“Reggae fans, they love their reggae,” says Jason “Roy Corduroy” Mason. He sees around 800 loyal fans shuffle into the Echoplex every Wednesday night for the party he puts on with Tom Chasteen and Eddie “Dungeonmaster” Rouche. “If there is a reggae club within twenty miles of their house, they will go,” he says.
That's helped Dub Club thrive long enough to celebrate its 10-year anniversary this week with Sister Nancy, General Trees, and Tippa Lee flying over from Jamaica. “There are six to seven artists that will get on the mic,” adds Chasteen, “and I have a vague idea that takes me to midnight and, after that, I don't know what is going to happen.”
While you never know what legendary artist might hop on stage at Dub Club, you can expect to find yourself sandwiched between the Twelve Tribes Of Israel getting down to “Bam Bam,” the most played song in Dub Club history. Mason says he can pick out first-time visitors. “Dub Club people come to dance and people there for the acts stand and watch the show happening on stage and off.” Despite the mingling of cultures, Dub Club has seen few fights. “All fishes are welcome in our waters,” Chasteen assures. “They're very friendly waters. No sharks.” After all, a community that worships ganja is sure to be pretty laid back.
The guys felt they were onto something the first time U-Roy played Dub Club with the Soul Syndicate Band and Scientist mixing. “Now it's a destination for reggae artists,” Mason admits proudly. The Heptones, Mad Professor, Ranking Joe, Brigadier Jerry, Tristan Palma, Smiley, and Sugar Minott are just a few of the acts that have visited the eastside reggae oasis.
The promoters have plans for a big outdoor festival called Dub Quake and hope to do a national tour with foundation artists, but Chasteen says there's still much to accomplish on Wednesday nights. “There are a lot more artists I still haven't gotten to play the Dub Club, these greats I'm working my way up to, so we have to keep going.”
Before Dub Club, L.A.'s reggae scene consisted of action at Jamaican Gold and Kingston 12. There was definitely nothing in Echo Park. Beyond being at the reggae forefront, Mason says he's humbled by the fact they've forged a community. “Out of everything, if you think about what you can do to bring people together, that is important. People have met here, got married, and have a kid now. If we hadn't started our club then maybe those people wouldn't have met. That's someone's life you're a part of. It's more than just entertainment. I don't go to work thinking about it, but it really touches me. Besides that, people want to party and this shit's banging.”