Reggae has a long history and deep, sacred roots as a music of resistance to the authoritarian establishment — it is protest music we can dance to freely while taking a united stand against political corruption, racism, and social injustice.
West Coast alternative rock and reggae band Cydeways has just delivered a potent reminder of that essential connection with the release of their new single “We Won’t Run” featuring legendary Hawaiian reggae-rock band Pepper. The timely and socially relevant single comes ahead of the band’s first full-length album with LAW Records, slated to be released later this year.
Calling attention to the unprecedented era of racial violence and social discontent we now find ourselves living in, the powerful track combines the visceral energy of Rage Against the Machine with the poetic and political potency of Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up”:
As we stand, there’s a gun up in their hand
telling us to back down while we’re screaming “fuck the man”
We can’t eat, can’t sleep,
‘We can’t breathe’
So why would I have to do what you believe?
Over a million screaming that they’re finally done
But we ain’t gonna run…
With superbly profound lyrics and grooves punctuated by spring reverb hits like ominous gunshots, Cydeways evokes images of the day Minneapolis police officers publicly murdered George Floyd in a blatant public display of institutionalized racism, while at once declaring a vehement collective manifesto that we will not submit to the hatred and governmental monopoly on violence that both infects and defines our current national zeitgeist.
“The chorus says it all!” asserts Cydeways founder and frontman Dustin Parks. “It’s a message to the negative forces that we won’t back down and become complacent with everything that’s going on in our society right now. Despite the mass unemployment, the racism, the fear, and all this crazy shit going on…we won’t become that. Cydeways has never really talked about anything like this before, so I think the song is also a sign of how we are growing as a band”.
Cydeways was originally started by Parks and Trevor Buckingham in Boston, MA as a self-described ‘basement project’. Eager for new opportunities, he ended up moving the project out to California, eventually landing in Santa Barbara, where he met and recruited Jeremy Baker on guitar, Casey Kernohan on drums. Parks co-produced the track with Buckingham & Dana Shoults, who both pulled double-duty as engineers.
In this fully rounded-out emanation, Cydeways began playing shows and recording extensively, earning themselves a reputation among their peers as a solid band. Eventually, Parks’s friend Joe D. from Iration introduced Parks to core Pepper member Yesod Williams, who was impressed enough to sign the band to his quickly growing reggae label LAW Records.
In 2020, Cydeways released their debut EP After Hours, featuring veteran reggae bands like Ballyhoo! and Grieves. Late last year, the band followed up by releasing a dub remix of their 2018 song “Shadows” (feat. Grieves), performed by E.N Young. Currently, Cydeways is working on wrapping up their long-anticipated full-length LP to be released later this year.