Riki Rocksteady & The Bad Ideas
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Riki Rocksteady & The Bad Ideas


Band World Reggae


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Great New Rocksteady in America (Translated)"

This artist from the northeast of the USA has taken an atypical course, since he initially stared out as a "busker", (in other words, a singer in the streets armed with his guitar). This experience has influenced his recordings in a very personal manner: even if the melodies are not absent, they keep a certain urgency, a "rough and tough" dimension where the guitar, bass and percussion are sufficient to create the ambiance. You could imagine without difficulty an "unplugged" version (which would be more flattering than simply calling it "acoustic"). For some variety, an organ and a trombone show up to add their bluesy touch to this rather rustic track. The result however doesn't come out minimalist since Riki Rocksteady enlisted the services of a Bostonian band of musicians in order to douse his urban folk-blues in Jamaican jerk sauce. If the guy is praised for having a 'special style', it's above all because he is sure of one fact: the main drive of his style comes across in various ways, sort of like the Slackers. A frayed stamp doesn't prevent him from coming up with pretty melodies, the best in which are brought out with a sober rocksteady style or danceable reggae all also full of retained. It's in this register that he evokes the excellent Pressure Cooker, other Bostonians that are some of the best purveyors of American reggae. The singjay influences surely come from rub a dub and sometimes make you think of New Yorkers Rocker T and King Django, and even of the master, Marley! The street is also the theater of a thousand stories and feelings that the lyrics do not fail to recognize, as long ago did the reggae-punk of The Clash and the Anti Social Workers. Devoid of sophistication, this album signs Riki's style up for a very personal lineage, all the while relaying an authenticity of which the Jamaican paternity is undeniable, even though it is seeing the light of day on American soil. One of the great US discoveries of the year, with the compilation Dubshine, another astonishing production from this young Bostonian label, the eclecticism of which is a breath of fresh air.
- Ragga Magazine (France, June 2005)

"Riki Rocksteady Brings the Reggae Music"

Riki Rocksteady, a skilled songwriter and street musician living in Boston, released a standout song on Spitshine's first release Leisure Riddims for the Working Class (2002) and later one on Dubshine (2003). After recording these tracks Spitshine signed Riki to do a debut album on their label. Matt Mahoney appears on the album (drums, backing vocals, keys, percussion) recorded and mixed this album. Matt also runs Spitshine Records. Backing Riki up on this album are a number of ska veterans from Boston ska bands like the Allstonians, Bim Skala Bim, and the Harmonics. Riki Rocksteady draws on a number of heavy reggae influences like Bob Marley and Dennis Brown. Also there is a definitive DJ toasting brought into the mix. At times Riki's voice is reminiscent of Brad Nowell's from Sublime but his toasting is way more authentic.

The opening track "Rude Faith" starts up with Riki playing a riff on his guitar with a short keyboard melody in the back and then the drums come in with a simple one beat rhythm. He comes out in pure DJ style, preaching to the rocksteady massive. "Damn The Greyhound" puts this album in the league of ska greats like Chris Murray, The Slackers, and King Django in the sentiment and emotion. So many bands seem to fall short on sincerity but RR does not lack this. The songwriting is one of the most powerful aspects of this recording. The keyboard playing of Ceci Moreno-Gonzalez really shines through this album. "Palm Treez" is an instrumental dub groove of "Damn the Greyhound" and it has a definitive island feel. The trombone melody (played by Eric Bridson) is in the style of a Rico Rodriguez track. Riki Rocksteady busts out another rockers reggae number in "Wicked Style" using the popular "Bring Me Along" melody. "Dub the G" is another great dub produced by Matt Maloney.

Riki Rocksteady's vocal range is mixed between toasting and singing, it has a smooth raspy effect to it during "Radio Nazi." "Wrong Place Right Time" is a two minute upbeat romp that is going to be the first single of the album (a video to follow) with lyrics that paint a simple portrait of reality. "Lonely Girl" begins as a smooth rocksteady in the tradition of greats like Alton Ellis and John Holt. Halfway through the beat drops into a full reggae lyrical assault. "NYC Shakedown" is a song crafted about the tragedy of September 11th in a roots-reggae style. "Rocksteady Drill" is a percussion-heavy dub-reggae groove with muted trombone solo. Riki Rocksteady and the other musicians on this album have crafted one of the best reggae albums of the year. The final track "Old Spoon" has a spooky sadness to it. The lyrics are very heart felt and honest. The quality of the recording is very lo-fi and it reminds me a lot of the early Version City recordings. The band knows how to keep things simple and that is why this album works so well. The praise has to be shared with Riki Rocksteady for making so many great songs and for Matt Mahoney for being able to craft the songs in this manner. Spitshine once again puts out another quality release. This is one of those bands I would recommend to anyone and it is a great album to play at a party.
- DCska.com (Jan 2005)

"Riki Rocksteady has musical roots in many styles"


By the time Riki Rocksteady is finished describing his musical background and influences, he has mentioned virtually every style of music short of country and classical.

