BIG UPS to all the Rez Headz who represented in Vermont. Once again, Nectar’s in Burlington raged from start to finish. Despite sub-zero temperatures the room was packed. Honestly, I’ve never seen anyone crowd surf at Nectar’s before, but it happened on Friday night. Our Boston brothers Richard James and the Name Changers crushed it, the Nectar’s staff was on it, and the rowdy Vermonters were pleased.
Now it’s time to plan the year. An album is due to drop anytime, new sick graphics, videos and merchandise are available and there is a huge tour developing in the months to come. We’re excited to head Florida way for spring break, hitting some of our favorite spots like Green Parrot in Key West and Back Booth in O-town. There are a bunch of new Florida towns for us on this run, lets show them how we do at the Rez party!
Until then, we’re in and around New England playing some great rooms and bringing warmth to the Frigid North. Including Feb 2nd, at one of our favorite clubs, The Spot, in Providence, RI. The staff at The Spot are family and the shows always rage. We’re also excited for our first show at Boston’s new club, The Sinclair on Feb, 16th. It’s gonna be a home town rager! We can’t wait to finally share the Boston stage with Lucid. These guys put on a great show and throw an awesome festival in Plattsburgh, NY, Backwoods Pondfest. It’s one of our all time favorites plays. There are a lot more shows all over the East coast in the next few months so check out the Spiritual Rez tour page to plan your Rez Winter and Spring Break!
Check out this live version of, “Steve Got Arrested.” The song is a true story about a house party we threw in Allston Rock City back-in-the-day where everything went wrong! (Read More Below!!!) Share and Enjoy!
(Continued) It was one of our all-out Boston basement parties; jungle juice, kegs of beer, jamming all night, the place was jumpin’. During our last song BPD stormed the basement. We faded out and proceeded to exit. The cops weren’t to happy about our little rager, seeing as we were all under aged at the time. They threatened to confiscate our instruments and take us all in. Finally, after a lot of “yes sir, no sir,” they let us out with whatever gear we could haul. Our friend Steve arrived home to find his house in total chaos; police and drunken college kids scattering in the yard. Despite his not even being at the party, the police immediately arrested Steve. Riddled with guilt, we threw down some bail money. When I saw him in class the following week, I apologized for him getting arrested to which he responded, “No worries, let’s do it again on Friday!” What a trooper. Thanks, Steve!! -Spiritual Rez
Check out this acoustic in-studio performance of our new song, “Agapoula Mou.” The song, which uses greek lyrics in the chorus, will be featured on our fourth independent album, “Apocalypse Whenever.” Share and Enjoy!
After nearly 6 years of full-time touring, 36 states, and 3 independent records, Spiritual Rez is still at it with no end in sight. When we get in the van to leave for a tour, there’s a feeling that comes over the bus. Being on the road evokes a certain mood. It conjures excitement that combines the enjoyment of traveling alongside your best friends with the fulfillment of actualizing your life purpose. Tour is when all the hard work behind the scenes comes to life; it’s when we free the beast. All the practice and writing and preparation becomes action. The wheels start to spin and all of us feel it. It’s the unity of a common goal: to do what we love and spread joy to the masses; to co-create art on the move; to help some people escape the grind and bring others back from outer space.
New places stimulate the imagination: what will it be? Who will we meet? Has our music preceded us? Do they know who we are? Frequented towns feel different; like another home. It’s comforting to know the town; the restaurants and music shops and cafe’s; the people. We have made friends that will be with us forever and the family is growing. Spiritual Rez has gone beyond us. We’re just it’s keeper. Rez is a network of music lovers with no boundaries.
And here we go again, embarking on another tour. We’re prepared to see new places and meet new people; prepared to grow our peaceful nation. And we’re excited to see our friends and family; excited to visit some of our favorite spots. It’s a blessing to do what we do and the supporters are the fuel that drives the miracle machine.
A big thank you to all of you! Check out the dates and come be friends! We love you all!
