TUBBY - Dynasty of Dub
The descendants of King Tubby still prime the digital dub pump
BY JEFF STRATTON
Ten past 10 p.m. on a Wednesday. A secret undisclosed location in north Miami-Dade. Special guest DJ Mixette is ready to spin a late-night set for those tuning in to the illegal signal of a pirate radio station.
Mark T, a fast-talking, Haitian-born impresario, is tonight's host. His agenda: a ribald evening of contemporary, clandestine entertainment. Earlier, as she prepared her trick bag before departing her house in Lake Worth, Mixette cautioned, "It's underground, so it's gonna be dirty!"
|Because she works 60 hours a week managing a nursing home, Mixette hasn't had much time to plan for tonight's radio show. Before her arrival, she's nervous.
"I don't know what their format is, but I'm very adaptive. I'm gonna go there and hear what the other DJs do. I'll listen to the callers and find out what music they like."
For this foray into the unknown, proper, prim, and professional Mixette plans on a conservative approach. "I don't wanna play slow jams when everyone else is playing crunk," she explains. "My question to myself is, 'Why should these people listen to me? How can I be different but still be the same? What can I bring to the table?'"
As soon as she takes over, the mood changes from ghetto/gangsta to an unmistakable dancehall flavor. Between tracks, she interjects "Spin down, selectah!" or "Rewind, selectah!" making it obvious there's some Jamaican sound-system history in the hizzy.
|Mixette's mixes are as wicked as they come. She'll blend opera with Doug E. Fresh. "I've even taken Frank Sinatra," she boasts, "put it behind a reggae version, and made it work."
But throughout the evening, no one hears Mixette's real name: Michelle Ruddock. Even if they did, it's unlikely they'd realize she carries the corpuscles of reggae royalty. Ruddock, the 34-year-old niece of the late legendary dub progenitor King Tubby, doesn't trade on her celebrity lineage.
"A lot of artists today don't know about my past," Mixette says. "They don't know where I'm from, where my knowledge came from. All they know is, 'Hi, I'm Mixette. What can I do for you?'"
There's a familiar reticence about family connections in Mixette's headlong delivery. You can shake the chandeliers off the ceiling or scorch the speaker wires, but don't expect the Ruddock family secrets to make an appearance in Mixette's mix.
King Tubby has been dead for 15 years, the victim of a still-unsolved murder in Jamaica, yet he remains among the most respected figures in contemporary reggae, credited with the innovations that gave modern-day trance, techno, and hip-hop its sonic playfulness and deep-bass grooves. Still, he was always a behind-the-scenes string-puller, not given to music-press profiles. You'd never find King Tubby in front of a microphone on stage.
Then there's Tubby's baby brother, Leslie, a shadowy figure who has settled into embittered solitude in suburban Palm Beach County, resisting any and all attempts to unveil his own unmistakable imprint on reggae music. An incurable electro-tech wonk, Young Tubby -- as he is known by reggae cognoscenti -- can appear paranoid to the point of near-delusion. Leslie Ruddock -- an electronics genius, by most accounts, who built from scratch the machinery that helped create Jamaican music's most crucial subgenre -- goes to absurd lengths to keep his accomplishments under wraps. To this end, he's been remarkably successful.
Nor are Leslie Ruddock's children -- Michelle and brother Keith, another remarkable mixologist with a host of recording accomplishments -- particularly interested in removing the cloak of obscurity from the legend of their famous forebears. Perhaps the most remarkable facet of this creative music family is its ability to leave the past alone, each carving out his or her own idiosyncratic futures.
But sometimes the truth leaks out, like a bottomless bassline shuddering from a subwoofer or an ethereal slice of a vocal fragment slipping in and out of the mix -- be it from a mid-'70s reggae remix or a modern-day club anthem -- and you can feel Tubby's magic touch.
Along with a handful of others, the name King Tubby exemplifies reggae roots. Born Osbourne Ruddock in January 1941, Tubby's nickname came not from a weight problem (he was actually quite trim) but for his knowledge of all things electronic, tube amplifiers in particular. While a Google search will turn up hundreds of documents detailing the story of Kingston's Daddy of Dub, not one mentions Tubby's baby brother.
Leslie Ruddock, born in September 1947, doesn't even amount to a penciled-in footnote in reggae history. And he prefers it that way. Seeking interviews, local scribes like Peggy Quattro from Hallandale Beach's tiny Reggae Report got nowhere, and the world's foremost reggae archivist and biographer, Steve Barrow of England's roots revival label Blood & Fire, was also rebuffed.
