Jah rules


From left, Dan Weiser, Matt Goddard, Earle Jones, Tracy Moore Stephanie Itza and Yerka Durante create positive vibes with Jahzilla.

From left, Dan Weiser, Matt Goddard, Earle Jones, Tracy Moore Stephanie Itza and Yerka Durante create positive vibes with Jahzilla.

Photo By David Robert

Jahzilla performs at the free River Roots Reggae concert honoring Bob Marley on May 27 from 2-6 p.m. on the Riverwalk, 17 S. Virginia Street. Arizona rootsman Blackman Clay also performs. Call 337-1717 for more information.

Rastafarianism is the key concept in the musical world of Jahzilla. The flow is melodious, and Bob Marley is the main inspiration for this band of six musicians who aim to assist in the unification of Reno.

Coming together to form a diverse group of talented reggae artists are Tracy “Too Dread” Moore on lead vocals and keyboard, singer Stephanie Itza, Matt Goddard on bass, Earle Jones on drums, Yerka Durante on guitar and Dan Weiser on guitar and flute.

With the laid-back style of reggae music, Jahzilla’s shows always tend to draw a “good racial mix of people,” says Moore. “We have a nice and fat sound that welcomes the audience into a positive and unifying vibe.”

Moore is also a DJ on the local radio station KTHX, where he spins reggae music from 8-10 p.m. every Sunday night. With numerous years of experience in the art of Rasta music and several visits to Jamaica, Moore sets the foundation for a knowledgeable onstage presence.

Goddard was completely new to the bass guitar when he was welcomed into Jahzilla. With a “great work ethic,” accredited by Moore, Goddard was able to fit right in with the reggae vibe, as though he’d been practicing it for years. Drummer Earle Jones is also highly talented, and Moore calls him “tall and beautiful.” Like Moore, Jones has had many years of experience in the musical field.

Moore, Goddard and Jones are considered the nuclei of the group, and together, they create the reggae tone, which commonly consists of the drum, bass and keyboard.

“The three of us set the actual foundation, and the other folks come in and offer their own personal vibes,” says Moore. Each member of Jahzilla is able to contribute their individual sound to the group, and in turn, is able to create their very own era of Marly-esque reggae.

“I’m still in impeccable shape,” says the 44-year-old Moore, after acknowledging that he’s known as “Too Dread” because he has only two dreadlocks.

“I used to have more,” he says, “but they kind of came off somewhere along the way.” So now, he’s left with a couple of dreads, a couple of bald patches, and some random, untouched hair. His presentation is as unique as his music, to say the least.

When asked why he’s such a fan of the acclaimed reggae vibe, Moore says, “I’ve always had an interest in Jamaican and Rasta cultures.” He started his first reggae-based radio show in Reno in 1988. It was called the Kingston Jam, and he kept it going strong for 10 years before moving on to try something new.

As for the rest of the band, they depict exactly what they stand for—diversity. Itza is Basque, Jones is from Trinidad, and Durante is from the Czech Republic. Not only do they seek variety through their fan base, but they also make sure to incorporate it into their music. Jahzilla plays a mix of Bob Marley cover songs, adapted versions of Jamaican riddims (that’s rhythm patterns, in reggae-speak), original reggae songs by Moore, and a popular tune Jones contributed to the group. Between the six of them, they make up one of the most integrated local bands in Reno—something this town needs and can respect.