: Febuary 2002:Fuck Bob Marley
January 6th in Seattle, at long last, the
Experience Music Project's "Island Revolution" exhibit
is coming to an end. The exhibit itself was excellent,
despite the cognitive dissonance that occurs when you
see Jamaica's Third World ghetto culture on display in
a multi-million dollar institution like the EMP.
But such layers of discordant culture are common in the
world of reggae. I've never quite been
able to wrap my brain around a music scene where white,
middle-class kids from the US pretend to be Africans from
the West Indies who pretend to be God's Chosen People
from the Middle East. It somehow seems fitting that June
8th, the day the exhibit opened, will henceforth be known
as "Island Revolution Day" in Seattle.
The problem I had with
"Island Revolution" wasn't with the exhibit per se.
My problem is that I can't seem to get the bitter aftertaste
of years of overexposure to Bob Marley out of my mouth.
I used to like Bob Marley, but after years of hearing
Bob Marley everywhere I went, I grew to despise him, his
music, and anyone who tries to make me listen to it.
My relationship with Bob
Marley started when a high-school friend of mine gave
me a tape with the Legend album recorded on both
sides of the tape. It was probably just an oversight on
his part, but it served as an ominous foreshadowing of
the total saturation I'd experience over the next decade
During the early nineties,
I worked in a café where I heard Bob Marley at
least once a day for years. When I first moved to Seattle,
I worked at the downtown Gravity Bar, where the Legend
album was played at an annoying, near-subliminal
volume during every shift. When I lived in Georgetown,
the jukebox in the neighborhood bar played Bob Marley
at skull-shattering volumes every time I went in there.
I've taken at least a dozen road trips across the US,
listening to music for endless hours at a time, and
Bob Marley was a staple in the music
collection, no matter whom I was with. Every record
collection I see has Bob Marley in it. I've heard every
song from every era of the man's career over and over
again--from his early years as a skinhead, rude-boy
ska musician to his final days as a dreadlock-encrusted
marijuana messiah. Every reggae band covers Bob Marley
tunes. There's an endless stream of Hip-Hop and Dub
Reggae songs containing Bob Marley samples. Ziggy
Marley sounds exactly like Bob Marley. Everybody
listens to Bob Marley. I've met countless phony Rastafarians,
some of whom are crackheads who are actually from Jamaica,
but most of whom are dumbass suburban hippies with trust
funds and a microbus full of clichés, and they
all worship Bob Marley. Bob Marley Bob Marley Bob Marley.
There's no escape from Bob Marley. I mean, sure, it's
good music, but it's not that good.
"Can we, as a country,
The final straw, the
one that broke whatever organ in my brain allows me
to appreciate Bob Marley, came while I was on a trip
to Zipolite in southern Mexico. I'd found a place where
you could sleep on a hammock for eight pesos a night.
There was no real running water, no electricity, no
phone, no lights, no motorcars. However, they did have
a small generator whose sole purpose seemed to be to
run this beat-up little tape player, for which they
single tape. Guess what
it was. I'd traveled thousands of miles, through all kinds
of crazy adventures, finally arriving at a place where
civilization barely even existed, and whom do I find sitting
there, baked out of his mind, looking messianic and trying
to pass me a giant spliff of rastaman vibration (po-see-teev!)?
Bob Motherfucking Marley, that's who. And not just any
Bob Marley, but the Legend album, which is so mind-bogglingly
ubiquitous that I even have it in my record collection.
I fell to my knees and wept.
I fucking hate Bob Marley
now. It's to the point where I actually hate all reggae
and everyone named Bob. I can't even watch reruns of The
Newlywed Game, because every time Bob Eubanks comes
on stage, all I can think about is how much I hate Bob
Marley. FUCK BOB MARLEY!!
Thankfully, "Island Revolution"
didn't lean too heavily on Bob Marley. They had a relatively
small shrine erected toward the end of the exhibit, and
that was about it. Even that was too much for me, though.
Personally, I think they'd have been better off installing
an interactive monitor giving psychic readings from Miss
2002 X Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. copyright | trademark | legal notices