Soldiers of Jah Army, or SOJA, got their start in Arlington, Virginia in the late-1990s.
Jacob Hemphill (vocals, guitar) and Bob Jefferson (bass) met in first grade soon after Hemphill had returned from Africa, where his father was working as a defense contrator in Uganda. The lifelong friends teamed up with Eric Rogers (keyboard), Ryan Berty (drums) and Ken Brownell (percussion) in middle and high school, and the group recorded their self-titled album, Soldiers of Jah Army, in 2000. Patrick O’Shea replaced Rogers in 2003, shortly after the group released their first full-length album, Peace in a Time of War.
The band recently released their newest album, Strength to Survive, on Jan. 31, so hopefully they’ll perform some new hits at Bonnaroo.
GROUPLOVE hit the music scene in 2010 with an independent EP. The following year they recorded their official debut album, Never Trust a Happy Song, which drummer Ryan Rabin produced.
The group formed out of a friendship between the band’s five members, with Christian Zucconi on vocals and guitar, Hannah Hooper on vocals and keyboard, Andrew Wessen on vocals and guitar, Sean Gadd on vocals and bass, and Rabin on drums and “stuff.”
In 2008 Hooper met Zucconi at a show he was performing in New York and invited him to an artist commune in Crete. Rabin and Wessen grew up together and were visiting the commune with Gadd at the same time. While they entered into a quick friendship, they did not form a band until the following year.
In 2011 their song Colours was ranked number 12 on USA Today‘s alternative chart and their song Tongue Tied was featured in an Apple iPod touch commercial.
Brooklyn’s Das Racist is composed of MC Himanshu “Heems” Suri, MC Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez and hype man Ashok “Dapwell” Kondabolu.
Known for their humor and unconventional style, the group made it big with the 2008 hit Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. They produced mixtapes Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man just two years later, after which MTV named it one of the 25 best new bands in the world. Spin named Das Racist one of 50 acts to watch at the 2010 SXSW Festival, and Rolling Stone reported that hahahaha jk? was one of the 50 best singles of 2010.
Das Racist’s first commercial album, Relax (2011), landed on many annual “best of lists” and was Spin’s fourth best rap album of the year.
As a founding member of Wu-Tang, Gary Grice — aka GZA, is hip hop royalty. While he’s released a number of solo albums, he always comes back to the clan, which has become known for its innovative rap-stylings.
The Wu-Tang Clan assembled Staten Island, New York in the early ’90s under RZA, the group’s producer. RZA and Ol’ Dirty Bastard adopted the group’s name after the film Shaolin and Wu Tang, and the group’s debut album loosely adopted a Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang theme — dividing the album into Shaolin and Wu-Tang sections.
As the oldest and first member to receive a record deal, GZA has become known as the group’s spiritual head. Other members include Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa.
Charles Bradley, or “the Screaming Eagle of Soul,” was born in 1948 in Gainesville, Florida, where he lived with his grandmother until he was 8 years old. It was then that Bradley moved to Brooklyn, New York to live with his mother, where his sister took him to see James Brown perform at the Apollo Theater in 1962. And the rest, as they say, is history.
After running away from home — living in the streets and on subway cars — Bradley joined the Job Corps and worked as a chef in Maine for 10 years. While he performed with a band about five or six times, he went solo after his fellow bandmates were drafted into the Vietnam War.
Following the break up of his band, Bradley moved west — hitchhiking across the country and moving to upstate New York, Seattle, Canada and Alaska before settling in California, where he worked odd jobs and played small shows for 20 years.
While he was known to work as a James Brown impersonator, Bradley eventually signed with Daptone Records, where he became known for his funky yet soulful R&B style.
Trampled by Turtles, or TBT, is an indie folk band from Duluth Minnesota, composed of Dave Simonett on guitar, Tim Saxhaug on bass, Dave Carroll on banjo, Erik Berry on mandolin and Ryan Young on fiddle. (Yeah, I know…you’re already having fun and you haven’t even heard them yet.)
The group hit it big with their first studio release in 2004, but their fifth album, Palomino, has remained on the Billboard Top 10 bluegrass charts for the past year.
They’re also pretty popular on the festi circuit.
The band has performed at Coachella, Stagecoach, Bumbershoot and Pickathon. They’ve performed at Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Newport Folk Festival and ROMP Roots and Branches. In addition to Bonnaroo, they are scheduled to play the Sasquatch Festival, Lollapalooza, Firefly Festival, Rock the Garden, All Good and Newport Folk.
Addam and I got a very special package in the mail today!!
Our Bonnaroo wristbands are in hand, and we are all but on our way! Fifteen days and counting!
“These wristbands are treasure. Keep them safe…Once your wristband is verified and fastened, you will be good to go. The sun will shine, the cherubs will sing, and the gates of Roo will open before you.” — Bonnaroo 2012 wristband guide.
Mac Miller makes me feel old.
He was born in Pittsburgh in 1992 and has released two albums. He was one of 11 rappers featured in XXL’s Freshman Class of 2011, highlighting up-and-coming artists in the hip hop game. He has worked with Maroon 5, Wiz Khalifa is his BFF and Donald Trump is calling him “the new Eminem.” Add Bonnaroo to the mix and he’s pretty much having the best year ever.
Miller is known for performing in a number of different styles, for his “psychedelic influences” and for penning deep lyrics. In true rap fashion, most of his songs focus on marijuana, women and living the dream, but he’s known to experiment within the genre — which any fan can appreciate.
Fruit Bats, a rock band that got their start in 1997 Chicago, helped kick off the folk-rock craze that took off in the early 2000s. The group has changed a lot since it got its start, but singer/songwriter Eric Johnson has always been at the band’s core.
In addition to his work with Fruit Bats, in 2000 Johnson was an instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music, led his own space-rock band called I Rowboat and was a guitarist in various groups — including Califone and The Shins. The Shins will also be appearing at Bonnaroo this year, so maybe the groups will team up for a song or two.
Battles is an experimental rock band, founded in New York City in 2002 by Ian Williams of Don Caballero and Storm & Stress. The group currently includes Williams on guitar and keyboards, Lynx’s Dave Konopka on guitar and bass, and Helmet’s John Stanier on drums.
In its first 10 years the band has gained international attention.
Atlas was featured in the Media Molecule’ video game LittleBigPlanet and appears on the soundtrack for the second season of Skins. In 2007 Battles was featured in UK’s The Skinny, where members spoke to the magazine about the making of Mirrored. The song Race : In and a remix of Atlas were used for car advertisements in the UK, Bad Trails was featured in the 2009 film Big Fan, The Line can be found on the Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack.