Tongue Tied
Lister, what on Titan is this din? *Lister*!!
- Arnold Rimmer ("Balance of Power", Series I)

Rastabilly Skank, also called Rastabilly Ska, was a music group formed on Earth sometime in the 21st or 22nd century. It is said to be the favourite band of Dave Lister.

Notable Appearances

Rastabilly was introduced in Series I, and although rarely heard again is mentioned throughout the run of the television series.

Lister sings along to Rastabilly Skank on his guitar ("Balance of Power", Series I)

Arnold Rimmer once walked into the sleeping quarters on Red Dwarf which he shared with Lister, and much to his disgust, Lister was playing his guitar along to Rastabilly Skank. Rimmer pointed out that Rastabilly Skank's albums have a government health warning which mentions that it makes those who listen to it "irritable and irrational and has been linked to disorders of the nervous system and bowels." Rimmer asked Lister to not poison his sound waves, and suggested that he listen to something classical like "Mozart, Mendelssohn, or Motörhead". ("Balance of Power", Series I)

Much like his guitar, and Rimmer's Hammond Organ music, the rest of the boys from the Dwarf hate Rastabilly Skank (although Rimmer gained a short-lived appreciation of the band after Lister tampered with his memories in "Thanks for the Memory", Series II).

However, Ace Rimmer was familiar with Rastabilly (likely through his friendship with the alternate dimension Lister, Spanners), certainly familiar enough to sing along with Lister while they fixed the starboard engine of Starbug after it had crashed on an ocean moon. ("Dimension Jump", Series IV)

Many years later, Lister realised that he would have to knock out his past self to restore the timeline. The past Lister is seen in his bunk, drinking Leopard Lager and reading an old JMC magazine about Titan whilst listening to Rastabilly Skank. His future self enters and chloroforms him whilst his past self is blissfully unaware. ("Give & Take", Series XI)

When Rimmer used a Quantum Skipper to explore The Multiverse, he came across a dimension where the sleeping quarters were full of about a dozen clones of Lister, and where Rastabilly Skank was blaring out full blast. Needless to say, Rimmer did not spend long in this particular dimension. ("Skipper", Series XII)

Behind the Scenes

  • The isolated Rastabilly Skank music cue created by Howard Goodall is available on the bonus features on the Series I DVD.


  • Another of Lister's favourite bands was Colostomy Explosion.
  • Lister has also cited his favour of real-world bands. One example of this is in the episode "D.N.A.", when Lister wears a t-shirt advertising "Believe in the Ruins". This is possibily a reference to a 1984 vinyl of the same name by Californian "Oi!" punk band Killroy. This would certainly fit in with Lister's counter-culture aesthetic. Lister also wears the same t-shirt at one point in Series X.

Fan Video


Rasta Billy Skank extended to 10 minutes (sort of)