SCW: Tell us about your group Pure Roots, the main players, and who you have jamming with you at this point in time.
Pure Roots is a versatile group of hard working musicians that have been on a non-stop effort to debut the band locally and internationally. The leader of the band is the drummer, me (Jeff Allgrove). The identity of the band lies here, and with Andrew “Blood” Reid on vocals. I recently brought on board Juan Alvarez on rhythm guitar, original Pure Roots member Matt Barnett on lead guitar, Daniel Reyna on keyboard, Akin Anderson on bass, Dan Young on trumpet, John Hensley on trombone, and Richard Fenno on saxophone. Without a singer in town, Pure Roots forms an 8-piece powerhouse reggae experience.
SCW: How did the original members come together to form Pure Roots?
I have been a full-time musician since age 12, constantly writing and playing music of all genres. Working so hard at the music, I found myself most expressive and creative with reggae music. It’s music that feeds the soul. In 2005, after being inspired by so many reggae greats such as Burning Spear & Bob Marley, some high school friends and I started focusing on playing roots reggae music. It was in 2007 where the band took on the name Pure Roots. Considering that’s all we wanted to play, the name fit well.
SCW: How would you describe the type of music you produce, and is it consistent with where your and the group’s roots are?
Pure Roots produces authentic reggae music, capturing a spiritual sound, emphasizing strong melodies and heavenly harmonies. Pure Roots is always experimenting with new styles and genres, however the band always returns to roots reggae as a favorite. We feel all of our musicians are very passionate about this type of music and all are very involved in the reggae community.
SCW:I saw that one member is the son of Junior Reid. How has this affected the sound of the group? Would you say that you tend to emulate that, or does it drive you guys to produce a new unique sound?
Andrew “Blood” Reid has a talent of his own. He is a cutting edge artist that records, mixes, and masters his own tunes. Some of his singles with his brother (Wada Blood) and father (Junior Reid) have reached the top of the music charts internationally. Andrew has toured the world opening for his father, alongside his brother Wada, backed by many great bands such as Sly & Robbie, One Blood Band, etc. Most of Andrew’s work has been involved with dance hall and hip-hop songs, however the collaboration of Andrew Reid & Pure Roots has changed the way he and Pure Roots approach music. The group decided on playing a few tunes written by Andrew’s father, as a symbol of respect for how influential his father has been towards his musical career. We often have fans say “Andrew is the new legacy carrying on the torch.” Pure Roots is more powerful than ever with this very talented upcoming artist in the group. The band is very dedicated to writing original material; we want people to be humming our melody lines in their heads for as long as music is around. Our sound can be described as having a heavy roots reggae feel, that’s being pushed to new limits, with something refreshing and exciting to look forward to. Pure Roots has been incorporating some of Andrew & Wada’s original dance hall tunes, which bring extreme high energy to the performances.
SCW: Where do you see the group in five years?
We see Pure Roots flourishing and beginning to tour internationally, debuting albums regularly, and becoming a recognized talented group. We will have to work harder than ever to stay on top of the music, as with anything that requires endless amounts work and nurturing.
SCW: What would you say would be the main reason people would be drawn to your shows?
I believe they are attracted to the idea of solid music, roots. It could be the idea that we focus on roots reggae, however it could also be that people appreciate the professionalism in the musicians and the music. I feel like many people that have heard us, who happen to not particularly care for reggae, seem to enjoy what we offer and our musicianship.
SCW: Any new additions to the group?
We recently brought in a 3-piece horn section, which has helped the band grow and sound tighter. While Andrew Reid lives in Kingston, Jamaica, half a world away from Santa Cruz, Pure Roots has taken the opportunity with the horn section to fill in the space where Andrew sings while he is not on tour with Pure Roots. This gives the band a chance to perform with instrumentals only, using a lot of “dub” & percussion in our set, which really engages us with the crowd. It really showcases the musicians and what they can do. We must say that this music will make you move your body from head to toe.
SCW: Future shows, album releases, press, etc?
Following the 2012 release of two singles of Pure Roots featuring Junior Reid, a big album release of ours is in the works. Pure Roots is in the studio working on a full-length album with Andrew “Blood” Reid featuring his brother Wada Blood and their father Junior Reid. The album will be released under Right Vibes Productions own label. This album is being tracked in Santa Cruz, Ca, tacked and mixed in Kingston, Jamaica, and in the state of Utah tracking with our horn section. Pure Roots’ two singles titled “Jah The Highest” & “Jah The Dubbest” will be remastered and re-released onto the album. The international release date is expected soon.
Tune in this Friday July 13th on KKUP 91.5 FM Cupertino/Santa Cruz for a phone interview with Pure Roots at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday July 14th 2012 @ Moe’s Alley, Santa Cruz Ca 9 p.m.- Opening for The Mighty Diamonds
Saturday July 21st 2012 @ Chris’s Harbor Bar, Belmont, Ca 9p.m.- Opening For Dub FX
Sunday July 29th 2012 @ Monterey Bay Reggae Festival, Monterey, Ca 5PM