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40 years of Aswad for Naniki stage tonight

NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

40 years of Aswad for Naniki stage tonight

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WHEN ASWAD goes on the Naniki Music Festival stage tonight, they plan to give the patrons a show.

“Patrons come to see a show so that is what they will get – a show,” said vocalist/keyboardist/bassist Tony Gad. The band came into the island Thursday from Britain.

The group, while now a duo, started out in 1975 as a quintet. The two remaining members are Gad and Drummie Zeb, the dummer and vocalist.

The band is British-based with Caribbean roots: “I am from Jamaica, and Zeb is from Grenada,” Gad said.

Aswad has been making new music recently and is known for different genres – from soul to funk to hard roots reggae.

“We have been here a couple of times before,” said Gad, who is celebrating 40 years with the band having joined in 1976. “We are working on new music which is a work in progress. We spend quite a lot of time on the road so that also factors in why we release albums so sporadic.”

Gad said they get the most enjoyment out of being on the road and while the audience has always been varied, their “music has evolved across the board, even now younger generations have discovered our music”.

The band is known for hits such as On And On, Best Of My Love, Give A Little Love and Don’t Turn Around.

Gad remembers how Don’t Turn Around, their 1988 hit, came about: “It was brought to us by a Jamaican producer. We were working on our LP and it was nearly finished and we said we needed one more song. We heard the American rock version and we sat down round the piano and “Aswadified” it,” he said, laughing.

While the band has visited Barbados twice before, he said, “We are surprised that people still ask for us for gigs.” He said he still gets nervous when he performs, but, “Everyday I wake up and give God thanks though. (NS)