They may call Rebelution’s genre “sunshine reggae” and it may appear that the band is as laid back as a beach barbecue, but there’s very little rest time for these guys. The band averages 120 shows a year, not including travel dates, according to Marley D. Williams, their bass player, with tonight’s Santa Barbara Bowl concert just one of those dates.
“We’re really hustling right now, trying to take advantage of every opportunity we’ve got,” he says. “We have to have a personal life too. The thing that we got from UCSB, apart from our degree, you learn to consolidate things. Two birds with one stone. That’s how our recording process came down to Miami and Burbank.”
The band played here last year — born in the wilds of Isla Vista’s keg party scene, they always have time for their home town — and the last time we talked, the band was ready to record. Now that’s happened. “Count Me In” is the band’s fourth album, just released in June on Controlled Substance Sound Labs. Expect the Bowl show to delve into this new collection of 11 tracks.
Miami and Burbank presented some of the few opportunities to gather the entire band easily. “In a perfect world you hear about bands who rent a mansion to record, but we’re still on the grind, 24/7.”
Songwriting and creating tracks happens in many different ways. Sometimes a Williams baseline will turn into a whole song when the band locks onto the groove. Sometimes it’s a keyboard riff. And Mr. Williams admits that some of his favorite songs in the band feature bass lines that he didn’t write. “We’re all pretty open-minded about making the best song we can,” he says. “We’ll work any way we can.”
For example, one of Mr. Williams’ favorite songs to play live is 2007’s “Green to Black,” for which lead singer Eric Rachmany provided the baseline and Mr. Williams wrote some of the lyrics. On the new album, “Roots Reggae Music” is currently Mr. Williams’ favorite track. It features a guest appearance from reggae singer Don Carlos, who is a friend of the band; and he was conveniently in Miami when they recorded.
“I’m biased because I did write the bass line,” he says. “But it almost didn’t make the album. All the other songs were finished and tracked. But I made a bass line and a drumbeat and emailed it to Eric and he sent back a horn line and keyboard parts. A day or two later he came back with lyrics. And I was like, this is awesome! I thought it was going to be a b-side, but it’s become popular. You never know.”
Eric is the real musical leader of the band, says Mr. Williams, giving credit where it’s due. “He’s on a different level.” The title track came pre-made out of Mr. Rachmany’s head. “One day I hope to understand what goes on in his mind,” Mr. Williams continues. “He hears things we don’t.”
Even when they’re home, the band always feels they are one foot out the door for another gig. So it’s a good thing they all get along.
“It’s like being married to three other guys,” laughs Mr. Williams. “You have to cook together and live together, but sometimes you’re not attracted to them! That’s one way of describing it. It’s a weird relationship.”
Rebelution with Iration, The Green, Stick Figure and DJ Mackle
When: 5:30 p.m. today
Where: Santa Barbara Bowl, 1122 N. Milpas St.
Information: 962-7411 or sbbowl.com and www.rebelutionmusic.com