The Wailers To Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Legendary Bob Marley Collab at Louisville's Headliners

The Wailers' are touring in support of the 40th anniversary of the 'Legend' album

Jun 28, 2024 at 12:57 pm
The Wailers To Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Legendary Bob Marley Collab at Louisville's Headliners

Aston Barrett Jr., multi-instrumentalist for The Wailers, has been carrying the legacy of his namesake, father Aston “Family Man” Barrett, and the Wailers’ music since 2016. This Saturday, June 29, Barrett brings this legacy to Louisville for a show at Headliners Music Hall.

The Wailers current tour is a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ landmark compilation album, 1984’s Legend, one of the most successful albums of all time. The band is currently lead by Aston Barrett Jr., son of original Wailers bass player Aston Barrett, who has been carrying on his father’s legacy through his music, as well as portraying his father in the recent Bob Marley biopic, Bob Marley: One Love. We were able to talk with him in advance of his stop in Louisville this Saturday.

LEO: You just portrayed your father in the recent film Bob Marley: One Love. What was that experience like?

Aston Barrett Jr.: You know, I learned a lot more about my father than I thought I knew. You can always learn something about people when they tell you their story, but when you have to become them, have to act like them, have to portray them, to be really, truly them, you can see a lot of emotions in it. Especially the part where they were all almost assassinated and they still had the courage to spread the music and to uplift the people. Also, you could see the touring life [of the 1970s]. I think because I tour, I could feel that part already, but just living in the 70s, you just see how musically people were just more inclined to develop the music that they developed.

How was your experience acting as a whole, since this was your first time starring in a film?

I would say this movie opened up a new venture in me. I never knew that I could be an actor. You know, they always say it is good to try something new and see if it works, because you never know what you can do. It opened up that door for me. [Being] on set was amazing. We did get an acting coach; we had a few days with him every week until it was time to start filming.

You have been playing with The Wailers since 2016. How has it been continuing the legacy of the band after your father’s passing?

You never really know the true meaning of stuff until you get older. Experience teaches wisdom. I was always doing the work, but I always had my father there, and even if he wasn’t there physically on stage with me, he was still here in the flesh. Now since he’s gone, [he’s here] spiritually, but it’s like “oh shoot, I’m really doing this,” and it’s not like I can call him and ask him “what would you do in this situation?” or “what did he do?” I have to just really learn that I am the father of today, just take all of the good and take all of the experience and learn from that; make a new experience [to keep] it going to the next level, because, you know, every parent wants their children to blossom more than how they blossomed. Not many will have it, you know, many are called, few are chosen, but I feel privileged, and I thank God everyday I am able to do the work that I do. It is also a balance of a masculine and feminine energy. Even though everything was my father musically, the balance was actually between him and my mother.

You have a production company in Pompano Beach, Florida. Can you tell me a little about that?

Yeah, the recording studio, BAD Lions, then I have my publishing company, Marshall Sound. My grandmother’s last name is Marshall, they used to call Carlton Barrett, “The Marshal,” too, you know. She’s a maroon from Jamaica, that tribe.

What kind of artists have you recorded there?

At the studio I’d say I’ve recorded Aka Beka with Vaughn Benjamin. I’ve recorded Julian Marley. I’ve recorded a lot of people I can’t fully remember but those are the key people that have recorded, have a few hits and some Grammys out there.

Thank you so much for the interview, I just have one final question: what have you been listening to on repeat recently?

Right now, to tell you the truth, since my father passed, it’s been hard listening to the music without getting very emotional. I am a strong being, I am a lion, but I also have compassion. To be able to play Wailers music to its full potential you need to have compassion, because the music is cleaning up negative energy out of the air so you can help people. Anybody can play Wailers music, but for it to be done right, you have to be able to feel it, not just musically but feel it for yourself. That’s probably why I haven’t listened to much Bob Marley and the Wailers stuff since my father passed. But I will say, lately I’ve been listening to different types of music, man and woman. Sometimes I listen to some salsa music. I was listening to some Gloria Estefan the other day, I was listening to some albums, I like the mix when they used tape and I like the mix when the first pro-tools came out. I’m a scientist when it comes to music.

I would say the latest thing I’ve been listening to is the Israel Vibration album, because I’m producing their latest album, I just finished mixing and producing their latest album before Skelly passed away. We’re going to release that very soon.

Oh and I listen to Adele. You know you listen to music everywhere. Sometimes once in a blue moon I might listen to some country music, some Kenny Chesney, and then sometimes I’ll go to hip-hop. I try to find hip-hop that has some quality, you have to live what you way you preach, and I don’t want to listen to things that can change me.

But for me, reggae music is number one, and that’s really me. Everyday it’s 100% reggae music. But the latest thing I was listening to was album 30 by Adele, though, if you really want to know.