Steel Pulse: David "Dread" Hinds
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July 6, 2014
Article:
Dig the music Mr. Deejay: Handsworth's reggae heritage

February 26, 2014
VIDEO:
Put Your Hoodies On
[4 Trayvon]

January 22, 2014
Interview:
Babylon is Falling: David Hinds on the Early Years

January 17, 2013
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June 23, 2013
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March 22, 2013
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HISTORY
RAR 78
In 1978, race relations in Britain were in crisis. The National Front was gathering power and immigrants lived in fear of violence.

But that year also saw the birth of a campaign - Rock Against Racism (RAR) - aimed at halting the tide of hatred with music - a grassroots movement culminating in a march across London and an open-air concert in the East End. The campaign involved groups like The Clash, Steel Pulse, Buzzcocks, X-Ray Spex, The Ruts, and others, staging concerts with an anti-racist theme, in order to discourage young people from embracing racist views.

Learn more >>

DAVID "DREAD" HINDS
lead singer, rhythm guitarist, composer and harmonica player

David Dread Hinds

A unique voice, revolutionary lyrics, and a commanding stage presence have served David "Dread" Hinds well since the formation of the band in the early 70s.

David HindsBorn on June 15th 1956, in Handsworth, Birmingham, England, David Hinds was the sixth child of Ruby and Charles Hinds (now deceased). His parents migrated to the UK from Jamaica in the mid 1950s as labourers recruited along with so many other Jamaicans and other British Caribbean islanders to "rebuild post World War II Britain."

At age five, he started elementary school and completed all his schooling by 1974, acquiring 6 GCE’s and 1 A level. During that period, he developed a love for Fine Art, History, craftsmanship and music. The music out of Jamaica became a major influence on Hinds’ perception on life in years to come. Hind’s comment, "I remember each of my elder siblings coming over with the latest form of music and dance as well as what was happening socially and politically on the island."

David "Dread"It was at Handsworth Wood Boys secondary school where he met band co-founder Basil Gabbidon and began the journey that became Steel Pulse.

By 1975, he became one of the founding members of Steel Pulse and continued to develop his skills of song writing, and rhythm guitar playing.

"In 1978 we sang about a revolution in Handsworth because of the injustice we saw all around us," says Hinds. Those lyrics were soon to be prophetic, when Handsworth went up in flames in the riots of 1981.

"The answer is not violence, but opportunity," says Hinds. "When kids have few opportunities open to them, they get frustrated and have little to do. Sadly, we saw more riots in England last summer, and it doesn't look like we have learned our lesson. If we don't sing about this, who will?"

"Over the years, I and I give thanks to the Almighty for the blessings I and I have received. We regularly see three generations of fans at our show, and we all want a better future for the world's children," says Hinds, as he talks about the impact the band has had. "Our fans stand with us through thick and thin, and we do our best to thank them for their love. Without the fans, there is no Steel Pulse. We never forget that."

Do the Right ThingAs the creative leader of Steel Pulse, Hinds is responsible for over 95 percent of the band's output. He has also written songs for various films. The most recent have been: "Rocksteady" and "Jah Never Fail I Yet" featured in the movie "Rocksteady," released 2010. Other scores in the past includes: "I-Spy," featured in the movie "Klash," (1995) "Can’t Stand The Heat," featured in the movie "Do The Right Thing," directed by Spike Lee (1989).

As well as writing the soundtrack to the Rocksteady film, Hinds landed an acting role, playing the part of "Ras" who was a mentor/advisor to BC, a young and upcoming racing car driver. "I’ve had auditions in the past that came to no fruition until now. Finally, one of my dreams (acting), has been fulfilled," says Hinds.

Outside of the Pulse’s curriculum David Hinds has collaborated with artists across the globe:

  • Macka B (UK), with song titled "Change The World"
  • Ras Quique Neira (Chile) "Love Love Love"
  • Dub Incorporated (France) "Speed"
  • Broussai (France) "Live Up"
  • Blackwood (French Guyana) "Jah Way"
  • Lionize (US) "Killers and Crooks"
  • Djamatic (France) "Roots Black"
  • Alborosie (Italy) "Stepping Out"

    TECH-TALK with
    David "Dread" Hinds

    "My choices of guitars have varied over the years. This is mainly because of the weight more than anything else. As a result I have chosen some of the lightest guitars in the industry. I own two Parker flyers for a good part of 15 years. The Carvins I have gotten use to most recently. Although not as light as the Parkers, they do have a crunchy and yet clean sound for reggae rhythm as well as the outlet it has to attach synthesizer type modules such as the Roland GR20 and GR55.

    In regards to amplifiers, the one I use most often for live work is the Roland Jazz Chorus. It is simple to operate and has a consistency in sound throughout. It gives me the clean sound that I need for rhythm. Most important of all, it is the amp that most promoters seem to have easy access to when it comes to doing shows."

