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Reggae On The Menu – The Don Letts interview

Have you heard about the new podcast series “Reggae 45”? Well, you should. The number one reason being that Don Letts is behind it. And many of us know: Everything that Don Letts does is exceptional. From his punky reggae parties in 1970s London to his involvement in the band Big Audio Dynamite in the 1990s, from his documentaries, feature films and music videos to his radio shows on BBC6.

Now the restaurant chain Turtle Bay, specializing in Caribbean food, have reached out to Don to record a podcast series for them. You’ll be able to hear the four episodes of Reggae 45 starting from 17 July, either in a restaurant or from their website.

In the wake of the release, The Rebel Dread was kind enough to answer a few questions about live-long passions, podcasts … and his favourite food.

RSS: The teaming up of a reggae DJ/presenter/musician with a restaurant chain (even one with Jamaican food) is unusual. How did it come about? 

Don Letts: They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse – and it tasted good.

What exactly do people have to expect from your podcast series Reggae 45? 4 episodes have been planned I hear. 

I guess it’s my take on a genre that’s been a life-long passion – music led there’s a few facts and anecdotes along the way but it’s not a history lesson –  if you want that go buy a book.

What is it in the podcast format that attracted you? Is the Reggae 45 podcast in any way different in approach from a recorded radio show? 

The old punk in me immediately recognized the D.I.Y possibilities of what is basically another medium for expression. I haven’t explored it further ’cause the mediums I already use keep me pretty busy.

Are there other podcasts you like to listen to? How do you make sure to find new music today? 

Truth be told I’ve never listened to a podcast in my life and as for finding new music, well I figure anything I’m supposed to hear will find me.

Where do you see the connection between food & music? As a musician, director and DJ I guess you were and are a frequent traveler. How do you make sure you get good food on the table?

Hey they’re both nourishment and you don’t have to be a musician, director, DJ or frequent traveller to appreciate that.

And how do I make sure I get good food on the table – I walk carefully!

What is your favourite Jamaican dish?

Ackee and salt-fish with white rice every time.  Rice n’ peas kinda kills the subtle flavour of Ackee. Or alternatively you could have it with hard food like green banana and dumpling – a slice of plantain goes down well with either combination.

What are the next projects coming up that old-school reggae fans like the Reggae Steady Ska readers should hear about?

There’s nothing on my slate that currently meets that specifcation other than my bass heavy DJ sets up and down the country. Anybody seen my current film ‘Two Sevens Clash’?

Don’t forget to tune in for “Reggae 45” starting from 17 July, on turtlebay.co.uk, and check donletts.com for more info on The Rebel Dread.

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With his Ska band The Braces (1984-1991, 2000-2006) Joachim Uerschels released three albums for Unicorn, Pork Pie and Mad Butcher Records. He lives in Cologne, Germany as a writer and musician. In 2016, he published his solo debut album "Songbook Vol. II" as Joe ScholesJoe Scholes
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