Junior Reid- Reid Between The Lines
Author: Jesse I
Sunday, 9 December 2007
When it comes to Reggae,it doesn’t get much bigger than the monster hit One Blood. Three decades into the game, Reggae giant Junior Reid is still runnin’ from the fires of thecity, and he’s coming to Australia for the first time ever. This is an abridgedtranscript of an interview with the man himself, conducted via phone by Jesse I for airplay on Chant Down Babylon (PBS-FM, Melbourne). Junior Reid, thank youfor taking the time out to speak to me.
It’s a pleasure, y’know, to communicate with all my fansand my people. What sort ofprocess do you go through when you’re writing your songs-
Well, the process I go though, for writing mysongs, is by linking withthe people. Y’know, I sing about what thepeople face. ’Cause the people is my boss. I work for the people. Y’know, causethey’re the ones who cheer for me, and rave for me. So they’re the ones whogive me the inspiration. Just by driving sometimes I get inspiration. Just bythe things that I do. Every day is inspiration, y’know- Everything. Can youexplain a little bit about your faith for us- You’re a Bobo Rasta, can youexplain a little about what that means-
Trodding as a Bobo Shanti, you’re trodding asa king. You know the importance of yourself. You just live – try to adopt the way the king live. Bobo Shanti is an orderwhere it’s equal rights and justice for everyone, and a kingly, royal living. In the pastdecade we’ve seen a real rise in the Rasta message back in the dancehall, andthere’s another big group of Bobo Rastas spreading the word. Sizzla, Anthony B,Jah Mason, guys like that. What do you think about thestate ofreggae these days-
Yeah. Well it’s me that make the changey’know. Because since Emmanuel inspired me to put on my turban, and come as aBobo now y’know, a lot of youths just follow. Yuh understand me-So that show me the power that is in themusic, and the power that is in us. Each of us have a power. You have yourpower y’know, certain things you do you have people look up to you, y’know. Soif you do certain things, they will follow you and do it, y’know, ’cause theylook up to you.So right now, the music industry try to makeit look as if since Bob Marley dead, the music dead. Yuh understand me-And right now, I want my fans in Australiato know that Junior Reid love all of you people who love Junior Reid and listento Junior Reid and Reggae music. Heads of government of the world spend so muchmillions to cause war. So when I come to the world and say ‘One Blood’, and thepeople dem live in unity and love, that spoil it for the heads of governmentallover the world. Right now we want the people dem in Australiato know that Junior Reid ready for Australia.And we’re ready to work, and give the people the message. Well, there’s a lot ofpeople down here who are looking forward to seeing you on stage.
Yeah man, and I can’t wait to come down there. But you see,it’s apolitics thing going on, because y’know they think sinceBob Marley die, reggae music die, and you don’t have any other person singing.Bob Marley sings ‘One Love’ – we sing ‘One Blood’. ’Cause it’s not one love you have: you haveintimate love, material love, money love. But only one blood you have, and outof one come many. Yuh understand me-Bob was a king, but right now we have living kings we trodthe Earth with. ’Cause we born as a king, that’s why we put on our turban andshow them. So me put on my crown here, it may be a wrap, a wrap made out ofmaterial, but it represent my crown. You understand me- When you started in thisbusiness, things must have been a lot different. I understand you recorded yourfirst tune in 1979- Is that correct- How old were you at that time-
I was about, say, 14. Still at school. And the first timeit was, ‘Speak the truth and speak it forever’. The first song me sing is Speak The Truth. I had to expose it,especially like me a do now. We a live in love, and we nah need no war. We’vegotta protect our life, ’cause we a life protector, y’know- Can you tell us a littleabout how your first tune, Speak TheTruth, came about- How did you enter the recording studio-
Well, I started in my community doing like fundraisingshow for my yout’ club, doing fundraising show for my school, and things likethat. And the people inna the community started to cheer for me and so.Then I meet up with Hugh Mundell. He take me in thestudio, and that’s where it start.Hugh Mundell is the first producer for Junior Reid,putting out the song Speak the Truth.Released out here and over in England onpre-release. It went number six on the pre-release chart.Then after that, I sing another song called Know Myself. That was on the B-side of aHugh Mundell 12 called Can’t Pop No Style,through Greensleeves records.And it start from there and I start getting interest from London, cause myname was kinda building up in London, England. And it keepgoing on, y’know. Hugh Mundell was obviouslyyour friend as well as musical mentor.
Hugh Mundell was my friend, my brother, my everything,y’know. Yes. I believe you werewith him when he died in 1983-
Yeah, I was there, y’know. But the work have to continuestill, y’know- In Jamaica people are still dying by the gun, what do youthink has to be done to stop the slaughter over there-
People can buy a gun – and then when they go and use it,and hurt somebody, them end up getting charged for it… But the guys who make the gun should get charged.Y’know, you see, me no afraid of talking. Me no come likeno lamb to no slaughter. Me come as theConquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God, Ever living God, Earth’sRightful Ruler – cause God inna every man. We work for the Father, there’sworks we have to go through. Me and you haffe go carry it out. And we as theGods and the Goddess now, we have to stand up, and use words. Cause words, sounds is power to fight evil forces. Yes I. Well, I’d like tothank you very much for taking the time out to speak to me today.
It’s a pleasure. I just want to bless the people inna thename of Holy Emmanuel I, King Selassie I, Jah Rastafari. Blessed love to allpeople. Blessed love to Mama Omega, the mother, the Earth, y’know. One Blood!Love! WHO: Junior ReidWHAT: Plays Oxford ArtsFactoryWHEN: Friday 14 DecemberMORE:myspace.com/juniorreid