Fancy an evening in Brighton with the ‘Rebel Dread’ Don Letts

Posted On 15 Apr 2021 at 5:21 pm

The ‘Rebel Dread’ Don Letts live in Sussex 2019 (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click on pic to enlarge!)

True living legend Don Letts is heading to the CHALK venue in Brighton for a socially distanced event on Friday 21st May 2021 as part of his ‘There and Black Again’ tour!

The Rebel Dread will be looking back on his extraordinary life and career, tracing a line from the Black Panthers to the current BLM movement, in a combination of a book reading, video/film footage, Q&A, book signing and a DJ set!

Don Letts will be sharing a series of stories and film clips that highlight the style tribes, culture wars, music, revolution, politics and passion that he has witnessed. It will feature a cast of hundreds, including Joe Strummer, John Lydon, Bob Marley, Chrissie Hynde, Chris Blackwell, Paul McCartney, Nelson Mandela, Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Chuck D., Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, and ranging from Brixton to Kingston, New York City, Los Angeles, Windhoek, Salt Lake City and Goldeneye.

Tickets go on sale Friday 16th April @ 9am!

Ticket options and information from 1 person bubble up to 5 persons bubble can be found HERE or from your usual ticketing agent.

Don Letts was there from day one on the UK punk scene, as back in the day there simply wasn’t enough punk rock records to play, so he used to supplement his punk nights with the sound of reggae. This greatly inspired those around him including The Clash.

He was therefore a musical pioneer in bringing together the black reggae and white punk into one lovely happy melting pot where the colour of someone’s skin didn’t matter the slightest. This philosophy was echoed when Don formed Big Audio Dynamite with The Clash’s Mick Jones and three future Dreadzone members Greg Roberts, Dan Donovan and Leo Williams.

Letts is fondly referred to as the Rebel Dread and is not only a musician, but also a film director and a DJ. He will be applying his superb DJing skills when he drops in CHALK next month. His previous Sussex gig understandably sold out very quickly and so we can expect the same for this forthcoming performance.

Don’s Facebook page is HERE and his website is HERE.

The ‘Rebel Dread’ Don Letts live in Sussex 2019 (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click on pic to enlarge!)

Found out more about the Rebel Dread below………………..

He was born in London in 1956 and was deeply inspired by the Jamaican music of his parents homeland including Bob Marley.

From 1975 he ran a clothes shop called Acme Attractions on the Kings Road in Chelsea, where they sold electric-blue zoot suits and jukeboxes, and Don played pumping dub reggae records all day long. Word got out and it became a serious hang out for all the punks and Rastas and thus Acme were attracting the likes of The Clash, the Sex Pistols, Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders), Patti Smith, Deborah Harry (Blondie) and Bob Marley.

The Acme accountant/promoter, Andrew Czezowski, saw the potential here and started up The Roxy (located at 41–43 Neal Street in London’s Covent Garden), the first punk-rock venue in London, so that people could go from the store and have some place to party. Don Letts was the first house DJ.

As punk was very new, there weren’t many punk bands around at the time and most of those hadn’t as yet released any records and so Don played many dub and reggae records in his sets. This directly influenced those early punk bands and acts like The Clash simply played the style of music similar to what they were enjoying listening to Don playing. So as a homage The Clash released their 10” Black Market Clash EP with a shot of Don on the cover. (I thankfully still have my copy purchased at the time).

The Clash’s 10″ ‘Black Market Clash’ EP which has Don Letts on the cover

Having made a success of DJing at The Roxy, Letts decided to get into band management and so quit Acme Attractions and headed off on tour with The Slits (who incidentally have a dub vibe about them!). They were on The Clash ‘White Riot’ tour with the Buzzcocks.

It was here that Don switched from management to filming music videos as he was given a Super 8 video by a fashion editor and Don started his filming career with the legendary Clash White Riot vid in 1977 and with the follow up Tommy Gun in 1978.

He had made great use of his Super 8 during the heady days at The Roxy in 1977, when he filmed all the new punk bands there. This turned in to an aptly titled film calledThe Punk Rock Movie in 1978. Thankfully he had captured for history recordings of the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Generation X, the aforementioned Slits and Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers to name just a few.

Don went on to record many more music videos including London Calling by The Clash,Pass The Dutchie by Musical Youth, and Everyday I Write The Book by Elvis Costello & The Attractions. He also continued making films and his 2000 documentary filmThe Clash: Westway To The Worldwon him a Grammy.

In 1984 Letts co-founded the band Big Audio Dynamite with Clash guitarist Mick Jones and they had albums and singles chart successes.

In 2006 he published his autobiography Culture Clash: Dread Meets Punk Rockers and from 2009 he has been presenting his weekly radio show on BBC Radio 6.

Check out Don’s filmography on IMDb HERE.

Discover Don Letts ‘Culture Clash Radio’ on BBC iPlayer Radio HERE.

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