Peter van Arnhem
As we continue to mark the 70th anniversary of Bob Marley we share with you a rarely circulated interview which catches Marley in Oakland, CA. The interview was conducted by Jeff Cathrow and Eugenia Polos in a motel in San Fransisco most likely on May 29/30, 1976 as Bob was in town to play Oakland’s Paramount Theatre. He will play the Santa Barbara County Bowl on May 31, 1976 and then on to Europe where the band plays the Sunrise Festival in Offenburg, Germany on June 6, 1976.
It is a fascinating interview as Marley gives his reasons for not playing many shows in his native Jamaica over the previous several years (“you no get good equipment. Y’know, you can’t fuck aroun’ like a foolish one. It ain’t funny, y’know?”). He also speaks about the government as vampires (the govamint is a t’ing ya call, uh, ever ‘ear ’bout Jacula?…Govamint—vahmpire.”). These words would later appear in the song “Babylon System” from the Survival album.
Bob also talks at length about his father, a white military man from England, which is something he rarely talked about in an interview such as this one. It is while discussing his father that he says something profound, something that indicates a type of self-awareness and duty to fellow man:
“For out of black and white came I. And I say, ‘Black and white must come together.'”
It is this type of self-awareness, that his existence – the gift he has been given to communicate his message to the world through music – that really sets Bob apart from the other rock and roll artists of our time.
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