I recently had the opportunity to interview Michael Goldwasser of NYC’s Easy Star All-Stars about their new tribute album, a dub interpretation of Michael Jackson’s landmark 1983 album Thriller. One listen to the first single off the album, a Luciano-voiced “Billie Jean,” tells me that this could be their best yet.
Easy Star All-Stars are primarily known for their critically and commercially successful dub-tribute albums Dub Side of the Moon, Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band, and RadioDread. Through incessant recording, touring, and fan-building, Easy Star basically paved the way for the new wave of American reggae acts that have been so successful of late.
Thrillah is slated for an August 28, 2012 release date. The band will be hitting the road this summer and through the second half of 2012 in support of the album. Visit their website to get the latest information on the album and tour.
So why Thriller?
“We chose Thriller for several reasons. First of all, it’s always good to shake things up – we’d done three albums from the world of rock and it would be too obvious to keep going down that path. (And) It makes so much sense to do an r&b album since r&b has always been such a major influence on Jamaican music, from ska in the early 60’s to the most current dancehall. Just as he is all over the world, Michael Jackson is revered in Jamaica like few other artists. But most importantly, we always want to do albums that are made up of great and interesting songs that will be cool as reggae, and Thriller certainly fit the bill. It’s also part of our mission to spread reggae to new people, and by taking on the best-known album of all time, we feel that we are able to do that on a larger scope.”