Dub Narcotic means a lot of things, but the essence is Calvin Johnson's infatuation with D.I.Y. culture and its expression in Jamaican dub music. It is a recording studio, an imprint on his K Records label, and a indie rock/funk/dub band, which he fronts.
The original conception for the Dub Narcotic triumvirate was as a unified thing; Calvin was putting together a project studio in his basement and wanted to model it after the Jamaican Studio 1 studio. Studio 1 was a recording studio first, but dub artists recording there would play with the house band, and recording s would frequently be released on the house label. The concept for Dub Narcotic was similar: a house band to be fronted by different indie rock musicians making danceable funk-dub music, which would then be released on a series of 7"s by a new K sub-label called Dub Narcotic. The idea worked for a while; collaborations with a number of artists including Lois, the Make Up, and Lindy Coyne of Wandering Lucy were produced, before the band turned into an essentially Calvin-centric band, without the revolving lineup originally envisioned (though over time there were lineup shifts). The recording studio continued to develop as a place for Calvin and others to record a wide variety of bands (the house band concept being essentially dropped) and after a while Dub Narcotic releases were just done as regular old K Records releases.
The band maintained a fairly enthusiastic following, touring the US and Europe several times; Calvin's legendary dancing and solid choice of musicians (mostly from a Tacoma hip hop background) making their shows a good place to find indie kids engaging in some radically-uncharacteristic dancing... In 1999, though, guitarist and principal songwriter Brian Webber left the band, and after a hiatus of several months, the band decided to continue on, though in a more folk/less R&B mold.
- Dub Narcotic 7" (Dub Narcotic, 1994)
- Fuck Shit Up 7" (Dub Narcotic, 1994)
- Booty Run 7" (Dub Narcotic, 1994)
- Bite 7" (Dub Narcotic, 1994)
- Hands on the Dial cassette (Punk in my Vitamins, 1994)
- Industrial Breakdown 7" (Dub Narcotic, 1995)
- Industrial Breakdown 12"/CD (K Records/Soul Static Sound, 1995)
- Rhythm record Vol. 1 - Echos from the scene control room LP (K Records, 1995)
- Ridin' Shotgun 12"/CD (K Records, 1995)
- Boot Party CD/LP (K Records, 1996)
- Shake a Puddin' 7" (Dub Narcotic, 1996)
- Ship to Shore (featuring Lois) 12"/CD (K Records, 1996)
- Bone Dry 12"/CD (K Records, 1997)
- Wasted/Groove 7" (Dub Narcotic, 1997)
- Out of Your Mind LP/CD (K Records, 1999)
- Dub Narcotic Sound Sytem Meets John Spencer Blues Explosion in a Dance Hall Style (K Records, 2000)