* Bob Marley's son says he and dad shared musical philosophy
* Says there is "fine balance" with family on Marley legacy
* For Marley 70th says "might do something for the people
By Matilda Egere-Cooper
LONDON, May 9 It is 35 years since the
Grammy-winning musician Ziggy Marley started following in the
footsteps of his famous father Bob. The eclectic style on his
new album "Fly Rasta" shows that at 45, Marley is now keen to
forge his own path.
"I wanted to create what I call 'epic reggae', with a little
futuristic tinge to it," Marley said, speaking to Reuters ahead
of a headline show in London. "I wanted to do it with a standard
of quality that is not compromised in any way."
He only breaks reggae tradition on the album's lead single,
"I Don't Want to Live on Mars", where his distinctive vocal is
placed over a rock-influenced pop production.
Other parts of the release are classic, upbeat reggae,
making it clear that representing his father comes naturally to
Marley's first born. "I am his son and we share a certain way of
life; the foundation of Rasta. We share a philosophy of what
this music is," he said.
However, he admits to being conservative when it comes to
the business of being a Marley. As an independent artist on his
own label, Tuff Gong Worldwide, he says he is more concerned
with making an impact with his music than making money.
"We're lucky because my father left us with some money and
we can sustain. But we still have to pay bills; we still have to
work, obviously. We grew up with a mindset that money wasn't the
first, primary thing and that is what makes our music
It is also the reason why he has mixed views about how his
father's legacy has been handled in the past.
"The business side of it is something we have to be very
careful with; the profiting off of his name and likeness and
things like that," he said.
"There's a fine balance with me and the rest of the family
who might have other ideas or another way of thinking about it."
Marley is focused on developing his own projects to keep his
father's name alive - and this includes a follow-up to his
pro-environmental graphic novel "Marijuanaman", selling organic
hemp products and producing other artists through his label.
"(My father) was an entrepreneur, he was a businessman - but
a conscious one. Again, it wasn't money, money, money - things
have to be done for the right reasons and the right purposes, so
we have to continue that legacy in that entrepreneurship way."
Here are some other comments:
Q: Are their disadvantages to being a Marley?
A: Everything comes with a positive and a negative. If
people don't like you or didn't like you, it's worse that your
name is Marley (laughs). With the name Marley, they say, "Well
because you're a Marley you won a Grammy" and it becomes that
thing. But most of all, really, it's love. That's the greatest
advantage that being a so-called Marley gives us, based upon
what my father has done (and what) my mother has done. People
give a lot of love.
Q: In the past, you've done albums specifically for
children. Why does reggae music appeal to them?
A: It's really frustrating speaking to adults through music
every time because adults' minds are usually made up; they're
usually set in their ways. So the philosophy is speak to
children too, because children's' minds are open. For the next
generation, there must be something that changes, that makes the
world a better place. So children are a real deal. You have to
speak to children.
Q: You support the legalisation of marijuana in California,
where you live. Why?
A: I just support the plant in all its aspects. Marijuana
side is one thing, smoking, medical, recreational. But then
there's the hemp side of it, which is industrial, biofuel and
nutrition. It's an environmentally friendly way to make
products. (Plus) we don't drink alcohol, we're not like some
guys who, when they have a hard day, they can go and get a pint.
I don't drink pints. So what does the earth have for me? What
can the planet give me? I don't do hops so the planet must have
something for me too!
Q: It would have been your father's 70th birthday next year
- do you have plans to celebrate it?
A: We never grew up with a big celebration of birthdays
because it's kind of selfish. I guess we grew up in such a way.
So for the 70th we might do something musical for the people.
But personally? I just give thanks every day.
(Editing by Michael Roddy and Robin Pomeroy)