Set amongst the reggae scene of late 70s Jamaica, the film Rockers achieved instant cult status among music and cinema fans. Rockers’ director, Ted Bafaloukos, has received many accolades for his work on the film, but the fact that he was also a fine writer and undercover photographer is often overlooked. Bafaloukos penned this vivid autobiography in 2005 and passed in 2016.
Beyond Bafaloukos’ fascinating story of the “making-of” Rockers, it tells the tale of a Greek immigrant from a family of sailors and his move to New York, eventually rubbing shoulders with the likes of The Velvet Underground, Robert Frank, Jessica Lange and Philippe “Man on Wire” Petit. But there’s a twist to this 1970s’ New York story: Bafaloukos fell in love with reggae when it was still just an underground facet of Jamaican culture in the City. His experiences in New York eventually led him to shoot Rockers, praised for the portrait it paints of Kingston’s late 70s music scene along with its unique style, mentality and fashion.
The director’s intense experiences in Jamaica and New York between ’75 – ’78 provide the substance of the scorching stories within, including; gunshots at his first ever reggae concert in Brooklyn, the director’s bizarre arrest for suspicion of being a CIA operative, paranoia at the Bob Marley compound, musicians-turned actors’ “rude boy” antics, and naturally, sympathetic, highly descriptive recollections of the music that first drew Bafaloukos into Jamaica’s music and culture.
An invaluable collection of photographs taken during the conception, writing and production of the film captures the zeitgeist and breathes life into the book. Production stills and photos taken during the era by Bafaloukos form the visual, cinematic backbone of the tome, faithfully rendering the amazing people, styles, and locations in living, breathing color. Taken all together, the text and images within Rockers will uncover new facets of this all-important era in Reggae music for even the most seasoned reggae aficionados. Beyond reggae circles, this new anthology offers an unparalleled snapshot of a highly fantasized and sought after je-ne sais-quoi: the all-time Jamaican cool.
Praise for Rockers:
“How did a freelance photographer from a remote Greek island direct the greatest reggae feature film to date? This beautifully presented hardback weaves a complex, entrancing explanation, revealing in elegiac prose and striking photographs how director Ted Bafaloukos’s sailor father pointed him to the Rhode Island School of Design in 1964 following a random encounter. In 1975, Ted begins shooting Augustus Pablo and Burning Spear in Brooklyn, leading to his first trip to Jamaica and the concept of the cinematic reggae venture, despite being first detained as a suspected CIA agent. Things unfold organically as Ted opts for Spear’s drummer Horsemouth in the lead role, the supporting cast featuring Gregory Isaacs, Big Youth, Kiddus I and producer Jack Ruby, among others. Making the film requires repeated hugs with the local obeah woman, tussles with gunmen, pilfered production funds and test negotiations with Bob Marley; the end result surpassing even Bafaloukos’s own expectations.” – 5-Star Review in MOJO Magazine
“From start to finish, Rockers engages with its warm good humour and razor-sharp observation. A fine writer, Bafaloukos introduces us to the Kingston melodica-player Augustus Pablo, whose great studio album King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown (1976) provided Bafaloukos with a title for his film. […An] altogether fascinating book.” – Ian Thomson for the Times Literary Supplement (UK)
Author/creator: Ted Bafaloukos
Editors: Seb Carayol, Cherry Kaoru Hulsey, Eugenie Bafaloukos
Publisher: Ginko Press
Hardback 300+ pages, 9″ x 12″