Bob Marley’s shoes are much too large for any one individual to fill. A collective effort is needed.
This summer five of his sons are joining forces on their first-ever all-brother tour for the Bob Marley Roots Rock Reggae Festival, which hits the FleetBoston Pavilion tonight. Along with Ziggy, Stephen, Julian, Damien and Ky-Mani Marley, the tour includes the legendary Toots Hibbert and the Maytals, as well as progressive hip-hop artists Common and Nappy Roots.
All five Marley brothers will be on stage together, performing both original material and the inevitable tunes from their father’s vast repertoire. The day before their first show, in Virginia, Ziggy and Julian Marley took to the phone to talk to reporters about the tour, the state of reggae music and their beloved Dad.
First memories of their father:
Ziggy – My earliest memory would have to be getting the belt from him when I misbehaved. How could I forget that? My father was into discipline.
Julian – It would have to be seeing him on that huge stage in London, 1980. I was only a baby (4 years old) but I remember how big the stage was, and how many people were in the audience.
On their father’s legacy:
Ziggy – My father’s music is a universal message of righteousness, equality for all. He made humanitarian music for everyone.
On stepping out from their father’s shadow:
Ziggy – Realistically, we are and always will be Bob’s sons. We don’t sit around thinking we have to distance ourselves from him.
Julian – Like we said before, our father’s music is about consciousness, one universal message. It is like a relay race where you pass the torch over and just keep on going.
On today’s music:
Ziggy – The direction of society mirrors the direction of music. The more music changes the more society changes. Right now music is reflecting a society that is all about materialism, selfishness and ego. It does not reflect social or spiritual concerns.
On what their father would think of hip-hop:
Ziggy – There’s nothing wrong with hip-hop. My father loved music, all types of music. He didn’t care what style people played, but what came out of their mouths, you know? Some of the artists he wouldn’t like cause they don’t have consciousness. Some are just concerned with frivolous things.
On the brothers performing together:
Ziggy – We had been talking about it for awhile. There’s something special that happens when all of the brothers play together that doesn’t happen when we play with others.
On sibling rivalries:
Ziggy – We are only competitive when we are playing soccer and dominoes, stuff like that. With our music we work together and support each other always.
On politics and the role of musicians:
Ziggy – Musicians are like parents. Anytime you try to force something on (people), they’ll rebel. It’s not the role of music to tell you who to vote for. We can try to raise consciousness, and let the kids decide for themselves. But we have to be very careful how we do it. If you made a song called `Vote For John Kerry’ what kid is going to listen to it? The spirit of the youth is rebellion, so if you tell them to do something, they’ll do the opposite.