Bonnaroo Backstage Banter: Roots of a Rebellion
Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Roots of a Rebellion has separated themselves from the city’s country roots and work to transform the roots reggae movement. With an ever-growing fan base, lovingly called Roots Crew, Roots of a Rebellion began the music of Bonnaroo on Thursday at the Miller Lite New Music Tap Lounge as winners of the BMI Road to Bonnaroo competition.
With catchy lyrics, captivating melodies and a tight horn section, Roots of a Rebellion creates both a physically and mentally enhanced experience. I sat down with three of the six band members: Marco Martinez (guitar, harmonica), Austin Smith (vocals, guitar) and Troy Wiggins (drums) to hear more about their love for all things reggae, good vibes and even good ol’ Gainesville.
What was it like competing in the BMI Road to Bonnaroo competition?
It was really cool. We got to play with 15 other killer Nashville bands that we are friends with and really love. It was a lot of shows in one month [performed at Mercy Lounge]. We were kinda of skeptical, but we went ahead and did it and had our fans [Roots Crew] come out to support us. A competition with music is kind of weird. Being judged is strange, but we just did our thing and it luckily worked out.
You all met at Belmont University. How did this help with your music career?
We found each other 7 years ago and started Roots of a Rebellion 6 years ago. We all come from different areas of the country and each of us studied either music business or music performance. Troy used a message board on campus for people to play reggae with, and it grew organically from there.
How would you describe your music?
Someone called us psychedelic reggae, which is pretty cool. I mean, we play for a bunch of different sets. We’ve played at elementary schools and venues where people are tripping balls. We have a ton of different influences, from rock, soul, dub, reggae, funk. As musicians, it’s hard to limit yourself to one style.
Any pre-concert rituals?
We love to huddle up and physically touch each others skin, you know spread the energy. And of course, stretching and smoking. Post-show is when the true weirdness happens.
Any chance you will be in Gainesville soon?
We’ve actually played in Gainesville a few times, at The Jam and The High Dive. I [Troy] am from Coral Springs, and all of my family and friends went to the University of Florida. We love it there and definitely want to come back.
Check out their website for upcoming performance dates and all of their music.