(Clockwise from Top Left): Grasshopper, Jupiter, Snooze and Hollywood.
The hardest working reggae band in the business hit the road again last week, but minus one long-term member.
Love City’s own Inner Visions departed the territory on Thursday, May 27, for the reggae group’s tenth stateside tour. This time around, however, the group took to the road as a foursome since
“Ras” Paul “Osisi” Samms, who pitched in on vocals and percussion, has left the band.
Inner Visions is touring this summer with Phillip “Grasshopper” Pickering, Alvin “Jupiter” Pickering, Akiba “Snooze” Pickering and Aswad “Hollywood” Pickering.
While Inner Visions’ popularity has continually grown over the band’s more than 20 years of playing, the reggae artists haven’t found the financial windfall they still expect, according to guitarist and vocalist Phillip “Grasshopper” Pickering.
“Ras Paul has retired after more than 20 years with the band,” said Pickering. “I guess he was just tired of the road. Touring isn’t easy and it is not showing its face financially yet the way it should.”
“We’re sad to see Paul go, but we wish him well,” said Pickering.
Despite the lack of money flowing their way just yet, the Inner Visions members know it’s coming, Pickering added.
“You know, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh had the same issue in the beginning when the money wasn’t there,” said Pickering. “But you have to know where you’re going, not just where you are. It’s just a matter of time.”
With fans around the globe hammering for Inner Visions songs and concerts, the band is confident of continued success.
“We have heard from everywhere from Guam to France talking about our music,” Pickering said. “I think if we lived in the states for a year, Inner Visions would be a household name everywhere. It’s tough living here and trying to sell as many CDs as possible and get our names out there.”
With two agents representing the popular roots reggae band these days, Inner Visions already has more gigs lined up this summer than ever before, explained Pickering.
“This is our tenth stateside summer tour,” he said. “We might come back for a week or two, but otherwise we have dates booked through September. We’ve got dates from Asheville to Maine and from New Jersey to California.”
Far from the luxury tour buses of the major label musicians, Inner Visions members will regularly play a gig until 2 a.m., then pack up their own gear, drive 10 hours to the next gig, set up and jam again. But that scenario is better than having down time, according to Pickering.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s even harder if you’re not working enough,” he said. “In the past we’ve had time off, but this year we’re booked pretty solid with club dates and festivals. It’s getting better year after year.”
Pickering doesn’t have one favorite stateside performance location, but several locations stood out in his mind.
“I love to play places where the crowd really gets into it and then you feed off that,” he said. “It’s always fun to play in St. Louis and Maine. There is a place called Schooner’s Landing where they love us — they even expanded the club there for Inner Visions.”
A new album for the band is also in the works, which Pickering said should be out soon.
“It’s already been mixed and mastered and now it’s in the production phase,” he said. “We won’t push it locally until September though when we get back. We’ll do CD release parties and that sort of stuff.”
As the roots reggae musicians continue to keep their positive vibrations grooving, Inner Visions fans can plan on catching the band stateside anywhere from North Carolina to California. For the band’s 2010 Summer tour dates check out innervisions.com.