The reggae band has to work to leave home, even temporarily.
[Updated] “Some of my favorite shows are in Hawaii, on grassy pieces of land, under the stars with over a hundred family members and food,” The Green's Zion Thompson says.
In many ways, The Green is the quintessential Hawaiian reggae band. The members love their friends and their home, and some members of the group are literally family. Their affection can sound corny and so uninflectedly earnest that it borders on religious, but it's also something that New Orleanians should recognize and understand. The Green play The House of Blues Saturday in support of their album Hawai’i ’13, a nod to their home that encompasses a wide variety of musical genres and is The Green’s best album sonically in Thompson's mind.
Thompson’s authenticity when discussing his band and their ethos is visceral. He speaks of mutual respect and shared culture in a reverent tone that is not simply idealistic. His seriousness extends to his discussion of the mechanisms behind a Hawaiian band “making it happen.”
“Once you start doing a thing you’ve always wanted to do, like recording, tours, etc. you realize it takes a lot more than you ever expected," he says. "It changes your perspective dramatically. You realize that this is people working, and they are all trying to make something special happen. You strive harder to become those big bands you look up to, and you are thankful for all you’ve accomplished.“
Gratitude is certainly evident when he talks about the hardest thing about touring: finding the funds to leave Hawaii. The Green could not have accomplished their five tours without strong hometown support, he says. “Where we come from is a beautiful place," Thompson says. "Friends, family--the whole state rallies behind its people, from little league baseball teams to actors.”
The notion that The Green's success is in a sense communal extends to the importance of drawing on the right people. The "right person," according to Thompson, is someone who brings a diverse or unusual perspective to the table but shares the band’s motivation for success. “Having the right team around you is critical. Not only the people you’re making music with, but also the people handling your business. Ultimately, hard work and preparation, belief and persistence pay off.” Thompson’s musings on the importance of diversity and drive on and off the stage are disarmingly straight-faced, but they also reflect the rational businessman with an idealistic musician.
Updated March 6, 9:50 a.m.
The band photo and embedded YouTube video have been updated.