Bios


We've stopped adding to this page: 2012

Opening Act Third World - Houston TX 2008
Nominated Best Reggae Album 2008 - Chicago Music Awards 
Winner of Multiple Chicago Music Awards - Best Chicago Reggae Entertainer
Taste of Chicago Featured Artist 2005
Opening Act for English Beat 2005 & 2006 
Gizzae and Chachi Tadessee Atlanta GA 2005 
Opening Act for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - 2004 
Opening Act for India Arie - Mainstage - Taste of Chicago 2004
Opening Act for Third World-Festival of Life 2002
Opening act for Burning Spear-Bloomington, IN 2001
Opening Act for Toots and Maytals-Bloomington, IN 2001 
Opening Act for Everton Blendor, IN 2001
Great Lakes Naval Base Main Stage 2001
Voted #1 Chicago Artist by Jamaicans.com 2000 & 2005 
Reggae on the River Featured Artist 2000
Vermont Reggae Festival Featured Artist 2000
House of Blues Chicago with Michael Black 2000
Apple Vacations Corporate Events Band 1999-2002
2 Grammy® awards for Ruphael Mariam and Asrat Selassie Click Here
(Best Reggae Album, One Bright Day and Conscious Party...Ziggy Marley)
Musical Guest on Soul Train (Dallol)
Musical Guest on Arsenio Hall (Dallol)
NAACP Awards Ceremony Musical Guests (Dallol)
Appearance on NBC's Hard Rock Extravaganza (Dallol)

Here's a recent article about the band:

Making songs their own key to Gizzae
By JACK WALTON
Tribune Correspondent
8/21/2008


Reggae band Gizzae will play some original songs and some covers at Friday’s gig, although sometimes it might be tough to tell which is which.

The show will highlight several tracks from the Chicago-based group’s new album, “Roots Like a Lion,” alongside versions of reggae and rock standards from other artists.

“One thing I’ve learned over the years is that when you do a cover song, you need to make it sound like an original,” singer-bassist Brian “Rocket” Rock says. “And when you do an original, it should sound like a cover.”

Gizzae’s respect for the history of classic reggae leads to a sense that the band’s own songs could have been old-school reggae cuts. Also, the feel of the cover tunes is uniquely the band’s own, resulting in Gizzae renditions of reggae songs from Peter Tosh and Gregory Isaacs — and even rockers from The Eagles and Paul Simon — sounding like something the musicians cooked up themselves.

“Many times, someone has told us, ‘You guys sing that song better than the original artist.’ It’s because we make their song into our song,” Rock says.

“Why do it the way it was done before?” Chicagoan and keyboardist Ralph Mote says. “Why not do something with it? We’re not scared to change it up, add our own creative flow.”

This is especially true for songs the band will play over and over on tour. Merely aping someone else’s record can suck the spirit out of musicians, and this can be apparent to a crowd.

“(Changing arrangements) keeps things more interesting for ourselves,” Ethiopian multi-instrumentalist and former Ziggy Marley’s Melody Makers member Ruphael Mariam says. “We try to put our own style into it, with some creativity.”

Rock writes most of Gizzae’s compositions. He has been a musician since he was a young boy in the Caribbean island of Dominica.

“My brother used to have a band, and whenever somebody was missing, I would try to fill in, be it on drums, guitar or keyboard,” he says.

This versatility still comes in handy, particularly when he composes. He says he finds the bass a little limited in that capacity, so he tends to work at a keyboard.

“It’s better to create on the keyboard,” he says. “You’ve got all the notes right in front of you.”

Rock usually lets the others find their places in the arrangement when he presents new songs to them.

“We’ll all collaborate on it, and it comes together,” Mote says.

Well, most of the time, anyway.

“If I don’t like the direction it’s going, then I become the dictator,” Rock says with a little giggle. “But, usually, it’s a collective thing.”

Gizzae frequently hones its craft at its unofficial headquarters, The Wild Hare, a club in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago.

“The Cubs fans are a great audience. If there were only a DJ, most of those people would just walk out.” Mariam says. “Some of them will even stop in before the game and ask, ‘Is there going to be a live band tonight?’ ”

He adds that some Cubs players have even stopped in to catch a gig. 

For Rock’s sake, though, audience members might consider checking the baseball scores before they come out for the music.

“I live for this,” he says. “I love it so much that I never want the audience even to go to the bathroom or to the bar. I don't want them to miss a note."