It is with great pleasure and excitement that I’m announcing that CKUT’s Roots Rock Rebel will be launching a brand new theme song this Wednesday (August 8), composed by the legendary Sao Paulo-based ska/reggae producer Victor Rice! Check out some of the videos below for a sneak preview of the theme music, brewed up at Victor’s studio in Brazil, and featuring some of the world’s top ska musicians from bands like The Slackers, Firebug, and the Stubborn Allstars.
I first met Victor in person in Montreal at the 2011 Montreal Ska Festival, when he was up here producing the latest album from Danny Rebel and the KGB. He came in to CKUT to hang out on my radio show, and we instantly got talking about him making a new theme song for the show. Now, about 10 months later, here is the result.
I personally love the theme song I’ve been using since Roots Rock Rebel went on the air back in 2004 (back then the show was called “Rude Rude Radio”). The show started off every week with the iconic warning from Prince Buster, “You say you’re a rudeboy, you also say you can’t go to jail. BUT, you live in a glass house, SO DON’T THROW STONES!” The show then launched into the minor-key ska instrumental classic of “Rude rude rudee” by the Prince himself. I wanted to keep that part of the theme intact, to pay tribute to the roots of the show, and the roots of Jamaican ska and reggae music.
So here are the results! Be sure to tune in to Roots Rock Rebel on CKUT radio this Wednesday, August 8 from 10pm-12am EST for the premiere of our theme, and then every week after that!
I also asked Victor to send me a write-up about this composition. Check it out in his words!
“When Aaron suggested I write a new jingle for the program, a complete idea came to mind immediately.
The problem with that was, no alternate ideas came to mind – so the thing would either work or not, no options.
I hesitated to go through with it, thinking of the work and people involved, and perhaps it not being the right thing for the show… but the idea was already there, and ideas need to be extracted from the head
in order to make room for other ideas. It’s a question of skull-space. There was no option but to follow through…
I set about making a rough demo here in São Paulo.
For drums, Eddie Ocampo’s track was lifted from my arrangement of the Abbyssininans’ “Satta Massaganna”.
The new bass line was then recorded and doubled on guitar.
After the piano track was done, I enlisted the lovely Lucinaira from Bahia, BR
to join me in singing “Roots! Rock! Rebel!” a few times.
It was such a simple idea, but I really couldn’t imagine anything(or anyone) else…
This demo was sent off to Aaron, and I was both relieved and thrilled to hear he was all for it!
Given the green light, it was time to finish it in style.
The demo was then sent off to the Slackers’ guitarist Agent Jay in Brooklyn, NY to overdub some proper Rocksteady skank.
Jay is on a short list of guitarists trusted to do the right thing without my ever having to say what’s needed.
The track always comes back sounding exactly how it was imagined, or better.
Finally it was time to record some horns in the Studio One vein.
Again, I was stuck on a single idea, only two measures in length, but by now there was courage enough.
Paulinho Viveiro(trumpet) and Marcelo Freitas(tenor sax) were borrowed from Peixoto & Machado’s horn section.
For those not familiar, Felipe Machado was the voice and composing force behind Firebug here in São Paulo.
now he’s accompanied by another gifted singer/songwriter, Eduardo Peixoto, and they’re backed by a fantastic band. We spent about half an hour in the café and the session lasted maybe 15 minutes – it was over before it happened!
As I write this, I’m preparing the tune for the final mix tonight.
As opposed to the rest of the project, I do have alternate mixes in mind… and I’m gonna do them all!”
VR – São Paulo, July 2012