Interview with Jeff Roffredo of The Aggrolites

June 25, 2012

Interview with Jeff Roffredo of The AggrolitesInterview by: Gio Van Dam
Big Wheel Staff Reporter

Los Angeles based and hometown heroes The Aggrolites have been a juggernaut in the musical world for sometime now, showcasing their unique style and non stop energy to fans all across the world. Recently Big Wheel had an opportunity to sit and chat with Jeff Roffredo of The Aggrolites, Taking time out of his hectic schedule to talk tour, mexican food and of course "Dirty Reggae".Sit back and enjoy.

Big Wheel: The Aggrolites being natives of Los Angeles, What are a few things you look forward to when coming back home or playing to a home town crowd ?

Like the saying goes, "there's no place like home", and being out on tour more than we are home makes coming back all that more special for us. First off, it's always great to catch up and spend time with family and friends, hitting our favorite local spots and restaurants. I think any Southern Californian, regardless of their background, will tell you that they go through Mexican food withdrawals after any length of time abroad. Also, being that LA has a great music scene, you can check out live bands as well as DJ nights where they spin classic reggae and soul. And of course, the weather. Spending so much time around the world in all seasons we see all the extremes, from desert heat to Alpine snow, and it's hard to complain when home means 75 degrees with a breeze through the palm trees.

Being a product of Los Angles and incorporating athletes such as Matt Kemp in your lyrics How excited are you for the Los angeles sports scene?

As individuals we each have our own likes and interests, including varying levels of appreciation for sports, up to straight up fanaticism! We definitely all root for our home teams. We like to catch games when we're out on the road if they are being shown, and another nice part of coming home is getting to go to some games. We have two reigning champs in the Galaxy and the Kings, and with Magic's involvement with the Dodgers I think the whole city has a renewed excitement in them, if they keep playing the way they are playing they have a good shot at the first championship in almost a quarter of a century!

Pioneering the "Dirty Reggae" Sound, what do you think about being major influences on the budding, young ska core sound we see coming out of the San Fernando Valley and East Los Angeles areas incorporating that "Dirty Reggae" energy and tribute to their roots?

The "Dirty Reggae" sound definitely pays tribute to a lot of the masters of reggae and soul. Being fans of traditional music, it's always nice to see young bands that have a real interest in it too, and showing it in their music. You can always dig deeper and deeper into the past to find all kinds of musical gems, but it's exciting to see young bands creating music in the here and now that shows a true appreciation for the old school stuff we grew up with and still love. Right now there seems to be a surge in LA of these kinds of bands, and we hope that it only continues to grow, looking forward to see what's next!

With Fathers Day just passed, How large of a musical influence were the fathers in your lives?

Many of us are from musical backgrounds, Roger's father has been a keyboardist for legendary LA band Tierra, and he continues to play live shows with various groups. Jesse's father played guitar in bands inspired by the great soul artists of the 60's and 70's, they made a father-son ukelele duet you can see online. My father played bass and guitar in bands too, and growing up he was usually singing something, making up little tunes, or messing around on the guitar or piano, which he still does at home. So, to answer the question more directly, the influence was extra large. Thanks, pops!!

The upcoming 2012 "Unity Tour" Featuring SOJA, The Aggrolites, Slightly Stoopid and 311 is one of the highest sought after tickets around with anticipation to match, What are your expectations for this tour?

We can only expect the unexpected! We did some shows in support of 311 a few years ago, and Slightly Stoopid has taken us out on tour with them a number of times now. Aside from their musicianship and the energy they produce live, they are without a doubt some of the coolest and most generous people we've met in music, hands down. So we know that the vibes will be great for the summer all around, on stage and off.

Do you have any rituals on the road? if so do you ever find them spilling over into your personal lives?

I sometimes find myself driving hundreds of miles before I even realize what I'm doing. Not really.

The Osheaga  Festival is another show with a wide and deep pool of talented artists and acts from across the spectrum of the music world. When playing to these types of mixed audiences, does anything change as far as preparation or tunes you decide to play?

Often in these festival shows we get a set length that is more limited than we would do at our own club shows, and we also understand that we will be playing for people who have never seen us, so we know that we have to try to pack in everything we can in a more limited amount of time, and  show any first timers what we're all about.

What kind of reception do The Aggrolites get on the road in other countries? Any must see venues or bars for fans traveling abroad?

We go to Europe often and we've had the opportunity to play many big festivals there, as well as Fuji Rock in Japan. We always have a great time in Europe. We've also been to Mexico, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Reunion Island (off of the east coast of Africa) , and even Canada!! Everywhere we go we have a positive experience, we hope to be able to get out and play in as many new places as we can. It's great to have the opportunity to travel, see new places, meet new people and bring them what we all love, music.

Now what all the fans and our readers our just dying to know, What Do the Aggrolites have in store for their fans?

Glad you asked. After this summer tour with 311 and Slightly Stoopid we will get back on the road, most likely some international touring.
We have been working hard on new material and are planning to get into the studio soon, so be on the lookout for some brand new music in the near future! It's been a while since we've had the opportunity to record new songs, so we are really excited. We've also been putting a lot of time into creating the new songs, so we are able to fine tune and add new ideas as we go. So stay tuned, big things coming soon!




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