    GUITARS:
    2 x Carvin Hollow bodied electric guitar (SH275)
    Parker Flyer Deluxe
    Carvin Acoustic guitar (For Live Work)

    I just recently landed myself an Ovation Adamas, 1978 model. That I do intend to use for live work.

    GUITAR for Studio Work:
    Carvin and (SH275) and Schector

    AMPLIFIERS:
    Roland Jazz Chorus, Fender Twin Reverb, Peavey Classic (all with twin 12inch speakers with no less than a 100watts) and not so frequent, a Mesa Boogie

    FOOT PEDALS for Live Work:
    2 x Boss DD-3 Digital Delays
    Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
    Boss BF-2 Flanger
    Boss PH-3 Phase Shifter
    Boss OC-3 Super Octave

    MICROPHONES:
    SHURE BETA 87 wireless set up.

    IN EARS:
    Ultimate Ears with a Shure receiver

    HARMONICA:
    The "Lee Oscar" Blues Harp Series

  • Inner Circle (Jamaica) "Religion"

Current collaborations include works with Brinsley Ford, former lead singer of Aswad (UK), Dennis Bovell (UK) and Lions of Israel (Brazil) With the most recent release Hinds is featured along with Mojo from Morgan Heritage on "The Girl Is Mine," a Michael Jackson cover, produced by Michael Goldwasser of Easy Star. Other projects include a reggae version of "Bare Necessities" composed for the Walt Disney album, "The Disney Reggae Club" and "Vote Barack," a song written for President Obama’s election campaign, back in 2008 (a new version was released for 2012).

Hinds' solo efforts include "Positivity" (2009) and "Jah Vengeance" (2009) on the French-based Heartical label.

On the 2011 summer tour, David suffered a severe injury to his left shoulder, leaving him with the inability to hold and play his guitar. During this period of being ‘out of action’ he rediscovered his ability to do art and intends to have a mini exhibition of his own in the immediate future.

David Still Life
(unfinished, David Hinds)

David Sailing
(unfinished, David Hinds)

"That’s been the story of my life. I’ve always tried to use setbacks to my advantage. If I never suffered this injury, I most probably wouldn’t have been motivated to get back into something that I have always loved. That’s just to show you when one door is closed, the other is open," expresses Hinds.

Hinds' influences over the years have been the likes of:

  • Gil Scott Heron
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • George Benson
  • Herbie Hancock
  • Matumbi
  • Michael Jackson
  • Ernest Ranglin
  • Sam Cooke
  • War
  • Mandrill
  • Macy Gray,
  • The Beatles
  • All the Kings (blues guitarists)
  • Third World
  • Burning Spear
  • Aswad
  • The Abyssinians
  • Santana
  • Stanley Clark
  • Luther Vandross; and the list goes on...

Recent influences include: Ayo, Asa, Keziah Jones, Bob Dylan and Jason Mraz. "Listening to these guys have brought me closer to understanding and realizing the control the acoustic guitar has in today’s popular music." Being an influential father himself, Hinds has five children of whom three have steered their energy towards music: son Baruch and daughters Jamilah and Shashamane.

Favorite pastimes: Going to the movies, developing real estate, fine art, table tennis, reading autobiographies on entertainers, books on Pan African activists, African History, British History, American History, listening to diverse styles of music and checking out art museums the world over. "Promoting Steel Pulse on the Sound System circuit is also a fun experience," says Hinds.

Likes: "Real People," boxing, fishing.

Dislikes: Phony People," paying car fines and Babylon!!!

Aspirations: "I aspire to meet Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, and President Barack Obama; to visit Ethiopia and to be more involved in helping the world’s impoverished." David continues: "I want to create a foundation of ‘giving back’ that can live beyond and continue my legacy of moving forward."

In January 2010 Hinds wrote "Hold On 4 Haiti." The song was written to help generate funds supporting the Solar Electric Light Fund and Partners In Health - installing solar panels for hospitals and schools in Haiti. "Yes, I remember experiencing the tremor from the earthquake while out in Jamaica recording our latest album. I was so touched by the tragic news that we went into the studio the following day and laid the track," Hinds recalls.

THE REST OF STEEL PULSE:

David Dread Hinds
David
"Dread"
Hinds
Selwyn Brown
Selwyn
"Bumbo"
Brown
Sidney MillsSidney
"Predator"
Mills
Amlak Tafari
Amlak
"AmBASSador"
Tafari

C SharpWayne
"C#"
Elvis Clarke

Donovan McKitty
Donovan
"Macka-T"
McKitty
Keysha Taggart
Makiesha "Keysha" McTaggart
Jerry Johnson
Jerry
"Saxman"
Johnson

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