Dagger – Love Is Killing Me/Gone Wild [7″ LP] (Zim rock)


Dagger – Love Is Killing Me/Gone Wild [7″ LP] [ZIMROCK 001] (2018)

Zimbabwe in 1982 was basking in its new found independence. Bob Marley had visited the country two years prior and the local music industry was buzzing. Chimurenga the music of the struggle had taken its place in the Zimbabwean music history. Artists like Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi, Alex Macheso and a host of other Zimbabwean acts had become household names and personified the new found freedoms of independence from colonialism and years of a brutal civil war.
Harare became the hotspot for musicians, where new bands came to fine tune their voices and launch their careers. Running parallel to the voices and homegrown sounds of Chimurenga was an underground movement that began to flex its musical muscles. Zimrock was bubbling under the mainstream, just audible above the infectious Chimurenga sounds. Bands like Wells Fargo and the Great Witch from Zambia began to find a market for their wild free spirited expression speaking to the youth who could identify with the anarchy and anti establishment.
In Zimbabwe, and most of the world, the music industry was dominated by a handful of major music labels. Zimbabwe was no different. The two (heavily influenced by South Africa) majors, Gallo and Teal, dominated the industry and over a short period of time morphed into ZMC (Zimbabwe Music Corp) and Gramma as local owners took over. These had no recording studios of their own, but hired recording time at a few newly emerging places in Harare and Bulawayo. Their pressing plants and distribution providing a musical home to some of the biggest names the Zimbabwe music industry at the time.
One independent label began to emerge within the background of a burgeoning music scene. Published under Shed Music, the Rugare label hosted products of Shed Recording Studios. Lacking the comparable capital to launch new acts the label developed an open door policy with musicians, who wanting to record, could make use of the studios and release their music through the label. If the music found resonance with radio stations and audiences then careers would be launched.
It was in this environment that Dagger found their way to Shed Studios. The band with their unique hard rock and punk style laid down four tracks. Two of those tracks found their way onto the Shed Music Sampler – Stars of ’82 which featured amongst others the Runn Family and the Zambian cosmic funk / garage rock band the Witch.
“The band was really great and nice guys too, but unfortunately the Zimbabwe market did’nt react as positively to the music as we’d hoped….” Says Steve Roskilly the Shed Music MD of Dagger at the time. “After those tracks the band pretty much disappeared. Sad…”
Dagger, comprising Charles Sipha, Hastings Fatch, Canaan Maziva and David Chikoti laid down two blistering rock tracks that, for the market, were way ahead of their time. “Love is Killing Me” the first track on the 7” is a raw rock belter, reminiscent of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin with an African take.
The killer punk rock track “Gone Wild”, its raw vocals and the punk garage sound came straight from the streets.
So little is known about Dagger and the band members lost contact with the label. One can only imagine what it must have been like to have watched this band live, possibly sharing the stage with The Great Witch or Wells Fargo…I can almost smell the guitar burning.

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