Remembering "The Bush Doctor".
Murdered 25 Years Ago tomorrow September 11, 1987.
Peter Tosh October 19, 1944 - September 11, 1987 was a fierce progressive activist. Being a Rasta Man Peter followed very strict religious beliefs. While on tour he traveled with a cook in his employ to make Ital food for him. His concerts were in part religious ceremony praising his god Jah. Here is an interesting description of him from an online Tosh Bio.
Peter Tosh saw himself as a revolutionary, and was vehement in his efforts to tear down "Babylon." He coined his own words for many of the things which he hated, including "politricks" for politics, "s**tstem" for system, and "Crime Ministers" for Prime Ministers. It was this attitude that earned him the nickname "Steppin' Razor."Also he often used the word "Liar" for Lawyer.
If you ever get a chance, please visit his grave site.
Look below the orange puff of Herb smoke if you would like learn a little bit more of what I can share about this progressive fighter.
I feel it is up to me to put something together as a tribute to my old boss. Even though at times it has brought me to tears, I am compelled to do this.
In the summer of 1979 while working for a sound company I was assigned to go out on tour with Peter Tosh. We provided the sound system for his shows on the East Coast from Washington DC up to Boston. I didn’t know it at that time but it was the beginning of a long relationship.
Very long story shortened I eventually became the Production Manager ( glorified drum roadie ) for some of Peter’s tours.
Here is some video I found on you tube from 1979. This was with the Sly and Robbie version of his backing band "Word, Sound and Power". The interview is very good. It has a great explanation of his views on music and religion.
This one of sound check at the Roxy in LA from 1981 brings back memories for me. Sound check was often a great change of pace from the grind as they would pick a song and change it around just for kicks. We did 86 shows in 90 days all over the US and Canada on that tour! Peter was still working with Rolling Stones Records then and we were supporting his record "Wanted Dread and Alive". This was with the Santa and Fully rhythm section and Dreamy Vision playing percussion and singing in his band Word Sound and Power.
This one is from 1982 at the Jamaica World Music Festival in Montego Bay. We had recently completed a double bill tour of North America with Jimmy Cliff. The band line up had changed a bit from the prior tour with the Tamlins doing backing vocals and percussion. The show ran way over that night as festivals often do. I remember Rick James being out of control and screaming "F-ing Party" over and over again during his set while he spent about twice as long on stage as was scheduled. Then the Clash played and after they finished Peter's band finally hit the stage around sunrise that morning. We had been in the backstage area there waiting all night. Peter and the band were performing with no sleep.
Here is another one from that show. Peter always said he was the originator of the "chucka" style of guitar he is playing on this one.
This video is from a 1983 concert at the Greek Amphitheater in Los Angeles. Peter and the band were in top form. It was recorded on film cameras and a multi track audio tape was made by the Record Plant West mobile truck.
There was controversy over the rights to this concert recording starting just after the show ended that night. Peter fought bitterly with his record company EMI over this. The matter was still in court at the time of his death.
Here is an interview from 1986 when Peter was fighting with EMI over the rights to the recordings from that show.
In September of 1987 he was preparing to get back into touring to support the release his next record "No Nuclear War" ( also his first release on CD format )
Peter, his "wife" Marlene and I got together in NYC for a few days in early September 1987.
We went over some bids on sound, lights and transportation for an upcoming tour in Europe.
I got to sit in the control room with Peter while the two track digital master for the C.D. release of his new album was made. The SONY analog to digital converter was two big racks full of electronics the size of a small closet. We talked about his very recent victory in court against EMI over unauthorized record sales. He told me that he had won the right to audit their books.
Then a few days later he was murdered under mysterious circumstances.
I still miss him and grieve his passing 25 years on.
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