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Rebelution: Reggae Rockers Brave Cold Season for Winter Greens Tour

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While Mother Nature continues to wreak havoc on our thermostats, most people are bundling up and keeping indoors during the chilly season. Everyone except California-based reggae rockers Rebelution that is.

The Santa Barbara-natives are ditching the warm embrace of their sandy sunny digs to embark on another wintertime road trip on their aptly titled Winter Greens Tour, which will hit the Marquee Theatre on Friday, February 15.

Vocalist/guitarist Eric Rachmany, keyboardist Rory Carey, drummer Wesley Finley, and bassist Marley Williams are already a year removed from their third record, Peace of Mind, but as a result of releasing the album in three alternate versions they still have plenty of material to draw from. Their most commercially successful album to date came in acoustic and dub renditions of each track.

We caught up with Rachmany as the band gears up for their sold-out show in Tempe.

Up on the Sun: The Winter Greens Tour is just around the corner. Are there any pre-tour rituals you guys are going through right now to prepare yourself for this upcoming leg?

Eric Rachmany: [Laughs] Right now we're just focusing on getting our sound tight. But we don't have anything too crazy going on as far as rituals are concerned. We're just really excited. All of us in the band just love playing live. If we're not playing for a couple of weeks we start to miss it a lot.

I think most people are excited to get off of the road, but to tell you the truth, after a week or two I really miss playing music with the band. You know we love what we do and getting on stage. I guess you can call it an addiction. I love performing and I plan on doing it for the rest of my life.

What's the feeling like when you're on stage?

At first when we were starting out as a band we didn't really know what we were doing. We didn't know how to be performers. We just had a lot of fun and were stoked to be on stage and entertaining people. I think that we've learned a lot over the last eight years. You know we started out playing cover songs and then between every show we gained a little bit more confidence.

I think that confidence led to us writing original music and then after that, really being able to feel it on stage. I think when you feel it the crown feels it. No matter what, if it's a crowd of 10 people or 10,000 people, if you're feeling it, then they're going to feel it and you can't really pay attention to how many people are out there. Sometimes it can be a little intimidating but I think the key is -- what we've learned as a band is -- just get on that stage. You tell yourself, you've done it so many times, and you've had so much practice so now just have fun with it.

The most overwhelming feeling is hearing the crowd when you're on stage. When they're singing your music, there's nothing quite like it. And that's always different too because every venue echoes in a different way. If it's a big indoor place you can really hear them singing back to you and it's an amazing feeling.

How did the Winter Greens Tour get started?

This is maybe the fourth winter tour we've done, and the second time we've called it the Winter Greens Tour. The very first year that we toured we went out with a band called The Expendables, State Radio and Slightly Stoopid. So we were opening up for people on our first winter tour, but then after that we started headlining. I think every year we would try to come up with a new name, but we just loved the name Winter Greens, that we decided to stick with it and make it an annual thing.

It's a little funny because the tour goes into the spring now and we realized we probably can't call it a winter tour while we're playing in late April and early May. So we kind of took the last leg of the tour and called it the Spring Greens Tour and changed up the artwork which I think is pretty cool.

But yeah man, most bands don't want to tour in the winter, they don't want to get out into the cold, so there's less competition to tour during the season. It doesn't really matter, but we want as many people at our shows as possible and I think fans really appreciate it when bands come to town even though it's negative degrees out. People still want to go out and have fun, so we take the opportunity and go for it. What do you look forward to the most during the winter tours?

The first few shows are going to be killer. We start in Las Vegas and then we go straight to Tempe. The Phoenix area always pops off for Rebelution. It always has. I think the first time we played Arizona was in Tucson and that was crazy, then we had a show in Phoenix and saw tons of people come out for that. We have a lot of old school fans there, I think just because it's so close to the west coast. We got started in Santa Barbara, so Southern and Northern California were the first places to vibe with us, and now I can't believe how many people follow us.

And we're playing the Marquee -- talk about a place that echoes and is vibrant. Every time we come there, people sing our music loud; it's crazy. So we're definitely looking forward to it for sure. Also, places like Chicago is always a lot of fun; we like getting back to Vermont, too. Everywhere the fans are different. Just because they're not singing along, doesn't mean they're not into the music. Like when I go to a show, I'm not moving all crazy, but I'm super into the music. That's something I learned a long time ago -- just because people aren't moving doesn't mean they're not into it, but I think our fans in Tempe and Phoenix are going to be moving.

You guys enjoyed the highest chart debut of your career with Peace of Mind last year. Besides releasing acoustic and dub versions of the record, what do you think made that album so successful?

The first album was more of a roots-reggae sound. Some of the first songs we wrote were pretty rootsy, but still people had this feeling that we were mixing genres. Then we started experimenting a little more with acoustic, rock, and even some pop jazz. With Peace of Mind we just went a step further. That album is not just traditional reggae. There's some hard rock in there, and even some soul and pop. I think we just really like bending the genre of reggae. It's obviously the foundation of our music, but we all listen to other stuff, too. In that regard it's really fun to try to manipulate it. We're able to take our influences and really put them into our music and hopefully it sounds good to our fans.

Where does Rebelution go from here?

It's definitely going to be a busy year with a lot of shows. We've got 43 shows in the next four months and then we're going to try to do some international dates. We''ve got a lot of fans in Europe and South America, and even New Zealand, so we want to get out there. And we're also working on new album. We just got out of the studio last week and started recording on two songs. At this point that's all we have; we really don't know what we're going to do with them yet, but we're thinking about releasing one somewhere along the way as a single to give our fans something to look forward to. But we're trying to write new music at this point. Peace of Mind came out a year ago and it might be new to some of our fans, but it's super old to us.

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