Jump blues, Caribbean, rock, straight blues, reggae, boogie, jazz - all are ingredients in the thick melange that gets back to two forms that contain elements of virtually every other: ska and rocksteady.

Cousins of the more mainstream reggae, both are jumpy, jazzy, herky-jerky styles that generally feature horns, danceable melodies, and an intense sense of rhythm. Essentially, rocksteady is a slightly slower version of ska, which is a speedier, poppier version of reggae. Rocksteady and ska both came from Jamaica in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Growing up in a Latin neighborhood in Hartford, Conn., Rocksteady, 24, was exposed to reggae music at a young age. He later discovered the blues, and was especially drawn to Fats Domino and the way a walking bass line - think doomba-DOOMba-doomba-DOOMba repeated in patterns - could be combined with something jumpier to make ska.

"It was my favorite rhythm. I gradually became obsessed with it after awhile," he said in a phone interview from his Boston home.

"It's very danceable, it's very upbeat, and has a rhythm that's pumping. If done well, it's amazing because ska is certainly an amazingly intricate music that is still simple."

About every 20 years, a ska revival sweeps the United Kingdom and the United States, most notably in the post New Wave years of the 1980s when the Specials, English Beat, and Madness were popular. Later practitioners who took the music to the mainstream include the Mighty Bosstones and No Doubt.

Big Boy Moxie Malone, Rocksteady's drummer who also works for Spit Shine Records, the Boston label for which both record, said ska eschews the political elements and African rhythms favored by reggae for something a little more personal.

And that fits Rocksteady well. His first disc on Spit Shine, "Your Official Introduction," has 12 original tracks, the lyrics of which are written in the first person, he said.

"My music is to teach. It's not just a hobby, it's not senseless. It has a message to tell that is my real-life story and my music is directed to all people, old, young, it doesn't matter," he said.

Through any hardships, he said he always returns to the music and inevitable feel-good quality of ska, blending the Robert Johnson Delta blues he was listening to with Caribbean rhythms.

"It's a modern twist with different styles of reggae with some blues and some jazz. It's definitely everything I love into one. And I like to keep it positive because that's what reggae and rocksteady have offered me - to see the good in life." - The Toledo Blade (Toledo, OH Feb. 2005)


V/A -Leisure Riddims - Crazy Dave (Spit Shine 2002)
V/A -Dubshine - Going Home Dub (Spit Shine 2003)
Riki Rocksteady - Dark Dub EP (Dubba I 2004)
V/A - Oasis World Sampler - Wrong, Place (Oasis 2005)
Riki Rocksteady - Your Official Intro...(Spit Shine 2005)
V/A -Sweet Serenade - Sunshine (Lawless St. 2006)
V/A - Banana Vol 5 - Damn The Greyhound (Banana 2006)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Known to many already in Boston and Miami as a skilled songwriter and street musician, Riki Rocksteady and his band, The Bad Ideas, are quickly broadening their appeal. First noticed nationally with the successful college radio airplay of his song "Crazy Dave" from Spit Shine Records' compilation Leisure Riddims (2002), he has continued to gain recognition with "Going Home Dub" off of the Dubshine Compilation (2003) and caught the ear of European radio stations and Internet sites. Boston's Spit Shine International record label recognized his talent, signed him, and released his first full-length album in the fall of 2004. Entitled, "Your Official Introduction" the album of 12 original tracks enlists some guest appearances by seasoned Boston ska/reggae artists of Bim Skala Bim, The Allstonians, and The Harmonics. Riki Rocksteady's first single off of "Your Official Introduction" is "Wrong Place, Right Time" a danceable number that will also be featured in his first music video produced by Greyson Media.

Riki Rocksteady & The Bad Ideas are headlining clubs and festivals as well as supporting major acts from Portland, ME to San Diego, CA and everywhere in between. From their first soulful reggae number to their last sweaty dancehall encore, Riki Rocksteady & The Bad Ideas are definitely worth the price of admission.