Minutes before Extravaganza ’09 opened its doors to a line of hundreds of people, I found myself in front of the Rebelution tent backstage. The reggae band whose members met in SBCC and then began to build the group’s fame in Isla Vista came back to its roots to perform at this year’s Extravaganza. The prodigal return of the now successful and famous reggae band brought Eric Rachmany (guitar and vocals), Marley D. Williams (bass) and Wesley Finley (drums) back to the community where their manic fans were waiting with anticipation. Once all the members of the band had entered the tent, I followed excitedly. And among shared laughs, I managed to capture an interview with three guys whom I can only describe as down-to-earth and pretty fucking awesome.

So here you guys are again playing for the I.V. crowd.
Eric: Yeah, it’s cool, we haven’t been back here in a while.

Yeah, what’s up with that?
Eric: Well, we’ve been touring around the country, and the last time we performed in I.V., it got a little bit out of hand. So now it’s more a matter of safety and professionalism, because at this point, people can get hurt easily and nobody can monitor that.

So, no chance of a concert at the Marley House soon?
Eric: Well, at least not in the same fashion that we got started in.

Marley: No, there is. But there has to be more planning and preparation involved. Or like, a really last-minute kind of concert. Those were the good times, but all good things come to an end, and hopefully there’s going to be another band to carry the torch.

Some I.V questions. Freebirds or Super Cucas?
Eric: Freebirds.

Marley: My first year, I lived here I lived on El Greco; Freebirds was closer, so it made sense, proximity-wise. Toward the end, we lived on DP, so I went to Cucas more because it was closer.

Wesley: I’m going to have to say that I’m in love with the breakfast burritos from La Cantina, [they’re the] all-time best breakfast burritos ever; they just don’t make them like that anywhere else. But as far as burritos go, I’d have to go with Freebirds.

Did you guys find starting out in I.V., it being such a unique place to live in, helped your music?
Marley: Yeah, because we had our practice spot in I.V. as well, so afterward, we’d pack everything into our truck, ride down the street and unload it, so it was easy to have a show. It didn’t take very much effort.

Where did you guys practice?
Marley: Where we still do now – it’s kind of by SOS. We still practice there, but we don’t practice as much because we’re on tour.

Wesley: Our practices are now just sound checks before the show.

You already know you’re good enough.
Wesley: You can always be better.

Eric: I.V. was fun, and it’s cool being a student too, and playing on weekends. The I.V. atmosphere is a really good spot for a band to get started, because we’d just set up in our backyard or driveway, and we built ourselves up from there, from playing on a drive way to the Marley House to Extravaganza three years ago and again this year. It’s a big deal to have people from I.V., who have made it to come back and perform for us; it means there’s still hope!

Eric: For people who didn’t get to see us, like the freshmen now, they have that recognition that we’re from I.V., and they feel a sense of pride.

Alright. Favorite I.V. moment?
Wesley: 420. I think 420 was the last show we played; it was a good one. It was pretty intense… it was almost too intense. There were so many people and broken glass. That was definitely a memorable I.V. moment.

Eric: As crazy as the last show was, at the Marley House, it was the best. It showed our journey and how we had built ourselves up. Whenever we set up a show, it would start at 9 in the morning and it was craziness until the end. Although that was the craziest show, it showed what we did to get to that point.

How did you survive for that long?
Marley: Build tolerance, learn moderation and pick your battles y’know? Do I want get really drunk, or do I want to play for longer?

Was that the battle?
Eric: On the cold nights you kind of had to drink.

Marley: there were some times we played Oceanside in winter, and it was so cold. We all played in sweatshirts and gloves.

Wesley: There was one show we played on the 66 block, and it was in one of the houses without backyards, and I think that one just went down the street both ways. You couldn’t see: I don’t even know how many hundreds of people were there. And that was still a year before, or within a year, of our last show. After that I think we decided to do more intimate, which is kind of weird to say in Isla Vista, or accommodating shows. Because it just blew up. I think that was the biggest street show on Del Playa. I remember we set up the lighting…

Marley: We used to get lights from Home Depot – you know, the cheap metal ones and the colored lights.

Wesley: 4x4s and just clip the lights on…

Marley: Generators.

Eric: Oh yeah, we got a generator! What where we doing?!

Marley: Because electricity in those apartments sucked. We always knew something bad was going to happen. Somebody’s instrument was going to go out. Somebody’s going to spill a beer on somebody’s amp. Some girl is going to knock something over, running out like “Aahh!” I remember just looking at the guys and just being like, “Yeah this is just like, total underground reggae mayhem.” And the cool thing about that show was that when we were sound-checking, the I.V. Foot Patrol came up and they like, asked us what was going on, but they recognized us. So we gave them CDs.

Eric: Oh yeah! They just wanted CDs.

Marley: So we were at the point where we gained recognition from the I.V. Foot Patrol, where it was cool, and we were on their good side. Speaking of that… this might be more of a personal moment. Yesterday I drove in, cause we had a warm-up rehearsal, first time jamming at our rehearsal room. And I got pulled over by the IVFP.

Do you know who it was?
Marley: No, it was some girl. We had our gear in the back, so I figured it must have been for not having it strapped down. But since we’ve touring for so long, I missed my registration sticker in the mail, and she was like, “Well, you have a January sticker, but I recognized your gear because it said Rebelution on it. I like your guys’ music, so just go on ahead.” I was like, “Yes!” The one time out of the times I’ve been messed with when I used to go to school here! I guess I’ve gained a little bit of notoriety. Wherever you are out there, lady foot patrol…

Wesley: “Whomever I just got fired…”

Marley: Yeah.

Eric: I’ve got a new favorite I.V. moment: There was this one time we got shut down – many times we got shut down – but this one time, when we were at the Marley House, we got shut down after one song. We all looked at each other and we were like, “Should we go down to 6507? Should we do it?!” There was a whole crew of people just carrying our shit, heading down the street; there was a whole bunch of people just following us there. We finally got everything there, set it all up, in like half an hour. Whatever it took to keep the show going.

Wesley: Just people clearing up DP to get the stage through and shit. Definitely, only in I.V.

Any last words for your I.V. fans?
Marley: We’re nothing without you!

Eric: Thanks for helping us get started. We’re back again and we’re going to continue to come back to Santa Barbara and play for you guys.

Wesley: Yeah, don’t give up on us.