Yet Leslie Ruddock was arguably as important and inventive as his older brother. While Osbourne never left Jamaica in his lifetime, Leslie Ruddock moved to the U.S. in the mid-1960s, never to return.
Although dub is known as a Jamaican innovation, many of its technological advances were made here in the States, simply because of the level of available equipment. Dub -- the product of budget constraints, sheer serendipity, and a sense of adventure -- has its origin in primitive electronics.
Both Ruddock brothers shared a passion for music and uncanny abilities as tinkerers with gadgetry. Anything that could be taken apart -- speakers, amplifiers, telephones, ham radios, televisions -- was studied and put back together. As kids, they would even come to enjoy the small electric shocks they'd get from the transistor radios they messed with.
In the late 1950s, Osbourne Ruddock's career as a repairman had blossomed into a master of audio mechanics, hours spent rewinding transformers and building his own tube amplifiers that were bigger, louder, and cleaner than anything ever heard on the island. With a simple home-brewed two-channel mixer, he built his own sound system, "King Tubby's Hometown Hi-Fi," a mobile DJ booth that pumped reggae that could be heard for miles. He also began working in a Kingston studio owned by Duke Reid, a former policeman turned record producer. Ruddock's job was cutting discs -- mixing and transferring tapes onto the raw vinyl platters.
One day, Tubby accidentally left off most of the vocals from a tune he was mixing. But he loved the sound of his minimalist mistake. When he became a well-known engineer/producer on his own, he built a simple studio, thinking (mostly out of necessity) in reductive terms.
Never proficient on instruments himself, Tubby was a post-production composer. After the musicians and singers laid down the basic tracks, Tubby would turn sound sculptor. The original whole, like a block of marble, would then be chopped, drilled, pulled, and tugged like taffy to fit Tubby's new specifications.
A vocal line might pop in for two or three measures, never to appear again. The underpinning bass grid often, without warning, dropped out entirely. A guitar would chop out a few strums, then evaporate. The vacuum left behind gave the music its magical appeal. This fourth dimension was fortified by a mind-warping sense of echo and reverb, at which Tubby excelled.
|Incredibly, the prehistoric technology meant that Tubby often performed these miracles on two-track machines -- instruments on one channel, vocals on the other. This economy of means led Tubby to push and pull both tracks in and out of the mix -- creating a titillating rhythmic striptease. By the time a four-track mixer came around, each element -- bass, keyboards, guitar, voice -- could make an appearance, briefly state its intent, and slip away behind a sonic curtain. The dropouts bred anticipation, and the blank spaces provided a perfect tableau for MCs (toasters, they were called) to rap over the top.
Other studios in Kingston were also experimenting with innovative techniques, but none had the technical prowess of Tubby's on Dromilly Avenue. A young engineer named Errol Thompson was also stripping tracks down to just drum and bass, but his more basic board meant he had to punch tracks in and out with buttons, making for a clunky sound.
Tubby had one big advantage -- his electronic expertise allowed him to update and modify his equipment. He used phase shifters and smooth-gliding faders, which made for seamless transitions between dub-being and dub-nothingness.
During reggae's golden age of the early 1970s, Tubby's studio became a launch pad for an assortment of greats. Among his most famous collaborators: producers like crazy dub surrealist Lee "Scratch" Perry and seminal studio whiz Bunny Lee; singers like sweet soul crooner Horace Andy, Watty Burnett of the harmony group the Congos, and the incomparable Johnny Clarke; original toasters like U-Roy; and melodica master Augustus Pablo. With Pablo, the work was especially fruitful, culminating in 1976's King Tubby's Meets Rockers Uptown, early dub's definitive statement.
Seventies dancehall superstar Jah Walton called Tubby's "the greatest four-track studio I have ever put foot in."
Last year, London's prestigious Guardian/Observer called King Tubby's 1971 discovery of dub one of "50 moments that shaped musical history [and] changed our lives," crediting him for "creating the template for modern dance music." Two years ago, Source magazine named King Tubby "the don of hip-hop." A new British compilation CD called The Rough Guide to Dub devotes half of its 20 tracks to King Tubby's mixes.
By the time Osbourne Ruddock developed his first sound systems, his younger brother was searching for a way he could make his own impact.
