Why 24-7 Spyz Matter

These South Bronx skate metal legends didn’t need to prove that Black folks can rock, but went ahead and schooled the fools anyway

24-7 Spyz 2019 (Design: Ron Hart)

In early 2019, 24-7 Spyz from the South Bronx released their eighth studio LP The Soundtrack To The Innermost Galaxy. And it is the best thing this band has done in their 35 year history. 

For anyone who picked up on this group on their come up alongside Bad Brains, Living Colour and Defunkt in breaking the color lines at legendary clubs as CBGB and L’Amour here in New York, this declaration is no jive. At the very least, its their best since 1992’s Strength In Numbers, the only 24-7 Spyz LP with the mighty Jeff Broadnax on lead vocals. The Soundtrack To The Innermost Galaxy is, in fact, the very essence of the “Heavy Metal Soul” solution that founding members Jimi Hazel (producer/guitars/vocals) and Rick Skatore (bass/vocals) have been building upon forming Spyz back in 1986. 

 

AUDIO: 24-7 Spyz Harder Than You (1989)

Not only that, but one could even argue that the 2019 lineup of the band is their strongest ever as well. Consider the members for a moment joining Hazel and Skatore on this venture. First on drums you got a veritable icon of West Coast ska-metal-funk in Philip “Fish” Fisher of the mighty Fishbone behind the kit, which for fans of the old school skate metal scene is akin to John Bonham replacing Ian Paice in Deep Purple. He’s joined by a second drummer in Tony “T-Money” Lewis, renowned for his session work with such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Little Richard and BB King. 

 

AUDIO: 24-7 Spyz “Home”

But the secret weapon of The Soundtrack To The Innermost Galaxy is in the exquisite playing of guitarist Ronny Drayton, whose crunchy, uncompromising fretwork on such album highlights as “Repeating Myself” and “Home” will no doubt pleasantly surprise those who might know Ronny from recordings like James “Blood” Ulmer’s Black Rock, the classic David Sylvain solo LP Brilliant Trees and the brilliant third Meshell N’Degeocello album Bitter.  The heartbreak of hearing Drayton in such peak form on Galaxy, however, is that the guitar great passed away shortly after the release of this album following a battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. 

 

VIDEO: 24-7 Spyz Live on Dutch TV 1990

There are less than 400 copies of the vinyl for The Soundtrack To The Innermost Galaxy available on the band’s BandCamp site right now, and I strongly suggest you pick up a copy before they are gone.

Then treat yourself to a deep dive into the 24-7 Spyz catalog, which is so overdue for a reissue campaign its not funny. Each of these records–Harder Than You (1989), Gumbo Millennium (1990), the This is 24-7 SPYZ!!!! EP (1991), Strength In Numbers (1992), Temporarily Disconnected (1994), Heavy Metal Soul By The Pound (1996), Can You Hear The Sound? (2006) and Face The Day (2006)–are distinct in their own way within the dichotomy of Hazel and Skatore, whose union as a songwriting team has been overlooked for far too long.

This is 24-7 SPYZ!!!!

 

 

 

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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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