Smokin’ Doobies with Ziggy Marley
Perhaps one of the most recognisable family names in music over the past forty years is the name “Marley”. First bringing the style of reggae to commercial success in the early 70s, Bob Marley brought Jamaican music and the Rastafarian movement to the world with his messages of peace, unity and love.
Thirty years on and the messages are still the same, as the Marley name lives on through his children, in particular his eldest son, Ziggy. Vulture Magazine was fortunate enough to speak to Ziggy before he jets in to Australia for an East coast tour.
“It’s just corruption that is causing the demonization and criminalisation of weed, instead of promoting that it’s beneficial to the planet and the people”
After a spell of playing with the band the Melody Makers, Ziggy struck out on a solo venture, releasing his debut album as a solo artist, Dragonfly. 2006 saw Ziggy release his second album, Love is my Religion, which won him a Grammy in the category of Best Reggae Album. In 2009, he collaborated with family, and artists such as Willie Nelson and Paul Simon, releasing his third album Family Time, an album focused primarily at children, which took out the Grammy for Best Musical Album For Children”; all in all Ziggy Marley’s fifth Grammy.
After a five year absence from Australia, Ziggy is back to tour his fourth solo album, Wild and Free. “I’m looking forward to it man, it’s been a while since I’ve been down there so we’re going to have a good time”. Marley was again up for a Grammy for Best Reggae Album with Wild and Free, when asked whether he placed much emphasis on such commercial recognition, his reply was very gracious. “I really appreciate it but it’s not something we want to put too much emphasis on, all music speaks for itself, and our lives speak for the music and the music speaks for the people, and I appreciate it, but again, the music speaks for itself, not through awards, so we don’t place too much emphasis on that.”
Although sticking to the rhythms, melodies and lyrical content that makes it’s style unique, Wild And Free isn’t your typical Reggae album, with elements of rock, funk and even Country and Western, “I’m a country and Western fan… I think some of the songs have a western vibe because I’m a fan of that stuff, you know…You go a bit crazy if you don’t have fun with what’s in front of you”. In terms of honesty in portraying his art, “Creating music is one of the best experiences in our lives, you have poetry, you have intimacy, we have something that makes us look within ourselves, it’s like psychiatry for me, these songs are really who I am as a human being, it’s some of the best experiences in my life, writing songs and music”.
Much like his father, Ziggy’s music maintains strong messages of love and peace whilst retaining a hard-edged political and social awareness embedded underneath. There is a staunch environmentalist message throughout the album, particularly on the title track, where Ziggy and feature musician and actor Woody Harrelson sing of the legalisation of marijuana.
When asked about the legalisation of “the herb”, Ziggy showed the sort of passion that makes his music so honest “The use of cannabis has been going on for thousands of years through history, for recreation and industrial use, and at one point, corporations decided that the use of it in the industrial area would harm their priorities…It’s just corruption that is causing the demonization and criminalisation of weed, instead of promoting that it’s beneficial to the planet and the people, not just smoking but industrial, we know that, it’s a FACT. It’s not my statement, it’s a truth, but you know… Because the political wheel is not within governments, I think its in the industries which are established who have a strong strong say in the political system, the political heart, you know…. You gotta keep on just telling the truth.”
It was a great pleasure chatting to the man. You too can feel the love at Byron Bay Bluesfest on the 5th and 7th of April, The Metro Theatre on the 8th of April and The Corner in Melbourne on the 9th of April.
Tagged Album, Bob Marley, Byron Bay Bluesfest, Grammy, marajuwana, Melody Makers, Paul Simon, Rasta, Reggae, The Corner Hotel, the herb, The Metro Theatre, weed, Willie Nelson, Woody Harrelson, Ziggy Marley