This Saturday night in Charsetown, MA, history will be made. For the first time, Spiritual Rez will share the stage with Allston shit-rock legends, The Thickness. It’s been a long time coming. Rez’s history with The Thickness stems back to a time when nothing mattered; when kegs of beer, togas and Bagel Rising were a given; when there was nothing beyond the T train’s less-than-distant reach; when Spiritual Rez rocked 19 Highgate St. and basement parties across the sprawling college student ghetto that is Allston/Brighton. As I reminisce, images of hard liquor, cheap woman, brutal mornings and bedside buckets stain my weakened memory. The Thickness and Rez partied like lock-key-kids who just found mommy’s gin closet and still do from time to time.
And the time is now. This show is one of those special shows. It’s a costume party with Spiritual Rez and The Thickness. It sounds like heaven but there’s a catch: The Thickness have announced that on Saturday, October 27th, 2012, after performing a mind-moshing set consisting of international hits like, “Saturday Night,” “Lost Ones,” and “Sweet Sofia #1,” The Thickness will disband forever. It’s sad. It’s real sad. But we’re not here to mourn the death of The Thickness, we’re here to celebrate her life with beer and fake blood. Maintaining a level of rock so high for so long is commendable beyond words. There is no award or honor capable of accounting for their greatness. A grammy would be an insult at this point, (not that they don’t have plenty.) They should be given an island or a planet for their insurmountable achievements; they should be bathed in milk by virgins and hand fed Nilla Wafers by midgets…….. But they wont. All they will get is Spiritual Rez and a boatload of free beer. That’s it. Nothing more. Then they can fizzle into obscurity like God intended. -Spiritual Rez
Come bid the Thickness farewell October 27th, 2012!!!
Rocking at the Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, Ma. #ragefest2012
It always warms our collective heart to play for the home town crowd and last week at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, Ma was no different. The crowd was bumping all night, the light show was hot thanks Sam Betts and Jim Rood, all and all the show kicked ass. Thanks to all the die hard Rez Headz and new Spiritual Rez family members who came out in force. #ragefest2012. Big thanks to both opening bands: Rapplesauce and Boombasnap , you guys crushed it. And a special high five to Brian Silver of 9B Studio for running the board and making our show sound ill. Moving forward, Rez has big things on the horizon. The next two weeks will be spent in the studio finalizing the new record, Apocalypse Whenever and then we play two of our favorite rooms: The Stone Church, New Market, NH, 10/12/12 and The Spot Underground, Providence, RI, 10/13/12.
Rez rocking The Spot Underground, in Providence, RI.
These rooms always make for a full on Spiritual Rez dance party. The Stone Church has been a music mecca since 1969. Perched high atop Zion Hill in Newmarket, The Stone Church beckons crowds from all over the region. Rez has been playing this room for years. (Get your tickets early, these shows sell out fast!) The staff at The Spot Underground are family. This premier music venue is riddled with psychedelic art creating a perfect place to get weird at a Spiritual Rez concert. There’s even a food item named after Rez on the menu, “The Spiritual Veg Quesodilla.” So Dope!!! Keep your radar out for all the upcoming shows. Burlington, VT and Hartford, Ct are also on the horizon. Two key places to rage at the Rez show. See you there!!! Here’s a sneak peek at a new Spiritual Rez jam!
Thanks to Matt Beninghof for the sweet flier design!!!
Spiritual Rez returns home for another Middle East Downstairs Reggae Dance Party! We love the Middle East. It’s just enough world class venue and just enough basement to suit our taste. Rez has been playing the middle East for years. The first time was supporting Jen Durkin and the Bomb Squad and not long after that we were selling it out as a headliner. Over the years we’ve played most of the major venues in Boston/Cambridge but
Get your tickets now, these shows often sell out fast!!!!
we always come back to the Middle East. So, here we go again, honed from tour and ready to party! Their are two other great bands on the bill: Rapplesauce, a Boston based funk band led by trusted friend and ally Sam Ravenna, and Boombasnap , Cape Cod based Jazz-infused funk/rock band with a dash of hip hop. These guys set um up, and we knock um down. Every Spiritual Rez concert is fun, but Boston is where Rez was born. We look forward to these shows like Christmas morning. Not only is it our most happening fan base, it’s a family reunion. We’ll be showcasing some new music off the unreleased album, Apocalypse Whenever, and playing all the hits. Get your tickets now, these things often sell out prior to the day of show. Email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for presale tickets. Or you can purchase them at http://tktwb.tw/MId0Bw
Friday, September 21st 2012
Middle East Downstairs
472 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge MA
18+ $15 8PM Doors
hop·lite (hoplīt). n. A heavily armed foot soldier of ancient Greece.
