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Reggae rock band Passafire to heat up The Basement

Courtesy of Passafire

With a name like Passafire, who thinks of reggae music?

Describing themselves as a reggae rock band with lots of other influences, Passafire, from Savannah, Ga., will be performing at The Basement Thursday at 8 p.m.  

Together for almost nine years, singer and guitarist Ted Bowne, summed up the group’s sound.

“It’s party music,” he told The Lantern. “If you can imagine going to an awesome party and what music might be playing, that’s us.”

The band has been touring nationally for years, but did their first full stint on Vans Warped Tour over the summer.

“It was incredible,” Bowne said. “In some ways it was the most brutal tour we’ve ever done. It was hot, and you’re in 90-to-107-degree parking lots every day of the tour, but the amount of other bands you meet and friends you make is priceless.”

Passafire is headlining the current tour and promoting their new album “Start From Scratch,” which was released Sept 20. The album is the product of the band who paired with a new producer and looked at their past recordings to see what their fans liked.

Paul Leary, guitarist of the Butthole Surfers, has previously produced albums by Sublime, Pepper and Slightly Stoopid. This made him a good candidate for Passafire, seeing that the band has toured with all three.

“He (Leary) has an awesome track record and we thought he would be perfect to work with,” Bowne said. “For ‘Start From Scratch,’ we definitely went back and looked at more successful songs from the past. Plus we were crunched for time, and some of the songs came out of nowhere. We were trying to do a really good album in a short amount time and I think we accomplished that.”

Erin Stevens, a second-year in accounting, said she’s “not really into reggae music,” but Bowne thinks Passafire is much more than just reggae, even if the name was inspired by a Bob Marley album and biography.

“We were all sort of influenced by The Police, The Clash, 311, and Sublime,” Bowne said. “In our newest album, we went a lot of different places. There’s more country and rockabilly, as well as some electronica and dancehall type sounds. We went further into our influences, both new and old.”

Bowne said their varied sound contributes to the band’s diverse fan base.

“We don’t really play to a certain demographic,” Bowne said. “We had an 8-year-old at our show last night and he knew every word. Our style has spread us out into other areas that people can kinda grasp onto. We have some fans who really like punk rock, and some who are really into roots reggae.”

The band have plans to keep touring for the next several months, as both a headliner and with other bands. They also plan to make stops in Europe and Costa Rica within the next year, but for right now, they’re just enjoying themselves.

“We make music so people can forget their troubles and have a good time, something people can move to and still gain insight from,” Bowne said.

Passafire’s new album, “Start From Scratch,” is available on iTunes, Amazon, and the band’s website.

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