In Honor of the Life of Peter Tosh


(Copyright 1983 Doug Wendt/2002 & 2012
No reproduction, distribution or excerpts without written permission)

DW- Mutabaruka says in his song White Man Country "Tosh says he's gonna smoke chalice but me say he should burn down the palace". What do you say to that?

PT- (strums guitar) Well is just decoration of destruction. Uhm. Smokin' my chalice in Buckin'ham Palace cause even if I had the opportunity to smoke my chalice inna buckingham palace, spiritually nothing would be wrong. But is just the way how the society incriminate you & design their way of incrimination so that when you do certain things that is right, you're incriminated & you have incriminated yourself & you have violated the law. But because I have already come to the conclusion of what is right from what is wrong, it's no matter to me where I do what is right as long as it is right. And it's no matter to me who is offended by what I do right as long as it is right. Cause I love the things that are right. Yeah mon everytime.

DW- So you would prefer to smoke the chalice in the palace as opposed to burning it down?

PT- Well. I wouldn't burn down the palace cause that is not my duty, seen. I have bigger works to do. I leave that to the people if they want to do that. I'll pass through & smoke my chalice if the time really accomplishes itself & then if not maybe I'll pass by. True which is very good too. Cause things & times are changing. Once upon a time herbs was dangerous drugs. Today it is legalized in Spain. (strums guitar)

DW- Did you have anything to do with that?

PT- Always. Everywhere herb is legalized I have something to do with it.

DW- Who wrote Get Up Stand Up? I've seen it credited to you, Bob, you & Bob?

PT- Yes well I am the architect of the song & me & Bob put the lyrics together, seen. I arranged the music & you know half the lyrics, & that song, is in England we did that.

DW- It was ten years ago ('73) you, Bob, & Joe Higgs played out here down on Broadway. I was there & it changed my life.

PT- It was ten years ago that we did Get Up Stand Up, too.

DW- Joe Higgs did a solo show here a couple of years ago & as he introduced Stepping Razor he said 'No man over 6 foot tall could have written this song. (Tosh is over 6 feet, Joe is under). He was referring to you taking credit for writing the song.

PT- I never take credit for it, but then again you see, as I told my, when Joe lawyer wrote me & told me about that, I told him that listen man. Joe said that no man over 6 foot tall coulda written this song. But no man under six foot short coulda administer that song cause until that song was done by me, Joe would not be tough enough to identify himself with that song.

DW- I have a name for attempts at crossing-over reggae music, that's been a big thing that American record labels have tried to force upon all reggae artists, to cross the music over, to join forces with the dead music, rock & roll.

PT- Them bullshit. Madness.

DW- Instead of crossover I call it cross-out.

PT- It's cross-on. That too.

DW- Considering that, why do you allow so much lead guitar in your live shows? & you stand there, & fold your arms, & even you look offended sometimes when the lead guitar is happening.

PT- Well then again that not be only me, but then it's music you know, musical thing that you cannot hear it unless one expresses it. Seen. And music is in them. It's in the lead guitarist. He's playing what he feels because there are many times that the musicians or even me would tell him that you're playing solo too long, seen. Because we talk to him many times up to about yesterday,(laughs), seen. So when you talking that long. (strums guitar) But is music still & you know we talk to him softly because soft word turned away rot. & grievious words stirreth anger. Because music is a very high emotion & to express that you cannot be offended.

DW- When it's done in Johnny B. Goode it's one of my favorite uses. But when it's done in every song it does tend to become more like a noise, somebody screaming in pain. Why don't you release all your great Jamaican 45s on an album? A US album with an independent label & you'll probably sell more copies than any of this big business?

PT- Yes, a serious thing. I'm thinking about that on my own label Intel Diplo because I am busy getting together some songs that was not released in America, seen. & not only not released in America, I have songs that was released in Jamaica but that was not exposed.

DW- "Vampire" "Mark Of The Beast"

PT- Yes. Only release & sell a few thousand. Some sell a few hundred & the exploitation started, seen. & because of financial disposition you have to just back out of the race because guys with more money, seen, get you out. But then again the race is not for the swift neither is the battle for the strong. It's who can endure & live out this. (strums guitar)

DW- Well thanks for taking the time. I know time short today.

PT- Yes very good time, very important time too. Cause of all the interviews them fe a good time this is one of the most uplifting, you no seen, & informative cause is like many of the journalists don't want to speak of what is happening in the business & I can't take that. Because I love to hear the truth. Because I love to speak the truth. Seen. & when you tell me these things it only make me know what steps to take, seen. & make me know that don't waste much of my time, seen, trying to put water on a duck's back to settle, seen. & I thank you very much for your information & that will give me strength to talk to the president of this company (strums) or to the president of any music company that would venture this music business with me because I am not going to waste time with no one.

DW- What would you like to say to the people of San Francisco & this area, that do love your music & appreciate it so much?

PT- Well what I would love to say to keep on to those who really love the music, not only my music but reggae music. & there are many people who sing reggae music but don't live reggae music. But then the message in the music is vital when everytime it is vital. & I can say to them is keep on listening to reggae music because it's the only spiritually uplifting music that you can ever hear in this time, in this dispensation of the times in this twentieth century or twenty-first century because as long as the centuries will be, reggae will be around. Keep on listening to reggae music.

(Copyright 1983 Doug Wendt/2002 & 2012
No reproduction, distribution or excerpts without written permission)

Part 1 of Doug Wendt's Peter Tosh interview

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