Really True (The Scientist Dub) 7" 45rpm Vinyl
Over thanks to everyone who helped make this special vinyl happen. Indeed, releasing a version with The Scientist has been a career goal of the Pandas since ever since. When we first learned we wanted to be a reggae band, we were given Scientist Wins the World Cup from David Gould, a bass player who helped show us the reggae ropes early on. The album never left the decks. Since we dove into reggae, we have been fortunate to have access to so many Scientist recordings and dubs.
But that didn’t mean we knew what he looked like. It was a weary afternoon of traveling in the van on an endless spring tour of 2008 that we pulled down by the oceanside to a little BBQ joint called the Malibu Inn. We had landed an opening gig for the legendary Don Carlos. We had arrived early and ready to load in. Breaching our heads out of the sunshine and into a dark club, we were met by two Jamaican guys who asked us who we were and we told them. One of them stated he was “Hopeton the Cook”, the engineer, and he would be doing the mix. It didn’t ring any bells. We started to discuss our input list and the things that would need to be patched (very standard show protocol), and we started loading our vintage Fender amplifiers into the building. The engineer stopped us and said that we would not be needing our amplifiers. Thinking he might be joking, we started to talk about the old Fender amps and how it is part of our sound. The engineer began to get a bit more serious and philosophical (or matter of fact however you see it) and he said “these things are old fashioned. You don’t need them. They were invented to be used before these PA systems we have. We have a powerful PA system here you don’t need the amplifier. I am the amplifier.” Now as traveling Pandas running around the wild world of the USA in the late aughts, we had collected many a moment with an eccentric sound engineer or bar staff throughout the years. This however, was something different and deeper. This man had real testament, and stoic resistance to us loading our gear in the way we had done every single day of our careers since we were 13 years old walking into clubs.
We also are strong thinkers and personalities, and we began to push back. “Listen, using this old gear, this is our sound. This is part of the statement we are making. We have serviced this old gear and it weighs tons and we have carried it in and out of every venue for hundreds of dates and thousands of miles. Clearly, we are dedicated to this” was something around the likes of what we probably said.
“MAN! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO THIS IS? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO YOU ARE TALKING TO RIGHT NOW? DO YOU?! yelled the other gentleman engineer.
“THIS IS THE COOK MAN! THIS IS HOPETON THE COOK! HE IS THE ENGINEER! THIS IS SCIENTIST MAN!”
...and then I don’t know how, but I got it. I had all the disbelief and starstruckness one can have as I saw his face and recognized instantly that, yes, I was talking to THE SCIENTIST, the man who had engineered and produced a great percentage of the reggae I had heard up to that point, and he was telling us that we couldn’t use our amps on stage. It was surreal. We quickly came to an agreement that we could use our amps on stage but he would not mic them 😂😂😂
He then saw that we had Moog Analog delay pedal with a Panda stencil on it. He decided he wanted to use that at front of house and we were like “HELL YES PLEASE.” We watched the house engineers of Malibu Inn lose their minds when Scientist flattened the system and tuning of the room (something that engineers often hire specialists to set and pay pretty high rates to do it). It was awesome and totally unorthodox and at the same time completely methodical and with very focused intent. Scientist was there working the room getting ready to provide a foundation for a truly magical night to come.
So this is a recording of the set that he mixed for us. In the beginning he is getting levels adjusted, as is usual for the first band in a big night as people begin to fill an empty room. The set was recorded by Matt O’Brain who happened to be operating a DAT recording machine that Nate Pelton of North Creek Rafting had lent to us for reasons such as this. So it’s just two mics in a room. Occasionally people are having some conversations near the mic. Some really awesome old Panda tunes are played at OG tempos and throughout the set Scientist begins to warm that delay pedal up.
He used it throughout the rest of the night. Don Carlos put on an incredible set. Wailing Souls members were in the house and eventually got on stage. On the recording of our set, you can hear Jah Fari (RIP) give a few legendary whistles. It was truly an awesome night out in music land and we felt blessed to be a part of it.
I’ve told that story many times because I think about it a lot. I actually dug for months through some terribly organized hard drives from 2005-9 to find these recordings and I surely thought they were lost forever. Here it is though. It’s a good enough time to share with all of you who put it forward and helped us create this single. Thank you for your patience and your continued support of our group and all that we try to do.
The Scientist is truly a brilliant genius of our time and then some. He has pioneered and innovated some of the most important moments of reggae music. Those influences have changed all genres of music forever. Getting chance to speak and work with the man himself is truly one of those moments we think life is all about. Sharing, connecting, creating, and forwarding. Peace and Love.
LISTEN TO THE SET