By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
Innasense was no stranger to the ups and downs of road life. For several summers during the mid-Nineties, it was the house band at a popular club in Philadelphia. The gig came with posh apartments, set up by the club owners, and a fat salary, especially for a bunch of scruffy reggae boys. But when they tried to push their luck through the winter, the gigs dried up and they found themselves heading to California with barely enough money for gas.
"We get to the club in California where we're supposed to be playing, and the guy doesn't know what the fuck we're talking about," says Dred. "I remember walking out on the pier looking at the water thinking, 'I'm jumping in, man. I'm gonna kill myself right now. This sucks, dude.'"
Six months later, they're livin' la vida loca in a big house on a Southern California beach, skiing in the mountains during the day and gigging at night. The band's fortunes have since evened out and are on a gradual rise. But with defeats that would demolish a less hardy band, Innasense has managed to stay together, riding out the rough spots and surfing the highs.
These days the band is trying out a new name, 4:20, and a new album of mostly cover tunes made on the cheap and sold only at its shows. Ironically the cover set is doing better than any of its previous three CDs of labored originals, due in no small part to the tight sound the band developed over so many live gigs.
Back at Mango's, a busboy casually sings along while cleaning a table near the stage. A waitress gives a familiar wink to the DJ roaming the crowd with his cordless mike, pounding fists with the gentlemen and hugging the ladies. So tight and clean, even the tourists here from Wisconsin know that Innasense has done this before.
"It took us ten years to learn how to get along, and now we really get along well. There's less fights now," says Dred. "Over time we just learned how to maneuver each others' personalities to where we just do not argue. It's not worth it. [We say,] 'Fuck you.' 'Yeah, fuck you, too.' 'Love you.' 'See you tomorrow.' That kind of thing. It's cool."