BILL LASWELL on Fela Kuti (1999)


This article was originally published in Mean Magazine (October 1999), with art direction by Camille Rose Garcia, and an overview of Fela’s catalog by Michael Veal; the main article text, and sidebars, were later reprinted in full in the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 book (thank you Douglas Wolk and Peter Guralnick). Main article text is online here:

by Jay Babcock

Bill Laswell is a bassist, producer and, having worked with countless important musicians from dozens of countries, one of the vortex points around which the musical universe revolves. I spoke with Laswell about his controversial work with Fela…

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"The rich get richer, the poor are getting poorer… ka bOOM, KA BOOM, KA BOOM!!!" (Time Zone featuring Afrika Bambaataa and John Lydon, 1984)

“World Destruction” by Time Zone

Afrika Bambaataa: vocals
John Lydon: vocals
Bernie Worrell: organ
Nicky Skopelitis: guitar
Aiyb Dieng: drums
Bill Laswell: bass, production

Truly one of the greatest videos ever made, for one of the most visionary songs of the time… it still singes!

Video link courtesy Peter Vogl!