It’s been a sweet decade of life, friendships and music for Dub Seeds.
Celebrating their 10th anniversary with a new three-song EP of originals titled “Gaining Ground” released Oct. 31, members Chris Taylor (vocals and guitar), Gary Rink (bass), Anthony “Gizmo” Rodriguez (drums), and Eric Bracamonte (keys) plan to keep fans warm and irie with a pair of weekend shows to celebrate their latest milestone.
Founding member Chris Taylor said it’s moments like these that are meant to be savored and shared with the hometown crowd.
He said, “For most musicians/artists, music is truly a part of you. A physical, tangible part of you. Something that you can feel and exercise.”
The band has been repping for reggae since 2008 when it changed its name from Seed to Dub Seeds before an out-of-town gig opening for reggae legend Eek-A-Mouse in 2008.
“I think it's great to see all the local interest and love for the reggae sound,” Taylor said.
The group has been an active local flag waver for the genre, staying true to the love of Jamaican rhythms blended with laid-back West Coast grooves. Taking cues from Bob Marley but with an injection of rock beats, listeners have branded the band's sound as reggae rock as well as "Cali roots." Introduced to the mainstream via bands such as Sublime, Dirty Heads, and others with good-time party songs you’re almost guaranteed to hear on any given terrestrial radio station, the group is often associated with those acts but Taylor said they prefer to carve their own path.
The local favorite has, performing at nearly every popular community festival, watering hole, as both headliner and solid support act.
“There've been lots of musical standout moments,” recalled Taylor. “Memories that I'll have forever. The many times performing with Eek-A-Mouse., Fishbone, sharing the stage with The Wailers, being chosen to perform at Cali Roots in 2013, the original Festival of Beers and Village Fest for so many years is always an honor. One of my most memorable Bako shows was the last ever Fishlips show. That place had some amazing music come through its doors.”
While it’s fun to reminisce, it's even better to celebrate new strides like the recent release of “Gaining Ground.” Recorded over the course of eight hours one day at the Aum Studio with engineer Brian Boozer at the console, this EP marks the group’s first official collection of studio tracks since 2012’s “Skunk Face” album. Citing changes in his life — notably fatherhood — and the band — including the permanent return of both Rodriguez and Rink — Taylor said each of the EP's three tracks bears its own conscious and creative imprint.
“They all have a different vibe that I like. 'Division' is all about the current climate of society and the country. It doesn't really take sides on any specific issues, but it questions our acceptance to live in such a divisive state. It was written during the Obama era, published during the Trump era. I'm sure it'll say something different to every listener.
"'All of Mine' is your classic 'the summer is almost over but I just found the love of my life' beach song. And 'California' is that mood-setting reggae tune that has that bass line that plays on repeat in your head all day long.”
In addition to the longtime cohesiveness of Taylor, Rink, and Rodriguez, the addition of Bracamonte on keys helped update the group’s sound with melodies and traditional reggae off-beats or "bubbling" throughout each track.
“He definitely has taken us to the next level,” Taylor said of Bracamonte, who joined the group two years ago. “He gives us a completely new vibe and feel. So far the response has been really positive, very humbling. People really like the new material.”
This weekend fans will get two chances to hear an extended collection of Dub Seeds selections and club fare: Friday at the Belvedere Cocktail Lounge, 3090 Brundage Lane, beginning at 9 p.m., then Saturday at The Mark, 1623 19th St., at 8 p.m. Both shows are free. After this weekend, the band will be taking the holidays off with no shows planned until after the new year.
“There have been lots of changes, and even points where I wasn't sure the band would continue. But we keep going forward. Keep playing shows. We keep gaining ground. With every new song, every new fan. We keep making music.”
As a show of thanks for all the years of support, the band will offer a free download of “Gaining Ground” at its official website (dubseeds.com) all day Thursday. The EP will also be available for streaming and digital download at iTunes and all major digital outlets.
“I think reggae is kind of a forgotten part of the winter season. We're just trying to make the holidays great again,” said Taylor.
World Records owner Pat Evans, during a visit to the "First Look with Scott Cox" radio show last week, listed off a number of upcoming blues, hot jazz and Americana shows headed to his World Records Dream Theater, among them Grammy-winning artists Los Lobos who will perform on April 12.
Still performing, recording and touring year-round with original members David Hidalgo, Louie Perez, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin, the group’s latest album “Gates of Gold” is classic Lobos, but with such a catalog of rich material feel free to dig deep into “Kiko,” “The Town and The City,” “Colossal Head" and “How Will The Wolf Survive?”
Tickets go on sale on Dec. 8 at 10 a.m. in-store only at World Records, 2815 F St. or by phone 325-1982. Reserved tickets are $40 and $70. For more information visit shopworldrecords.com.