Local brothers embark on national tour

SAVANNAH, GA — Music fans will be cheering some of the world’s top acts again this year as part of the Van’s Warped Tour that will criss cross the country through June, July and August.
Along with some of the hottest acts in music today — Paramore, Gym Class Heroes, Jack’s Mannequin, and Simple Plan to name just a few — will be a band from Savannah, Ga. called Passafire, that just happens to feature two names that will be very familiar to Plymouth residents.
Passafire is a reggae band that features brothers Nick and Will Kubley on drums and bass. The band that highlights frontman Ted Browne on guitar and lead vocals with Mike DeGuzman on keyboard has made quite a name for themselves in the new music scene.
It’s a huge jump from the groups simple beginnings. When Nick graduated from Plymouth he headed south to pursue his education at the Savannah School of Art and Design. Early on he made a friend.
“Ted and I started playing together and we decided to start a band,” said Nick.
Finding another member took a little more time.
“We were on our third bassist and Will had just gotten out of high school,” said Nick. “I called him and told him he had to get down here. It seems like Will and I have always been playing music together from junior high all the way through.”
“I think they were having some trouble with bassists,” laughed Will remembering that eventful phone call. “I always knew I wanted to play music and it really wasn’t too hard to pack up and go.”
So how did two small town boys from Plymouth get involved with the world sound of reggae music?
“I remember when I was about 13 or 14 my parents bought me a Bob Marley album — his greatest hits,” said Nick. “I fell in love with that record and genre. It’s just so accessible to anybody. It’s a universal sound.”
“I remember that record,” added Will. “I think everybody loved that record. There was always just a lot of music in our house growing up. I think I probably listened to a lot more acoustic and folk but there was lots of different styles of music in our house.”
Browne writes much of Passafire’s music, but Will has written some songs of his own and the band admits that song writing tends to be a collaborative effort.
“Ted writes a lot of it (songs). He’ll bring in something already prepared, Will sometimes brings in some things of his own,” said Nick. “Actually most of the time we just start playing. Everybody adds a little something and we record everything that we do so we put it together from that. It’s a very collaborative thing.”
Passafire has compiled three albums so far and is preparing to head to Texas in the next several weeks to put together a fourth before hitting the road with the Vans Tour.
“We did our last record at the same studio and it was just a great experience. It was a great place to record,” said Will. “We couldn’t wait to go back and do the next one.”
It’s still the live experience that makes someone a Passafire fan.
“I feel like the live show really represents who we are as artists a little more than the studio stuff,” said Nick. “We love recording albums — don’t get me wrong — but it’s all about the live show. It’s why you do it. For your fans. Feeding off the energy of the crowd. Of course more people, more adrenaline. Our shows are really high energy.”
“When we play a lot of people notice something — they’ll say things like you and the drummer seem really tight,” said Will. “Then they find out we’re brothers and its like ‘Oh, well, yeah. No wonder.’ Live is how you get to show your songs to the world. It’s totally different. People get to see the real personality in your music.”
Even with the love of playing, the Van’s Tour will be a grueling one for the band.
“It’s touring to extreme,” said Will. “On the road, play a show and back on the road that day headed for the next show.”
“It’s definitely grueling. It’s really pretty brutal,” said Nick. “I think it’s 44 shows total. You get used to traveling. You find ways to occupy your time. You read books. Exercise.”
Along with growing up in a very musical home — sister Maggie Kubley fronts an indie/pop band called the Embraceables based in Chicago — the brothers admit that another influence had a huge impact.
“I wouldn’t be doing any of this if I hadn’t had the opportunity to be involved with band in high school,” said Nick. “I really don’t know what I’d be doing right now if I hadn’t had music to be involved with in school. It made a huge difference to have that available to me.”
He certainly wouldn’t have one of the hottest bands in the world like Paramore opening for him.
“I really don’t think it’s going to work that way,” said Nick with a chuckle. “But I certainly wouldn’t mind opening for them.”
Follow the band on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/passafire. Videos from Passafire are on YouTube. To see the video from the bands song Here in Front of Me go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3IbRq4dDUM
This story appears courtesy of the Plymouth Alumni Association Newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter and become a member of the Association at http://plymouthalumni.blogspot.com/