Today, the world music lost one of its forefathers as Steve “Grizzly” Nisbett, a founding drummer of reggae giant Steel Pulse, has passed away at the age of 69. Born on the small Caribbean island of Nevis, the eldest of seven children, he left the Caribbean in 1957 at the age of nine to join his parents who had migrated to Saltley, Birmingham, in the United Kingdom. He began playing drums and percussion as a teenager, and was a member of various soul bands, such as Penny Black, Rebel, and Roy Gee and the Stax Explosion.

Nisbett joined Steel Pulse in 1977 before the release of their debut album, Handsworth Revolution, and remained with the band as a touring member until the release of 1997’s Rage and Fury. One of the group’s older members, Grizz served as the main drummer in the group until 1998, when he gave up the honours to Conrad Kelly, but continued to play percussion. Nisbett retired from the band in 2001 due to health concerns, on good terms.

The news of Nisbett’s death comes as a shock today, as Steel Pulse takes the stage for their scheduled Jam Cruise performance this afternoon. As the band explains in a post on their Facebook page,

“It is with a heavy heart that we must pass the sad news that today, our brother, our friend, our time keeper for so many years, original founding member of Steel Pulse, Steve “Grizzly” Nisbett has passed away suddenly and unexpected. 

As we the Steel Pulse family far and wide have lost someone so close to us, we will still take the stage in a few hours on the Jam Cruise, knowing that the joy that Grizz had bringing the Steel Pulse music and message to our beloved fans around the world, will continue on today, and his spirit, love, and love for you all will ring out across the seas, touching your heart and ours.
Bless Grizzly, Rest In Power!”

With the added emotional weight of Grizzly’s death, Steel Pulse’s Jam Cruise set this afternoon is sure to be particularly memorable.

Below, you can watch high-quality video of Nisbett performing with Steel Pulse on German music TV show Rockpalast courtesy of ReggaepeloReggae Shows on YouTube: