New York City's Michael G. (born Michael Goldwasser) and Ticklah (born Victor Axelrod) are the two longtime friends who form the Easy Star All-Stars. Goldwasser had been playing guitar with the R&B band Special Request, but after five active years the band broke up. Around this time, the guitarist turned his attention to reggae and formed the Easy Star All-Stars with former Special Request keyboardist Ticklah. Ticklah had been gigging with Cooly's Hot Box, worked with DJ Spinna and Dr. Israel, and created remixes for Les Nubians and Mary J. Blige. The first release under the Easy Star All-Stars banner came in 1997 with the team's production on Rob Symeonn's "Anything for Jah" single, and a collection of their productions, Easy Star, Vol. 1, appeared in 1998. Working with Brooklyn sound system Twin Sound, the two organized three tribute concerts to Augustus Pablo in 1999 and backed the likes of Sugar Minott, the Meditations, and Sister Carol on-stage and in the studio.
In 2003, the duo released Dub Side of the Moon, their reggae/dub version of Pink Floyd's most famous album. In 2006, they turned toward Radiohead's OK Computer and reimagined it as Radiodread, while 2009 saw them honor the Beatles with Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band. Dub masters like Mad Professor, Adrian Sherwood, and Kalbata appeared on 2010's all-remix set, Dubber Side of the Moon, while 2011 found the band releasing its first full-length album of original songs, First Light. In 2012 they returned to the tribute album format with Easy Star's Thrillah, their take on Michael Jackson's classic effort Thriller with Luciano, Spragga Benz, Michael Rose, and others as guests. ~ David Jeffries