Reggae/rock band to play the Mill


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mp3 sample: Passafire

"Start From Scratch"

The members of Passafire never experienced going to a large state school — they all attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, where they started their musical careers.

But But they leap at the chance to play shows on college campuses, such as the University of Iowa.

Lead vocalist Ted Bowne said the musicians didn't except a lot of people to show up at their first Iowa City show because the band isn't well-known.

"Surprisingly, a lot of people came to the show, and it was actually a really good time," he said. "We are looking forward to seeing all of those people again."

Passafire will play at 9 p.m. today at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St. Admission is $8.

The band members steer away from being in the category of traditional reggae/rock by continually composing new material.

"There are definite elements of our music that aren't average, and most recent reviews have said that we are straying away from reggae," Bowne said. "We have progressed a lot and expanded into different charters."

But the band's sound isn't the only thing that has changed in the past year. With the September 2011 release of its most recent album, Start from Scratch, the band has gained a new member, label, and producer.

"I think that in some ways we were starting from scratch in new areas of music that we haven't been to before, such as ballads and music that could even be considered alternative country," Bowne said.

"We do acoustic records here and there, but this time, we actually decided to create songs that were just made for acoustic instruments."

Mike DeGuzman, the keyboardist and newest member of the band, said his transition with the his fellow musicians has gone smoothly.

He notices a difference between his first show with the group and more recent performances, he said.

"I was a fan of the band before I even joined, and listening to the band, I always had ideas of where [it] could go," he said. "Now that I'm in [Passafire] and getting a chance to help write the songs, in a way, it's kind of a dream."

The band usually plays an electric show, so playing alternative versions of the songs, as the members plan to do at the Mill, presents a new element.

Since the tour began, the members said, audiences respond positively to their new sound. They sees this as their chance to explore the Americana roots and sounds of the music.

For drummer Nick Kubley, recording and performing Start from Scratch has made him a lot happier than he was before.

"This actually made me like what I was doing more, and overall, it was a positive change," he said. "It's good to start with a clean slate and move forward. I like that we're changing up our songs, because it keeps things fresh."

The musicians plan to play songs that they left out of their last tour's set.

The band will play some of its older songs that were crowd favorites and will also included a cover song, which, the members said, they haven't done on tour in years.

"We thought it would be really fun to include a cover on this tour," Bowne said. "We are excited to play some new songs and new old songs."

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