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SLY & ROBBIE: Reggae Disciples Standing up for Reggae – 2008

Sly & Robbie: Reggae Disciples
Words by M. Peggy Quattro  –  Aug. 30, 2008
(Listen to the Audio below!)

With careers spanning more than 30 years and hundreds of thousands of recorded tracks, SLY and ROBBIE – aka the Riddim Twins – are still standing up for reggae. Equal partners in the studio or on the stage, these world-renown artists, performers, and producers represent reggae to the fullest. Fueled by, what Robbie calls “God-power,” this ageless duo is having a seriously fun time doing it.

I caught up with Sly and Robbie, long-time friends and colleagues, after their rousing performance with reggae rock dubsters Simply Stoopid, Internet sensations hailing from southern California, and Hawaii’s popular threesome, Pepper. These groups are young, energetic, and tour 250+ days a year. For 10 years, these reggae rockers have bucked the system and achieved phenomenal success by using the Internet as their medium. Starting out by performing for 50, 100, then 500+ faithful fans, both groups now sell their original music online and draw thousands of loyal fans to their wildly entertaining live performances.

Sly & Robbie with MPeggyQ 8/30/2008

Last year Inner Circle opened for Simply Stoopid. This year Sly and Robbie, along with Cherine Anderson and the Taxi Gang, took to the road. After their opening set, Sly, Robbie, Cherine, Nambo Robinson (trombone), and Daryll (guitar) take turns on stage with Pepper and Simply Stoopid, giving the enthusiastic young, white audience a taste of real roots rock reggae, the music that influenced and inspired these rebel rockers.

I had the opportunity to chat with Sly and Robbie about the tour, their future plans, and their take on the current state of reggae. Here’s my dialogue with the dynamic duo.

MPQ: So, is this your first experience at opening for two wildly popular white groups whose success comes strictly from the Internet?

ROBBIE: Yea, I like how you put it that way…becah’ we’ve opened for the Rolling Stones, Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru, we opened for the Police, a lotta big names. But talking about how you say a popular white group who got their success strictly by the Internet – no.

MPQ: So how has it been for you two veterans?

SLY: It’s been great and we’re enjoying it. It’s like the cycle starting all over again—cah’ we opened for the Rolling Stones, Police, the Talking Heads, and all.

MPQ: You don’t feel no way opening for these young crazy bucks?

ROBBIE: We’re not doing this as Sly and Robbie as an artist. We’re doing this as Sly and Robbie backing somebody. A lotta kids out there never heard of Sly and Robbie before. For one month now we’ve been touring with dem [Simply Stoopid and Pepper] – and that’s one month worth of kids every night – somebody different who now know about Sly and Robbie. A lot of dem come up and show their appreciation and say, ‘Yes,’ it’s the first time they ever heard of Sly and Robbie and dey love it. So we’re gaining lots of fans.

MPQ: When they really learn about you and your history, they’re going to know they’ve heard you before, and just didn’t know they were hearing you!

SLY: The good thing about it is when Simply Stoopid bass player come on stage to play [with Pepper], and then we give the Pepper drummer the drums to play with Robbie. You can see the entertainers’ dem, when dey come on stage to play, and dey call us to come play with dem, and they’re excited we’re gonna play. It’s great and the crowd dem really enjoy it.

MPQ: Today, there are many reggae acts struggling to make money, sell tickets, but you two are always working. To what do you attribute that consistency? 

ROBBIE: You see, we have nuttin’ else to do more den dat. We are like disciples of the music, powered by God-power. It’s something God want you to do. And when you love it and enjoy what you do, you enjoy seeing other people enjoy it demselves. You know dat’s your purpose in life, and you just work with it.

MPQ: How about you, Sly?

SLY: Boy, I’m just having fun and enjoying playing the music and seeing people happy and dancing.

MPQ: What advice do you have for acts – old, veteran, new – to reach the same broad audience you’ve seen on this tour?

SLY: They have to get young again. Yea, definitely.

ROBBIE: Sometimes some of dem get despondent over deh years, downhearted, and say dey can’t carry on. We never look at it like dat, even if we feel it. We can’t look at it like dat. Like I said, we’re powered by a different type of engine. You haffi just keep moving. If you look at Pepper and Simply Stoopid, we learn on this tour a lot of things from them. We used to go every town and get a hotel. From the time we tour with dem, dey don’t go to no hotel. Straight from one venue to de next and de next—deal with de venue. We started doing it and we just start working with it. So we’ve learned things from them, yuh know, and they said they learned from us.

MPQ: What do you think they learned from you?

