“Too Blessed To Be Stressed” – Q&A with Wes Finley of Reggae band, REBELUTION.
Posted On 17 Oct 2014
Tag: 91x, 91X San Diego, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Austin City Limits, Come As You Are, Count Me In, Count Me In Summer Tour, Crosses, Eric Rachmany, Foster The People, Groundation, Khris Royal, Little Dragon, Marley D Williams, Nevermind, Nicole DeRosa, Nirvana, Peace Of Mind, Rebelution, Rory Carey, san diego, Santa Barbara, Stone Enjoy By IPA, The Human League, Vegas, Wes Finley, Wesley Finley
“Too blessed to be stressed,” is one of many key song lyrics from Rebelution’s album Count Me In. The California band’s fourth full-length release, Peace of Mind is being released on its own label 87 Music, and partnering for the first time with Easy Star Records. This year marks the bands tenth year together. And while surely every band has its share of stress, Rebelution feels they have been “too blessed” to have much time to worry about it.
The seeds of Rebelution germinated in Santa Barbara’s college town of Isla Vista in 2004. A student named Marley D. Williams had recently switched from baseball to bass guitar when, walking to choir practice one night, he heard strains of roots-reggae coming through a door. The fellow reggae enthusiast turned out to be Rachmany, a devotee of roots-reggae and dancehall, and especially the music of Don Carlos and Black Uhuru.
Rebelution has formed a large, ever-growing, and dedicated fan base by staying genuinely connected with fans through social media, after-show parties, street teams and charitable events, just to name a few. The band tours heavily and now plays 100-120 shows a year. Tours have taken them to South America, Guam, Aruba, New Zealand and Europe. They’ve performed at many world renowned music festivals including Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits. They’ve headlined and sold out Red Rocks and the Santa Barbara Bowl, and have done all this with no backing from any major label and very little media support.
Rebelution bassist Marley D. Williams explains: “Our music is meant to move people physically and mentally at the same time. When people are really dancing and really thinking, that’s a double threat.” Among other things, he adds, it evokes “It’s a ‘one love’ spirit and we’re doing it in our own style, influenced by the diversity in California and the people we were surrounded by growing up.”
Still, at heart, the story of Rebelution is a pretty easy one to understand. As the band embarks on its second decade, Eric explains, “Rebelution is a great example of four friends who got together to play music for the fun of it, and still do that today. We just play music that we really enjoy.”
Read more about Rebelution as All Access Music writer catches up with drummer, Wes Finley while on the bands summer tour.
Hi Wes! How are you today? Where does this interview find you today and what else is on the agenda besides this interview?
Today we have a day off in Spokane, WA before finishing out the last few shows of the tour. We just finished up a band & crew teppanyaki dinner, which is a tour tradition for us.
Rebelution is now in about the 10th year of making music together, and you guys just released your fourth studio album, Count Me In. How was making the new album different then the last album, Peace Of Mind? What was the running theme or vibe to the new album that you wanted to capture with this one?
We went into this album with no pressure or time constraints so we took our time with the songs and made sure we were totally happy with each individual outcome. We also recorded a portion of the album on the road which was new for us. I don’t know that there was an overall encapsulating theme to the album, just different musical ideas we wanted to take to their logical conclusion.
What was the inspiration for the new single, ”Count Me In”? How did that song come about? Did the lyrics or beat come first?
The chord structure is usually the first thing to come along. Eric kind of develops that into a rough song structure and sends us what he has via mp3, lyrics or not. In this case he had some lyrics worked out, as well as a basic computer drumbeat, so we all developed our individual parts at home then jammed them out together when we got together. Lyrically, he was reflecting on a sense of community, family and friends, that have been there supporting us since day one.
I read a great quote where Eric has said in regards to the bands awesome decade milestone: “We still have the same energy as we did as a young band, if not more. The more experience we had doing this, the more inspired we became.” Any advice you guys can give for bands just starting out?
Play with conviction, but also be humbled that you are creating something that others want to hear and you depend on them for that. Stay true to your art, but never turn your back on your fans.
What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration?
In this day and age we’re able to write songs without living in the same city which is crazy to think about. Like I mentioned before, Eric our singer/guitarist will send us skeleton ideas and we learn or develop our parts from there. Eric is adept at GarageBand, a music program for Mac, so he’s able to capture his first ideas and lay them down there for him to flesh out before sending to us.
What was your favorite song growing up and why?
Ooh that’s a toughie. “Come As You Are” by Nirvana made a lasting impression on me, and taught me to experiment with my guitar at the time. I was in middle school, at a rebellious age, so their sentiment just hit me at the right time. I had Nevermind on tape and my mom took away the album liner because it had a naked baby on it!
Who is currently in your playlist? Any “guilty pleasure” songs or artist we would be surprised to find in there?
I don’t feel guilty about any pleasures! Currently I’m listening to Foster the People, Little Dragon, and Crosses, but like to bust out the occasional 80’s throwback or R&B ballad for nostalgia’s sake. Our sax player Khris and I both absolutely love “Human” by The Human League and we threw that on during a bus party recently.
You guys are just about to start the second leg of your “Count Me In Summer Tour,” Any fun and memorable stories from previous tours you can share with us?
How about I tell you one from this tour? We played in Vegas and I had a friend schedule his bachelor party to coincide with the show, the only problem being we had a sold-out hometown show in Santa Barbara the next day. We partied after the show and the next thing I know I’m waking up to a phone call saying the bus left without me during the night and I have one hour to make a flight to LA. I barely made the flight, and drove through three hours of traffic to make it to Santa Barbara. I was able to recover and put on a good show but it was an intense 24 hours.
Do you have any upcoming radio show appearances?
We did an acoustic radio promo performance at 91X in San Diego a couple of weeks ago but that’s all we had planned for this tour. We like transposing our songs to acoustic form and the fans appreciate the variance.
What’s on tap next for Rebelution?
Stone Enjoy By IPA! Just kidding, craft beer reference there. Now that we’ve done the majority of our US touring for the year we’ll go international for a tour with Groundation in Europe, mixed in with a few national festivals like Austin City Limits. We’re still promoting our new album so we need to play in the usual markets since it came out. Looking forward to finishing out 2014 strong!
To keep up to date with Rebelution, visit their website here