Rip off Dubs - All you need to know


The Concerned Christians were a sometimes psychedelic, sometimes skadub, sometimes punk, sometimes metal, sometimes weird or absurd but always experimental band active mainly between the years of 1978 and 1984 (and recently reformed for a one off in 2013). During recording sessions in the 70s and 80s usually there would be some time left after all the tunes planned had been recorded and rather than waste this time the concept of the Rip Off Dub was born.

Rip Off Dub #1 was recorded in 1980 when some free time emerged. The concept was simple - a fast skadub idea was executed as a time filler. It sounded good so further Rip Off Dubs soon followed and basic rules emerged. The dubs would never be pre-planned beyond a bass line - or a rhythm. Everything else that happened was improvised on the spot and could take no longer than the time that was available. As such many of the Rip Off Dubs have dodgy notes and fumbled playing... but we think that's part of their charm. Over the years their infectious melodic imperfections have grown until now they are a interesting and amusing time capsule.


All of the Dubs on Soundcloud were recorded in March 1983 apart from #14 which was recorded in 1984. In all cases about 1 hour was alloted for each dub from start to finish. As mentioned at the start all that existed was a bass line or rhythm. Mix down / production was not included in the hour - just planning and playing. All were recorded in a bedsit in Croydon (London, UK).


There are a number of things. Firstly although we may be proved wrong we were aware of nobody else who was doing skadub type stuff in the early 80s. We would hesitate to claim we originated the blending of ska and dub - surely someone else had the idea too. But if so we weren't aware of them. If you know of skadub that's earlier write in and let us know - it would be fun to find out. Either way we think it's safe to say we were doing this kind of thing very early on. It's also safe to say that anyone else doing this stuff after us was NOT influenced by us as our stuff was distributed to a small audience of enthusiasts apart from Rip Off Dub #1 which came out on F*** Off Records and made NME's "Oxide" charts at the dizzying height of Number 20 in 1980. #1 was less like the others anyway (more dub like / less ska). All the bands we were aware of at the time either played Ska or Dub - not the two mixed together.

Secondly - there is the Concerned Christian's unique home made keyboard - see below for more details. Other novel instruments included the Casio VL Tone - at the time the cheapest keyboard you could buy... and Rip Off Dub #14 features a foot pump.


The keyboard was designed and created by Concerned Christian DD. He built the thing from scratch and one of his aims was to have unlimited polyphony. At the time most keyboards had limitations. Some were monophonic (could only play one note at a time). But most professional keyboards could manage at least four notes simultaneously. DD wanted this keyboard to be able to play as many notes as you pressed at the same time... if you put your arm down on the keyboard pressing all the notes then all the notes should play. This design goal was achieved making the keyboard fairly unique for it's time in this respect. In addition it had a pitch bend that was tied to all the notes too. So not only could you play all the notes at the same time but you could pitch bend them all at the same time as well.

The keyboard consisted of a electronic string section which was based on a design published in ETI magazine (Electronics Today International) and it also had a Voltage Controlled Filter from the same source. Other original components designed by DD included a programmable sequencer which could play back from either an internal clock or from an external audio trigger (e.g it would play one step and move forward one step in the sequence on being triggered from a drum). It's important to note that at the time this keyboard was designed computer music did not exist outside of experimental labs. There was no such thing as MIDI and the Fairlight (the first sampler) had not been invented yet.

Above: The sequencer section and controls

The keyboard continued to be developed through the years. It was planned to add a sampler to it and all the computer parts had been purchased to do this (Z80 based - the computer of the moment at the time was the Sinclair Spectrum). However, then DD moved to America and the project and keyboard were abandoned. Through the 80s music technology rapidly advanced and very quickly the keyboard, now not being upgraded, fell behind and became irrelevant.

However, in the Rip Off Dubs you hear it used in it's moments of glory when it was ahead of it's time. Mostly to pick out simple melodies - but none the less a DIY icon of it's day. As you can see from the photos DD did not bother too much with fancy casing. It was more punk to have the circuitry exposed - and easier access to fix or upgrade.

Above: Rear view... showing where most of the circuitry was tucked away


After the Concerned Christians others have created their own Rip Off Dubs. We'd encourage you to create (rip off) yours too. This discography is complete for the Concerned Christians only. Notable others are mentioned.

#1Spring 1980 "CC" (F*** Off Records)
#2Summer 1981 "F&T" re-recorded 1982
#3Winter 1981 "F&T"
#4March 1983 "NTG"
#5March 1983 "NR"
#6March 1983 "NR"
#7March 1983 "NR"
#8March 1983 "NR"
#9March 1983 "NR"
#10March 1983 "NR"
#11March/April 1984 "WP&PD"
#12March/April 1984 "WP&PD"
#13March/April 1984 "FD&FJ"
#14March/April 1984


Burn The Snares - Rip Off Dub #16384 (2013)
(a Jungle Skadub mutation)

Mikey's Militia - Popcorn Dub (2013)
(very loosely based on Rip Off Dub #13)

Monty the Moron (Monty Oxymoron) - Rip Off Dub Minus 1 (1984 est.)
18 Symptoms of Musical Insanity (Bendi Records 2006)

Will add more as time allows... (there are more...)