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.


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