The Ultimate Guide To Great Reggae

A new book by Michael Garnice,
author of the web sites,
and Beat Magazine contributor

Available now!



It was a pleasure to make contact with the great reggae drummer, Fil Callender, one of the many (previously) unsung greats discussed in TUGGR. I posted a book excerpt about Fil on his Facebook page, and his response to my page was most kind. The exchange can been seen here.


My post to Fil:

Hail, Fil! I want you to know that your great work is mentioned many times in my book, The Ultimate Guide To Great Reggae (, including the b...elow:

"But the most unsung member of Sound Dimension – and of Studio One’s post-ska sound in general – was drummer Fil Callender. Born in Panama, teenager Filberto Callender migrated to Jamaica as in the mid-60s. He was inspired by hearing The Skatalites and immersed himself in the music scene of the time as he quickly learned to play drums. Studio One session guitarist Eric Frater, who played with Callender in a band, brought him into Dodd’s employ when the scheduled drummer was a no-showed a session. He would continue to provide drums for Studio One recordings into the early 1970s. His drums are an absolute joy to hear, as he spices the sound by slinging eccentric fills, rolls, and trick shots nailing the beat at the last possible moment. This made his drumming immediately identifiable and just plain more fun than that of his contemporaries. And no other drummer’s would prove to be better suited to dub than Callender. All it took was a little reverb, and his playing popped into 3-D. Why isn’t he better known? Well, for one thing, when he received credit, which wasn’t very often, being a sessions drummer, his name appeared in every permutation and combination of Fil, F and Phil with Callender, Callendar, Calendar and Calender. Nor did it help that his name sounded it sounds like a jokey placeholder name for a to-be-determined studio musician, as in “fill calendar”. His career path proved to be unique for a reggae drummer. Callender also played some lead guitar and once he left Studio One to work with other producers, he would transition from drums to guitar outright. His playing can be heard on Max Romeo’s War Ina Babylon The Slicker’s Johnny Too Bad and other great songs described elsewhere in this book. He would eventually form and lead a band call The In Crowd, where we would provide lead vocals in addition to guitar and would be the group’s primary songwriter."

His reply:

Hi Michael, how are you and greetings! thanks very much for that wonderful mention of me in your fabulous research about reggae. You are so kind! But most of all your most outstanding and provocative work about the music and its history. It is by far the greatest of its kind. Blessings!



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