As the Rez summer tour comes to an end we look toward the future and can’t help but smile. This tour warranted so many great things. We linked with bands like The Hip Abduction, The Crazy Carls, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, and Chopteeth, we played some amazing shows in some familiar places and were surprised by new towns/venues that will become frequented stops on the Spiritual Rez railroad. Out of all the good that came, the most exciting development was a new deal with Hoplite
Hoplite founder, Tom Baggott, has made a 25 year career out of discovering and developing emerging talent.
Music. Hoplite is an agency specializing in the development and continuation of artists careers. Founding partners Tom Baggott and Chris Cate presided over the foundational career development of Disco Biscuits, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Railroad Earth, Ryan Montbleau Band, Zach Deputy and many other smaller artists. Through time spent at other agencies or in other roles ranging from artist management, tour management, production, marketing and management over the last 20+ years— they also participated in the career growth of Agents of Good Roots, Johnny Winter, Michelle Shocked, The Radiators, Tim Reynolds, Victor Wooten and many more. Spiritual Rez is very excited to join the team along side our great friends and allys: Dopapod, Zach Deputy, Turkuaz, Cope, Jimkata and many more. It’s the perfect time for this union with the new record, Apocalypse Whenever, about to drop and new year approaching. Look out for upcoming Spiritual Rez tour dates!!!!
Rez is proud to welcome Rob O'Block to the family!!!!
Spiritual Rez is proud to welcome guitarist Rob O’Block to the team. Rob hails from Boston, Ma where Rez has been thriving since 2003. With a well-rounded musical background in Rock, Funk, Soul, R&B, Jazz, and Experimental music, Rob brings his own unique voice to his role as Spiritual Rez’s lead guitarist. His ability was showcased with Rez for the first time at their 4th annual Boston Harbor Cruise this summer. Having worked closely with Alan Evans, of the group Soulive, on two full length studio recording projects and studying at Berklee College of Music with famed slide guitar virtuoso David Tronzo as well as Tim Miller, David Gillmore, Scott Tarulli, Jim Peterson, Bret Willmott, and Mark Hardt, Rob brings a wide knowledge base to any live show or studio session. Graduating from BerkleeO’Block will also be featured on the new Spiritual Rez album, Apocalypse Whenever, due to drop this Fall. After graduating from Berklee Magna Cum Laude, Rob joined the team at BandFrame (an online web solution for musicians). The company now serves as an affordable platform for musicians of all types to showcase themselves through a focused, highly customized, aesthetic driven web portal. In a short time, BandFrame has acquired several high profile accounts including Snarky Puppy (groundUp Music/Ropeadope Records), Alan Evans (Soulive, Royal Family Records), and Rodney Howard (Gavin DeGraw, Avril Lavigne, Regina Spektor). In addition to his virtuosic guitar playing, diligent work ethic and business prowess, Rob is a genuinely good person. His positivity and strong understanding of team mentality make him a pleasure to be on the road with. Robert O’Block, welcome to the family! Come see Rob and the Rez boys this Summer!!
A quick note on the composition of, “Decisions,” By Spiritual Rez front man, Toft Willinghamham
I wrote “Decisions,” in Allston, Massachusetts, last year shortly after the untimely death of Amy Winehouse.
