Members of Inner Visions, the island’s most popular reggae band, are back home on Love City following an extensive tour of the Northeast U.S. and Europe.
Comprised of Phillip “Grasshopper” Pickering on guitar and lead vocals; Paul “Osisi” Samms on vocals and percussion; Alvin “Jupiter” Pickering on vocals and bass; Akiba “Mr. Snooz” Pickering on keyboard and vocals; and Aswad “Hollywood” Pickering on drums, Inner Visions launched their Summer Tour 2007 in North Carolina.
After playing a few gigs in the Tar Heel State, the band headed farther north and played festivals in Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island before hitting venues in New York and New Jersey.
Then the tour get even more interesting, explained Grasshopper.
Organized by Fan
“A guy who joined our MySpace page — not a promoter, but a fan who did a few tours through Europe — said he could try to set something up for us,” Grasshopper said.
The band sent the fan a promotional package and before they knew it, Inner Visions was headed over to Europe for just over a month.
Most gigs had the guys playing to huge crowds in Belgium, but they also hit Germany and Holland, where they were received very well.
“Roots reggae is still really big over there,” said Osisi. “In the states dancehall has gotten popular but in Europe it’s still all about roots. So they definitely heard us.”
Highlights included playing inside a bomb shelter and in an old train station, explained Jupiter.
“It was actually a place they used to overhaul trains and the tracks were still running through the place,” Jupiter said.
“It looked rundown, but the atmosphere was great,” added Grasshopper. “They grooved in there.”
Inner Visions also hit the air waves in Europe, conducting several interviews on various stations. In addition to enjoying local cuisine — Hollywood’s favorite being the french fries in Holland — the reggae artists also absorbed the cultural differences.
“Everywhere we went the people were wonderful — really, really nice,” said Osisi. “Everybody rode bicycles and drove tiny cars.”
“One of the things I noticed was how conscious everyone was about the environment,” Grasshopper said. “The cars were small and no one drove the big gas guzzlers.”
After spending the winter season at home in Love City — and hopefully playing regularly for their hometown fans — Inner Visions has big plans for next summer.
The reggae stars will head to California in the spring for an extended tour of the area, where they’ve never spent much time before, explained Jupiter.
“We’ve only been to California for a few days at a time because we’re always booked on the east coast,” Jupiter said.
After touring around the Golden State for a few weeks, Inner Visions will return home for the St. John July Fourth Celebration.
“We haven’t been here for Carnival for four or fives years because we’re always touring,” said Grasshopper. “We’re going to be here this year.”
The band will head back to Europe after the July Fourth festivities for more gigs.
In the meantime, however, look out for a Love City-filmed music video from the reggae masters due to air on Tempo and a new recording, possibly including some live tracks from the summer tour.
New Album on Horizon
“We haven’t put a recording out for two years so we’re long overdue,” said Grasshopper. “Our fans are itching for something from us.”
While the guys have plenty of new material — Grasshopper says he’s always writing new songs — it’s just a matter of money and time.
“We have tons of material,” Grasshopper said. “We could do six or seven new albums individually. It’s a matter of the cost.”
While touring around the states and lately the globe, sounds glamorous, band members are quick to point out it’s a lot of hard work and the long absences from home are tough on their families.
“I do this because I have to, not because I want to,” said Grasshopper. “The amount of emails I get from people who say that we touched their lives in some way — that is why we do this. We have this inside of us and it needs to come out.”
“That message that we bring, it has to do with who you are,” added Osisi. “If you are real they feel that reality and they give it back to you.”
So the members of Inner Visions, who have never been given a negative review, continue to share their music with the world and by doing so make the universe a better place in which to live.
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