If you’re into old school reggae then The Aggrolites are for you. The Pier caught up with bassist Jeff Roffredo and drummer Alex Mckenzie at Warped Tour to discuss the success of their latest LP Rugged Road released as 45’s and their goal to spread awareness about reggae music and how there is a lot more than meets the ear. Enjoy!
The Pier: You guys collaborated with Tim Armstrong on his solo album “A Poet’s Life”, which in my opinion, was one of the most underrated albums of 2007. How did this come about?
Aggro: That developed because the band was on Hellcat, which is his label, and obviously his history, Operation Ivy, he always had a ska/reggae background, so, he had some song that he wanted to do in that style. It just so happened that the band was doing their first album for Hellcat at the time. I think it was just the timing and things worked out pretty naturally.
The Pier: Awesome! Well you guys released Rugged Road, your last LP, and for a limited time, you guys had a set of 45’s right? Was it 5 of them?
Aggro: Yeah! They should be still available in 45’s.
The Pier: How has the response been to those? You guys have that old school reggae sound and that’s sounds perfect on a 45 you know?
Aggro: Yeah, It’s been good. Over the years, a lot of guys asked the band that they wanted a release on 45’s, simply because they were all into the old school reggae and collected the original pressed 45’s in which they were collectors. Finally we got a chance to do that. And the album “Rugged Road” was pretty much a collection of the 5 45’s.
The Pier: Excellent. Well you guys release your first album “Dirty Reggae” which you released in a day, and it’s said that you guys had improvised a lot of your lyrics. What did you guys take away from that experience and how did that impact your future albums?
Aggro: I think the band always tries to go in with a lot of spur of the moment stuff to get a lot of energy and that excitement. More recent things, you know, people bring in a lot of exiting things and they may change a bit when we get into the studio, but there’s still a lot of songs that we try to create in the moment.
The Pier: Nice man! I read that your guys’ collective goal is to spread awareness of reggae music and show Americans that there’s a lot more to reggae music than Bob Marley, ganja, and dreadlocks. What do you think that Americans need to know about this music other than that?
Aggro: Well for me, I grew up with the music, so it’s a different perspective. I think a lot of people, you can say the word “reggae”, and they’ll say they don’t like it. The truth is, they don’t know. There’s a very limited amount of the actual music that people are exposed to. The music is timeless. I can put on some 60’s, 70’s stuff and it’s still great. People would be doing themselves a favor if they would investigate a bit and get into all the great music that’s out.
The Pier: : Absolutely, there’s a lot of amazing music out there. You guys tour a lot. What are you up to when you aren’t?
Aggro: There’s really not a lot of time that we’re not touring you know? We’re on the road all the time. We try to work on new material when we’re at home, but yeah, we’re full timers.
The Pier: Well thanks for taking your time to talk with The Pier!
Aggro: Thanks for having us!
The Aggrolites Links:
The Aggrolites Website
The Aggrolites Facebook
The Aggrolites Twitter
— [Read Chris Castro’s official Album Review for Rugged Road by clicking HERE]
Photos by: Kit Chalberg
Interview by: Chad Hillje and Kyle Hillje
Here’s the official music video to the song Trial & Error from their latest album, Rugged Road