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Published: 2010/09/09
by Larson Sutton

Al Anderson: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Onward

Was it hard not to get swept up in all of that?

It wasn’t as great psychologically as it was metaphysically for us as musicians. The physical part of going on stage with artists like Bob Marley, Peter, and Bunny was like, oh, my God, everybody wanted to do it. I was so happy to be involved in that. What I didn’t like was, once the music was over, wow, there was a whole other world. Bob was a leader. He was leading a party, a group of people. George Bush didn’t like Bob Marley. Bob Marley was close with Michael Manley and Castro. That communism thing in the Western hemisphere wasn’t working. When he started to politicize Michael Manley over Eddie Seaga, I had federal agents literally come and tell me they were going to assassinate every band member. I said, ‘Why would you bring it to me?’ They said because you are American and George Bush is American.

It was a warning?

It was a warning. I told Bob, and he offered the side of his face. He said, tell them to come and take this. And they did, they attempted. That’s when I left. I said I’ve had enough of Don Taylor. I’ve had enough of the politics. I love this guy as a singer/songwriter, as a brother. But, I’m not going to risk my life to be in a band. They weren’t liking the fact that guns, marijuana, and revolution is coming into America. Africa unite? Cuba, Jamaica unite? You don’t say shit like that.

America, in post-Watergate at that time, is a bit shaky…

Big Brother’s eyes and ears were all on who is against America in our closest hemisphere. People were looking and saying this guy (Marley) has the possibility of uniting the whole world. He had that Martin Luther King thing. Look what they did to King and Kennedy when they decided to bring black and white people together. Bob had the magical elements, like Obama, that people didn’t like (at first) but ended up loving. Peter, Bob, and Bunny- they spoke the truth.

Peter, Bunny, and Bob are considered the original Wailers, of which only Bunny is still alive, and not a member of your current band- the Original Wailers. Can you talk about the Original Wailers of 2010, and the Wailers led by Family Man?

I had an opportunity to work with him (Family Man) for around 12, 15 years off and on (in the post-Marley Wailers). Family Man is not a leader. He is a retard. He is so poorly educated and has no feelings towards anybody but himself. He is one of the most selfish individuals I have ever met. I don’t think Bob liked Family Man too much because he didn’t leave anything to him. He never bothered to come to Bob’s aid while he was making his journey. It was all about the money first. No heart. He met a groupie and decided to have a whole bunch of kids. Now, she is counting my T-shirt money, counting on the name that Bob gave us, and managing and controlling everything. It was like working for Dracula.

So, the word ‘original’ in Original Wailers refers to the original intent, the original vision of Bob’s band and music. It’s not to suggest the band is comprised of original members.

Absolutely. I saw the level they have; the songwriting level, the production level, the people level. We eat, work and live together, and have been for two years and it’s working. People are trying to low-ball us because there are two bands out there. I want to peacefully co-exist with those other people who call themselves the Wailers. My plan is to continue with the Original Wailers until it reaches its rightful audience and people respect what we do. Then, take the ‘Wailers’ off of it, and you’ll get Bob Marley’s music with Al Anderson and Junior Marvin.

Let’s talk about the new album you recorded.

I had a little money and I borrowed a little money, and said, let’s go do a record. I have a friend in Rhinebeck, New York- Paul Antonell- who has a beautiful place called the Clubhouse. The B-52s, George Clinton, Peter Gabriel all record there. It’s a really nice Neve board in a great barn. A big room, wood floors, great ambience, super drum room, and a great vocal room. The people are really nice. We sat down on the last day of our Australian tour with 50 songs that the band members had written, and cut it down to the best 14. I said, instead of going home, let’s go straight into Rhinebeck and record on an analog board, live drums, like we used to. We got Karl Pitterson, Chris Blackwell’s right hand man, producing. He’s done everything in Jamaica. He’s my favorite cat. Without him my guitar sound would be as thin as a pretzel. It just worked. It was magic. It was like the old days again. I can’t believe how it came out.

And the line-up?

We have Junior Marvin on vocals, guitar, keyboards and songwriting. Erica Newell on vocals. Desmond ‘Desi’ Hyson on keyboards, songwriting, and vocals. Stephen Samuels on bass. Christian Cowlin on writing and organ. Francis ‘Paapa’ Nyarkoh on drums. And me, on guitar and production.

Who’s releasing it?

We’ve got a label, Edel, in Germany looking at wrapping it up in December and having it out for Bob’s birthday (in February) with an Original Wailers T-shirt and CD. We hope that we can reach the fans that are familiar with our names. I’m so happy with the guys I’m working with. We are all taking all that we have and putting it into the band. It was the magic of the moment.

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There are 10 comments associated with this post

Daniel March 31, 2011, 13:56:22

Now will know who is the true (well you know)dnnuals

Orlando June 11, 2011, 23:08:38

Yet never seemed to get the publicity of a truly great artist. Nice work. Keep it going

TONY May 7, 2012, 21:55:51

Hey Al obviously that you on the“Rastafari is” solo.I personally think that is one of the best solos ever along with “till your well runs dry” Come on out to San Diego sometime Ill take you fishin bro.Love your work,Tony.

Jwff Mukwiilongo September 10, 2010, 06:01:24

Al Anderson thanks a lot for a brief explanation on how you joined the Wailers band but I suggest you write a book, telling exactly as you just told it in this interview. We want to hear more on how and what happened during the early 70s to the early 80s untill Peter Tosh got murdered in 87. It will be very interesting as well to know more and more of what you haven`t yet spoken about as far as the Wailers, Word, sound and power bands are concerned. Greetings from Namibia.

Lowell Taubman, MD September 10, 2010, 12:30:19

Great Stories, Al, Jah be with you.

Pablo Assab September 11, 2010, 03:47:09

Always knew and loved Al’s guitar playing. Classical! No one dresses a lyric like he does. Yet never seemed to get the publicity of a truly great artist. Nice work. Keep it going.

Guil Rasta September 14, 2010, 11:11:55

Forward ever Al !

david boatwright September 15, 2010, 21:30:09

Great interview with Al Anderson. Over the years I’ve seen him with Bob, Junior,
Elan Attias and Gary Pine. His guitar work
is outstanding! As a fan of blues style improvised guitar, he’s second maybe only to Jimi Hendrix! All his records are great, but I have an audience tape from
7/10/01 on Nantucket that is my favorite! Totally off the hook!
Jah Live!

Joyce Olinga September 21, 2010, 11:26:35

Dear Al, Thank you for your contributions to Reggie music. From the moment I first heard your music while living in Antigua in the 70’s, my heart leaped with joy. Even as a white woman, Reggie is my rhythm! Look forward to your new album. Keep the spirit alive!! Caribbean waves of love and happiness, Joyce

Petro October 10, 2010, 15:31:43

You’re a great musician…..I always enjoy your outstanding skills in scratching the guitar in songs like concrete the jungle, stir it up etc keep it going to the infinite…...

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