Rude Boy George
Rude Boy George is a NYC-based band that reimagines 80’s New Wave classics in ska, reggae and rocksteady versions. They are motivated by a shared love and respect for ska (reflected in the reference to 1960s and 2 Tone rude boys) and the extraordinary amount of good music produced in the late 70s and early 80s New Wave/post-punk era (Boy George). And they want to have some fun doing it. That’s Rude Boy George’s agenda and mission statement–as simple as that.
Rude Boy George formed in January 2013 with members drawn from several popular and long-standing NYC area ska bands: Bigger Thomas (vocalist Roger Apollon and bassist/Marco on the Bass blogger Marc Wasserman), Across the Aisle (singer Megg Howe, guitarist Jesse Gosselin and saxaphonist Jackie Chasen), and The Royal Swindle (keyboardist Pamela Buckley and drummer Dave Heise).
The band’s live debut took place at Electric Avenue in Manhattan on April 13, 2013 to a very enthusiastic crowd and the band has played close to a dozen other gigs throughout the New York area since. Their perpetually expanding set list includes songs by Human League, Soft Cell, The Romantics, Billy Idol, INXS, The Smiths, Cyndi Lauper, Squeeze, Culture Club, Gary Numan, Psychedelic Furs, Talking Heads, Berlin, and The Pretenders.
In May 2013, Rude Boy George recorded three tracks at Bill Laswell’s studio in West Orange, NJ with ex-General Public/Special Beat/English Beat bassist Wayne “WayyLo” Lothian producing. The result is our five-track digital EP Take One (with “(Keep Feeling) Fascination,” “Don’t Change,” and “Talking in Your Sleep”–plus two remixes featuring Antonee First Class), now available through Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and other major digital platforms. They have released their first full length album, Confessions, on Trilby Records on December 5, 2014.
One of their last releases, Love and Dancing, was done in a new way. Every month, the band was releasing a single and corresponding video. The final collection was fully available in Spring 2017.
Roger Apollon Jr. – Vocals
Roger was exposed to Caribbean, Latin, Rock, R & B and Classical music at a very young age. That exposure led him to study classical piano for eight years and join a local singing/dancing youth group. It was in performing at recitals and neighborhood shows that he discovered his passion for the stage.
While finishing up his degree in Communications from Rutgers University in the summer of 1988, he answered an advertisement put up by fellow students looking for a singer for a ska and calypso band. Two months later, Roger was the lead singer of the band Bigger Thomas (along with current RBG band members Jim Cooper and Marc Wasserman) and would remain with them for the next 26 years performing with some of his musical heroes such as Jimmy Cliff, HR (of Bad Brains), Yellowman and De La Soul. He is currently working with producer Wayne Lothian on his first solo project that will be released by Trilby Records in the very near future. He (and bandmate Marc) is also in the documentary Riot On The Dancefloor: The Story of Randy Now and City Gardens that is receiving critical acclaim at film festivals across North America.
Pamela Buckley – Keyboards
Originally from Connecticut, Pamela’s sound is heavily influenced by a lifetime of classical training combined with her love for ska, reggae, and synthesized music. Her influences are made up of a diverse range of artists, including Chopin, the Eurythmics, Hepcat, Madness and the Jazz and Ragtime piano greats of the early 20th century. Pamela was introduced to the ska scene in the early 90s and played keyboards with various bands including the Stepbacks from New Haven, CT, later re-introduced as the Royal Swindle.
Jackie Chasen – Saxophone/Vocals
Jesse Gosselin – Guitar
Jesse just loves performing. He’s been playing in ska bands for over 20 years, hosted an all ska radio show, produced rock radio morning shows for over a decade, has voiced commercials that have run on radio and TV nationwide, and has appeared on-camera in TV commercials and billboard campaigns (no, really). It’s been said he has an unhealthy obsession with Rickenbacker guitars. Jesse does not deny that. Ask his wife Jenni about their trip to Cleveland just to get a Rickenbacker guitar. It was totally worth it.
Dave Heise – Drums
Megg Howe – Vocals
When Megg moved to New York City back in 2004 she was an actor and had never been in a band. She always loved singing and performing but decided to drop the acting thing completely, take a chance and start a band. She formed Across The Aisle in 2007, Jackie Chasen & Jesse Gosselin joined ATA not long after. They’ve had the honor of opening for some of their favorite bands like Fishbone, Mad Caddies and Sonic Boom Six.
Megg has fond memories of car rides to the beach with her aunt, blasting 80’s tunes and learning howe to harmonize! Thanks Auntie Dana!
Marc Wasserman – Bass
Marc has loved music from a very young age listening to albums by The Beatles, Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass Band, Tony Orlando & Dawn and The 5th Dimension that his parents played. The first single he ever bought with his own money was “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglass and from then on he was hooked on collecting records and listening to music. He heard The Specials first album when he was 14 and it was love at first listen. He quickly became a fan of 2-Tone, UB40, The Clash, reggae and all the new wave music he was hearing on the radio in the early 80’s. After reading that Paul Simonon of The Clash had taught himself to play his bass, Marc picked up a cheap 4-stringer he got from a Sears catalog and taught himself to play.
After discovering the New York ska scene of the mid-80’s, he started the first ska/reggae band from New Jersey called Bigger Thomas with his Rude Boy George bandmates Roger and Jim. The band has been together for 26 years and has released 4 albums. Marc also writes a popular blog about ska music called Marco On The Bass and is a fan of Tottenham Hotspur.
Marc’s second solo album My Soul Is Restless, a mixture of ska and reggae meets electronica will be released on Trilby Records. He self-released his first solo album Big Power earlier in 2014.