Innasense was founded in 1990 by A Man Named Scratch, last seen in Belize after saying, "Screw the tour! Let's stay here forever." (He did, however, help the band win its coveted 1991 Best Reggae Band award from Miami New Times.)
Today, the group still soldiers on with core members Jimi Dred and Vibert "Prince Patrick" Chang at the helm. This Friday, they'll be playing South Beach's Jazid. So we called up Jimi, the blonde dread from Gainesville, to hear what he had to say about reggae, playing for the princess of Monaco, and selling out to boy band impresario Lou Pearlman.
Crossfade: Where might people know you from?
Jimi Dred: We had a house gig five nights a week for 14 years at Mango's Tropical Café, all the way up till last March. My kids are grown up now and I'm ready to hit the road again.
How'd you end up in Miami?
I went to high school down the street from the University of Florida in Gainesville and met a bunch of Jamaican people there. A band needed a keyboard and I've been playing since I was five. So I joined them, ended up in Jacksonville, and then got a chance to play in Miami and stayed.
What was your first show in Miami?
It was Halloween night 1989 at Tropics, which is now called Ocean's Ten. I'll never forget it. I felt like I had definitely hit the big time coming from North Florida to Ocean Drive with all the things happening. South Beach was just beginning to get popular and I was a young guy. It was amazing.
Favorite international show?
We ended up in Monaco one summer with a friend of ours and Julian Lennon. We got a call about a benefit for the rainforest. And three weeks later, we were on a plane to Switzerland and ended up in Nice, France, and Julian Lennon picked us up at the airport. We played at Plage Mala for Princess Stephanie on a private beach in Monaco. They treated us like kings. It was an amazing experience.
Didn't you change your name to 4:20 for a while?
Yeah, we had a legal battle with boy band manager Lou Pearlman from Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync. He had a girl band with Britney Spears called Innosense that never came out. We settled out of court and he paid us a substantial amount of money not to use our name.
How much did you get?
They gave us $60,000, and we were 4:20 for a couple years. Then Lou Pearlman went to jail for a Ponzi scheme and we got our name back.
What's your favorite reggae night in Miami?
Wednesday at The Goose. Gustavo Pena has really gone out on a limb to bring live music to the Grove.
What else you got coming up?
I'm fired up for the Innasense Cruise. It's leaving Fort Lauderdale on December 2 on the second largest ship in the world. It's gonna be huge.
Innasense. With DJ Vandetta. Friday, May 17. Jazid, 1342 Washington Ave. Miami Beach. The show starts at 11 p.m. and there's no cover. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-673-9372 or visit jazid.net.
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