Culturally Driven Band "Roots and Thunder" Sets Tone in L.A.
April 22, 2012
Source: Patricklee Hamilton, SmoothJazzTimes.com
They say the roots of a tree are seemingly one of the strongest elements on earth, while Thunder gives us a sign of what is to come. Well, for your listening enjoyment, these majestic forces of nature have descended upon a city sizzling with culture and booming with vitality, Los Angeles, California. Comprising a brotherhood of six seasoned musicians that bring to us the sounds of Earth, and her many secrets, Roots and Thunder (R&T) has a story to share. A story of life and the many lessons she has to offer.
If you’re looking for super-sonic guitar licks, loud amps, or head banging drums, well, you’ve come to the wrong place. However, if you’re in the mood for truth through musical notations accompanied by, what some may consider, Bob Marley and the Wailers-incarnate? Reggae at its best, presented to us with depth, meaning, humility and relevance. A stirring reminder that all music we may hear from day to day may not always impact the soul. However, when we are fortunate enough to hear such sounds, it lifts us up empowering us to lift others up.
When asked to perform, R&T is sure to fill any seat in the house, giving their fans a musical experience that will stay with them many years. Moreover, fans can be sure they will go away feeling good about themselves after the experience. And an experience is the very trait which Roots and Thunder prides itself on; Not just an event. There’s a constant connection with their fans that assures meaning, substance and truth from the most high. Lead vocalist, and guitarist, Cecil ‘Zeebo’ Pickwoad, who heads the group, was generous enough to speak with smoothjazztimes during a private rehearsal in Los Angles, California. He was delighted to share the group’s vision and mission for society. He spoke with grace and elegance focusing on why the group is relevant and necessary. The entire group welcomed smoothjazztimes into their private hideaway where all of their music is magically created. After being cleared through security, Patrickle Hammilton was now ready to sit and listen to one of the most amazing vocalist that has come along in quite some time. True to his core and belief in the highest God, Zeebo explains to smoothjazztimes why they are relevant in today’s music industry. He shares with us the true origins of their prominence, and the path to their destiny.
SJT (Patricklee Hamilton): Zeebo, thanks for inviting SJT to a private rehearsal. We really appreciate you speaking with us. How are you?
R&T: Thank you Patrick, I’m doing fine. How are you?
SJT: I’m doing well, Zeebo, thanks for asking.
SJT: Zeebo, How did you come up with the name, Root’s and Thunder?
R&T: Well actually, there were only three of us in the beginning, and we called ourselves ‘tree roots’. We believed in playing music with a message. Moreover, because it was only three of us at the time we felt a dire need to connect to the people, to give them truth through our music.
SJT: Is R&T considered to be a spiritually based group?
R&T: We have always been spiritual. That is the reason we formed the group. We have always been spiritual, which we feel is the reality of life anyway. You know…
after we formed the group and our message started to grow, we then decided to call ourselves, Roots and Thunder. We are, connected to both earth, and the heavens.
SJT: I see what you are saying. This is wonderful. Forever evolving…
R&T: That is right my brother!
SJT: What is your vision for the group?
R&T: Our vision is to praise the most high. In addition, this, we feel is our supreme message to our fans and to all people. The scriptures teach us, we are to ‘come to Zion’ in the last days. Understanding, Zion has characteristics that we have to recognize that we are in the right place. That is truth. Therefore, this is why we come together to share with all people.
SJT: Is this the message you express through your music?
R&T: That is right. We all have to be careful how we live our lives. Death comes to every man. No one is
Exempt. This is why, the most High says if we come to Zion He will give us life. Therefore, roots and thunder recognizes that we come to glorify our heavenly father.
SJT: Most people, when they listen to reggae music they immediately think of Bob Marley. If he were alive today, what do you think he would say of your musical vision?
R&T: I think he would say, “Blessed my brother, I see we are on the same track. We have come to glorify the same Father up in Heaven.”
SJT: Zeebo, how many members make up the band?
R&T: Currently we have six members.
SJT: Do you all share the same core beliefs?
R&T: Yes, we all come to praise the most high. However, some are stronger in faith than others are.
SJT: Talk to us about your CD.
R&T: The CD is titled; Blackman University.
SJT: Were you in collaboration with another artist when you recorded this CD?
R&T: No. All of our material is original compositions.
SJT: Have you signed with a major label, or are you independent?
R&T We are currently independent.
SJT: Many artists today chose to be independent. This seems to be a complete reversal of the early years, musically speaking. Many artists wanted the security of a major label. Today, things are much different. Will you seek a major label in the future or are you comfortable the way things are now?
R&T: We are okay now however, in the future, if we can find help with distribution of our material that would be a great help. We can always use help. This makes for good relationships in such a demanding industry.
SJT: Are you taking advantage of social media to stay connected with your fans
i.e., Facebook, Twitter?
R&T: Yes, we do, as this is a vital tool to keep everyone informed of our engagements.
SJT: What will keep you balanced through your success?
R&T: Well, you know, our foundation is on the rock. Moreover, because our foundation is on the rock, what can possibly cause us to become unbalanced? (Chuckles) We have faith in the most high. We can never put our trust and faith in man. Man cannot always keep promises. Nevertheless, the most high keeps all of His promises. This is our message to the world.
SJT: You wrote a song titled Warriors. It happens to be one of my favorites. Can you tell us about the song?
R&T: I wrote Warriors about ten years ago. Moreover, today we feel we must be warriors in all things. Understanding 99% of the world is suffering like a cancer spreading all over. In addition, the people who may have the power to stop such suffering stand idly by and do nothing. We need action. People around the world need help. We need action!
SJT: How do you foresee Roots and Thunder getting its message across?
R&T: Fortunately, through sources like SMT, allowing us to share our thoughts and visions with millions of people worldwide. Moreover, we would like to thank SJT from the bottom of our heats for this great opportunity.
SJT: Thank you for such kind words, and you are very welcomed.