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The Wailers - Them Belly Full
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Since 1969 The Wailers have been feeding people’s souls, but when they perform at FTC Stage One on June first and second they’ll also be looking to feed the hungry of the world.

After partnering with the United Nations’ World Food Program two years ago and creating the I Went Hungry campaign, the seminal reggae band has continued to donate the unused funds from their daily hospitality riders, which are the lists of requests a band makes on the day of the show for things like food, transportation, etc., to the charity. Aston “Familyman” Barrett, bassist and one of the original Wailers, says “we’ve been at it over two years now and we make a lot of income for them from charity shows and we sell things at our merchandise stands, like t-shirts that say I Went Hungry. We love it. We love to help people globally, trying to save lives.”

The lineup that will be coming to Fairfield includes some fresh faces in the group, including singers Danglin, Koolant and Duane Stephenson. The latter two penned a song called “A Step for Mankind” that will be used in the next World Food Program campaign that launches on June 6th.

Familyman loves whenever The Wailers family expands, saying “the vibe is positive. Rastaman vibrations are always positive, and all my new members, they all grew into that.”

Of course, it’s pretty easy to grow into it when you’re surrounded by it 24/7, and with The Wailers, if you’re a part of the group it means you’re on the road. “Every year is a world tour for me,” Familyman explains, “I’ve been on the road before Bob (Marley), with Bob, and after Bob.”

So how many years has Familyman logged traveling? He puts the number at somewhere around 41, saying “I’ve been on the road since 1969 and I’m not stopping yet.”

With the 30th anniversary of Bob Marley’s passing coming up this year, there’s going to be a lot of nostalgia in the air, but according to Familyman, The Wailers never need a special occasion to remember the legendary singer. “We’re always reprinting and promoting the Bob Marley and The Wailers catalogue year in and year out,” he explains. Because of this, new generations are discovering the music. “The youth who were born after the passing of Bob take on to the message and the music. We always have a wide audience.”

One thing much of that audience has in common is a love of a certain green leafed plant known as marijuana. Familyman says marijuana isn’t the correct name to be calling it, though. “Marijuana is a name of a favorite lady in Amsterdam,” he says with a laugh, “sometimes they call it ganja, but ganja is a parrot bird from Australia. It’s really herb, and it is written in the old book that the grass of the fields are for the animals and herb is for the use of mankind. In World War II, they made a ban on it in 1942, and World War II didn’t finish until 1945.”

Familyman feels America is finally opening its eyes to the decriminalization of “herb,” saying “they’re coming to the consciousness now. They allow the plant in the west coast. Around the US it’s catching on, (but) they’re late with it.”

Being late isn’t something Familyman recommends for The Wailers’ two shows in Fairfield. His message to fans is to “come out early and stay late.” If you’re thinking about enjoying some of that lady in Amsterdam, or Australian parrot, though, you might want to remember how close the FTC is to the Fairfield PD.

Story originally ran in the FairfieldWeekly.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:40 AM  
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