Reggae Drifter

Growing up as the son of Bob Marley has its perks. When your dad is a sage, it's inevitable that you'll inherit a few extra nuggets of wisdom that most kids won't get. Bob's oldest son, David "Ziggy" Marley, seems to carry that inherited wisdom deep inside his spirit. When he talks, he pauses to think deeply about the question he was just asked, and when he opens his mouth, he sounds just like his father. It was Bob who gave him the name Ziggy, apparently because as a child he used to love the music of David Bowie and his Ziggy Stardust alter-ego. He's been performing professionally since 1979, and he routinely used to take the stage with his parents to get a taste of the spotlight. He fell in love with performing, he admits, even back in those days. And his love for singing and spreading "the message" is only growing. He released his second solo album, Love Is My Religion, in 2006, which won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album. It's a significant milestone, as his younger brother, Damian, won the same award a year earlier. Since Ziggy is the oldest, he had to set things straight. Although he's constantly on the road, he recently took some time out to speak with Outtakes while on tour in San Luis Obispo, California.

Outtakes: Where are you currently?

Ziggy Marley: I'm in St. Louis right now, on tour.

St. Louis? I heard that you were in California.

Ya, mon. I'm in St. Louis Obispo or something. I can't pronounce the name. I just go where the music takes me.

What happened to the Melody Makers? Are you guys still a group?

Well, you know, that's my two sisters and my brother. Everyone is kinda doing some kind of project right now, so we're working that out, but we'll play together again.

You just won a Grammy for your latest album. What do you think stands out the most about that disc?

I think the message of love is my religion is what stands out. They're the most important words that can be uttered to mankind. Just that idea and that concept — it's very important to understand. We don't need to believe in false doctrines called religion. We are separating the people according to ancient beliefs.

Which of your father's messages do you think is most relevant in today's time?

Get up, stand up, definitely. Stand up for your rights; don't give up the fight. Because a lot of basic rights are being taken away because of this policy of fear. And you have to fight back.

What excites you in your spare time?

Right now, the sunshine excites me. And the wind is blowing, and that excites me too. I'm excited by simple things, by nature. I don't jump up and down for buzzes and shit like that.

How old are you now?

Umm, 250. Me count everything, past life, future life, and the right now life!

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Jonathan Cunningham