Fortunate Youth bring their reggae stylings to Saint Rocke

By Pete Mauch //

Fortunate Youth played their annual Thanksgiving rager to their enthusiastic hometown crowd at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, Calif., last Wednesday. Before the concert, Showbams got to sit down with the South Bay reggae band at their practice studio. We talked about the early days, almost dying on the road, South Bay reggae and Rastafarianism.

Showbams: I know you guys were all from various reggae bands throughout the South Bay in Los Angeles, one of them being Rude Boy Roots. How did you guys end up joining forces?:

Fortunate Youth: It was Jared’s birthday, our manager, and we were just playing in the backyard, and we ended up kinda jamming all together, a free for all kinda thing, and we ended up opening for the Abyssinians about a week later. The band we were playing that show with, Rude Boy Roots, were actually practicing right in here, and the drummer and bass player decided to quit about a week before the Abyssinians show. So then we just had that show scheduled as Rude Boy Roots so we just decided to go jam on stage at Brixtons, and we opened for the Abyssinians. We were definitely better together. The next thing you know, we’re a six-piece.

Showbams: So, tell me a little bit about the South Bay Reggae scene? Where did it start? Who influenced you in the scene?

Fortunate Youth: I don’t know where it all started, but in the beginning in the South Bay I listened to Tomorrows Bad Seeds all the time. Started to listen to other bands throughout Southern California like Tribal Seeds from San Diego. And of course Slightly Stoopid. And there’s the old school bands like Ghetto Fabulosos. Travis and I listened to that one album of theirs non-stop in high school.

We listen to a lot of Motown and funk. We also really love People Under the Stairs. Hip-hop influences us a great deal.

Showbams: Do you have any crazy tour stories on the road?

Fortunate Youth: We almost died going to Denver. It was winter tour, like four o’clock in the morning. Dan was driving, and everyone was passed out. We hit some black ice and slid across the road back and forth. Luckily, there were no cars around us. We pretty much hit a couple spikes or reflectors. Travis went out after and the wheel well was on the wheel of the trailer, and he put it on bare handed and happened to be able to bend it back. We all looked around and realized there’s nothing we could do, so we just hopped back the van and kept going.

Showbams: The show must go on! Where has been your favorite place to play?

Fortunate Youth: We just got back from Costa Rica. That was our first time out of the country.

Showbams: That’s awesome. How did you set up shows in Costa Rica?

Fortunate Youth: Jared, our manager, set that all up. He just got in contact with other bands, doing show trades here and there. Thicker Than Thieves really helped us, and Monteverde radio did a great job promoting it.

Showbams: Were they cool venues?

Fortunate Youth: Yeah, they were all rad venues to be honest. One was right on the beach in Playa Hermosa called The Backyard. The most consistent beach break in the world.

Showbams: Did any of you guys paddle out?

Fortunate Youth: Yeah, Greg got out there and all the guys from Thicker than Thieves are from Hawaii so they charged.

Fortunate Youth: Well, it’s pretty much who was on what instrument at the time the song was written. I don’t want to learn a part on keyboard that Corey wrote just so I can stay on that instrument. It’s all pretty natural.

Showbams: Being a reggae band, do you feel like there is pressure to be Rastafarian or at least preach some rasta beliefs?

Fortunate Youth: When we first started out, we didn’t say “Alright, let’s start a reggae band.” We all just picked up instruments, and this is the music that came naturally. As far as Rastafarianism goes, we definitely believe in some of those teachings, but we don’t hold those beliefs. So, no, we don’t feel any pressure. We respect all religions, but we know roots music obviously stems from Rastafarianism.

Showbams: With all the recreational weed laws passing, Do you plan on making any tours to Colorado or Washington anytime soon? What’s your favorite strain?

Fortunate Youth: Lots of tours and OG Kush.

By Pete Mauch //

Fortunate Youth //
Saint Rocke – Hermosa Beach, CA
November 21st, 2012 //

Fortunate Youth came to Saint Rocke last Wednesday and played their annual Thanksgiving show to their enthusiastic hometown crowd.

This local reggae band does a great job of mixing classic roots music with surf rock reggae, and it was ever apparent last week. Sometimes “surf” reggae can be contrived and feel forced, but that is exactly what Fortunate Youth does not do. Fortunate Youth plays real roots music performed with great passion from each and every member of this South Bay band.

They wasted no time as they jumped right into “Jah Music”, which slowly builds into a raucous groove. Dan, the lead singer, sings with a graceful grit and his lyrics flow effortlessly. Throughout the night, Dan was very interactive with the crowd. If he wasn’t shaking hands with fans, he was throwing out goodies like lighters and rolling papers like he did during the song “Burn One.”

About halfway through the set, Fortunate Youth proved that they are relevant with the times as they busted out “Legalize It” by Peter Tosh. Since Colorado and Washington just passed recreational marijuana smoking laws, I thought this was quite a statement by the band. The band weaves in and out of songs seamlessly, which set a nice flow to their show.

Fortunate Youth finished the night very strong with “Love is the Most High” buried deep in the set. This song is a serious rocker and the crowd responded quite favorably. They closed the night off with “Sweet Love,” which has become their anthem, and it was a perfect ending. This song makes you reflect on yourself, and at the same time it makes you gyrate uncontrollably.

Fortunate Youth is climbing to the top of the So-Cal reggae scene, and I look forward to keeping a close eye on them as they continue on their journey upwards.

Robby Krieger’s Jazz Kitchen serves up a hot dish at Saint Rocke

By Pete Mauch //

Robby Krieger’s Jazz Kitchen //
Saint Rocke – Hermosa Beach, CA
October 14th, 2012 //

Hermosa Beach played host to Robby Krieger’s Jazz Kitchen at Saint Rocke on Sunday night and played a refreshing set of jazz fusion. Kreiger, who is known as the guitarist for The Doors, leads a group of All-Star musicians from various bands, such as Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention and War.

On this particular night, the band seemed really loose on stage like they were just jamming in their garage, but it stayed tight enough to bring the heat when it needed to. Krieger’s Jazz Kitchen includes Frank Zappa alumnus and Hammond B3 player Tommy Mars on keys, Arthur Barrow from Zappa’s band on bass, Larry Klimas from War on horns and Tom Brechtlein of Chick Corea fame on drums.

Going into this show, I figured the set would be heavy on Doors songs, but it was just the opposite. This band played an array of originals as well as a couple Frank Zappa songs that were quite unexpected, yet very welcomed. Mars on the Hammond B3 is quite the treat. He plays the Hammond very aggressively with a loose style that compliments this jazz ensemble.

Krieger’s guitar style hasn’t changed much since his days with The Doors. He still rocks out on his Gibson SG that he made famous many moons ago. And of course, his Flamenco style of playing is still heavy in the mix, especially when he brings his slide out.

I was very impressed with the band’s jazzy take on “Riders on the Storm” to close out the night. Krieger’s signature licks were shining on this version as were Tommy Marsas’ while he pounded away ever so gently on the Hammond.

I found it quite refreshing that a living legend like Krieger, who could very easily just cover Doors songs all night and get a bigger reaction, would create such new and delightful music that is relevant today. I applaude Robby Krieger’s Jazz Kitchen and give them the Showbams approval.