STATELINE, Nev. - Inspiration can't be spelled without Iration, a reggae band which is feeling mighty irie these days.
Comprised of surfers from Hawaii who started a band while attending UC Santa Barbara, Iration has gone from playing house parties to opening for other bands on 1,000-mile tours to becoming a headlining band at reggae festivals.
Success makes life easier on the road. Iration now rents a full-size tour bus which hauls a trailer with the gear. It has a traveling sound engineer, Joseph King, and the band now performs with ear monitors instead of having to listen through the amps. And special lighting effects have been added for its current five-week tour, which includes several resort towns such as South Lake Tahoe on Friday, Feb. 15.
"I am thinking this tour should be our best ever with the set list and all the other production things we've added," bassist Adam Taylor told Lake Tahoe Action just before the final rehearsal before the road trip. "We definitely love the winter tours where we get to some of the ski towns. We all like to go snowboarding and Lake Tahoe is definitely one of our favorite places. We're all from Hawaii and it's just a real treat to be in the mountains. The MontBleu is right next to Heavenly, where we like to go, and we also really like Kirkwood."
Iration last March 24 headlined Kirkwood's High Up Fest, where it performed beside space heaters wearing layers of clothes, beanies all the while tuning instruments in cold conditions. But the backdrop was ski slopes the guys rode for two days.
"That was one of my favorite shows of the year," Taylor said. "When we're on tour I definitely tone it down quite a bit just to make sure that I don't get injured. But it's cool to do an activity before a show to get some energy out and get your head in a good place and snowboarding, especially up there, is a good way to start your day."
The four bands at the MontBleu still will deliver myriad takes on reggae. Passafire is rock, the Green roots-rock and Pacific Dub California reggae. Iration's inspiration is island music.
"We try to take the fundamentals of reggae and just give it a modern twist," Taylor said. "A lot of the lot of the old-school reggae we listen to - Bob Marley, Black Uhuru and Steel Pulse - the issues kids can't really identify with. They love the music so what we try to do is incorporate a more modern sound and also talk about things these kids can relate to."
Singer-guitarist Micah Pueschel described Iration's sound to Lake Tahoe Action in 2011: "Island music is just part of who we are and where we come from, so there's a vibe to the music that has that flavor to it. We don't necessarily play island music, but it ends up having that sunny island vibe to it.
"(It's) reggae with pop sensibility. Reggae rock is what people in the genre (call it). Our sound is really pop with reggae base."
Iration recently recorded its third full length album and released a single, "Porcupine." The album will come out after the tour, but some of its songs will be played during the live shows, Taylor said.
Also in Iration are Cayson Peterson, keyboards, Joseph Dickens, drums and Kai Rediske, vocals and percussion.