and evangelization free. Years later in the early ‘90s when I was coming around to what I had missed and what almost happened Dallas was living deep in Atlanta, one white guy to half a million brothers. But that too’s another story.

Mid ‘80s. Several of my heroes were getting together with a few of his. John Lydon was working with Bill Laswell (still), others, and Afrika Bambaataa. Time Zone was interesting fusion, it was heavy, it was hip, it was punk and it was hopeful. Not transitional like what MC5 had done earlier, or so many others, but it was interesting and it was centered in my world.

Reading the liner notes of an old sheet of wax Time Zone / World Destruction: Afrika Bambaataa, John Lydon, Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, Nicky Skopelitis, Aiyb Dieng.

The liner notes:

Special thanks: Allah, Bill Laswell/Material for believing and standing behind me and my ideas, to our mothers, fathers and families. To Nicky Skopelitis one of the baddest Heavy Metal/all type guitarist around. To Bernie Worrell one of the funkiest keyboard players to ever hit the planet earth, to Sly and the Family Stone for their inpiration on my musical life. To George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and the P-Funk organization. The Last Poets, Herbie Hancock and the Rockit Band, Anton Fier, Ray Serrano, Leroy Evans, to my brother Georges (Portorico) Cabieria, to Mister Roger Trilling, Thi-Linh Le, Jean Karakos, to Bernard Kekri the Funk French African, to Kraftwerk tot he Celluloid staff to Mike Knuth, Chris May and K.P., Monica Lynch to Tom Silverman and Peter Wolf to Arthur Baker, Cool Lady Blue, to all the DJ’s and radio stations and the people who listen and dance to the music and extra special thanks to The Universal Zulu Nations Funk Families:
Soul Sonic Force
D.J. Jazzy Jay
D.J. Red Alert
Afrika Islam
Hydraulic Funk
The Jazzy Five
US Girls
Rock Steady Crew
New York City Breakers
Queen B’Side
The Funk Queens
Fab 5 Freddy love
Future 2000
Phase 2
Cold Crush Brothers
Bernard Fowler
The Zulu Rockers
Magnificent Force
Boogaloo Shrinp
Paris City Breakers
G.L.O.B.E. and Whizz Kid
Michael Holman
Sugar Pop
Mr. Freeze
Frosty Freeze
To Zulu Kings and Queens and the Shaka Kings and Queens The Force M.D.’s, Ikey C, Cosmic Force, Inner City Funk and a mind blowing thanks to the one and only John Lydon (it was a blast) and to the Godfather of Soul Mr. James Brown. —Bam
MusicSean CaseyComment