The Mystic Radics story, ep. 3: ” He said I had to pay the DJs now to put the song on their playlist”

Why did you decide to go with Mystic Radics instead of just you as a solo for Nation Wide?
Tony Moody:
The early days, it was more personal, like Night Work and Pusherman, they were all personal stuff. Then when I saw that all the players I was teaching at the time started playing really well, I decided we needed to form a band. And that’s when I started to deal with Mystic Radics.

(Mystic Radics member Earl Dorango joins the conversation)

Earl… I was just telling him about the Radics. So, the name Mystic Radics came from Roots Radics in Jamaica. Because Roots Radics was bad, you know? And it’s more inclusive: when that band element came into it, each individual had to take personal responsibility for various things.

So on Nation Wide, Paul played the drums, I played the keys, and Desmond played the guitar—that’s it, I think.

I always thought you were singing on it, but you were not, correct?
No, it’s Earl doing the lead vocal. He came into the rehearsal room and I heard him sing, “Nation Wide.” So then, we created a little beat around it, and then I said, okay, let me write some lyrics [laughter], let me do the verses to it. He ended up singing it with his two brothers, Tony (RIP) and Junior.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 6.10.09 PMEarl Dorango in 2014, London.

Earl: I was 17 at the time. I was coming from a different Youth Club but I heard they were auditioning, and I got the lead singer spot. We recorded a few other songs where I’m singing, but only Nation Wide was released. I did this other one called Give Thanks that we used to sell as a dubplate, Small Axe was playing it a lot. I just saw it on Ebay for 130 Pounds – They called me Earl the General on it! [as it looks, someone DID release it, unbeknownst to Earl -check it over here]

Tony: I printed 250 copies of Nation Wide. I took them to Jet Star and he bought them all. So he had faith in the music, he bought them all. I had joined PRS, and when they came back in, they gave me a rundown of who purchased them. Quite a few were sold in France, but the most was sold in Ireland!

But I kept everything, all the master tapes, all the lacquers, everything. I always thought that this was going to be documented some day. So mi pushed everyt’ing under mi bed. It didn’t surprize me that much when you got in touch. But you see, when mi tek it out, cobweb full it! [laughter]

So then the tune got quite big from Shaka playing it, notably on the Masseh show on Kis FM. How did that happen?
Well, when we released it, at that time, [Brixton-based, 12 tribes-affiliated sound system] Jah Revelation Muzik was big, so I wanted to have them play at our Gypsies Youth Club. I ended up giving them a copy of it, and they played it a lot, and then they told me Shaka picked it up and rub it.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 6.18.38 PMTony Moody and singer Vincent Roswell, circa 1984.
Photo courtesy Tony Moody 

You also did the highly sought-after Going to a Dance 12” with Vincent Roswell as the singer.. But then, it feels like you all disappeared
Really, it’s only three songs we did. And the reason why I stopped… Ok, so, we did the song Pusherman, it played on Radio One, and then when I went back to Jet Star and he said to me I need to plug it. I said, “What you mean, plug it?” He said I have to pay the DJs to put it on their playlist. Pay them. The reason why I wrote Pusherman is because the youth take whole heap of drugs, how do you expect me to go pay for a social thing? So mi sey, “Mi nah pay.” And mi stop. [laughter] “You know what, I’ll focus on the cricket.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 6.16.40 PMI was done. The only time we put out music again was for the Zimbabwe cricket event, in 1988. It was a massive tour because The Evening Standard put £25,000 into it. They sent a camera crew from Channel 4 to record it and I got to create the music for that a 12” called Zimbabwe. I always felt that the music would have carried the cricket.

Earl Durango: But it was the other way around.

Tony Moody: Cricket was rather more important because I realized that in cricket I could do more in my own mind. Even though music is more effective, in my mind I feel I could do more with cricket than with music. Even though the music, at the time, was more impressive and more effective, I felt the lasting effect would be using cricket. It would last longer.



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