Just 40 seconds into Rebelution’s first song at the sold-out Gramercy Theatre in New York last Wednesday night, a fire alarm tripped, sending the reggae band, its fans and the club’s staffers out into the street.
Gramercy workers couldn’t get a response from the security system company to get the malfunctioning alarm turned off. After 45 minutes of periodic squeals from the alarm, the New York Fire Department told the club to cancel the show.
Rebelution bassist Marley D. Williams called it “a fluke, but we made sure to rock Boston the next night.”
To quote a line from their new album: They’re “too blessed to be stressed.”
“Yes, that was a crazy night, but we’re not going to let a fire alarm hold us down,” Williams said. “We promised them we would come back Monday on our off night.”
Now Rebelution’s “Count Me In Summer Tour” is back on the road with Iration, The Green and Stick Figure.
Rebelution’s fourth LP, “Count Me In” (released June 10 via its 87 Music label), is one of only two reggae albums on iTunes’ Top 100 chart this week. The other? Bob Marley’s “Legend.” It also debuted at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 pop chart, its second consecutive Top 15 debut, and is No. 1 on Billboard’s reggae chart.
For the Isla Vista, Calif.-based band, it’s their mission to keep the genre alive and thriving.
“Life is pretty good for us right now,” Williams said. “We’re really proud of this album and we’ve taken it as far as we can. I love to listen to old-school reggae, so we’re just trying to put our own spin on the positive music that came from legendary Jamaican artists and their albums.
“It’s called world music for a reason. It picks people up when they’re down. We’re just trying to make people happy.”
Williams, Eric Rachmany (vocals/guitar), Rory Carey (keyboards) and Wesley Finley (drums) have been making people happy ever since they met 10 years ago at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and teamed to create a mix of rock, world and reggae music.
Years of relentless touring, social-media networking and a DIY mentality have paid off.
Rebelution Inc. is in full force.
“First off, we made sure graduating from UC was a priority,” Williams said. “We did all this while we were taking classes and studying. We’re all about multitasking. We handle our business and our craft. It teaches you a work ethic.
“We employ 10 to 15 people at a time. It’s a full-on business. It’s not just all fun and games.”
For “Count Me In,” Rebelution didn’t want to stray from its easy-going groove.
“It’s a safe album,” Williams said. “We’re making songs with a formula that got us here. We’re also making songs that are totally different; we’re telling the listeners, ‘We like this, maybe you’ll like this too. This is us growing.
“Songs like ‘Lost in Dreams,’ ‘Notice Me’ and ‘Fade Away’ aren’t traditional Rebelution. It’s reggae, a little folky, with mellow rock and other hybrids.
The sky’s the limit for Rebelution, but Williams says they’re taking it all day by day.
“The best compliment we get from people is that they turned to our music when they were having problems with their family or friends and they were going through a particular hardship and they say, ‘Your band made me feel better.’ Nothing makes me feel any greater when we hear that.”
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