Jacob “Killer” Miller was one of reggae’s greatest performers. His merry, manic brilliance shines through clearly in the crucial 1980 concert doc Heartland Reggae, particularly the performance of “Tired Fe Lick Weed In A Bush,” during which he puffs a huge spliff on stage while using his microphone to taunt the cops at the venue before somebody hands him a police cap and he starts chanting “Babylon, Babylon falling down.”
The roly-poly Rasta singer’s work with Coxsone Dodd and Augustus Pablo led him to Inner Circle, one of Jamaica’s most respected bands. Their first hit together, “Tenement Yard,” was released in 1975, exactly 40 years ago. The group went on to sign with Capitol Records and released two albums internationally before Miller died in a car crash at the age of 27.
As any self-respecting fan of the TV show Cops knows, Inner Circle went on to become the Bad Boys of Reggae, selling millions of records and setting up their own state of the art studio, Circle House, where A-list rap, R&B, pop, and reggae clients lay down hits. Meanwhile, across the street, the Lewis brothers (Ian on bass and Roger on rhythm guitar) continue jamming in their own private studio along with old friends like “Touter” Harvey on keyboards and Lancelot Hall on drums and most recently, Errol “Skatta” Bonnick on vocals—plus, sometimes, the occasional guest vocalist. Read more