East coast jam band Roots of Creation has been hitting the road hard for some time now, accumulating quite a following for their unique take on the reggae-rock movement. After gaining critical success with their Grateful Dead tribute album Grateful Dub, RoC is about to perform alongside Dead frontman Bob Weir this weekend — on the same stage, no less! Talk about a bucketlist accomplishment. With this feat on the horizon, RoC band members had a moment to chat with Top Shelf Music about the upcoming weekend and more while on the road to Redondo's BeachLife Festival.
With the wild success of Livin Free in 2016 and your most recent Grateful Dub album, is there any new release on the horizon that the Billboard charts and fans should ready themselves for?
- Brett Wilson (Vocals/Guitar): We just dropped a brand new single “Wake Up” (feat. Billy Kottage of Reel Big Fish and The Interrupters) on March 22nd! Look for an acoustic and remix version dropping in the next couple months. We also have a new mostly instrumental album tentatively scheduled to drop on September 21st titled Dub Free or Die Vol. #1. In addition to those projects, we are working on pre-production of Grateful Dub, Vol. #2 and a currently untitled full-length album of original material.
Speaking of Grateful Dub, your reggae tribute album to Grateful Dead classics, how has it been performing your Dead versions night after night on the road for the past few years?
- Tal (Keyboards): It's been a lot of fun, because a lot of the songs have continued to evolve as far as how we play them live and because we've been continuing to add more of the Dead's songs to our set over time. We really like figuring out how to re-interpret their music in our style. One great example is “They Love Each Other”, which has turned into a rockin' crowd sing-along at our shows. It's so much fun to hear everyone singing along, “Lord, you can see it's true”!
Are you continuing to play this Dead set through your summer tour?
- Tal: Yep, we always drop a few Dead songs into our sets now, but a few shows will be even more focused on the Grateful Dub music. The music has become a part of our sound, so it's hard to imagine playing a show without some Dead tunes.
With all this tribute love, how are you feeling about performing on the same stage on the same day as Bob Weir?
- Brett: We are sooooo stoked to share the stage with Bobby. He's the total package: guitarist, songwriter and singer. My favorite part of his playing is that he almost jams like a piano or keyboardist — flowing effortlessly. I'm epecially excited to see him jam live for our boys Slightly Stoopid's acoustic roots set. I watched them perform the set at their event in Mexico — Closer To the Sun — and it was super tight. One of my musical highlights of the trip. It's an iconic and influential album for this genre. The Live at TRI stuff with Bobby is sick. I haven't seen Bobby with his new band, The Wolf Brothers, although I did get treated to the duo tour in Boston a little while back with Jon Phillips of Silverback Music right when Grateful Dub was dropping. It felt like we were just watching them jam in their living room. Super loose and fun. Fingers crossed Stoopid and Bruce hop up with Bobby for a super jam party that I might need to crash with my axe!
So, what's next for Roots of Creation?
- Tal: Shows, shows, shows! We have a headlining tour and festivals all summer long, all across the U.S. It's our favorite time of the year to be on the road and we can't wait to be out there seeing all of the RoC fam and friends — and making new ones!
If there was one message you wish to broadcast to your fans, what would it be?
- Andrew (Sax): I like to think that our music speaks of positivity, love and having a good time. We have been described as a “true rock show, cleverly disguised as a reggae dance bash”. We like to put an uplifting message into our music, even if the message is given with intensity. Whether singing about a party, our current state of affairs or about good vibes, we try to stay fun and conscious with our music at the same time.
Catch the Roots of Creation boys this Friday at BeachLife in person or tune into the Top Shelf Music live stream on the site! For more information on the band or to hear Roots of Creation's latest single, follow the links below.
Purchase or stream “Wake Up” single (feat. Billy Kottage):
Cover photos by Josh Coffman