Robert Nesta Marley Feature Section
Marvin Talks Past, Present and Future of The Wailers
Special Feature Report for RadioREGGAE.com from Marc Shapiro
It’s 1977. Junior Marvin, a young,
hopeful guitarist is shaking in his boots. It’s his first time playing with
Bob Marley and The Wailers, and the guys from the band have just turned their
backs on him.
was scary,” recalls Marvin. “They all turned their backs on me, and I think
‘these guys don’t like m
Marvin’s gut reaction couldn’t have been further from the truth.
asked Bob, ‘Why’d you guys all turn your back?’ and he goes, ‘We
didn’t want you to see us laughing because we’re so happy we got a good
guitar player,’” says Marvin. “They were chuckling away saying ‘yeah,
he’s cool’ and I’m thinking ‘damn, I’m gonna lose this gig.’”
three decades after that first encounter, and more than 23 years after
Marley’s death, Marvin and The Wailers are still bringing reggae
music with its messages
of peace and love to the world. Marvin believes that reggae’s
unique blend of feel-good music and socially conscious lyrics are the
elements that have kept this music alive long after the departure of the
genre’s most renowned performer.
natural rhythm of the
music is very warm,” says Marvin. “It makes you
feel like you wanna get up and dance, and then the lyrics have a message apart
was like ‘Concrete Jungle’ and ‘Burnin’ and Lootin’,’ very, some
people say, heavy, but the way they put it together didn’t feel heavy,”
Marvin continues. “It was like ‘Wow, this is cool, let me dance’ and then
after you dance you go ‘Oh, that’s pretty hip lyrics too.’ And then
you’re sucked in before you know it.”
might have realized the potency of his messages, which may have been what
prompted him to want The Wailers to continue even after his passing.
was his request, funny enough, for us to stay together,” says Marvin.
“It’s like a relay race. I got a bat and I’m gonna pass it to you guys.
You pass it to somebody else.”
this day, Marvin remembers a focused, disciplined musician even though they only
worked together for four years before Marley died in 1981.
was on a mission,” adds Marvin. “He wanted to bring people together through
Marley has been elevated to iconic status since his death, Marvin says that was
not his intention.
don’t think he was striving to be popular,” explains Marvin. “It was more
to share. Share whatever he felt was good to make people smile and dance and
laugh and think about themselves inwardly as well, not just outwardly.”
also realizes that Marley’s lyrics and messages weren’t just significant to
the time period in which they were written.
are actually living the reality of a lot of the things he talked about. Like
think the time has come for a big peace
movement, which is what
Bob started then, ‘movement of Jah people,’ the One Love Peace Concert in
was a wake up call for everyone on the planet and now we’ve gotta learn from
should work together and share knowledge, says Marvin, rather than “tearing
each other’s throats out.”
the long run, it’s gonna be beneficial to everyone to just chill out,” he
the world of The Wailers could use some help.
Marley’s death, the rest of the band has had feuds with Island Records. The
Bob Marley Estate has gotten all of the royalties
from the entire Island Records catalog, which includes albums from 1974 until
1983. Aston “Family Man” Barrett (The Wailers’ original bassist) may fight
for royalties in court later this year. Marvin hopes that Family Man will win
this battle and be able to extend benefits to the rest of the band members.
the battle with the record label hasn’t deterred the Wailers one bit.
Preliminary work has begun for a new studio album. With many band members
writing songs and people outside of the band contributing music and lyrics as
well, Marvin says the group will put together all the songs everyone has written
and pick the best ones for an album.
also has solo material coming out. He has written a song in memory of Marley
called “Life Without You” to coincide with Marley’s 60th
birthday on Feb. 6. He hopes to release the song for free on the internet. The
song will give fans a small sampling of what’s coming: a solo record called
“Junior Marvin Wailin.’”
The 14-track album will feature a
song, “Feed Them.” Marvin will donate the proceeds from this song to
children all over the world. The song features about 40 different Jamaican
artists including original Wailers backup singer Marcia Griffiths, as well as
kind of like ‘We Are the World,’ but reggae style,” says Marvin.
“Wailin’” is due out in May.
more information on Junior Marvin visit www.juniormarvin.com
Marley Story Part One
Marley Story Part Two
Bob Marley Feature - R&R Hall of Fame
Marley Feature Part Four (Roger
Perry Henzel's Interview with Bob
Bob Marley - LEGEND LIVE
Reggae Road Bob Marley Main Page
The Boy From Nine Mile