She was the voice I’d been waiting for: depth, control, and flawless delivery captured by a production that blew me away. I instantly became a fan of her throw-back pin-up girl swagger. What a band she had. The Dap Kings accentuated her vibe and elevated her sound. She blew right up just as she deserved to do. She was at the top. And then…. POOF! This amazing talent had died because of choices she had made. Simply put: she partied too hard too long. I thought about all the people I had seen O.D., go to jail, get drugged, or worse. I thought about choices I have made and “Decisions,” started to write itself. At first, it was a song for me, a reminder to moderate. Then Spiritual Rez got a hold of it and created this rad groove that we could not contain. So we decided to release it.
Spiritual Rez bassist, Jesse Shaternick, on stage during Skrillex at Camp Bisco Eleven
At least one person died on the first day of Camp Bisco this year. That does not paint a good picture of what we are trying to do through music as a culture. Aside from that, Bisco was amazing; Skrillex blew my mind with his pyrotechnics, lazers, projection mapping, and sounds like skyscrapers collapsing and being rebuilt in a matter of seconds. And what a nice guy, never turning down a fan for a handshake or a hug. Skrillex was inspirational on and off the stage. And the crowd was epic; everyone floating in a Dub Step tidal wave as Skillex screamed, “take care of your ladies fellas!” I loved that. He knows it. Watch out for your friends. That’s the message. I love to party. We all do. But we have to be aware of our limits and party responsibly. That is the point of “Decisions,”: Party with caution and take care of each other, think before you act, look before you leap, drink plenty of water, make good decisions.
So please enjoy this new Spiritual Rez track and heed its message. We are all in this together: a massive planetary party and everyone is invited. It is up to us to keep it safe. Here’s the newest Spiritual Rez tune. Listen to it, share it and ENJOY! -Toft Willingham
Mohamed is a keyboard virtuoso; he's shown here with Melodica and Keytar.
It’s always a thrill to play with new musicians. Every players personality and style effect the vibe of the band. Rez has been fortunate to have some of the best out on the road, and we’re thankful for everyone of them. Today, Spiritual Rez is happy to announce a new member for our upcoming East Coast Tour Mohamed Araki. Mohamed hails from Sudan equipped with an arsenal of dub sounds and a vicious bubble. We discovered
Mohamed shined through the madness at Rez's last Rock On Concert Cruise in Boston Harbor
Mohamed at a friends birthday jam session in Boston, Ma and knew right away we’d found a gem. On top of his world class musicianship, Mohamed’s a truly kind person, the type of man you’d be lucky to go on the road with. Plus: Who doesn’t love Keytar, Melodica and space age keyboards the likes of which no one has ever seen or heard? Is he a man?…Or is he a space traveler sent to bring joy to the people of Rez-Nation? Is he from another time when all men are born with the ability to transcend reality through sonic manipulation? Whatever he is, we look forward to many amazing shows with this talented and kind-hearted African. Mohamed, welcome aboard the good-ship Spiritual Rez! come see Mohamed and all the Rez boys at any of our upcoming shows
Two Saturdays ago (June 16th 2012) the Boston reggae band Spiritual Rez played the Rock On Concert Series and rocked the boat, both figuratively and literally. The boat was packed with fans eager to hear the newest songs by the band, who are due to release their sophomore album “Apocalypse Whenever” sometime in the fall.
Led by Toft Willingham, Spiritual Rez’s live shows are filled with joy and high energy. Spiritual Rez gets the crowd dancing and Willingham’s smiling face and heartfelt lyrics had the crowd applauding until their hands hurt, singing until their voices were gone and dancing until their legs were numb!!. One signature part of any Rez show is the “Tribal Scream” where Willingham encourages the crowd to “Get rid of all the stress in your life”, and after he counts to four everyone in the room screams as loudly as they can. This is just an example of how Spiritual Rez keeps a crowd entertained from the moment they begin playing to the end of their set.
At this particular show, the Rez line-up consisted of the founding members: Toft on electric guitar and lead vocals, Ian “Meat” Miller on drum kit, Jesse Shatterneck on electric bass, Kory Stanbury on tenor sax and Bryan House on trombone. The horn section was joined by Kory’s younger brother Ryan on trumpet.
