The Beat vocalist reveals Romford ties ahead of ‘exciting’ Havering Show
09:00 24 August 2014
Legendary two-tone act The Beat will today treat revellers at the Havering Show to a blend of old hits, new sounds and the message of peace and love.
The band emerged from the punk scene of the ‘70s taking the socially conscious lyrics and attitude of the era and combining them with a wild mix of reggae, pop and soul.
Vocalist Ranking Roger spoke to the Recorder ahead of the show in Harrow Lodge Park, Hornchurch. He was anticipating playing to an audience of smiles and dancers and revealed his historical ties with Romford.
The Birmingham-born MC used to visit his cousins in the town when he was a young boy. But he has not been back in 40 years and is excited to make a return and hopes to influence a new wave of young musicians.
“I’m really looking forward to it. As long as the weather holds out we will get a lot of smiling faces and dancing,” he says.
“It’s exciting. There will be fun and there’s something for everyone. At our shows everyone likes to have a go and it isn’t just the music the vibe between the band and the audience is more important.”
The band - currently featuring drums, saxophones, guitars and keys - were among other risk takers such as The Specials who blended an eclectic range of sounds forming something new. But Roger is disappointed not to see this the current ska scene in Britain.
“I would like to hear more diverse stuff. A lot of ska bands coming out unfortunately just cover bands. It’s a shame,” he says.
“People need to be more adventurous about what they are singing about. We weren’t trying to sounds like the old bands. We tried to make something new.”
He said that aspiring musicians in Havering shouldn’t be afraid of taking risks like he and the rest of the band did when they formed. He also said that people need to smarten up their lyrics and spread the message of hope. “People need to sing about the reality. Not a dreary story but give some hope. We give the people hope. We have lyrics about depressing subjects but the music does sound happy,” he says.
The Beat has never avoided tricky or controversial subjects and Roger is today still writing about politics, conspiracy theories as well as “peace and love”.
He plans to excite the audience with a set old hits, which may include hit single Mirror in the Bathroom that peaked at number four in the UK charts. “It’s what people come to hear,” he says.
But Roger hopes to play a selection of new tracks that have been in their setlist for less than a month.
“We’ve got new numbers we’re playing. We started playing them to audiences this month and they are going down as well as some of the older ones - it’s exciting,” Roger says.
The Beat are scheduled to perform at 4.50pm on the Time 107.5FM stage.