The Terrorists Were The NYC Punky Reggae Posse

The TerroristsThis has been out for more than a few years now but I think it’s a lost gem well worth revisiting again and again. It’s a critical piece of punky ska & reggae history especially here in the U.S. as it pre-dates the actual 2 Tone explosion from the UK. It also managed to bring together U.S. musicians and JA reggae founders to make new thoughtful music when this is a completely new experience.

It’s also funny that our buddy Marco has been thinking the same thing and actually beat me to the posting! Check out his blog here for more on this interesting piece of the puzzle.

The following text was pulled from the ROIR website who released the compilation “Forces 1977-1982”. All photos pulled from the bands myspace page.

Two years before the UK Two Tone movement (Specials, Madness, Selector, Beat) announced a raw punky ska “new popular movement” in the UK, months before The Offs captured San Francisco with their dubby punk, the number one band playing reggae, ska, dub and punk on the East Coast, particularly New York City, were The Terrorists.

They were regularly gigging in N.Y.C. at Max’s Kansas City, CBGBs, Irving Plaza, Mudd Club, Hurrah, Tramps, the 80’s. Their unique punky, reggae, dub, ska were in great demand.

Started in October 1977 by drummer Dro, bassist Gary Schiess (a/k/a DB), singer and guitarist Ray De Angel and keyboardist Frank Covello with early replacement singer John Collins and guitarist Mark “Dino Supreme” Levi, the band became truly solid and extremely bookable.

Max's Kansas City Label for The Terrorists

Their commitment to reggae and their ability to consistently crowd the dance floor kept them busy week after week.

These guys were hot; they brought in business and before long they played with Roland Alphonso and Lee “Scratch” Perry, who adopted them as his collaborators. They were punk, ska, dub, reggae freaks, just as the 1977 “Exodus” Marley punky reggae movement and Two Tone Earthquake captured the UK press and a new scene was born.

A US cult audience (readers of the NME, Sounds and Melody Maker from the UK) propelled the Terrorists to enthusiastic cult audience adoration – but these guys were totally committed to reggae and its incarnations. They knew their stuff and became professors and teachers to a whole new generation of New Wave scenesters who started to dominate the US underground market.

Lee Perry & The Terrorists

Because of the involvement of Lee “Scratch” Perry, who traveled with and fronted the Terrorists over 20 years ago, and the many tracks with Roland Alphonso of the Skatalites, also from 20 years ago, this is an important slice of reggae, ska, punk, dub from Manhattan in the late 70’s. This is an historic document with material that is absolutely marvelous and unique. It puts a totally new perspective on reggae in Manhattan evenings during that period just before Marley was breaking through internationally with “Exodus” and brought reggae to a new tidal wave.
The Terrorists Forces LP CoverTracks:
1. Hail The Day; Fade Away; Love Is Better (produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry)
2. Guerrilla Priest with Lee “Scratch” Perry, Vocals; Four Corners with Roland Alphonso, Tenor Saxophone; Christine Keiler with Roland Alphonso
3. What Am I Living For with Roland Alphonso
4. Ska-Bostello with Roland Alphonso, (TS) & Soprano Saxophone
5. Treat Her Right with Roland Alphonso
6. Bridge View with Roland Alphonso
7. Anittoo
8. Forces
9. Drainidge
10. I Want Justice
11. Happy Man
12. My Best Girl
13. Bitch Slapped
14. It’s Impossible
15. Happy Go Lucky Girl
16. Copasetic

More info on “Forces 1977-1982” at the ROIR Website.

You can hit up Ray, founding member, singer & guitarist of the band on his myspace page as well. Check out even more killer photos of the band and flyers.

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.