Original Wailers, Spam Allstars and Johnny Dread come to town
“I made an oath to Bob Marley before his journey. I spent the last three days of his life with him and he told me to do what I am doing, continue the music,” said lead guitar player for Bob Marley and the Wailers and The Original Wailers Al Anderson.
The biggest names in reggae and dub The Original Wailers, Spam Allstars and Johnny Dread and The Axumites are all coming to Key West March 28, to perform on Higgs Beach as part of the Rotary event, Reggae Moonsplash.
“You have to watch Al Anderson play because he rips. He is a really unique musician especially for the reggae world. He puts a lot of rock element and punch in his music,” said band manager Norman Bedford of S.O.S. Productions.
Also on the bill are the Spam Allstars, a band from Miami who have built up a great following in Key West for their ability to move a crowd. Spam is a mixture of funk, Latin, hip-hop and jam that is nothing short of infectious. Well respected in the music industry, they won a Grammy for their first live recording, as well as were hand-picked to open for Barack Obama during his run for the presidency in 2008.
“My style is evolving. I like to take things different and see how they can combine. I do a lot of experimentation and improvising,” said founding member of Spam Allstars Andrew Yeomanson, a.k.a. DJ Le Spam.
The third band, Johnny Dread and The Axumites, is fronted by the brother of local philanthropist Elena Spottswood. Johnny Dread, born as Juan Carlos Guardiola, has an interesting Marley connection. He met Anthony Booker, Bob Marley’s younger brother, and they clicked immediately when he was at FIU with a basketball scholarship. Together, they started a band called “Copacetic.” Although some bandmembers went their separate ways, Copacetic went on to reach No. 7 on The Billboard charts in 1997.
“The music and the message are quite profound. I am not singing about boobs and butts and guns and stealing. I am singing spiritual music, something revealing history. I find myself on a solo flight,” Johnny said.
Tickets are available on www.KeysTix.com and at Neptune Designs, Southernmost Cafe, Bagatelle, Fury Catamaran, Viva Zapata and through members of K.W. Rotary Club. They are $20 and $39 for VIP tickets when purchased in advance. Regular tickets are $30 at door and $50 for VIP at door.