One of my all-time favorite people in all of ska, in all of music–Ranking Roger–has died on March 26, 2019, according to The Beat’s official website. Cancer. Again. Cancer.
Ranking Roger, whose real name was Roger Charlery, was one-half of the dynamic duo that fronted The Beat and General Public with Dave Wakeling. He was tremendously talented and charismatic and his percussive toasting gave The Beat’s version of ska authenticity and spice. He was also one helluva nice guy.
Nearly two decades ago, on June 27, 1997, I had the pleasure of interviewing my idol via phone. He regaled me with tales of how he grew up in an artistic family, how he became involved in music, ups and downs with The Beat, and of course, love and unity.
I’ve finally figured out how to digitized my interviews, which I recorded on microcassette tape (go ahead, laugh, I don’t mind!) and so I am providing audio of that entire interview here. May the words of Roger inspire those who listen, and may his music continue to touch the spirit of all of us. I know it did for me. Godspeed, Roger.