Infectious. Enveloping. Irresistible. Those are just a few words to describe the Los Angeles six-piece band Better Chemistry, who have been overwhelming and conjuring with audiences since 2001 with their propulsive brew of reggae, rock, ska and funk. From small clubs to stadiums and from backyard parties to three day festivals, the band’s feel great, let the good times roll approach has won them a devoted following and a career’s worth of accomplishments. Their new album, 6 Foot Shorty is the next step in the band’s evolution, showcasing their growth and development as songwriters, players and arrangers, while hewing to the warmth and positivity that has been the hallmark of their sound since they began.
The band’s story started at the Bulldog Pub in Upland, CA at an open mike night where the band’s members first met in 2001. Discovering a common group of influences (Bob Marley, Grateful Dead, The Clash, The Specials, SKA, Toots and the Maytals, Dennis Brown, Phish, String Cheese Incident), the band came together and quickly built up an impressive resume, opening for legends like B.B. King, Average White Band, Steel Pulse and reggae legend Pato Banton. Others took notice as well; Access Hollywood featured the band as part of a Super Bowl feature in 2003 and the band earned airplay on the most influential modern rock station in the country, KROQ in Los Angeles, as well as a myriad of other stations.
Now, following their first two albums (2001’s Undiscovered Elements and 2005’s Better Chemistry) comes 6 Foot Shorty, recorded by the band in their home studio, which introduces the band anew. Featuring the soulful lead vocals and rhythm guitar of Dave Monaco (the band’s primary lyricist), Ray Green on lead guitar, Chad Junkin on keyboards, the propulsive rhythm section of Rene Casas on bass and Ed Collins on drums, Eric “DJ Wood” Woodruff on the turntables/additional percussion/background, the CD breaks new terrain for the band. There’s the hip-hop/club influence of “6 Foot Shorty,” featuring English Dance Hall great Tippa Irie and vocals from Jurassic Five member Chali 2na, which introduces new musical flavors into the Better Chemistry arsenal. And while the band still retains their positive and spiritual flavor, there is the a new political element, embodied in the indictment of President Bush in “How Do You Sleep?” with lyrics by “DJ Wood,” a former 82nd airborne. The unqualified good times the band once sang about are now much more hard earned – which makes the joy in the songs even more resonant.
Better Chemistry’s music is about the journey of the soul, spirit and the challenges and joys of life – the pitfalls of love and relationships (“Difficult,” “Who Loves You”), the threat to our environment, the simple gratitude in being alive (“Praise”) and they view their music as a vehicle to bring people together to experience oneness, community and the knowledge that our similarities far outweigh our differences. The band will be taking the songs on their new album on the road for the rest of the year, bringing their national audience peace, love and soul – while giving them the music to which they can dance all night.