Our Community - Cool J's Band - "Getting San Pedro on its feet with a 'cool' beat"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 3            January 18, 2001

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Douglas, Trevor, Tony and Steve (missing from photo Francis)

The rhythmic sounds of the Caribbean have made an impact throughout the world. From the traditional Punta, which is representative of our Belizean culture, to Soca or Calypso, when interpreted by our country's talented musicians, this music adds much "gusto" to the entertainment enjoyed by visitors, locals and the entire country. This week we feature one of San Pedro's newest musical bands, which is rapidly gaining recognition - The Cool J's Band.

    Steven Card, originally from Belize City and a long-time resident of San Pedro, is the founder of this band. As a young child, he dreamt of owning his own musical group. His first experience with music was as a disk jockey (DJ) in Belize City and eventually San Pedro. His talent for "mixing" and choosing music came to him naturally thus making him one of the most popular DJs in these areas. His friends nicknamed him "DJ Stress," a name that has stayed with him ever since. This part-time occupation brought much joy to Steve but he felt that he needed to be more a part of music, so he carefully studied the guitar and eventually found himself playing this instrument.

    Approximately three and a half years ago, Steve met Tony Usher, an ex-bass guitar player of the Lord Rhaburn Combo, one of the Caribbean's most popular bands. Steve explained to Tony his idea of starting an island band. With Tony's experience, the two embarked on a mission of recruiting members. Steve's brother, Douglas Card, also a music lover, joined the team as a lead and back-up singer. Adding Trevor Petillo on bass guitar and Francis "Rabba" Flowers as another lead singer, the band was complete. Steve financed the band and called it Cool J's Band as a tribute to his "better half," Julia Edwards. Besides being the owner, he is also the engineer, guitarist and vocalist. Tony was appointed band manager and also plays keyboard.

    The team was now ready to bring Cool J's Band to new heights and to achieve their goals as talented musicians. They first held rehearsals two to three times a week for three to four hours at Steve's home. After polishing their skills, they felt confident of their music and set off to find their first "gig." Cool J's was an instant hit in San Pedro and was soon hired to play at some of the island's exclusive resorts and at private parties. Their first class performances include a variety of music such as Punta, Salsa, Merengue, Reggae, Rockers and Ballads. The Caribbean beat is so well portrayed by this band that they were hired to play for the cast and crew of Fox TV's "Temptation Island" at their farewell party held at Captain Morgan's Retreat. The band also recently performed for the cast and crew of Trimark Production's "After the Storm" movie at the Belize Yacht Club. Cool J's Band also entertained over 85 members of the Peugeot Group from France  staying at Ramon's Village.

    What is unique about Cool J's is that they are known as a "Bashment Band." They are full of energy and project that to their audience while they are performing, always ensuring a great time. The next step for this group is to travel nationally and internationally bringing people together through their music.

        Steven Card's dream is now a reality and he is happy to share this with others in hopes of bringing unity through his music. Cool J's Band has rightfully gained the admiration of many as one of the most sought-after musical groups on this island. Together they join the many cultural groups of our country by combining their rhythmic beats in "Our Community."

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