Not many acts stay together for a quarter of a century and still remain firing on all cylinders. But the Dub Pistols juggernaut rolls on, exploring fresh sonic pastures and accelerating into 2022—their 25th anniversary, their Silver Jubilee-like there’s no tomorrow.
The Dubs may have had an easier ride of it if they’d been a cartoon band like Gorillaz. There wouldn’t have been assorted band member casualties along the way, for starters, as life on the road took its toll. The multi-cultural collective has involved dozens of artists and musicians over the years-some remaining for years, a few for the duration, and others just popping in for a guest appearance. Their sound has accordingly morphed a variety of times since their inception: taking in dub, punk, jungle, ska, breakbeat, hip-hop and a whole lot more, it’s been a long road travelled.
Throughout an eight-album career and literally thousands of shows, the band has rolled withthe punches-enduring setbacks and fuck-ups before piecing themselves back together and morphing into one of the most loved and enduring festival bands on the circuit. Hardest-working band in showbiz doesn’t even cover it.
The genesis of the Dub Pistols began when former club promoter and Deja Vu singer Barry Ashworth started DJing in the mid-90s. Unable to mix records properly at first, Barry got assorted pals to scratch and play horns over the top of his sets. Inspired by the anything-goes attitude of the late 90s genre that came to be called big beat in the UK-acts like the Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Propellerheads, labels such as Wall Of Sound and Skint-Barry wasdrawn to start making tracks for his DJ sets, alongside long-term cohort Jason O’Bryan. Polyrhythmic first offering ‘There’s Gonna Be A Riot’ was signed by Concrete Records, and a string of missives followed in its wake-‘Best Get Better’, the explosive ‘Westway EP’, and then a chipper ‘Cyclone’, which dented the UK national charts.