John Brown's Body's Tommy Benedetti Says Drumming Is "Like Sitting in a Rocket Ship"

Tommy Benedetti's main band is the reggae act John Brown's Body. "It's fair to say that JBB is one of the first roots reggae band to get out and do a lot of work on the road," he admits of the group that started out pre-Facebook. 

But when Benedetti is at home in Boston, the drummer spends his time playing with Dub Apocalypse. He and the other members -- which include Dana Colley from Morphine, a group he's a "huge fan" of, and Timo Shanko of G. Love -- use this as their downtime band when off the road. 

"You have to really work it," he says of touring. "Now there's a lot more of a scene. We're just glad to part of it... It seems like the sky's the limit." 

Benedetti says of JBB, "We're out there playing music. We like people to come and hear the music and feel the musical vibes. That's what we concentrate on." 

They've been touring recently with Asheville's Toubab Krewe, who he says are really good friends of theirs. Not only have they played with them in the past, they've sailed the Jam Cruise with Toubab and played their Manifestivus in Vermont. "We love the guys, and we love the band. They're really inspiring to be around."

As a drummer, he was also inspired by the reggae great Sly Dunbar, jazz master Charles Mingus, and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. "There always seems to be inspiration around the corner," Benedetti notes. His favorite thing about the art? That he gets to hit things with a stick. "There's plenty of cool things about being a drummer. I love feeling the drive of an eight-piece band. It's like sitting in a rocket ship, a great place to be."
The group certainly is also in a great place having just put out an EP, JBB in Dub. "We've got a really tight crew," he says. Next up, they've recorded an LP set for an early spring release. 

We asked what moment in his career solidified a feeling of success for the drummer. Benedetti says it was when he first toured overseas. From where they started, he's impressed with how far they've progressed: "Our music was able to take us to all of these wonderful places. Luckily, these days keep coming." 

John Brown's Body with Wraps and Kush, 8 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Culture Room, 3045 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $13 presale and $15 at the door. 

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Liz has her master’s degree in religion from Florida State University. She has since written for publications and outlets such as Miami New Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Ocean Drive, the Huffington Post, NBC Miami, Time Out Miami, Insomniac, the Daily Dot, and the Atlantic. Liz spent three years as New Times Broward-Palm Beach’s music editor, was the weekend news editor at Inverse, and is currently the managing editor at Tom Tom Magazine.
Contact: Liz Tracy