King Django’s history of Ska, Roots Reggae, Dub, and Rocksteady
King Django is internationally loved and respected as an important proponent of roots music. With a diverse career now spanning nearly three decades he has made his mark as an influential bandleader, singer, songwriter, arranger, engineer, producer and musician, especially in the genres of ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub, rhythm & blues, soul, klezmer and even hardcore/punk rock. He has toured many times throughout the US, Europe, Canada, and Japan as the leader of Stubborn All-Stars, Skinnerbox and the King Django band and as a sideman with such renowned acts as Rancid, Murphy’s Law, The Slackers and the Toasters. He is also widely known and respected as an influential mentor of younger musicians, sharing and spreading his deep knowledge of Jamaican and American music. He currently performs regularly leading the King Django Band and Bad Luck Dice, and as a sideman with Predator Dub Assassins.
In late May/early June of 2013, Django led the second outing of his Version City Tour through 27 east-coast shows in 25 days. Version City Tour #2 featured a compact and versatile quartet, with Django joined by Brian Hill of NC’s Regatta 69 on bass and vocals, guitarist/vocalist John DeCarlo of hard-touring Boston ska group Westbound Train. Depending on the venue, the show ranged from 45 minutes to three hours, showcasing the songs of these three veteran performers, along with drummer Anthony Vito Fraccalvieri of Long Island bands Broadcaster and Royal City Riot, who had just come off of a six-week US tour with The Toasters.
In February of 2013. Django was invited to perform in Kingston, Jamaica at the Institute of Jamaica’s Jamaica Music Museum, taking the stage accompanying such musical dignitaries as Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, Ras Michael, Nambo Robinson, Big Youth, Junior Reid and Bongo Herman.
In late 2012/early 2013, Django took his popular, long-standing New York City, Rocksteady and Ska “Version City” party (active in various forms since 1997, most notably at prestigious NYC venue The Knitting Factory) on the road, leading the first Version City Tour through 30 dates in 10 states. Playing piano and trombone, supported and backed by young PA group The Snails, Django performed a wide selection of his own material as well as a number of classic reggae and ska tunes.
In 2012 he celebrated the 20th anniversary of his independent label, Stubborn Records and the 5th year anniversary of his “Version City” vinyl label based in Kingston, Jamaica.
In late 2011, Django was a headlining performer on the month-long “Echo Mix” tour along with Konrad Kuechenmeister (Berlin, Germany) and Brian Hill of Regatta 69. In June of the same year, Django set out alone for the Florida performing a string of shows with several different backing bands.
In 1997 he assembled the Version City recording studio which rapidly became the hub of the NYC ska and reggae scene. Django moved the studio to New Brunswick, NJ in 2000, where he continues his engineering and production work for a wide roster of international clients.