Artist of the day: Burning Tree
Mike Fratone grew up going to shows in St. Pete’s active ska scene. So perhaps it’s not surprising he eventually settled into a reggae-rock band.
“When I talk about Burning Tree, a lot of times I discuss it like a post-ska kind of thing,” he said. “A lot of the same ethos and attitude is there, between the old ska movement and this new reggae-rock movement.”
Burning Tree is one of the area’s brightest reggae-rock outfits, and have been so for at least the last half-decade. In late 2010, they reached the finals of a nationwide band battle sponsored by 7-Eleven, and got to open for Pharrell Williams’ N.E.R.D. in New York City. And their forthcoming album Grinder is being produced by Passafire singer Ted Bowne.
“It can’t hurt to have a guy like Ted produce your album. Not only does it sound good, but the connections that you make are invaluable as well."
Passafire, Fratone said, is one band all of Burning Tree can agree on. “They do something similar to what we do, where it’s reggae-influenced, but it’s a little more aggressive than some of the reggae bands we see nowadays. I really like where they go.”
Coming from a punk and ska background, he said that harder edge really appeals to him personally. When he first got into reggae music, “I’d heard it all before,” he said. “But in the context of new people with this new band, I gave it more of a listen than I did before. What I liked about ska was the energy behind it, and when I heard a lot of reggae songs ... it wasn’t so frenetic and goofy; it was a little more concise, a little more focused. Once I started playing reggae music, I really got a greater appreciation for it.”
On Saturday, you can catch Burning Tree at Fubar in St. Petersburg. Click here for more info on the band.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*