Ziggy Marley proves he doesn’t need to ride on his father’s coattails in more ways than one.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Sometimes it seems Ziggy Marley’s creative juices could fill the Grand Canyon: He’s not just a prolific singer and songwriter, he’s the guy behind Coco’Mon flavored organic coconut oils, he founded the charity U.R.G.E. (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), and conceived Marijuanaman, a graphic novel illustrated by Jim Mahfood and written by Joe Casey.
“I always have so many ideas,” Marley says. “And I always want to work on everything I have in my mind.”
But music has and always will be his forte. Marley’s current tour – coming to the Sunset Center Friday – is in support of his fourth studio solo effort Wild and Free, produced by the legendary Don Was, whose client list includes The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.
“I like working with Don because it’s all about just making music,” Marley says. “He brings originality. Everything works together on the album.”
Wild and Free marks Marley’s third time working with Was. It also marks the most potent and cohesive work of Marley’s career. The 12-track album is political, subversive and doesn’t rely on the straightforward reggae approach.
One of the album’s essential nuggets is “Changes,” featuring his eldest son Daniel, because it showcases Marley’s talent as a songwriter who delivers every lyric he utters with authentic passion. His frustration seeps through the bright, melodica-led instrumentation as he repeatedly belts out the word “changes”; Marley seems to believe if he keeps singing it – in a voice that’s scarily similar to Bob’s – change will actually occur.
On the title track, Marley’s focus is also on change – specifically, changing marijuana laws. He recruited fellow pot rights advocate and family friend Woody Harrelson to help communicate the flaws of the country’s tiring war on pot; the actor lends his voice to the song.
In addition to the new record, Marley has been equally dedicated to promoting Kevin Macdonald’s Marley, the only family-approved Bob Marley documentary. He wholeheartedly stands behind the film, though there are moments that are tough for him to stomach.
“I definitely felt emotional about some of the things, especially when he was in Germany,” Marley says.
He’s referring to footage of Bob days before his passing at an experimental cancer treatment facility. His dreadlocks had been cut off and he was so thin he resembled a ghost.
But Marley never seems to mind answering questions about his father.
“He’s someone I grew up with and love forever so I don’t have an issue [talking about him],” he says. “My father is always my father. He’s my family.”
Following a moment of silence, Marley returns to the flurry of creative endeavors constantly consuming real estate in his head. Marley wants to do nothing less than it all, and believes he can over the course of his lifetime.
“Music is only one expression,” he says. “My creativity knows no boundaries.”
ZIGGY MARLEY performs 8pm Friday, Sept. 7, at Sunset Center, San Carlos Street at Ninth, Carmel. $40; $52; $66. 620-2048, www.sunsetcenter.org.