However, like his kingly brother -- rarely quoted, described by friends, family, protégés, and associates as a nice but extremely private man -- Leslie Ruddock has spent his 58 years avoiding any sort of publicity. Mixette laughs when told New Times plans to contact her dad to arrange a photo shoot. "Good luck!" she says. "We can't even get family portraits." His son doubts his father will ever speak to the press. "He doesn't do interviews," Keith Ruddock insists.
Regardless, after a series of unreturned calls and ignored messages, on one bright afternoon in early January, the man often called "Young Tubby" answers the phone at his home in suburban Boynton Beach. He doesn't sound at all pleased. In fact, he begins with an animated, don't-you-know-who-I am? rant.
"My brother was the King!" he shouts into the receiver. "The world famous -- internationally famous -- UNIVERSALLY FAMOUS!!! -- King Tubby!"
Nervous laughter on this end. Is he kidding?
"So if you want an interview, come up with a big, fat check," he thunders. "And I'm not talking about $1,000 or so. I'm talking big money. 'Cause Tubby's is a big name!"
After remaining in the deep background during one of reggae's most important sagas, isn't Leslie Ruddock interested -- even slightly -- in having his story told? Setting the record straight?
"No," he says after a millisecond's pause. "I don't want to bother with that unless I see some money. The record's straight the way it is."
That's a shame, because the story of Jamaican music is minus one big, fat chapter with his omission. Maybe so, he agrees with a sigh. "The history is so big, so broad. But I don't care. I never say anything to anybody. So if you need an interview, come on with a big fat check and I'll give you a story. But not with too much detail."
In fact, repeats Ruddock, after being screwed over, learning about copyrights, royalties, and publishing rights the hard way, there's only one way he's going to tell his story.
"I'm waiting for somebody to come in with a big fat check," he reiterates. "Then I'll say, 'OK, roll. '"
But behind his sonorous voice -- which sounds as if it belongs to a smooth soul singer instead of a semiretired radio repairman -- a kindness starts spiraling out from behind the gruffness, and against his will, the tales squeak through.
Today, Ruddock explains, his passion is for his family -- his 92-year-old mother, his children, and three grandkids (all under the age of 10). He still works with audio equipment (area Sam Ashes and Guitar Centers regularly call upon his talents) but revisiting his past -- especially with cold-calling strangers -- ain't in the cards.
"It's time for me to enjoy the rest of my life with the people around me," he begins. "Why should I want to go back in time?"
In the 1960s, as King Tubby became one of the most famous musical Jamaicans, Leslie Ruddock tired of following in his footsteps. Convinced he could become an engineer and technician in his own right, he moved to Brooklyn, where he took his electronic knowledge to a new level. By the early '70s, with the technology of New York City at his disposal, his achievements outstripped his brother's back on the island, say many who witnessed his innovations.
|"To me, a lot of people give Tubby too much credit," says Denver "Jamusa" Silvera, a popular DJ on Davie's Caribbean radio station WAVS-AM (1170). He met Leslie Ruddock in Brooklyn in 1970. "He told me Tubby taught him a lot of things, but then again, he created a lot of things here."
"That's just the way it goes," Ruddock says. "I advanced a lot of people's careers; they just never mention me. But I'm an electronic genius -- I can take a cigarette box and turn that shit into a radio. That's who I really am."
Silvera once watched the young Ruddock take a business card and use it as a speaker. "From then on, I said, 'Whoa, I gotta know how you do this stuff!'"
One of Young Tubby's innovations was a "dub machine," a device that could actually cut vinyl records. Big record companies pressed albums in factories for mass consumption, but Leslie Ruddock's machine was likely the first one used on such a small scale in America.
"It was so amazing for everybody to see a man build something that can make a record," Ruddock marvels. "A lot of guys never knew how a record was made until I showed them.
"That's what 'dub' really is," he continues. "It's acetate -- that's what that black thing really is. What you'd do is you'd dub the sound from whatever you're taking it from onto the acetate."
In Jamaica, Leslie and Osbourne also cut their own records, creating what became known as dub plates -- usually single 45s -- containing instrumental versions of whatever tunes they'd be working on. These dub plates would be transported like artillery shells to be blasted on their booming sound systems, laying waste to listeners.
Leslie explains, 'We would use the same rhythm track, put different lyrics on each one, and make four, five, six different versions so we could compete with other sound systems. Basically, that's what my brother and I brought into existence."
