JamBase Questionnaire: Roots of Creation

Welcome back to JamBase's baker's dozen to the bright lights of the music world. Last time we heard from The Steepwater Band.

new live album
Southern New Hampshire isn't the first spot folks start looking for high-octane modern reggae, which is too bad since Roots of Creation are one of the most exhilarating, rules breaking units blowing up right now. With of ample dousing of gnarly, rock-flavored guitars and a healthy blip logic that shows more than a passing familiarity with contemporary electronica, RoC join the shortlist of young bands – UK-based Soothsayers, New Zealand's The Black Seeds and fellow U.S. acts John Brown's Body and Groundation - moving reggae forward into the 21st century.

You can hear their highly engaging, forward pushing sound in action on RoC Live, Vol. 2 (released on October 26 on Harmonized Records). Culled from performances from 2009 and 2010, including songs recorded during sets at the Wormtown and Nateva Music Festivals, The Paradise Rock Club in Boston and more, Live Vol. 2, the band’s fourth album, features the engaging single "Policy, " a bouncing cover of Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place" and a barnstorming finale take on Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How It Feels," that reinvents the tune. Elsewhere, unpredictable, heavy duty instrumental "Mammoth" and originals "Dubby Conqueror" and "Searchin'" hint at good things to come from RoC. The album was mixed by engineer Pete Peloquin (Pixies, Dave Matthews, OAR) and co-mixed by the group's live sound engineer Cooper Leafe, giving the set an immediacy and clarity that mixes the best traits of home listening and live sound.

Roots of Creation formed in 2000 while attending college together and began touring seriously in 2004. Today the band is comprised of original members Brett Wilson (lead vocals, guitar), Tal Pearson (keyboards) and Mike Chadinha (drums), and they are currently touring with bassist Brandon Downs and second guitarist Jay McGuinness. Based on the evidence of Live Vol. 2, this is a lethal live act with a promising drive and open minds. Can't ask for more than that, particularly in a genre that often plays too heavily to tradition. In RoC's hands, reggae is both relevant and exciting. (Dennis Cook)

Roots of Creation will play New Year's Eve at Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, MA, followed by a January 1st show at Crotched Mountain in Bennington, NH.

Here's what Brett Wilson and Tal Pearson had to say to our inquiries.

Brett Wilson of RoC
Instrument(s) of choice:
Brett: Vocals / Guitar - DeArmond Starfire & Ibanez Artcore Hollowbody through a Fender Amp with lots of pedals

Tal: Keys. Right now having lots of fun with my Roland SH-201. It's good for Whomping.

Brett: "Bdubs" & "Wilson"

Tal: "The mantis"

1. Great music rarely happens without…
Brett: Inspiration, originality, chemistry, passion, pain, and my buddies Sauza and Mary Jane.

Tal: Inspiration. Vibes. A feeling in the room.

2. The first album I bought was…
Brett: Ten cassette tapes for a penny from Columbia House. Favorite one was the Grateful Dead.

Tal: Dookie by Green Day

3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
Brett: Rebelution's "Feelin' Alright"

Tal: Mumford and Sons' Sigh No More

4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
Brett: A movie reviewer or comic book illustrator.

Tal: Still not really sure.

5. My favorite sort of gig is…
Brett: When we turn a club into an arena and a late night festival slot into a house party.

Tal: When you can feel the venue shaking because everyone is dancing so much! And I love it when the crowd is responsive to different things, like the music changing or the lights getting intense.

6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
Brett: Gingers DO have soul!

Tal: I really do have good taste in music!

7. I love the sound of…
Brett: Wookies WHOMPing

Tal: HUGE bass in the speakers!

8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
Brett: Beck's Midnight Vultures

Tal: Band of Horses' Everything All The Time

9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
Brett: Green Mountain College, all the vegetarian food and breakfast cereal you could ever want. Plus they recycle, compost, and are super nice.

Tal: Probably a giant breakfast somewhere with everything - eggs, bacon, French toast, sausage, home fries, soda, and…American Cheese! Don't remember where exactly.

10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
Brett: Smaller cities, festivals and colleges, especially in MI, NC, CO, NH, and the West Coast

Tal: Music festivals.

11. The worst habit I've picked up being on the road all the time is…
Brett: Pizza and a Smartphone addiction.

Tal: Sleeping til 1 pm.

12. The Beatles or the Stones? Por qué?
Brett: The Stones. Beatles = great songs, but the Stones were bad ass and have raw energy - the epitome of rock 'n' roll. Plus, Mike Jagger kicked it with Peter Tosh and Keith Richard's new roots reggae albums are great!

Tal: I've always gone with The Beatles on this one. I think their music is much more interesting, and that they had a greater influence on the sounds of rock and roll to come.

13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
Brett: Tie between playing a guerilla set at Rothbury on shakedown to a literal sea of people and my picture in High Times - January 2011 issue on page 108 of the 420th issue - playing at Nateva with a SSDP shirt on.

Tal: The catering areas of big music festivals are always sort of surreal to me because you're eating lunch next to people you've listened to and watched for a long time! I remember at Rothbury in 2009, casually eating some delicious food next to the guys from Soulive and then Willie Nelson happened to wander by. Surreal.

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[Published on: 12/27/10]

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