One of the highlights of the evening was when Toft’s mom , Linda Hoover Willingham sat in with the band for a tune. The energy during that song was magical as mother and son shared the one thing that never ceases to bring them together.
In conclusion, the cruise was very enjoyable and everyone disembarked feeling tired but happy. Go to www.spiritualrez.com for information on upcoming shows in your area. This is one band you don’t want to miss live!!
Camp Bisco, while revered by many (myself included) as one of the only places to catch three consecutive days of delicious Disco Biscuits sets, also brings in many of the most progressive and talented names in music today. The lineup is so stacked it can be overwhelming (I often get really into an artist months after July and realize I missed their set at Camp Bisco because I didn’t know them at the time). Let Sensible Reason pick out some of the names you should not miss this year and give you a taste of what they are going to bring to you at Camp Bisco.
Rez trombonist Bryan House leaps off stage to get close and personal with fans while Toft, their singer serves as a makeshift mic stand..
First up is Spiritual Rez, the high energy “reggae funk dance experience” out of Boston. These guys have been touring for nine years, bringing their heat to all corners of the country sharing the stage with heads like Gregory Issacs, Toots and The Maytals, Steel Pulse, Barrington Levy, George Clinton and The Parliament Funkadelic, Golgol Bordello and Jimmy Buffett. Legendary keyboardist and founding member of Funkadelic/Talking Heads Bernie Worrell is known to play entire shows with Rez creating a whole new musical experience.
Their music is difficult to classify but is deeply rooted in reggae, with dub grooves, smooth bass, crisp horns and soulful lyrics giving them a sound that ranges from sexy to high energy ska dance party. Rez is made up of Toft Willingham who provides lead vocals and guitar, Jesse Shaternick on the bass, drummer Ian “Meat” Miller, Kory Stanbury on sax and Bryan House on trombone. Having seen (and traveled for) dozens of their shows, I can affirm that their live performances will leave you drenched in sweat with a massive smile on your face.
This year will be Spiritual Rez’s second Camp Bisco performance, check them out at 8PM on the Showcase Stage Friday, July 13. I was able to catch up with drummer and band manager Ian Miller and find out what they plan to bring to their performance. Read Ian’s interview here:
Once again our annual Boston Harbor Cruise was a great success. The boat was rocking, the people were dancing and my trusted compatriots were killing it. Along with our regular cast, Keith Hollis, who formally toured internationally with soul superstar Solomon Burke, laid down an infectious bubble; Ryan Stanbury showed the crowd the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as he ripped the trumpet alongside his brother Kory; Rob O’Block played lead guitar and earned his place in the Rez hall of fame; Muhammed Akari, the powerhouse keyboardist/space traveler made my little heart skip a beat when he ripped metal guitar leads on his keytar. Muhammed, I love you.
It’s an honor to play such talented people and for such wonderful fans and friends.
Madji and Rez playing Disc Jam 2012
And then there was sunday. A beautiful day at the Hyland Farm and Brewery in Sturbridge, MA, home of the 2012 Disc Jam Festival. We played a late afternoon set on the main stage for an enthusiastic crowd of dancing hippies/ music lovers. The highlight of this fathers day show for me was my mom Linda Hoover Willingham, (I call her Madji,) singing Bob Dylan’s song, “I Shall Be Released,” to close the set. Madji has been blowing minds for 4 decades and was once in a band with rock legends, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan as well as Jeff Baxter of the Doobie Brothers. After the high energy dance party it was like a breath of fresh air to play such a sweet song with my mom. What a blessing to play music at all, let alone with you best friends and your family, outside in beautiful place for a crowd of beautiful people. Thanks to all the folks who support, you are the fuel that drives the machine.
Artist on the web: www.spiritualrez.com www.myspace.com/spiritualrez
“There is nothing more mind bending than diverse sounds and omni-present textures…the music that changes your mind and your soul.”
“Start with a dose of old-school, Marley-Toots-Tosh reggae and infuse it with everything from Sun Ra Arkestra freak jazz to Steve Vai guitar pyrotechnics. Inventive intersections like these define Spiritual Rez”
-Michael Witthaus, Hippo Press