"I am told 'irie' means getting high and Stone Senses mean your senses are getting stoned," says Ofelia Escovedo, board of directors president of Carlsbad's annual Fiesta del Barrio. At a meeting last week, the board backed away from hiring Carlsbad reggae/soul/Latin band Stone Senses because of their name. Escovedo admits she isn't aware of the content of Stone Senses' lyrics.
"[Escovedo] said, 'We'll have to take a further look into this. This name is promoting drugs,' " says singer/songwriter Eric Casteneda.
"We have no drug references on our CD," says singer/guitarist Mike O'Gera, who attended the meeting. "I was trying to tell her it was 'stone,' as in concrete. You build houses on rock, not on sand. We are all about a positive message." O'Gera says the band was further misconstrued when they presented flyers indicating they'd played fundraisers for an injured member of Irieside.
Denise Sanchez, a "prevention specialist" with the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth, says she helped Escovedo (who is in her 70s) understand street lingo.
"The older people at the meeting don't know about slang and symbols," says Sanchez. "The word 'irie' was brought up. It's a word of joy. Reggae music usually uses it to mean the joy of being high."
" 'Irie' is Jamaican slang for good, positive vibrations," counters O'Gera. "It doesn't mean 'high.' "
"You know what happens at the reggae fest at the Del Mar Fairgrounds," says Sanchez. "[It was] full of smoke from weed."
O'Gera says his dreadlocks drew a reaction at the Fiesta del Barrio meeting. "They had a disgusted look on their faces, like, 'This is not good.' "
Escovedo says the committee was undecided about hiring Stone Senses. "We want to keep the fiesta family-oriented. We Hispanics already have a bad reputation with drive-bys. We want to try and overturn that."
Stone Senses play at Squid Joe's in Carlsbad on Saturday at 9 p.m.; $10 on night of show. Must be 21. Fiesta del Barrio is September 11, with Los Pistoleros, Viva Santana, and Mariachi Chula Vista in downtown Carlsbad, 10 a.m.--5 p.m. Free admission, all ages.