The Creation Of A Notable Career

Bill Mossman
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November 16, 2011
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Iration’s Cayson Peterson, Micah Pueschel, Kai Rediske, Joseph Dickens and Adam Taylor return to their roots, the Hawaiian Islands, this Saturday for a concert at Kakaako Beach Park Amphitheater. Photo courtesy of Irationx

When Micah Pueschel’s days as a student ended at Pomona College in California a few years back, all he had was a freshly delivered psychology degree in hand and, much like a whole lot of other college graduates, nary a clue of what he was to do with it.

But after doing a bit of soul searching (thus demonstrating his degree may not have been in vain since psychology literally means “the study of the soul”), Pueschel’s heart told him to go west about 120 miles to the beachside community of Isla Vista in Santa Barbara. There he reconnected with a few of his Hawaii Prep Academy buddies, all of whom had been attending several nearby colleges and passing their spare time playing roots-reggae cover tunes in garage-jam settings.

No slouch with a guitar or microphone in hand, Pueschel instantly fell in love with what his friends were doing and eventually decided to join this neophyte group. Soon, the Beatlesand Black Uhuru-inspired music lover and his bandmates were ready to pull their talents out of the garage and begin showcasing them at backyard parties, particularly along Del Playa Drive, the center of off-campus social life for students at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“At first when I moved to Santa Barbara, I was actually working all these menial desk jobs, like doing telephone sales at a call center just to get by,” recalls the Big Island-born musician. “But then we started doing the music and that kept progressing and evolving until one day we all kind of said, hey, maybe we can do this as a career.”

The result was the formation of the band Iration, Rastafarian dread talk for “creation” and a lyrical gem plucked straight out of Bob Marley’s music. Today, everyting be irie for this guitarist/vocalist and his Hawaiianbred bandmates Adam Taylor on bass, Cayson Peterson on keyboards, Joseph Dickens on drums and Kai Rediske on vocals and percussion whose uplifting sounds of sunshine reggae, dub and pop rock have catapulted the band beyond college-type gigs and into the national spotlight. Already, the band has released two fulllength albums and three EPs, including Fresh Grounds, which spent this past spring at No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Two national tours and several festival appearances later (including the summer blowout Lollapalooza), Iration has created a mustsee level of excitement among people of all ages.

Local fans can catch the group, along with Sublime With Rome, Pepper and Dub Trio, Saturday at the Point Panic Music Festival at Kakaako Beach Park Amphitheater. Doors open at 4 p.m. and the songs don’t end until 10.

“We’re really stoked about the concert,” Pueschel says. “We haven’t been able to come out to Hawaii and play since opening for 311 last year. It will be good to get back in front of the hometown fans and show them how much we’ve grown.”

Earlier this week, Musical Notes caught up with Pueschel and got “the psychologist” to open up and talk more about his suddenly burgeoning musical career.

MN: How important is it for the band to write music that lifts people’s spirits?

MP: Very important. If people are feeling a little bit depressed or down, we like to make it positive for them, if only for a couple of hours. A lot of our fans tell us that our music makes them feel better when they’re having a bad day, or it helps get their days started the right way. We take all of that as a compliment.

MN: Do you have a favorite Iration song?

MP: That’s a tough one for me; it’s like having to choose between your kids. But I suppose at the moment it’s No Time, which isn’t even out yet but will be released at some point. There’s a good vibe and beat to that song, and it’s fun to play. We plan on playing it live (this Saturday) and I think the people in Hawaii will love it.

MN: Other than your bandmates, who else would you love to trade licks and vocal chops with?

MP: I would have to say Paul McCartney. He and the Beatles were my heroes growing up and I think he would enjoy playing one of our love songs something like Falling. I’d also love to play with Eric Clapton, who was a big inspiration to me when it comes to song-writing and guitar playing.

MN: Does the band have any new projects on the horizon?

MP: We’re in preproduction for our new album, which should be out in the summer of 2012. The album will be a little different from the others. Every album we do, we pride ourselves in having a different musical theme. Our first album, No Time for Rest, was more of a roots-reggae effort, and our second album, Time Bomb, had more of a popreggae feel to it. On our latest EP Fresh Grounds, we didn’t use any synthesizers; we kind of created the sounds organically, using more acoustic guitars. But this new album is going to be more of a pop rock record, even though the reggae sound will still be there.

MN: At this point, could you ever see yourself doing something other than music as a career?

MP: No. Growing up on the Big Island, I learned how to work construction every summer and Christmas break. Digging ditches in the lava for me was always a motivation to never have to do that kind of work for a living. I mean it’s good work and good money, but it wasn’t for me. I always wanted to do something in the brain field. I needed an artistic release, and that’s something I found with Iration.

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