…ok i just got back last night from Birmingham England and the sessions with Ranking Roger and Ranking Jr. were “off the hook” great!!! I was there for a week and experienced some great moments. on the first day, Roger and I went to Handsworth and had ackee and saltfish at his favorite jamaican restaurant and that night we went out and saw a reggae band at one club and some punk bands at another spot in downtown Birmingham.
the next night i rode with him and ranking Jr. down to Coventry where they were performing live as “The Beat”. It was an anniversary/benefit for 2-tone records and the place was packed with ska memorabelia and old school ska heads skanking…and the dj’s before the live bands played some sweet vintage ska which reminded me a lot of the Denver Vintage Reggae guys here in Denver(Scott Damnit and Dj Tone)…and before the show i hung out at another west indian/jamaican restaurant club for some jerk chicken and killer dancehall sound system tunes.
sunday was a day off and i kicked it off with an english breakfast of kipper snacks, beans and toast and then walked the streets and gardens and parks for about 4 hours listening to the spring birds and wow what an experience…in the afternonn i chilled at a pub(it was st. Patrick’s day) and enjoyed some pints of Guinness and watched soccer with locals.
monday and tuesday were solely dedicated to tracking vocals in Roger’s new studio. he is a HUGE fan of all things space(like me) and built a studio in his backyard in the shape of a space ship…it looks like the “jupiter 2” from the show “Lost In Space” that i used to watch as a kid. all of his and Ranking Jr’s ideas were pulled together and/or improved that day and the vibes were pure and fresh and we had a blast…i’m really excited and this new album is gonna be really nice sounding so i appreciate you all being patient while i mix it all together.
oh and two last things…Roger has a bengal cat named “Shocka” and this guy is great. every time i sat down, he crawled in my coat, literally in my sleeve and just wanted to hang out in there….and he has a sweater leash thing that’s cool so he can go on walks which he takes quite seriously…shocka enjoys things for sure….and secondly, Roger’s friend Pauline made us great coffees throughout the day and she gave me a secret about how to make nescafe taste so good. you have to put the cream or whole milk in FIRST before you pour in the hot water so the water doesnt burn the coffee grinds…i tried it this morning and its my new thing so big thanks to pauline and shocka and BIG BIG thanks to Ranking Roger and Ranking Jr. for sharing the good vibes to me as friends and singers….stay tuned for the album this summer!!!!
…here’s a great review of the new album…cheers!
It’s a long way from the jam band environs of Boulder Colorado to Birmingham, England, but Mr. Anonymous (AKA Jeep MacNichol) has made the physical and musical journey to create and record a new album ‘Champion Sound’ with Ranking Roger and Ranking Jr. of The Beat. Calling the project, “…a mix of The Clash’s Black Market Clash and Miles Davis’s Kind Of Blue meets The Police’s ‘Regatta De Blanc,” the album is the third in a trilogy of records that MacNichol has recorded and released with a variety of his ska and reggae music heroes. His first self-titled CD called ‘Mr Anonymous’ was released in 2005. The second ‘Mr Anonymous 2? came out in 2009.
MacNichol cut his musical chops as the drummer for The Samples in the 1990?s when the band was at its peak and building a large and loyal audience from its regular slot on the HORDE tour and its sold out national tours across the U.S. (featuring an unknown opening act named the Dave Matthews Band). Though The Samples fell more squarely into the jam band scene of Phish, Blues Travellers and Dave Matthews Band, MacNichol brought a strong ska and reggae sensibility to the band that can be heard throughout their music.
After leaving The Samples in 1997, MacNichol recorded two solo records and toured the U.S. four times. His second solo record included Michael Rose of Black Uhuru on two tracks and this gave him the inspiration for the Mr. Anonymous project. MacNichol tracked the first ‘Mr. Anonymous’ album during a ten-week period in 2003 that involved three separate trips to Jamaica. Teaming up with music legends Sly and Robbie, Bounty Killer, Black Uhuru’s Michael Rose and Dave Wakeling from The English Beat, he created a unique blend of reggae, trip-hop and dub. He followed the first CD up with volume number two which fit nicely into the footsteps of its predecessor featuring an eclectic and creative endeavor that fuses reggae, dancehall, dub, hip-hop and electronica in unique and surprising ways.