The second discovery Leslie Ruddock made in Brooklyn went to the core of dub's sonic spirit. "Nobody was putting echo in reggae music," he claims. "I started that when I was just a young guy."
By combining three tape recorders together, he invented an echo/feedback system that created a mind-boggling 168 echoes a minute. Another associate, Hyman "Jah Life" Wright -- now a New York label boss -- recalls how Ruddock's unorthodox methodology gave the music its disorienting giddiness.
"He had a Fisher reverb unit that used a spring, a metal spring," Wright remembers. "He'd lift the spring and it'd splash, and he'd combine that with the echo unit and get these different frequencies."
The effect is better heard than described, but Wright tries his best: "'Cha-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya.' We did a version of a song called 'Queen of the Minstrel' with that echo thing, and it went 'Peeeeow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow. '"
Silvera recalls, "It was really freaky. That spring was the most amazing thing. Just now, today, people are starting to get the effects that he got way back then."
Ruddock recorded these sounds and sent them down to King Tubby. "I got a telephone call from my brother in Jamaica," Ruddock laughs, "and he asked me, 'How the hell did you do that?'"
|When the sound turned up on King Tubby's mixes, it instantly revolutionized music on the island. "As soon as I 'eard those records," Wright says, "I knew it was our stuff."
"Nobody ever heard anything like that before," Leslie Ruddock says. "Everybody want that." Joyously, he describes how one such experiment gave rise to a frequent nickname: "We made a record that went, 'Iggy Iggy, Agga Agga, and when the guy says play the music, just Stagga!' And when that part came, I just hold it like that so it goes, 'STAGGA Stagga stagga stagga stagga stagga stagga... '" From that moment, a group of in-the-know industry insiders started calling Leslie Ruddock "Stagga."
Young Tubby's remarkable inventions made friends like Silvera ask him, "'You know how rich you could have been if you had patented that?' But he didn't want to get involved with that part of the business. He wanted to stay behind the scenes." Silvera even advised him to design an emblem to label the power amps and pre-amplifiers he'd assembled.
"You know, so they'd say Built by Young Tubby. But he wouldn't do things like that. A lot of what Tubby knew was learned from Stagga. Stagga was exposed to a lot of things you couldn't get in Jamaica, and he shared that with Tubby," Silvera says.
Ruddock can't escape the Tubby trademark anyway. There's a wide gap between Source magazine and the London Observer, but Tubby's name is enough to fill it.
"What is known as hip-hop today," Leslie Ruddock intones, "is originally what we used to do in the late '60s and the early '70s. But they just know my brother's name. If you go back and trace the history, on the lips of every guy in the reggae business, they always say, 'KING TUBBY!'"
Keith Ruddock still remembers running around King Tubby's studio as a young child. In fact, he lived with Osbourne Ruddock in Kingston until he joined his father in the States in 1985. While in Jamaica, he learned about primitive equipment that could work miracles. Today, with digital 48-track mixing consoles and ProTools at his disposal, he still remembers the magic created at King Tubby's.
"His studio was just the way it was supposed to be," he marvels in a heavier-than-expected accent. "Other studios tried, but they couldn't capture the way Tubby used to dub."
Most of what Keith Ruddock understands, he learned at his father's side. "Personally, he taught me about how sound works, from an electronic perspective. Trust me, when he builds it, it works the right way."
In 1991, Keith moved to West Palm Beach, where the lack of opportunity stifled him. "I'd be down there more," he says, "but nothing's going on." So for the past two years, he's lived in Washington, D.C., playing club gigs across the country under the Digital K rubric.
"We do the sound-system thing," he explains. "I'll DJ, and we have a toaster on the mic. I'm playing dub plates and tracks from a laptop, but we keep that old-school, '70s dancehall vibe."
With Wright producing, Keith Ruddock is ready to release his second album of modern-day dub. Back to I Mon Roots, on Wright's Jah Life label, is a spooky labyrinth of crevasse-deep grooves and futuristic sound effects. Drum machines skitter, chitter, and bounce, while synthesizers chirp like mechanized cicadas. Electronic basses boom and pop like gas bubbles, shaking walls, while everything shudders with reverberations suggesting underwater sonar. Ghostly vocal traces come and go like wraiths sticking their skulls through a crack in the door, whispering, then vanishing.
In short, it's King Tubby's legacy retooled for the modern age. "I take my hat off to people who build upon what he built," Keith says. "Digital is pure signal, but the analog roots -- you have to be true to it."
