The Wailers are the most iconic music group in reggae history, having toured together for almost four decades. Ahead of their upcoming UK shows, we spoke to Aston Barrett Jr. and Josh David Barrett from the band to talk about the rebirth of reggae and what the future holds for The Wailers.
You’ve been touring on and off together for nearly 40 years now, what’s the secret to keeping the band happy and enjoying performing?
Aston Barrett Jr.: The music that we play says it all. All emotions are in the music as a therapy for us, we try our best to live what we preach and the meaning of The Wailers and what we represent, which is peace, love and unity.
Josh David Barrett: The key I feel is to maintain that same love and enthusiasm that makes you want to play music in the first place. It’s spending time together, working together with patience and diligence, no matter what stage of development.
Are there any live shows that standout as favourites from over the years?
Aston: Every show has a flavour, that’s what makes it interesting. It will never sound the same and it’s more exciting to know and be that way, so I would say almost all shows.
JD: Every concert is unique in that we never know who we’re blessed to inspire on a given night. We are grateful for every opportunity to share this gospel of one love.
For those that haven’t seen you live before, what can people expect from a Wailers performance?
Aston: The closest thing to when Bob Marley was alive. New music and new flavors, with the original sound.
JD: I would say, expect a spiritual upliftment.
Reggae music has had a resurgence in recent years, particularly with mainstream artists, what do you think are the biggest factors in the music that people love so much?
Aston: The message of the music.
JD: We’re fighting the same universal tribulation, and reggae music gives the people hope and a time when they can just be free. “Forget your sorrows and dance. Forget your troubles and dance,” as Bob Marley said. These are liberating times for the people and there’s still a lot of work to be done to enlighten this generation, as well as oncoming generations, so that they know not only the sacrifices made by those who come before them, but are inspired to leave a positive imprint on history as it passes.
Who are your favourite reggae performers? Are there any new artists we should be keeping an eye on?
Aston: Yes, a female name Koffee. Chronixx, Jesse Royal and many more.
JD: Man, I love the classics. Peter Tosh, The Abyssinians, Skatalites, Dennis Brown, I-Threes, Buju Banton, Queen Ifrica, Jah 9, Koffee, Chronixx, Jesse Royal, Dax Lion, Biggs General, all Studio One music, and of course my favorite singer, Sugar Minott, to name a few.
You’re returning to the UK on your upcoming tour, what are your favourite parts about visiting? What are your thoughts on the reggae scene over here?
Aston: The UK has always supported reggae since it was formed and has such a huge bond, the people there appreciate the music and give it the quality that it deserves.
JD: I’ve always loved performing in the UK. Live music has always had strong support there. As a Wailer it means a lot, it gave Bob Marley & The Wailers a much broader audience.
Have you seen any big changes in music in your time as a band? Is there anything you’d change if you could?
JD: Music is always growing and developing with time and we hope to always be in touch with the feelings of the people, whether good or bad. We always hope to grow and perfect that spiritual chemistry that makes one sound, one voice.
Are there any plans to release new Wailers music in the near future?
Aston: Yes, it's already in progress and we’ll finish the rest of the project after this UK tour.
JD: We’re currently working on a new album. It’s a culmination of events, experience and reasonings that gave us things to not only contemplate, but to work through with faith.
What message would you like fans to take away from your music and your live shows?
Aston: Peace, love and unity. The shows will be amazing, we’ll be playing some of the favorites and many more!
Want to experience this iconic group live? Take a look at the tour dates below and grab your tickets now!
O2 Academy Newcastle: Friday 8 March Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Leeds: Saturday 9 March Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Glasgow: Sunday 10 March Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Liverpool: Wednesday 13 March Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Birmingham: Friday 15 March Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Bristol: Wednesday 20 March Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Bournemouth: Friday 22 March Buy Tickets
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