John Brown’s Body updates their reggae sound |

John Brown’s Body updates their reggae sound

Reggae group John Brown's Body performs at Steamboat Ski Area at 3 p.m. Saturday.

John Brown’s Body has gone through a lot of changes since the Boston-based band took shape in 1995.

Some of those changes have been difficult: bassist Scott Palmer lost his battle with cancer, and several band members left the group. Elliot Martin took over the lead singer spot after original frontman Kevin Kinsella grew apart from the band musically.

Out of those challenges has come a reinvented John Brown’s Body, a band that has broken from its roots reggae beginnings to tackle electronic, rock and jam sounds. Earlier this month, the band released “Re-Amplify,” a boundary-ignoring remix of its 2008 album, “Amplify.”

The diplomatic list of influences on the remix record is where John Brown’s Body has been going lately, said longtime drummer Tommy Benedetti, who was also in a pre-JBB group called the Tribulations. John Brown’s Body will showcase some of its roots reggae background and its updated sound at 3 p.m. Saturday at Steamboat Ski Area.

The show is part of the 2009 Bud Light Rocks the ‘Boat free concert series.

Benedetti talked with 4 Points at the beginning of March about “Re-Amplify,” where his band has been and where it might be going.

4 POINTS: What can the crowd expect from your show at Steamboat Ski Area?

TOMMY BENEDETTI: They can definitely expect some high-energy vibes. We’ve been off the road for like six weeks, so we have a lot of energy pent up and ready to unleash on Colorado and parts beyond.

4 POINTS: A re-mix compilation of your 2008 record, “Amplify,” came out recently. What made the band want to remix its newest songs?

TB: It’s something that we’ve been wanting to do for a while. Something like that – I feel like JBB music is hard to confine to just reggae or roots reggae. I feel like it really translates well to people who really like Medeski, Martin & Wood, or Radiohead or The Roots. I feel like there’s a lot more inside there.

4 POINTS: How has the band’s sound evolved since you guys got together in the 1990s?

TB: I think we’ve played over the years with a lot of different bands and a lot of different styles and venues, and I think JBB did start off more roots reggae in the classic sound and feel of the mid-’70s.

Over the years we’ve really evolved kind of naturally into something that fits in a rock club. There’s a lot more for us to do these days, and I think it’s ready for a different audience to open up to, and that’s what we hope to do with the new record.

4 POINTS: What drove that change?

TB: It wasn’t a calculated thing. What’s essential to me – an essential part of being a musician – is rolling through changes and being challenged and growing. : It did have something to do with Elliot (Martin) taking over as lead vocalist for the band; he definitely had the sound the band was latching on to. It also had a lot to do with just being a musician and traveling and growing.

4 POINTS: Where do you think that will go?

TB: I hope to just continue doing what we’re doing and continue evolving. You never know.

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