.Love Your Local Band: Pacific Roots

Drummer A.J. Aguayo can’t remember exactly when his reggae band Pacific Roots played its first show—he thinks it was 2015, but it might have been 2016. He does remember that the show—a local showcase—went really well. They sold $300 worth of tickets, more than any other band that night.

“We were the band that had the biggest crowd. We had a mosh pit. It was insane. It was probably one of the best shows I’ve played, and it was the first show of this band,” Aguayo says. “Right now, the gas pedal is to the floor—that’s how fast we’re moving.”

Of course, when Aguayo started the band with guitarist/vocalist Carlos Rubalcaba, he didn’t have high expectations.

“When we were first starting out, we did not think we’d be at this point where we’re at right here. When you’re starting out in a music group, you’re jamming out, it’s fun. And then we met Jake [White] and Jose [Picazo] and the structure came with it,” says Rubalcaba.

The band released its full-length debut about a year ago, which was produced by Max Peterson, the drummer in the Expendables. Aguayo reached out to him to jam, and eventually Peterson offered to record their music and make it sound “way better and for way cheaper.” Now, Peterson is the band’s manager, and he’s been scoring them some pretty great shows.

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“We’re really excited about coming up with new music where all four of us are contributing,” says White. “We got some songs in the works right now that we want to record later this year, and we’re really excited about those. We’re getting really good feedback from the audience when we play them.” 

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $7/adv, $10/door. 479-1854.


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