San Diego’s reggae rockers Thicker Than Thieves are set to play South Lake Tahoe’s Whiskey Dick’s Saloon April 5.
On a massive spring tour, the four-piece is heading to Lake Tahoe after stops in Colorado, Nebraska and Florida. The band, now more than 10 years old, is leading a resurgence in the reggae-rock sound of Southern California.
Lake Tahoe Action: What has the reception been like in Nebraska?
We just had an amazing show in Omaha. The reception has been unbelievable. A lot of towns we’ve been playing have been college towns. A lot of the kids love the music. Florida was great, but I would have to say Nebraska has been our best reception on this tour yet.
Would you say your music is a reflection of where you’re from or do you try to keep the two separate?
I think it definitely has to do with where I’m from and the bands I grew up listening to. Most importantly, the lifestyle: skateboarding, surfing, a lot of action sports stuff. Definitely the SoCal reggae scene is what’s happening right now. Because we’ve been in it for so long, it’s allowed us to pave the way in some ways.
But certainly Southern California plays a big role in the sounds as well as the lifestyle we live.
What do you think is happening in the rock reggae genre right now?
Reggae is so universal and for a band like Thicker Than Thieves being more of a crossover band a lot of the vibe behind the music is timeless. You certainly see waves in different genres. Reggae has certainly seen its wave.
It seems like California reggae is on the rise right now. Bands like Slightly Stoopid, Long Beach Dub Allstars, The Expendables, Rebelution have all been in the mix for a lot of years now, and a lot of new bands are coming up. It’s definitely getting saturated. But I think the bands that are really standing out are the bands that are out doing what we’re doing, hitting the street, making new music, putting out new releases. As far as the genre we’re in, I think it’s making a rise. I think it’s coming back.
Do you relate more to the reggae side or the rock side of your music?
I think a lot of it has to do with how I’m feeling at the moment. Certainly, the guys that I play with all have their own styles. I’ve hand-selected all of my guys based on not only their playing abilities, but also what they can bring to the table on the writing side of things.
We definitely all come from a reggae background. I grew up listening to punk rock. Back in the day, they didn’t know where to put all the reggae bands, so they put them with the punk bands. You have two genres of music that aren’t really mainstream like they are today. That’s how, as a kid, I got introduced to reggae. I’d go to see bands like Operation Ivy, Bad Brains or Bad Religion. They hosted all the reggae bands. That, to me, is how that crossover happened.
Are you working on new material?
I have three more songs I’m working on right now. We’re going to put out another EP before our next tour, and hopefully a full-length by the end of the year. I have some stuff I’m working on personally with Miguel Happoldt from Skunk Records. He also produced Sublime, Slightly Stoopid, a lot of big reggae acts.
So after 10 years you aren’t tired of the music thing?
You know, like I said, music is timeless. It’s one of those things. Without it, life wouldn’t be what it is. I’m so used to it. I love it. I love the lifestyle. It certainly has its highs and lows. There are sacrifices that are made along the way to make it happen. That’s tough sometimes. There’s a fine balance there, but we’re still trying to figure out how that balance works.
What distinguishes Thicker Than Thieves from the popular music acts of today?
We’ll play punk rock songs at a reggae show. We’ll play reggae songs at a punk rock show. We’re all about getting people to stop and listen to something that maybe they haven’t heard before. I think a lot of the stuff we’re writing and have written in the past really reflects on just that: how to stand out, how to be different.
So you don’t really listen to Taylor Swift?