Ever since she followed her brother from New Jersey to South Florida in 1996, Michelle Ruddock has been honing her DJ technique for house parties and occasional club events, specializing in, as her dad jokingly calls it, "hip-hop shit."
Like her brother, Mixette had, by the time she'd set up shop in Palm Beach County, already learned electronics from her father. "I believe in foundation. I believe in structure," Mixette says. "I see where my ancestors came from. I've seen where they put all these 20-cent radios together at one watt apiece and make a 200-watt amp out of garbage. I've seen it with my own eyes."
Like Keith, Mixette stays grounded in the analog realm but is gradually inching toward digital. "I can mix and scratch with my laptop," she crows. With 15,000 MP3s on there, she no longer has to travel with ten crates of records.
"I still keep the basics," she adds. "Two cases of vinyl, a bag of CDs, and my laptop. I don't forget any of my elements -- they're all there with me."
Yet this regal reggae bloodline also bears the taint of seclusion. Keith Ruddock e-mailed New Times out of the blue, introducing himself as King Tubby's nephew. First contact with Michelle Ruddock was extremely positive. Yet when invited to sit for photographs to accompany this article, Leslie Ruddock reacted with a combination of annoyance and hostility that evidently trickled down to his progeny.
Within weeks of the radio broadcast, Michelle stopped answering her phone; when finally reached, her initial openness had shifted to icy quarantine. Keith made several promises to return to West Palm Beach -- first for Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and finally sometime in late January. He insisted he'd put everything aside for a meeting and photo shoot. "Press always comes first," he added.
Then, as February rolled around, bad news did too: "I can't make it down," he said. "Family problems."
In contrast to Keith's accent-laden patois, his father's sharp, clipped English bears almost no trace of his heritage. "I don't do that 'Yeah, mon' thing," Leslie Ruddock snaps. "It don't work no more. Remember, I didn't just get here -- I grew up in this damned country. I've been in this country since Johnson was the president. Jamaica is just the land of my birth -- what's the big deal? I left it a long time ago."
Yet America hasn't always been friendly: While in Brooklyn, his friends recall, Tubby's apartment was burglarized. So in 1982, he moved to South Florida, but his first studio space here (in Miami) was robbed as well. So he relocated to Fort Lauderdale and opened a recording studio at 2811 W. Broward Blvd. Young Tubby's Music Center was the biggest studio between Kingston and New York for reggae artists, and Ruddock fondly recalls the halcyon days of sessions with vocal talents Sugar Minott, Johnny Osbourne, and Barrington Levy as well as the late, great Dennis Brown and Augustus Pablo.
Inside the Broward Boulevard studio -- next door to a strip club -- Ruddock's disciplinarian side surfaces. In telling the tale, he punctures one of the biggest misconceptions about dub: that everyone involved must have been incredibly stoned to come up with such mind-bending sounds.
"That's the part of the music business that I resented constantly," he says angrily, "and still do. I would come into the studio feeling good, and the minute the musicians come in and start smoking their goddamned ganja shit, stinkin' up the place, I'd have to open up the window.
"I don't smoke," he says. "Or drink. I never did. Why should I be suffering because that guy smokes his ganja? So I had a tough time, especially when using other people's studios. I used to carry this little gas mask with me."
He admits it probably looked a little silly to see someone behind the console wearing a gas mask with filter cartridges, but he didn't care.
"If someone said, 'Tubby, why you put that thing on?' I'd say, 'Man, I can't breathe in here with all that smoke!'"
Silvera recalls, "He had this phobia about smoke, so [musicians] would go do it outside in the car before they came in. He told me that cigarette smoke will form a charcoal film on the equipment, the diodes, and really mess it up."
During his stint in Fort Lauderdale, Ruddock had three rules musicians and engineers had to follow: No smoking in the studio. No food in the studio. And no firearms.
He also remembers recording artists who couldn't -- or wouldn't -- pay for the studio time they'd booked. "I did a lot of grinnin' and bearin', man," he says. "I had guys who pushed a gun into my navel and said, 'What money you talkin' about?' I've been down those roads. I could have lost my life so many times."
Ruddock knows that enduring these indignities is part of the work, and even at 58, he's still bitter.
"Listen to me," he says solemnly. "Luck don't run my way. It's hard work!" His voice rises. "I'm talking about 45 years of constant soldering! Getting electrical shocks! Listening to all kinds of shit from guys who don't even know how to play their goddamned instruments!"
