UB40 drummer talks songs, Elvis, weed, and Bigga Baggariddim Tour coming to NJPAC
If it's raggae you're into, have we got a show for you! UB40 is bringing their Bigga Baggariddim Tour to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Sunday, Aug. 21 along with the Original Wailers featuring Al Anderson, Maxi Priest, and Big Mountain.
Of course, UB40 will perform its worldwide hit singles “Red Red Wine,” “Food For Thought,” “(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You,” and many more, in addition to songs from their most recent album, Bigga Baggariddim.
I spoke with drummer Jimmy Brown on my New Jersey 101.5 show
Who actually came up with the name Bigga Baggariddim?
"Well, we actually did, we actually did an album called the back reading back in the 1980s. Where we add them we actually use local rappers and toasters, to work on our backing tracks, and we decided many, many years later that we've been to follow up, which is a bigger bag of freedom. And then this time we used international artists, some very well known like an inner circle, and are the up-and-coming rappers from Jamaica, and then other reggae artists from those houses like Shem from New Zealand, and the Regular Rogers from India. So it's an international celebration of reggae music."
How did you come to record "Red Red Wine"?
"We were doing the labor of love project which was taking our favorite reggae tunes original Jamaican reggae tunes as we work on them and we subsequently had to beat up with quite a few tracks from that album, but we had no idea that it was a Neil Diamond song we had we just thought it was an original reg eg but then we find out when we were looking for the publishers when we wanted to do a cover version of it. That it actually wasn't written by Neil Diamond. He owns the song it's it's actually a temporary song from the sonar of the 20th century. So it was actually the Salvation Army song originally, but it we did a cover version of it and discovered that Neil Diamond owned it."
How much Red Red wine was consumed during Red Red Wine?
"Quite a bit consumed I must admit yes. We do the fancy drink now and then that I've obviously not over the top because we're not party animals like we used to be because we're getting on a bit. Yeah, we're fueled by enjoying ourselves as best we can."
You guys did a great version of "I Can't Help Falling in Love" With the Elvis movie out, what are your thoughts on Elvis Presley?
"To be honest, personally, I'm not a fan. Oh, maybe one of the very few people in our world to say that. We were asked to do a cover of an Elvis song by the people who made the movie "Honeymoon in Vegas". And if you remember that movie, a lot of artists were asked to do cover versions of Elvis tunes. And we chose "I Can't Help Falling in Love but then so did Bono from U2. And they went with his version rather than us, and then we were asked by the people who were producing the movie, "Sliver" if they could use the tract, and they did and he became a massive hit and but you know, we wouldn't normally choose an Elvis song to cover. Ah, not really. I mean, would it be too young? Actually for Elvis? I'm afraid."
Then there was the cover of "I Got You Babe" with Chrissie Hynde.
"Well, yeah. Well, we love Chrissie. Anyway, because she gave us our first big break. Way back in 1980. She asked us if we would support her on her major tour. She had the number one single and the number one album on British charts. So we of course said yes."
"We got to know Christie very well. She's a lovely lady. And we got along very well. And we remained friends after we finished touring with her. And then a few years writing, I don't know who came up with the idea but there was talk of a duet and then it seemed it's such an iconic tune that it was kind of a no-brainer, really. And we yeah, we say but let's do the record together and she was very happy to do that. And she's a lovely lady and we've been friends ever since."
How cool is it to have a reggae tour now that recreational marijuana is legal in New Jersey?
"Yeah. I mean, I love the idea. It's brilliant. Seems to me a very civilized thing to do. And many countries in Europe now we're doing it and many states in America are and I think it's progress. So I really think that's absolutely wonderful."
For tickets to the Bigga Baggariddim Tour click here.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
You can now listen to Steve Trevelise — On Demand! Discover more about New Jersey’s personalities and what makes the Garden State interesting . Download the Steve Trevelise show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.