By G. Moses
Ziggy Marley, the eldest son of icon Bob Marley, is visiting the High Times offices for an interview, and the staff’s palpable excitement turns to curiosity and a calm reverence as he strolls in with his manager. Later that night, he’ll play an unadvertised, sold-out show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom, performing songs from his newly released second solo album, Love Is My Religion. Only days earlier, Ziggy played “Shalom Salaam” in Ra’anana, Israel (his wife, Orly, is Israeli), even as the country was furiously at war with Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon, and rocket strikes on both sides of the border were taking lives daily. Now, he was gearing up for the 17-city Roots, Rock, Reggae tour with brother Stephen Marley, Bunny Wailer and Ozomatli, starting with the Reggae on the River festival in the heart of Humboldt County’s Golden Triangle.
Love Is My Religion follows 2003’s Dragonfly, his first solo foray after 18 years—and three Grammy Awards—performing with siblings Stephen, Sharon and Cedella as Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers. The new album, like the man, is introspective, fun and deeply profound.
At the packed show that evening, Ziggy—performing with a wicked band featuring legendary drummer Santa Davis and two percussionists—inspired the audience with both new and old songs, including a version of Bob’s “Forever Loving Jah.” Touring constantly, Ziggy says he has found his mission, and that his faith in the simple power of love is contagious.
“Love is my religion” is a very powerful message that the world needs to hear now. I’m wondering what role you feel politics should play in music.
We’ve done our share of political music, music with social messages. At this time, however, for me, we are striving to reach a more spiritual message in the music. We can sing a million songs about politics—I’m not going to do a song that has been sung already. Right now we strive to speak of the human soul—instead of the human, physical problems that start with spiritual problems—’cause that is the source of all things. If we can get a solution on the spiritual side of life, then politics and these other social things will be better off.