JOHN BROWN’S BODY
The band’s sound was described by the New York Daily News as “more Massive Attack than Marley” and by the Village Voice “reverent and revolutionary at the same time”. John Brown’s Body has performed with groups that represent a wide range of genres including Dave Matthews Band, The Flaming Lips, STS9, Furthur, Ozomatli, Broken Social Scene and Jurassic 5.
Together for two decades and hailed as “Future roots, reggae, and dub with an intricately balanced weaving of vocals, percussion, keyboard, bass, guitar, and stunning 3-piece horn section that ties it all together” (WRUV), John Brown’s Body (JBB) is building “a legacy that has inspired and carved a path for the now thriving contemporary American reggae scene” (Rudeboy Reggae). Formed in Ithaca, New York, in the mid 1990s, at a time when there wasn’t yet a far-reaching U.S. reggae scene, JBB was one of a small handful of U.S. reggae bands that began touring nationally. Since then, JBB has played an important role in helping define distinctly “American reggae.” JBB’s music is steeped in traditional vibes, but unapologetically incorporates elements from other genres. While most American reggae bands tackled typical reggae themes (such as religion and marijuana), JBB acted more like an indie band, writing songs that used the vocabulary of reggae to express their own experiences. Their unique approach resonated with the masses. The group’s 2008 full-length record, Amplify, hit #1 on the Billboard Reggae Chart, 2012’s JBB In Dub EP reached #1 on iTunes’ Reggae Chart, and in 2013 Kings And Queens topped both Billboard and iTunes Reggae Charts at #1. Today, JBB’s signature style has become the norm for U.S. reggae bands – and many in the genre admittedly point to John Brown’s Body as a key influence.
“I first saw The Hooky’s in a packed house at The Metta Room in Port Angeles. Combining all the best elements of groove and funk with their own uniquely soulful and charismatic style; their sound is a reggae butter and rock jam sandwich served up on slices of cognizant hip-hop and “253” alcohol soaked thrash. Think Sublime punk attitude meshed with Pepper’s island pulse, and the epic psychedelic guitar rifts of The Expendables, with a shiny, ripe Rainier cherry on top. Their inspirations are very evident.
The band is made up of brothers Ben Webb on vocals, Ary Webb on drums, and Corbin Webb on guitar (Sequim, WA), Justin Beasley on guitar, keyboard, and vocals (Eugene, OR), Austin Waszkiewicz (Seabeck, Wa) and Joshua Nguyen the Emcee (Auburn, WA). Nguyen rocks the microphone with progressive authority as the show’s energy builds. These guys also claim Tacoma as home base.
From the second song I knew I was hooked”. The lively dance floor was full of fans that help makeup “Hooky-Nation”. The sweet music meshed perfectly with the odor drifting in through the rear door leading to the alley. For an hour, this jam-junky achieved complete local music nirvana.”
- Colin Robinson