The ska’s the limit for Nick

Nick Welsh - appearing at the Indigo Rooms, Galashiels
Nick Welsh - appearing at the Indigo Rooms, Galashiels

Ska scene veteran Nick Welsh, best known as bassist and songwriter with Bad Manners, a group which reached its zenith during the early 1980s when it featured in the UK singles chart for 111 weeks, has a date at one of the Borders’ leading nightspots next week.

Welsh, in his persona King Hammond, appears at the Indigo Rooms, Galashiels, on Friday, December 18.

In a career featuring numerous albums and extensive touring over more than three decades, he has also worked with The Selecter, Prince Buster, Laurel Aitken, Judge Dread and Lee “Scratch” Perry.

After growing up in London, Welsh played his first professional (paid!) gig in July 1977 at The Roxy Club in London where his band, The Dead, shared a bill with Cocksparrer & Dead Fingers Talk. The same week he was pictured on the front of the Melody Maker under the headline “Teds Versus Punks”.

He began writing and recording as King Hammond in 1986 at the same time he was bassist in Bad Manners and Busters All Stars. The first track Welsh recorded as King Hammond was “Skaville UK” which was used as the theme music for TV show “British Tribes”.

King Hammond’s debut album, “Revolution 70”, was released on Bluebeat Records in 1989 to great critical acclaim and occasionally can be seen selling on eBay.

Welsh left Bad Manners in 1991 to join a reformed The Selecter who he stayed with for 15 years. In that period he produced six albums for the band as well as two for the offshoot Selecter Acoustic.

He formed Big 5 in 1992 with ex-Belle Stars vocalist Jennie Matthias and over the next five years released three albums. The group also featured John Bradbury (The Specials) and Martin Stewart (Bad Manners).

In 2003 Welsh won a Grammy for his work on Lee “Scratch” Perry’s “Jamaican ET” album. He was also musical director on the follow-up “Alien Starman”.

Two further albums – “Cleaning In Another Woman’s Kitchen” and “Back To The Garage” were produced for 2-Tone era vocalist Rhoda Dakar.

He has recorded music for films, TV and computer games, and one of the highlights of his musical career was when his track, “Hey You”, was used as WWE’s Brian “Spanky” Kendrick’s theme song.

After 15 years in The Selecter, Welsh left in 2006 to form his own band, Skaville UK, who have to date released four albums. Four years later, Nick decided to resurrect his King Hammond persona by writing, recording and releasing “The King and I”. Since then he has issued eight King Hammond albums on his own label and taken the King Hammond live show to (among others) America, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Spain and Germany.

Away from the stage, Nick is involved with Specialized, an organisation which raises money and awareness for The Teenage Cancer Trust.

“The Outsider... And Other Friends Of Mine” is the new 12-track King Hammond released in 2015 on the Jekyll Jive label. Welsh describes it as “the best King Hammond album ever, you can dance to it and it tells the truth”.

He has a autobiography out next year – “The Life And Times Of A Ska Man... An Offbeat Memoir”, released through Newhaven Publishing.

z Tickets for next Friday’s gig are priced £10 (£8 for students) and available from Border Events – http://beboxoffice.com/; Ticketweb – http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/king-hammond-rude-boy-mafia-tickets/181787; PT Promotions – http://www.ptpromotions.co.uk/.