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Ziggy Marley Talks Music, Marijuana Legalization And Playing Soccer With His Father

Everyone knows that Ziggy Marley is following in the footsteps of his father as a musician, but he's also carrying on Bob Marley's legacy as a cannabis advocate and a diehard sports fan. In a recent interview with Civilized, Ziggy talked about what he wants from the marijuana legalization movement, his dream duet and playing soccer with his dad.

Here are the highlights.

What was your first memorable concert experience?

My first memorable concert experience — I mean, I was performing, but it was about being on the same bill as my father and some other Jamaican artists in Jamaica. I was a child. It was back probably in ’79. And we had just started making music — me, my brother and my sisters. And that concert was a big deal for us to go on stage probably for the first time and be on the same bill as my father.

Did he offer any advice about not being nervous, or show business or anything like that?

No, not at all.

You were just a natural performer.

I don’t know about that. But we just do it. We just do it without thinking about it. So if that’s natural, then maybe that’s what it is. We just do it.

Could you tell us about a song that changed your life? Just any song that you found shaped your views of the world or how you think or what you feel.

Well, I wouldn’t say there’s one song. I mean, I think my father’s album called Survival and then Miles Davis’ album called Bitches Brew.

Both great albums.

Yeah, ‘Survival’ kind of gave me that militancy — that gave me the inspiration to kind of look to Africa. Because growing up in Jamaica as a past English colony, the education system at the time wasn’t very truthful about representing another side of the story of what happened. So, my father’s album ‘Survival’ and travelling with him to Zimbabwe kind of opened my mind to be a bit more rebellious against my educational process that I was going through in school at the time. And ‘Bitches Brew’ is an album that kind of made me want to be rebellious in the music that I do. Not be a conformist or being pigeonholed in a box in the reggae world. But just be free with my thoughts and my expression of my creativity.”

And you've also had a chance to do duets with a number of celebrities, from Sting to the Chieftains to Woody Harrelson and others. Who was the most fun to work with?

Well, I had fun with Woody because Woody’s a close friend. And that was such a spontaneous thing. It wasn’t a planned thing or a set up thing. It was just like, he was visiting and I was working. And I was like, "Yo, Woody. Come sing on this song." And he was like, "Yeah, let’s go." It was simple like that, so it was fun.

If you could do a duet with anyone — living or dead, real or fictional — who would you like to sing with?

Um, King David.

King David—that’s fantastic. So would he have the lyre out and you would have the electric guitar, or would you change your instrument to suit the ancient sort of musicians?

(Laughs) I would like to have some drums. Y'know, some old school drumming — not like a drum set but like those hand drums.

And would you just want to jam or would you have a specific song in mind?

Would just want to jam, man. Jamming is the best thing.

Right on. So same with Woody, you just call up King David and say, "Hey man. I’ve got some drums. Bring over the lyre. We’re going to do this."

“That’s how it is. I love that.”

Check out the rest of our conversation in this clip.

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