SLY: I think is probably seeing Robbie and myself playing reggae. Dey really see us create so many different patterns. Dey say we inspire dem a lot. So when dey see us play, dey just say, “wow.” And when Robbie plays bass with dem on a song, dey can’t believe it, dey just go nuts.

Sly & Robbie – Reggae Disciples. Photo Lee Abel

MPQ: Do you see a change in the reggae movement?

ROBBIE: If it changes, we just go along. ‘Cah you have a type of dancehall, and yuh see the type dat Stoopid dem play – totally different. And Pepper dem, dey kinda different. Remember Police used to do a pure type of reggae that was different – we always have a different type dat makes success.

MPQ: Robbie, I read that you said the music, right now, is not good.

ROBBIE: Disappointed now. That’s why you see so much other people take it over and run with it. ‘Cah the dancehall beat all right, but some of the lyrics, the t’ings dey say, it’s not uplifting, it not teaching nobody nuttin’.

MPQ: But you said that it all sounds the same?

ROBBIE: A lot of it sounds the same. People say Sly love the drum machine, but a lot of it, when the music start, you don’t know whose song it is. It’s pure beat and you haffi wait till probably the artist that run it come in. So a lot sound the same. It start changing still, but I’m not taking back that talk until it do better.

MPQ: What advice do you have for artists to do better? To get with the program?

SLY: Like Robbie she, dey have to get with deh program. Dey definitely haffi know where dey want to go, dat’s the first t’ing. And dey can’t forget where they’re coming from. You have to keep listening to the music – global, yuh know, and you don’t haffi change your style to somebody else’s. You just haffi keep on doin’ what you’re doin’ and do it to the best of your ability. Like Pepper, dey been doin’ it for 10 years now. It’s catching on and dey have a huge following – without a record deal. Dey just playing every night. So just keep on doing what you’re doing, and [if] it’s good, people will rock with it.

MPQ: Sly, I know you’re involved with RIAJam and the Reggae Academy. Do you find they are useful to the Jamaican music scene?

SLY: Well, it’s the first year so we haffi see how it grow and what happens for it. But it looks good.

MPQ: Do you feel positive about it?

SLY: It should be positive if they’re thinking that way. It’s funny, like, dat’s what happens in Jamaica sometime – they give up too easily. When something starts, dey start [with the] ‘buts’ immediately. And the second year comes, and it might go down, and dey just give up on it, when dey should just try and keep it going. Something you have to take a step backwards to go forwards.

MPQ: So what’s next for Sly and Robbie?

ROBBIE: Sky’s the limit, yuh know. So we just keep movin’ on, movin’ on, and see where it takes us.

SLY: We’re goin’ on a tour to Europe [Oct-Nov] and we might come on the road next year with Simply Stoopid. Dey play like 250 dates, and it’s fun.

ROBBIE: Yea, Stoopid and Pepper tour like 200 and more days a year. And with a Jamaican artist, it follows, like, after the first week, “Bwoy, mi wanta go home…mi miss de food, mi miss my house, mi miss my woman,” yuh know? True. I mean if you gonna represent the music, den really represent it – with every flavor and every ounce and strength in your body. You need fi do what dem a do cah’ dey are doin’ it – representing reggae music – and the way dey do it, it automatically come over to dem. You have nobody out there representing it the way dey are. Burning Spear probably used to, but we need somebody to take up the baton. Me and Sly represent it, but we’re still backing other people. And it weird, yuh know, becah’ when a group or a one say, “Yow, mi cyaan do it no more,” it leaves us to represent it. So we just represent by wiselves. So when we go a tour 300 dates a year, or 365, or 395 days a year, we represent, yuh know. From dat we understand it’s a different work, to make people happy.

MPQ: Well, your music has always made people happy.

ROBBIE: It not really our music, yuh know, you cyaan say where ‘it’s your music,’ it’s our music – all a wi own it, yuh know.

MPQ: It’s the music you two make – and made, like for Gwen Stefani and all those others. I mean they absolutely adore you guys. You’ve really put reggae in a professional light that it needs to continue being seen in. It’s having a very hard time right now.

ROBBIE: I know, and it’s kinda hard on us too, still. But somebody haffi do it, and really do it serious, and represent it. And dat’s what we stand up a’do.
 Here’s the audio of MPeggyQ’s Interview with the legendary Riddim Twins – Sly & Robbie!  8/30/2008 – West Palm Beach, FL


It’s Earth Day, Mon. April 22! Watch this NOW!

It’s Earth Day…and we have to big up Lil Dicky, rapper/comedian/writer, for this enlightening and uplifting video simply called Earth! The Philly-born 31-year-old became a YouTube star in 2013 and now tours and performs worldwide.

