Rebelution time

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer Writer

Thursday, January 19, 2012

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JOURNEYMAN band Rebelution credits constant touring and recording original songs as the main reasons for its success.

The Santa Barbara, California-based band released its third album, Peace of Mind on January 10. The album debuted this week at number 13 on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 16,225 copies. It debuted at number one on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart giving the band its second number one album on that tally.

"It would be good to see the album make a high debut on the Billboard charts. Hopefully it will send a message to the big record labels," Eric Rachmany, the band’s guitarist/vocalist, told the Observer Tuesday.

Peace of Mind has 12 tracks. Among those who worked on the album are respected Jamaican engineer/producer Errol Brown and Michael Goldwasser of New York’s Easy Star All-Stars label.

"The album has hard rock, slow songs, pop songs, reggae and acoustic.

Melodically, the lyrics are a step in a different direction," Rachmany said. "I wrote most of the songs but when I am writing songs, I put myself in someone else’s shoes."

Rebelution was formed in 2004 while its members were attending Santa Barbara College. In addition to Rachmany, the other members are Matt Velasquez (vocals/guitar), Rory Carey (keyboards), Wesley Finley (drums), and bassist Marley D Williams.

The band released a self-titled, five-song EP in 2006. One year later, its full-length debut, Courage to Grow, peaked at number four on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. Their 2009 effort, Bright Side of Life, fared better, taking the number one spot on the Reggae Albums chart and peaking at number 54 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

Rachmany explained Rebelution’s reggae roots.

"We all like different kinds of music but we don’t want to limit ourselves. I was heavily into reggae while I was in high school," he said.

"I listened to artistes, including Don Carlos and Black Uhuru, but once I got into college I sought [after] people who had similar interests," he added.

"We began covering songs by reggae artistes from all over and later we began to write our own songs."

Success did not come overnight. According to Rachmany, it took relentless touring before any recognition came.

"We wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t go out there and tour," he stated. A lot of bands want to get big overnight, but it takes a lot of time. I really think that touring is vastly important in getting your band out there," Rachmany stressed. "You also have to be original. We are classified as a reggae band but we have other influences. It’s a collection of music that is put into one".

He said without the backing of a major label, social networking sites and the like have helped market the band. Rebelution’s sound is also more commercial than similar bands out of the United States west coast, such as Rancid, enabling them to reach a wider audience.

Rachmany spoke of Rebelution’s hopes for Peace of Mind: "I hope this album makes the impact in the US and around the world," he said. "Hopefully, this will encourage people to look for other independent artistes."

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