The past week has been riddled with turmoil and stress, leaving the country with an unknown future that many imaginations are painting in dark, bleak shades. So, what better time for some vibrant irie vibes to drop in on the Bay Area, burn through those fears, grab ahold of our spirits and lift them from the craziness? John Brown’s Body (JBB) has our backs. The New England-based reggae legends have just released their eleventh studio album, Fireflies. Now they’re on their way to convert Slim’s into a faraway island, this Saturday the 19th.

Upon its release this past September, Fireflies shot straight to the top of Billboard’s Reggae chart, punctuating the band’s two strong decades of future roots rockin’. At times, the album echoes familiar cries for social justice (“Who Paid Them Off?”, “Mash Them Down”) as we’ve heard on past tracks, such as “Empty Hand” from the previous album, Kings & Queens. But JBB was also sure to fill Fireflies with a lion’s share of positivity and classic roots elements, making the LP feel much like an all-inclusive celebration of their longevity on the scene.

“It feels good of course,” lead singer and songwriter, Elliot Martin, told SF Station. “Fortunately, the Billboard Reggae chart exists to give all of the bands out there some much-needed notice.” Twenty years after inception, Martin is one of only two remaining founding members. John Brown’s Body has endured many roster changes, but have only grown stronger down their long, rocky road. A more recent addition, Jason Spaker on guitar and vocals, has given the group a fresh voice and new dimension for Fireflies. Watching JBB perform live, you’ll see Elliot Martin hop around with veteran command, defying age norms. Then, Spaker will bomb in unexpectedly with raspy soulful vox, giving Martin a breather. And on Fireflies, Spaker shows off a new depth of lung and voice, previously unheard.

Though roots reggae is often uplifting in spirit, the music is also frequently charged with political and social justice elements, as previously mentioned.

“‘Mash Them Down,'” Martin said, “obviously, is a song about outrage. Police in this country are out of control and it’s completely condoned and supported.” The band’s tour found them in San Diego just nights after the nation’s 45th presidential election. With California showing up overwhelmingly blue that historic Tuesday, we asked Martin how spirits were amongst their San Diego audience. “I think most people were there to be around like-minded folks and feel some relief from the sadness of the world,” Martin said. “People seemed happy…Sometimes I feel like ranting onstage, but it just seems like I’m preaching to the choir. We’re basically all there for the same thing,” Martin continued, bringing the conversation to the community level. “Reggae is a socially conscious music. All that we have now is community. Since the government has failed us, we can only depend on our neighbors and try to be decent to each other.”

Find the full Q&A with Elliot Martin below, but first secure your tickets to elevate your soul with John Brown’s Body at Slim’s, this Saturday night.

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Congratulations on Fireflies topping Billboard charts! So incredible, and so deserved! How does that feel? What does that mean for the band, 20 years down the road?

It feels good of course. Fortunately. the Billboard Reggae chart exists to give all of the bands out there some much-needed notice. We released our record, and the next week our brothers in Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad released their new one and they hit the top of the chart, too. It means that we’re all in the same boat, boosting each other up. The American reggae scene is a great community that supports itself. We’re just happy to be part of the family.

What does the name, Fireflies, speak to? Are fireflies a symbol?

We come from the northeast. The summers are short and stunning. So many good things in our lives live and die with the seasons. Like fireflies, they live in that season of light and burn brightly. We miss those things when they go into hibernation or travel to warmer climates for the winter. I used to have a deep love that I couldn’t hold onto because she felt the need to leave for 5 months a year. I guess it represents that unsettled feeling in all of us. I guess we all have the parts of our lives that burn brightly but only for a brief time. Like fireflies.

Is there a backbone theme throughout this album?

I can’t say there’s much of a theme. I think maybe the technical approach to the record was the overriding theme. The record was recorded in Denver at Stanhope studio, and in Boston at Rear Window. It’s nothing new to record analog these days, but we were lucky to work with people that prioritize recording to tape. Craig Welsch mixed the songs. He has a deep understanding of classic reggae. I was surprised to hear Fireflies ended up sounding like an early eighties King Jammy’s production. That’s what I was hoping for.

Were there any new approaches the band took in writing Fireflies?

The new approach was to incorporate Jason Spaker’s writing style. His voice adds a different dimension to the band. He’s a very accomplished producer, performer, and writer in his own right. To have that added dynamic added a lot of depth and versatility to the record.

So many bands don’t get to the 3rd, 4th, or 5th album mark…let alone 11th–what is your secret? What’s the glue that has held JBB together?

There’s no secret. You’ve got to create an environment that the musicians respect and thrive in. We’ve been incredibly lucky over all this time. We continue to add new people in the mix that bring enthusiasm and musicality. There are constants in the group that keep it sounding the same and new members continue to come in and help improve the vibes. Every time we lose a person that we think we can’t live without, someone else steps in with a different set of skills. I’ve learned to relax and watch it happen. It’s pretty magical sometimes. We try to keep the atmosphere light and respectful. It’s a balancing act sometimes, but that’s the key to longevity.

What are some of the challenges JBB faces today, which weren’t necessarily present in the earlier days?

The internet has made it easier to get the music to a wider audience. It’s also devalued music. It’s destroyed the old music industry. We’re still transitioning to something new. A positive side to that is the popularity of vinyl releases. You can’t pirate a record—you gotta buy it. [Otherwise,] Bands rely—almost exclusively—on people coming to shows. We’re fortunate to be able to tour at all.

You’ve been touring amidst this crazy election season. Has there been any level of political charge in your shows?

Most people that come to our shows are of a similar mind. That’s not saying anyone isn’t welcome, but that’s generally how it goes. Sometimes I feel like ranting onstage, but it just seems like I’m preaching to the choir. We’re basically all there for the same thing. Reggae is a socially conscious music. I think people who don’t have a tolerance for social justice, love and respect for basic human dignity, tend not to like reggae. Our shows are hopefully a sort of communal therapy. Strictly good feelings.

You just performed in San Diego, after the nation’s 45th president was confirmed. Many are upset by the result. What was the vibe like in San Diego? How was the crowd?

I think most people were there to be around like-minded folks and feel some relief from the sadness of the world. People seemed happy. All that we got now is community since the government has failed us. We can only depend on our neighbors and try to be decent to each other.

Do you or the band, collectively, care to give a statement about the election result?

Trump won the election according to the laws of the land. Obviously the laws of the land need to be changed. I’m not holding my breath.

Past tracks, like “Empty Hands” off Kings & Queens, have had political elements (“Please Mr. Officer, are you a peace officer or warmonger?…”). What are some of the political or social unrests that influenced Fireflies?

All the shootings that have plagued this country and the unwillingness to address the causes. “Mash Them Down,” obviously, is a song about outrage. Police in this country are out of control and it’s completely condoned and supported.

You’ve been going strong for some time now. Does JBB have any plan to slow down on writing or touring in the near future?

Nothing drastic. It’s a constant cycle of playing, writing, resting and recording. We tend to take our time with all of it. Maybe that’s the key to longevity. Go slow with everything. Don’t burn out.

What are you most excited about, looking forward to your upcoming tour stop in San Francisco?

It’s the end of this run, so I get to hang out in the Bay Area and have Thanksgiving dinner with my sister. Sounds perfect to me.

To keep up with the latest & greatest from John Brown’s Body check out their website, Facebook & Soundcloud.