Dwayne ‘Danglin’ Anglin (seen here in the centre), vocalist with The Wailers Band chats with Kevin Cooper about the current state of Reggae music, keeping Bob Marley’s legacy alive, his new solo album African Pride and The Wailers Band’s forthcoming Legend Tour of the UK
The Wailers Band is a Reggae band formed by the remaining members of Bob Marley & The Wailers, following the untimely death of Bob Marley in 1981. The Wailers Band continue to tour led by 68 year old bassist Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, so named because he has allegedly fathered fifty two children.
The band continues to play live in concert, and in 2006 they played on 311’s Summer Unity Tour along with Pepper. In 2010, they toured again with 311, mostly focusing on the Pacific Northwest of the USA. They further toured in 2014 with their worldwide Legend Tour, and in 2015 they took Reggae to India for the first time.
Carrying The Wailers mantle forward for the last six years is vocalist Dwayne ‘Danglin’ Anglin and he took time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper. This is what he had to say.
Hi Danglin, how are you today?
Hi Kevin, how are you doing man?
I am very well thank you how are you today?
Life is good and all is well.
May I firstly thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.
It’s my pleasure man. Thank you for asking.
And just how is life treating you?
I am very grateful that life is treating me good. I am so blessed.
You have recently been touring the USA how did it all go?
We started off playing a few shows in Colorado which was hard man. You are so high up there in the mountains that the air is so thin that it is difficult to breathe. We played at the Sheraton Theatre but as I say it was so difficult to breathe simply because of the high altitude. But we all managed to get through it.
You are currently the lead singer with The Wailers Band. How did you come to join the band?
Back in 2009 I released my first solo single in Jamaica and fortunately the song did really well over there. The Wailers Band were looking for a new lead singer at that time and my name was suggested to them. And as they say the rest is history and I have now been touring with them for the past six years.
How did you feel when you got the phone call?
At that point in time I had to make a decision about having to put my solo career on hold and consider just how I could manage to balance both The Wailers and my solo career. Having said that, that is something that over the years I have learned to do, more so in the last couple of years. It has been a great learning experience for me.
You mention your solo career being put on hold. What stage are you at with that as we speak?
I am currently working on my new studio album, African Pride, which I hope to be in a position to release early next year.
What can you tell me about the album?
The main thing is that it is based upon racism and police brutality. I have been on the road with The Wailers for six years now, constantly meeting different people and taking note of what they want and what they expect. I hope that I have managed that with the new album but only time will tell.
Will you tour the album over here in the UK?
I would hope so. The UK is one of the main destinations where you want to take an album like that because certain places are very significant to the world wide perception of music and the UK is very much one of those places. The UK is very influential and it is great when you can get those people to carry your message forward. The rest of the world will all have their eyes on the UK to see just how they react to the music. The name of the album is African Pride and Africa is most definitely one of the places that the music is targeting. There are Africans everywhere and there are people who really should relate to the African struggle and should be involved. It affects all of humanity. That is the number one thing; humanity over violence. We are the solution.
And just how does it feel being out there as the singer with The Wailers Band singing all of these instantly recognisable hits which were formerly sung by the late Bob Marley?
I feel very privileged to be in a position to sing all of these legendary songs. Bob Marley is an icon and it is hard to find a legacy that surpasses his, especially in regard to the importance of his music. To be honest, I find it totally amazing how he was able to inspire so many people with his music.
You have mentioned Bob Marley’s legacy. Do you personally feel any added pressure in that you are charged with keeping that legacy alive and well?
Well to be honest, I feel that the legacy keeps itself alive through the music. We are just merely the facilitators of the gathering of the masses together. That is pretty much what we do at the live performances of his music. We simply give people the chance to gather together; strangers who become familiar through their common interest in his music. So it is like a musical feast of positive vibrations, they just come together and rejoice in both the music and the message. It is a great cause.
There is a global warmth towards Bob and his music. Do you feel that on stage?
The one thing about Bob Marley that is most admirable to me is having heard it from people who have been around him and spent time with him, is his relentlessness and his unwavering commitment to helping people. That was his number one priority. That was a great and a real thing that someone would be more enthused about, helping people far more than any other thing. That would be his number one thing to do; to help people and that transcended through his music. You get a sense of purity and sincerity that a lot of people try to duplicate but it has to be genuine. It has to come from a place that is inspired from something special. It is not something that you can fake.
You and The Wailers Band are heading over to tour the UK in November. Do you enjoy being over here?
Yes, we do we really do. There are some great venues over there in the UK. There is always a great atmosphere whenever we play over there. I personally love performing in the UK because of the rich tradition of Reggae music especially as it was the first western destination for Bob Marley & The Wailers. The people over there in the UK are very Reggae aware and that is just one of the things that I love about it.
You will be performing the entire Legend album. Do you have a favourite track on the album?
Musically I would have to say Satisfy My Soul due to its structure, its chord structure and its composition. I would have to say that Satisfy My Soul has my favourite musical arrangement. As far as my favourite song, well, that doesn’t exist when you speak about Bob Marley & The Wailers. It is impossible for you to have just one favourite song. Perhaps you could if you were just familiar with the one album but if you are familiar with a large percentage of his back-catalogue then it is very, very hard to pick just one song or even ten songs.
The album has recently been certified as the biggest selling Reggae album of all time. Why do you think that it is so popular?
I think that it is so popular because of the message contained within together with the album’s uniqueness. It came along at a time when a voice was needed and that voice had to be uncompromising and un-wavered. That voice had to be unconcerned with all of the media propaganda and all of the media slander. He or she would have to be committed to spreading this message and that’s what Bob was and then that is what he was able to do. The Legend album could have comprised many more tracks than what it did, in fact there could have made another ten legend albums.
Just what is it like having Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett around?
Well, from the beginning having met him and being able to work with him has truly been an honour and a privilege for me. To be able to work with someone who has accomplished so much and who is directly involved with such a legacy as this, it is truly amazing. That has to be one of the greatest musical educational experiences of my life.
What is the state of Reggae music like at this moment in time; is it in good hands?
Well, I don’t know because the music is in the hands of the people. They decide just how far a genre goes so it has always been in the hands of the people. They have the voice and they are the ones who go out to the concerts and buy the albums. They are the ones who are spreading the word so music is always dependent upon the person who is listening to it and the person who wants it. It is the people who have the power to choose what music is going to get highlighted, what music is going to get pushed and what music is going to get celebrated. It is all dependent upon the people. It has very little to do with the musicians and the artists.
Whenever you look at artists such as UB40, Eric Clapton and Sting do you think that they have helped to get Reggae out there into the world or have they been a hindrance?
We have just done around ten shows with UB40 and what I will say is this, as long as the message in the music stays positive, then it really doesn’t matter what the person looks like. Whenever you start trying to alienate music based on colour then you are putting yourself in a closed and very none universal way of thinking. If the music is positive and the people want to be a part of that positive music then why would you want to deny them that opportunity; that would be very selfish and very self-centred. I think that it would certainly be very egotistical for anyone to try to do that. If it is positive then it is positive.
However, what I will say is that there is always the possibility of exploitation which is what I think most people that are in disagreement with what certain people do within certain genres of music. I personally feel that if you exploit any struggle or any cause for your own financial gain then you should be alienated and you should be made to face the consequences accordingly. But I feel that if your intentions are positive and you stay true to the traditions whilst respecting the traditions then I don’t see any reason or any debate that would justify telling someone that they can’t be a part of it.
On that note Danglin let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me today and I will see you when you get to Birmingham here in the UK.
Thank you too Kevin. Be good and enjoy the show.