The Prisoners
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The Prisoners

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"Reggae Band Draws a Big Crowd to the PFAC"

- Friday, July 25, 2008 -

Here's evidence that there is, in fact, an audience for original music in Newport News.
On Sunday afternoon, more than 600 people turned out for an outdoor festival at Peninsula Fine Arts Center that featured The Prisoners, a local band that plays mostly original reggae and dub tunes.
While the festival wasn't exclusively a musical event, The Prisoners get credit for a large part of the draw.
"The band was a big part of it." said Mike McGrann, marketing director for Pfac. "There were people who were saying there were here especially to see the band. And it was a really nice demographic for us. We typically do well with families, but it was great to get a younger crowd in here...Several of the folks came up to me and said they really dub the whole event."
McGrann said the center is planning a similar event for September.
- The Daily Press


"Playing for and to their heart's content: Reggae and dub stylings from The Prisoners, a band dedicated to roots music, positive messages and creativity"

- Monday, July 14, 2008 -

You've heard of blue-eyed soul. The Prisoners make blue-eyed reggae and dub - authentic Jamaican grooves intended to move your body and spirit.
The band includes keyboardist Zach Moats and drummer Scott Davis, who both grew up in Newport News and studied music at Christopher Newport University. In school they concentrated on jazz, and they still play that music professionally around the region.
The Prisoners, however, represent their central creative outlet.
"We all stay busy," Davis said, "But we try to devote as much time as possible to this project. It's kind of like our main thing."
Davis, who took time to answer questions on behalf of his bandmates, said writing fresh material is a big part of the group's missions.

Explain your name: We chose the name The Prisoners to remember early reggae groups like The Gladiators and the Viceroys. Our name is also a meditation toward all people being held against their will, anyone in need of justice.

Where is your home base?: Newport News

When did the band begin?: 2005

Who plays what?: Zach Moats: vocals, keyboards, melodica; Walker Pillow: vocals, guitar; Scott Davis: vocals, drums; Brian "Bam Bam" Moore: bass

What's your style?: The Prisoners play original roots reggae and dub. Jazz shows up inevitable a little bit, but we're trying to keep it as rootsy as possible.

Who are your musical heroes?: Bob Marley. Burning Spear. Misty In Roots. Also, conscious people that we've been blesses to know: Tuff Lion, Iba, Niyorah, Black Culture.

What's your favorite local stage?: The Jewish Mother, Virginia Beach. They've been so good to us...and it's so intimate. In the last four or five years, it's become this cool little hang for local people into reggae.

Describe your dream gig: Any gig where we connect with people in a positive way.

What motivates you to play reggae?: To uplift people. To uplift ourselves. Personally, I'm a very strong believer in the Rastafarian faith, have been since I was a teenager...I tell people, jazz is my head music, it's what I learned in school. Reggae is my heart music. It's more about feel and less about numbers. Speaking for the band, it's a simple enough music that the lyrics can be the main ingredient. And the lyrics are so specifically positive.

Ultimate Goal?: To play original reggae at the international level. - The Daily Press


"Yuri's Night Was Far Out"

-Sunday, April 12, 2009-

The first ever Yuri's Night Hampton Roads attracted a far-out mix of costumed science fiction fiends, college-age party people and local space nuts.
In other words, it was mission accomplished for party organizers...
...Organizers said about 1,200 people attended the party, which was described as a local edition of a global celebration of space exploration...
...One of the local party's most popular attractions was the action on the Air & Space Center's observation deck, where reggae band The Prisoners launched groovy explorations while a local astronomy club offered telescopes for peering at planets and stars.
"It was a really, really nice night - and hundreds of people were up there [on the deck]," said Rory Collins, a writer for NASA Langley Research Center. Collins was the event's coordinator. "I think it was the combination of the weather and the setting. Also, The Prisoners were a big hit. It was so perfect."
Reggae music bouncing through downtown Hampton helped to advertise the party.
"We had people coming in and buying tickets who were just walking by and heard the reggae," said Steele. "They asked 'Is this open to the public? Can we come in?' We heard that the boaters nearby were all listening, too. Apparently, it was a big ol' block party and we didn't know it."
Yuri's Night Hampton Roads it likely to return next year, organizers said.
"We've gotten such positive feedback," Collins said.
"We're looking forward to doing it in 2010"

- The Daily Press


Discography

"The Prisoners"
"Live on WHRV's 'Out of the Box'"
"Live on Revolutionary Radio"

Photos

Bio


The Prisoners are a roots reggae and dub quartet from Hampton Roads, Virginia. Members include Walker Pillow (Guitar and Vocals), Zach Moats (Keys and Vocals), Scott Davis (Drums and Vocals) and Brian Moore (Bass). The Prisoners combine years of playing experience with university level jazz and classical training. Formal training, a unique approach to songwriting, and a wide variety of influences, combine to expand the concept of reggae music.

Playing an upbeat and danceable style of reggae with vocal harmonies and group improvisation, the music and energy of the Prisoners’ live performances has generated a fast-growing and enthusiastic following everywhere they have played. The Prisoners formed in 2006, playing a year-long stretch of successful shows in Virginia and North Carolina. After a hiatus to pursue solo projects the band reformed and reorganized in 2008.

In 2008, the band performed live on 89.5 WHRV-FM's "Out of the Box" and played to a crowd of 600+ at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, Virginia. In January 2009, the Prisoners were featured on Revolutionary Radio in Williamsburg, VA. The Prisoners play regularly throughout Hampton Roads, VA and are seeking venues to play along the east coast.

The Prisoners were voted Best Band in the 2009 Virginia Reggae Awards.

Members of the Prisoners have worked with cutting edge vocalists: Niyorah, Iba, Danny I, Abja, Mada Nile, Tuff Lion and Black Culture and have shared the stage with reggae greats: Culture, Israel Vibration, Mikey Dread, Midnite, Bambu Station, SOJA, John Brown’s Body, Eek a Mouse, Richie Spice, Pato Banton and Dubconscious.