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Reggae Knights

Cityscape caught up with legendary British reggae band UB40’s resident film geek and drummer extraordinaire Jimmy Brown ahead of their November gig.

How hard was it starting out as a reggae band back in the 80s?
For UB40 it really wasn’t so hard. We had been playing for less than a year before our first album stormed the charts. In fact, it all happened a bit quick and we didn’t get time to catch our breath. We were very lucky to be in the right place with the right sound at the right time.

What is your favourite activity outside of music?
I’m a massive movie buff. If I don’t watch at least one movie a day I feel cheated. I also think of myself as a bit of a political pundit. UB40 supported Jeremy Corbyn during the last election. Politics in the UK is exciting right now.

What albums have you got on high-rotation?
I’m stuck in the 1990s at the moment. Old drum and bass and hip-hop – proper dad music!

How do you keep the magic alive on stage?
The magic just happens. It’s the chemistry between band and audience. When we played our first gig we got a great response from the audience. That was over 40 years ago, and today the reaction is the same.

How does it feel watching the audience sing along to your songs?
Seeing thousands of people singing along to words and music you have written is the best feeling imaginable. Better than drugs!

What have you got in store for your Christchurch gig?
Our gigs will be covering 40 years of our music, dating all the way back to our first album [Signing Off], and playing some very well-known hits along the way along with some brand new material.

What are you looking forward to doing while you’re here?
We have many, many friends in New Zealand, so we will probably spend most of our time catching up.

Does red red wine still make you feel so fine?
Some of the guys in the band love their red wine. I’m more of a champagne and Irish whisky man myself!

UB40 – The Hits & More
17 November, Horncastle Arena

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