Reggae’s Renaissance Man
Music means business to Jason Hobbs.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
When I ask Jason Hobbs, a CSU Monterey Bay business-marketing student, band manager, promoter, record label owner, and aspiring entertainment lawyer, how I’d be able to recognize him, he responds: “I’ll probably be the only one wearing a beanie.” After waiting for a few minutes at a table in front of Starbucks I look up, and sure enough there’s a glowing silhouette of a guy in a wool-knit beanie. Hobbs walks up to me with a flyer and a CD in hand.
The CD, Represent Music Presents: 20 Twenty—Compilation Two, features 20 up-and-coming reggae bands from all over the United States and one from Lisbon, Portugal. On the back of the jewel case there is a quote of Hobbs’: “If your thoughts were actions, your dreams would be reality.”
Hobbs designed and put together the CD and had an artist, Andrew Schreiijer, create an original work that is printed onto the disc itself.
The flyer Hobbs, 22, has brought to the coffee shop advertises an upcoming show at CSUMB’s Black Box Cabaret featuring local reggae bands Cali-Nation, A Step Beyond and Mystic Roots. Hobbs’ company, RepresentMusic.com is doing all the promotion for the event.
“Music and business drive me,” Hobbs says. “I decided to merge the two.”
He says that ever since he was young, music was his life. At three years old, he saw his first concert: Bob Seger. He grew up on classic rock bands like ZZ Top, Lynard Skynard, and The Eagles.
“Through the years my musical taste has grown; I listen on average to about 1,600 songs a year,” Hobbs says.
Habenero, a reggae band from Salinas, was the first talent to ever grab Hobbs’ professional attention; the grip remains tight.
“I’m very persistent with what I do. I approached Habenero, they saw what I could do, and they hired me as their manager,” Hobbs says.
Brad Jacobsen, one of Habenero’s guitarists, says “we pretty much just started to hang out and we began to trust him.”
As Habenero’s manager and promoter, Hobbs has gotten the band radio play on 103.9FM MMBY (“Santa Cruz X”), set up a sponsorship with Red Bull, and gotten them gigs at venues like the Catalyst in Santa Cruz.
“We wouldn’t know what to do without him,” Jacobsen says of Hobbs. “Jason’s on top of his shit.”
“I’m there to make the noise and they’re there to make the music,” Hobbs says.
With so many bands trying to get noticed, the competition is steep, and it isn’t only based on how talented the musicians are in the band.
“I meet everyone,” Hobbs says. “And I carry 200 CDs in the trunk of my car; you never know who you’ll run into.”
The word continues to spread. Habenero even has fans from as far away as San Diego who have driven up to Monterey just to hear them play live.
Hobbs recently won a contest—the prize is a trip to Florida to meet the boxing great Roy Jones, Jr. Mr. Jones owns his own independent record label, Body Head Entertainment, a subsidiary of Universal. Hobbs will be sure not to forget a sample of Habenero’s work.
Represent Music presents
Cali-Nation, A Step Beyond and Mystic Roots on Saturday, April 23 at 8pm at Black Box Cabaret, on 4th avenue near 3rd street, CSUMB, Seaside. Free. 582-3597.