The Wailers, hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, are a musical institution. The group was initially made up of Bunny Wailer, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, and came into existence in 1969.
This very existence is responsible for evolving into an act that would change popular culture forever, infiltrating and endearing reggae music to the world outside of its place of birth. With the demise of The Wailers in 1971 and the departure of Tosh and Wailer, The Wailers became Bob Marley and The Wailers.
This is a band that needs little introduction, as they are credited as being the greatest advocates of Jamaica’s reggae tradition. Bob Marley and The Wailers put reggae music on the global musical map, selling a staggering 250 million albums worldwide and they have also performed to an estimated 24 million people around the world.
The Wailers have experienced many manifestations through the decades. The line-up today is enhanced by a hybridof old school know-how mixed with some of Jamaica’s most exciting and current talent.
The Barrett brothers were recruited by The Wailers in the very early days of their formation. They were part of Lee “Scratch” Perry’s studio band, The Upsetters. Aston Family Man” Barrett is still a member and anchor of The Wailers today. The vintage of musician may be varied but the goal is similar, to continue to spread the positive legacy of Bob Marley to the world. The Wailers will be playing Dublin’s Academy on October 3 after a UK tour.
Dwayne "Danglin" Anglin is the lead singer with The Wailers and I spoke to him from The States, where the band are on tour, about singing the songs of a world renowned icon and continuing to spread the message of love and unity Bob Marley dedicated his life conveying to the world.How did you become the lead singer of The Wailers?
In 2009 I put out a single, ‘Excuse Me Miss’, in Jamaica that did really well and got a lot of air play. The Wailers were looking for a new lead at the time. Their management got wind of my voice and made contact with me. I came out and the vibe was good between us and The Wailers were at the tail end of a tour at the time, with only four days left. They invited me on their next tour with them, and I have been with them ever since.The current line-up of The Wailers is a great mixture of old-school sensibility and new talent. Despite any change in personnel the music is still as powerful and the message is still as poignant as they were up until Bob Marley’s death in 1981, do you think that is because the songs, deeply rooted in social issues, are still so relevant today?
Yes, that is why the music is still around today. The songs are as relevant now as they were years ago, and still will be in years to come. The message of ‘One Love’ keeps the music relevant. It is such a powerful and positive message, and appeals to so many people with similar beliefs. We believe in that concept of “one love”, which is why we tour as much as we do. We want to continue to spread the positive vibrations.Reggae music is very uplifting and spiritual and is such a huge part of Jamaican culture. Is that what led you become a reggae artist?
Yes, it is tradition in Jamaica to listen to reggae music. It is set in stone to listen to this music in Jamaica. Icons have set the bar. Reggae is a big part of our culture in Jamaica. Radio is also a big way of life. In Brazil it is soccer and in Jamaica it is radio. Radio and Reggae are in our blood and I grew up listened to old school reggae artists, such as and Bob Marley and Barrington Levy and rocksteady and roots reggae. I grew up on Wailers music and Bob Marley is an icon for me, and has been a musical idol for me since I was a child. I respect the artists that have made the music what it is today.As the lead vocalist with the group once fronted by Bob Marley and listening to him growing up, how does it feel now singing his songs?
Bob Marley believed in every word he said, he believed in standing up for your rights and in one love for all. It is a huge responsibility to continue his legacy. I am deeply honoured to humbly carry on his message. It is a privilege. The Wailers music is love and so many people love it around the world. There is no one like him and never will be. I am humbled to be able to continue to spread his positive message. I want to do this in a responsible way, and be as believable as possible and maintain the integrity of the music.And speaking of founder members of The Wailers, have you read the Peter Tosh biography Steppin' Razor?
No I am aware of it but I haven’t read it yet. It is hard to find the time.The Wailers are, of course, coming to Dublin this October after a UK tour and you are currently touring in the US. It must be very inspiring that there is such a demand for the music of The Wailers?
Yes, we are currently on tour we are in Missouri at the moment and will be playing in the city tomorrow. We will be in Dublin in about six weeks from now. We will have four days off before the next tour. It is a good thing that there is such a demand for the music. At our concerts we get such a mixture of generations too. We get all ages from two-year-olds to 80-year-olds. The message is being spread to all ages and to the next generation too and it is inspiring for use to see the message of the music continue to grow. The crowd keeps us energised and it is important to us to give that energy and vibration back to our audience.