Softly, he adds: "It's not about fame. It's not even about money. It's about -- somebody gotta do the goddamned work."
A few days a week, he repairs equipment in the back room at Boca Music. "He really knows his stuff," owner Brian Baldwin says. "He catches things that we don't normally catch. He's probably the best electronics repair guy around."
"That's all he does," says Ace Kari, salesman at Schumacher Music in Stuart, where Ruddock also works part-time. "He fixes anything that has wires and tubes and transistors, whether it be a TV or a microphone and everything in between." Kari has gotten to know Young Tubby a bit and understands his reluctance to indulge curious writers.
"That part of his life is over and done with. He wants to be left alone. It's a shame, but he's done."
|Adds Silvera: "I've asked him to come to the station and tell people how he did all this, and he'll say, 'Nah, nah -- you do it.' The media in Jamaica, they don't write about the backbone of the music. They write about the leaves that fall off the limbs. There are branches, but he's one of the roots."
Both Wright and Silvera believe few royalties from Tubby's old recordings have made their way to his descendants. Jamaican, American, and even Japanese labels took advantage of copyright and publishing loopholes and swiped much of his back catalog.
"You see a lot of Tubby's things out there making millions," Wright says, "but his family's not getting any of the money."
Because he's been in the background, quietly observing for so many years, Ruddock has a pretty good idea what to avoid.
"I'm not gonna teach anybody anything anymore," he insists. "And I'm not doing anything with outsiders either. I'm satisfied with what I got out of it. I don't have any needs or wants. I'm very comfortable. I don't need a goddamned thing. I'm not rich, but at the same time, I'm not on the poverty side.
"I just sit back, but what I'm not doing -- and I want you to listen very carefully now -- what I personally am not doing is I am not bringing any outsiders into what remains," he emphasizes. "I did that for 45 goddamned years. It never do a thing for me, and it killed my brother."
During the 1980s, King Tubby's studio in the dangerous Waterhouse district of Kingston hosted a revolving door of talent, and new apprentices learned recording techniques at his side. He launched his own record labels, boosted the careers of upstart stars like Wayne Wonder, and readied himself for entry into the new digital era.
It was not to be. Shortly after 1 a.m. on February 6, 1989, Tubby locked the studio, started his car, and made the ten-minute drive to his home in Duhaney Park. As soon as he pulled into the driveway at 85 Sherlock Crescent, a gunman sneaked up. Tubby was robbed (his licensed pistol was stolen too), and his wife awoke to the sound of a single shot.
Old-school ska vocalist Glenn Darby told an interviewer: "The person who killed him was one of the stupidest person in the world because they would never find a man like King Tubby in Jamaica again."
Concurs Wright: "I never heard Tubbs ever fight in his life. They killed him for no reason." No one was ever arrested in the murder.
While family points to his intense desire for privacy, his associates say Leslie Ruddock's reluctance to emerge from hiding is motivated by fear.
"He's my bredren and everything," Wright says, "but he's kind of a coward too. I said, 'Stagga, man, you need to stop that. You've been in the background too long.' Trust me -- he's scared. He don't want nobody to come and kill him!"
Young Tubby insists he's afraid of nothing but losing his precious solitude. "I'm with everybody in the music business, even though we're not out there rubbing shoulder to shoulder. So what's the big deal? Why do I have to be showing people that I'm still existing?"
While he teases with tales of unheard, never-released Bob Marley and Dennis Brown tracks, photographs stacked four feet high of every reggae star imaginable, and enough crazy electronic gizmos to fill a Heathkit catalog, Ruddock has no intention of sharing.
"This is only for my kids and myself," the patriarch insists. "Because I've noticed what an outsider does -- they destroy what they can't control. It's time to close the goddamned book. I did my time. I tell my kids, 'It's time for you to continue this thing, continue it in your time. '"
Young Tubby is adamant he will never reemerge. "Some people come back after ten years, and you know the first thing they do? Go back where they left off. You can't do that. You're gonna scratch that surface that you smoothed out on the way to the top. Leave it alone! A lot of people don't have the strength, they don't have the courage or the know-how or the understanding how to continue without going back.
"I don't have to go back; I just continue. My daughter, my son, and I -- we're moving forward in digital." His voice rises again, this time with pride. "They grew up into it, beside me, constantly. It was handed down to them. They're from the foundation -- it's not something they just heard about. It's right there."
BY JEFF STRATTON