Wilburn Anthony “Squidly” Cole is on the move once again. Who is Squidly Cole, you say – this singing drummer? Squidly Cole is a drummer, songwriter, producer and yes, singer. Cole is not just any drummer, but the drummer who recorded the demo for Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers’ Grammy Award-winning Conscious Party and laid down the wickedest reggae riddims of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s on ZM&MM’s classic, Grammy Award-winning albums Conscious Party and One Bright Day.
Squidly Cole, along with bassist Chris Meredith, was the backbone of the Grammy Award-winning Melody Makers – Conscious Party, Jahmekya, Joy and Blues, Free Like We Want 2 Be – there’s Squidly Cole “Beating Up Di Drum Again.” The list goes on to include most of ZM&MM albums plus Stephen Marley’s Grammy Award-nominated Mind Control and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock. In fact, he has been the go-to drummer for the Marley family for more than 20 years. A member of the Stephen Marley Band, Squidly traveled the world in 2007 in support of Stephen’s debut album Mind Control, and returned just yesterday from a tour in support of Stephen’s Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life. He has played among many of the greatest Jamaican musicians including Mykal Rose, the Marley Brothers, Jimmy Cliff, Mikey General, Luciano, The Itals, Rita Marley, Gyptian, Capleton, Sizzla, Chuck Fenda, Etana, Buju Banton, Don Carlos, Dennis Brown, and Junior Reid just to name a few. Add to that list Alborosie, Bobby Digital, Mad Lion, KRS One, Sugar Minott, Anthony Cruz, Richie Spice, Terry Linen, Lady Saw, King Jammy’s, and Jon Jon Productions and you’ve got a virtual who’s who of popular reggae, dancehall, and hip-hop artists. Cole has crossed genres to support R&B and hip-hop musicians including Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone, Bobby Digital, Trina Broussard, and many more. He currently runs his own recording studio, 100 Studio, which features the best blend of roots reggae culture and dancehall music from both seasoned musicians and the best of Jamaica’s up and coming talent.
Squidly made his debut in 1980 at the age of 13 playing drums on ”Black Black Roses” with Barrington Levy for Channel One Studio. At the age of 14, Squidly auditioned for legendary reggae artist and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Jimmy Cliff, resulting in a world tour to Europe and Africa. After touring for several years with Mykal Rose, formerly of Black Uhuru, and Dub Poet Mutabaruka, Squidly joined Ziggy Marley’s backing band in 1988, the Grammy Award-winning Melody Makers consisting of several of Jamaica’s most gifted musicians including, Sticky Thompson, Franklyn “Bubbler” Waul, Earl “Chinna” Smith, and Christopher Meredith. The run he made with ZM&MM spanned nearly 20 years and is marked by legendary performances all over the world along with several Grammy Award-winning albums.
In 1992, Cole produced Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s smash hit “Me Name Junior Gong” on Damian’s debut album Mr. Marley. He also recorded “Arm Your Soul” and “Lion In The Morning” on Julian Marley’s debut album Lion In The Morning. In 1998, he and Christopher Meredith co-produced Lauryn Hill’s retelling of the Bob Marley and the Wailers’ classic love song “Turn Your Lights Down Low” for Chant Down Babylon, an album in which famous Bob Marley songs were remixed with contemporary artists. The album was a smash hit, achieving platinum sales and the track “Turn Your Lights Down Low” was released as the single and music video for the album. Squidly’s work with Lauryn Hill on Chant Down Babylon led him to record Hill’s debut The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, an album that garnered ten Grammy nominations at the 41st Grammy Awards, winning five, making Hill the first female recording artist to receive that number of nominations, as well as awards in one night.
In 2001, Squidly teamed up with the Marley brothers once again to record Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s Halfway Tree. The album was released on September 11, 2001 and received the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. It was co-produced by Damian Marley and his brother Stephen Marley. He also appeared on Sizzla’s Da Real Thing in 2002. He beat up de drum again in 2007 ‘pon Kymani Marley’s surprise hit “Hustler” off of the album Radio. In 2010, Squidly appeared on Buju Banton’s Grammy Award-winning album Before The Dawn.
Squidly Cole’s Other credits include played drums on Barrington Levy’s smash hit “Black Roses” at just 13 years of age; played drums on Amy Winehouse’s debut studio album ‘Frank. Since its original release in the United Kingdom, “Frank’ has been reissued in Canada, the United States and Australia and was certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry, denoting shipments in excess of 900,000 copies in the UK; appears on Grammy award-winning albums by Buju Banton, Sizzla, Capleton, Luciano, Bobby Digital, Damian Marley, Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers, Stephen Marley, and Lauren Hill. He also played drums on albums by roots reggae legends Yami Bolo, Junior Delgado, Mutabaruka, and Augustus Pablo. In addition to his work as a musician, Cole is a multi-talented artist who has also appeared in the films Mighty Quinn with Denzel Washington and Club Paradise with Jimmy Cliff.
On the ‘Bloodline’ tour of 2011, Cole played to enthusiastic crowds in Berkley, CA, Santa Rosa, CA, Oakland, CA, San Juan, CA Salinas, CA, Willits, CA and Sonoma, CA. He also played shows in Seattle, Providence, RI, Tampa, FL, and Denver, CO and has appeared on-stage with SOJA and Whiskey Avengers.
Squidly Cole is currently the drummer for the Stephen Marley Band and also plays drums on all Marley family projects. He will follow his two previous solo efforts, Babylon Days (2008) and Blood Line (2010), with ‘Known Betrayers,’ which is set for a 2013 release.
Bookings: Please contact 100studios@gmail or Squidlycole@gmail
That is a great write up. Learned alot about Squidly. Thanks so much.
And thanks, of coursr
Thanks for reading and commenting!
King man ~~~~
I liked the Damian Marley song Me name Jr. Gong… cool runnins LONG TIME Rasta Far I
One Love. Strength
Excellent! Big up Squidly Cole! Respect!
THIS IS MADDDDDDDDDDDD