I’ve always been a huge fan of the understated majesty of ‘Good Vibe’ that MacNichol crafted for the first ‘Mr Anonymous’ album with Dave Wakeling and Michael Rose of Black Uhuru. It sounds like a lost track from ‘Special Beat Service’.
MacNichol’s latest, ‘Champion Sound’ explores new musical territory, blending trippy, psychedelic vibes, with the combination reggae chatting style of Ranking Roger and his talented son Ranking Jr. There is a fresh organic feel to the songs that feature only live instruments and that touch on reggae, dub, soca, and jazz. MacNichol has also decided to make ‘Champion Sound’ (and all his music for that matter) free. In a post to his web site, he explained, “I tried the traditional route with my first 2 releases, hired publicists, signed to 2 different labels and solicited every other record label in existence, management companies, and booking agencies and the result was me staring at boxes full of cd’s in my living room with less than 400 sales(no joke). They made great coffee tables, and I named one of them “Kevin”, but things ran their course. And now since my music has been free, I’ve had thousands of downloads(just hit 12,000) and there’s been a smooth free flow of my songs going directly to the ones who REALLY want to check them out.”
I urge you to give ‘Champion Sound’ a listen (download link below). MacNichol clearly loves ska and reggae and true to form he is constantly looking for ways to expand the sound by injecting other sounds into it. While its not straight up ska or reggae, there is enough going on musically to capture the attention of open minded fans of those genres. Long-time fans of The Beat and Ranking Roger will also certainly enjoy hearing the iconic toaster and his son Ranking Jr. expanding their own musical boundaries with a sound that comes close to some of the musical experiments the original version of The Beat (see ‘Psychedelic Rockers, ‘Hit It‘) tried out.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 1st, 2011
Colorado Based Mr. Anonymous releases his
supercharged 3rd effort – Champion Sound.
Mr. Anonymous’ highly anticipated Champion Sound brings
the music to a new level. The newest CD is a blend of sounds
that supercharge trippy vibes, energized drumming, raw
psychedelia with punk attitude. Champion Sound
features Ranking Roger of The English Beat fame as well his talented
son Ranking Jr.
Boulder, CO December 1st, 2011
Mr. Anonymous is the brainchild of Jeep MacNichol, former Samples
drummer, former solo
artist and now music industry veteran leading his newest musical
vision. Champion Sound takes
his sound into new territory and by the sound of the tracks displays a
maturity in organic musicianship
as compared to the previous electronica influenced releases – Mr.
Anonymous 1 & 2. The drumming on CS is
very strong – one can definitely tell that the CD was explicitly
oriented around percussion and
Mr. Anonymous has produced a body of work that is as unique and fresh
as anyone I have ever
heard. As an underground phenomenon, an upstart so to speak, Mr. A
“brings it” to Champion
Sound with a fresh organic feel using only live drums, bass, and
guitars and even live horns.
The sound behind the album is a mix of reggae, dub, soca, and jazz,
and as the founder Jeep MacNichol
states, “my approach going into the album was to create a vibe like a
mix of The Clash’s Black Market Clash and Miles Davis’s Kind Of Blue.
I wanted a raw analog punk production where the singers sound like
they’re sitting in the room with you.”
Mr. A has an approach of being able to work with
different Â musical influences and combine them on tracks seamlessly
which are highlighted by unique
instrumentation. Guest appearances by the likes of Sly and Robbie,
Dave Wakeling, and Ranking Roger as well as others can
be heard on Mr. Anonymous 1&2. The future certainly looks bright
for the musician with live performances locally in Colorado, and
consistent radio support by
local stations including KGNU and Greenlightradio.com.
Mr. Anonymous’ Champion Sound is a very unique lively reggae vibe that
certainly deserves a listen. His
band is scheduled for live dates in the Colorado area, and the CD is
planned for release on the 1st
of December and will be downloadable from the website on the 2nd of
December. The band is
open to booking and anyone interested should contact them.
Jeep MacNichol a.k.a. Mr. Anonymous
Director of Operations