Check his latest labor of love – Earth – a music-filled video that features an all-star group of 32 artists-as-animals, including Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, Justin Beiber, Halsey, Snoop Dog, and Ed Sheeran, in a global call to save our planet.

Together with Leonardo Di Caprio, Lil Dicky is taking on the Earth crisis with a fabulous real and animated video. This is not Disney folks, so parents watch before sharing with your little ones. 😉

Capleton – The Prophet “Pon Tour” – V13#01 1995

by Patricia Meschino

The imposing stage at Jamworld, St. Catherine, Jamaica, the largest open air entertainment center in the Caribbean and occasional home of Sting and former home of Reggae Sunsplash, is a challenge for any musical artist. When an entertainer fails to meet audience expectations there, the repercussions are greatly magnified; but when an artist delivers spectacularly, the effects seem to reverberate all the way to the island’s north coast!

While Sunsplash ’94 was, as a whole, not as successful as previous years, the five-day event nonetheless produced some unforgettable musical moments that are still being talked about. On Dancehall Night, the performance most “Splashers” are still raving about came from Capleton.

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Stephen Marley & his 20-year-old dawta Mystic Marley


Exclusive Meet & Greet Receptions Expand to 19 Cities with Proceeds Going Toward Ghetto Youths Foundation

Mystic Marley Opens Select Dates in March

On February 25, the eight-time GRAMMY®-winning musician Stephen “Ragga” Marley will kick off an intimate acoustic U.S. tour in support of his latest 5-track EP, One Take: Acoustic Jams, released November 2018 on the Marley family’s Ghetto Youths International imprint. For one month, the 23-city run will span the South, Southwest and West Coast. Continue reading

Julian Junior Marvin of Bob Marley’s Wailers is on a Mission

The Message of Love Tour Takes to the Road

Julian Junior Marvin of Bob Marley’s Wailers at Philly’s Ardmore Music Hall, Feb. 1, 2019

By M. Peggy Quattro

February brought the kick-off of Julian Junior Marvin’s “Message of Love” tour 2019. The famed Wailers lead guitarist presented two sold out shows in Philadelphia (Feb. 1) and Washington, DC (Feb. 2).  The band of talented musicians and singers were warmly welcomed inside Philly’s Ardmore Music Hall and DC’s Hamilton Live.

Featured on stage with Junior Marvin are Drix Hill and Samuel “Earth” Maxwell on keys, Dino Yeonas on guitar, Stephen Samuels on bass, Ken Joseph on drums, Brother Fitzroy James on percussion, and harmony songbirds Simone Gordon and Hassanah Iroegbu.

Photos of Junior Marvin and the band from the Ardmore Music Hall and Hamilton Live, Feb. 1 & Feb. 1

Both shows were billed as Bob Marley Birthday Celebrations and the fans and friends who joined in the party were not disappointed. From “Exodus” and “Could You Be Loved” to “Waiting in Vain” and “Three Little Birds” and all the favorites in between, Junior delivered a passionate and personal performance, telling the audience BMW stories and encouraging sing-alongs.

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MPQ’s Response to Where Have All the Music Magazines Gone?

My Response to “Where Have All the Music Magazines Gone?”
Aaron Gilbreath| Longreads | Dec. 2018

By M. Peggy Quattro

Reggae Report International Magazine began as a one-page newsletter in 1983. However, my interest in, and commitment to, spreading the music and message began years earlier. One day, I promised myself, I would do all that I could to get the word out to a world of fans I knew were there – fans ready for and waiting for Reggae.

Remember, Reggae, as most of the universe knows it today, was born in Jamaica in the late 60s-early 70s, proudly rising on the shoulders of Ska and Rocksteady. 1983 was considered to be in the early stages of this Reggae phenomenon. I knew branching out was going to be a long, hard road to hoe…but hey, let’s get started! Continue reading

Inner Circle – ’94 Grammy Nomination – V13#02 1995

Miami’s “Bad Boys” Nominated for ’94 Grammy
by Sara Gurgen

They won the Grammy for best 1993 Reggae album, and now Inner Circle–Miami’s world famous, hard-working “Bad Boys” of Reggae–have been nominated for the 1994 Grammy with their latest Big Beat/Atlantic release, Reggae Dancer.

“It’s doing excellent, man, everywhere in the world; and when I mean excellent, I mean excellent,” said band leader and rhythm guitarist, Roger Lewis, in a recent Miami interview during a brief respite from Inner Circle’s hectic touring schedule. “It is one of the biggest selling foreign albums in Japan. Over 300,000 albums [have sold] in Japan [as of Dec. 21]. Hundreds of thousands in Mexico. In Brazil, in Europe–very well. In America, it’s not doing too bad. I think we made it up to about 200,000 copies.”











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